Please use this prioritized checklist to assure your course is remote-ready for your students. Additional resources on each topic are available here on UCR Keep Teaching (and we are adding resources daily). Email the XCITE team at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or support requests.
Planning Stage: Reworking your course
- Reassess your course goals: Have clear and realistic course goals for your students. What do you want to them to leave your course knowing? How can you help them get there with the time, tools, and online space you currently have?
PROTIP: Keep it simple as you go remote for fall quarter. Try using the Rule of 2’s (developed by Plymouth State University's Open CoLab) to focus on what is most important and workable for you.
- Develop remote alternatives: What are the essential course materials, activities, and assignments for the quarter? What will those look like in a remote-teaching situation? This website is dedicated to helping you do this. Check out the quick guides, training videos, webinars, faculty posts, and more.
Syllabus/Course Information (use syllabus template for quick-fix)
- Include key information: use this syllabus template to make sure you've included all required components. It is important to be even clear thorough in your policies and assignment expectations than you would in a live class. If you don't use the template, include all the components listed below.
Contact information (include Zoom link, if applicable); learning information: course goals, required materials, course components (e.g. assignments, discussions), course schedule, tech requirements. Clearly state course policies; late/make-up work, availability & communication preferences, etiquette/participation expectations, how you would like students to share accommodation information confidentially. Include links to institutional resources and policies (academic integrity, Title IX, ITS, accessibility, copyright, grade appeal, academic support services, etc).
- Course navigation is consistent: Use consistent organization and weekly rhythm so students know what to expect (for example, each week students watch a lecture, read required materials, participate in the discussion board by Wednesday, and complete a response paper by Sunday at 11:59pm).
PROTIP: Consider making all work due on the same day and time for the rest of the quarter. When you create Assignments in iLearn, use a consistent time (like Sunday night at 11:59 pm) for all weekly assignments/discussion posts to be due. Students who now have extra care/work responsibilities and different environments than they expected may need the weekend to get everything done.
- Review with students how to use iLearn communication, assignment submissions, assignment feedback, checking grades, etc. You can post a link to this Quick Guide in your syllabus or welcome letter.
Building Course Content
- Post example/sample assignment, rubrics, and/or make your expectations clear. Your assignment or activity instructions and expectations will need to be especially clear in a remote learning situation. Provide detailed guidance.
- Check that all links, files, and videos are active and working.
PROTIP: Focus on getting any necessary materials available to your students via iLearn. Instead of trying to recreate your in-person classroom with lecture videos/hosted Zoom sessions, think about the Internet as your classroom. Where can you send students for great information? Students can explore and share what they learned. Remember, like you, your students are also worried and have plenty to focus on right now!
- Provide an opportunity for course feedback: check in with your students (perhaps after the first three/four weeks) formally (anonymous survey) and/or informally to see how the course is going and if any changes/revisions are necessary.
- Create spaces for student-to-student interaction (e.g., discussions, collaborative assignments), student-to-teacher interactions (e.g., assignment feedback, virtual office hours), and student-content interaction (e.g. assignments, discussions).
PROTIP: A weekly discussion board is an easy, low-tech way to provide a space for all three of these interactions. Consider requiring students to post about your course material (perhaps citing/quoting two references from the required text they found most interesting) and requiring them to respond to two other classmates' posts. This will get an actual conversation going, all focused around your required material. You (or TA) can hop in as needed to contribute and offer feedback.
Beginning the course
- Send a Welcome Letter in iLearn Announcements (or even post a short Welcome video) that welcomes students, introduces yourself, directs them to your syllabus, and tells explains exactly what they should do in that first week.
- Set up an Introductions Discussion Board in iLearn so students can introduce themselves at the beginning of the course, and you can get a sense of who your students are and what their current situation looks like.
PROTIP: Set up a FAQ discussion board where students can post questions about the course.
Managing the Course
- Communicate regularly (even more than you would in a live class). Use iLearn to communicate with your students. You can use other tools like Zoom and recorded video if you are comfortable, but you can always stick to iLearn if you are not. The key is to CONNECT regularly. Prioritize simple solutions.
PROTIP: Send an announcement every Monday to outlining the week. Try to send an announcement when a current even pops up that is relevant to your content.
- Offer students specific, meaningful, and prompt feedback: Your assignments and discussions are spaces where students are practicing with the concepts you've presented. Assessment feedback can be a space where you personally connect with them.
- Remain flexible: Your students, though they are now accessible only online, are still human. The best thing you can do is model flexibility, understanding, and adaptability. Provide a path for all students to achieve the course learning outcomes this quarter, no matter their situation.
- Accommodation statement: This should be in your syllabus or easily located (note: it's already included in the syllabus template).
- Include closed-captioning: Audio/Video resources should (ideally) have closed-captions. You can easily do this in YuJa.
- Check Contrast: On the materials you produce (e.g., slide presentations), use sufficient contrast between text and background makes information easy to read. Use this PowerPoint template to avoid issues. You can also use a web checker for this.
- Images: accompanied by text descriptions (Alt text) or captions for more complex descriptions.
PROTIP:: Reach out to the SDRC for more information and guidance on accommodations and accessibility.