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COVID-19 FAQ on Educational Continuity

Last updated September 2, 2021

Given the rapid spread of COVID-19, UC San Diego has needed to intensify the use of remote course delivery to safeguard the health and well-being of our community while enabling students to continue their academic progress. In the context of our campus, this has mainly involved offering conventional courses via remote teaching and learning tools, such as the Canvas LMS and Zoom.   Faculty have come forward with many excellent questions.  Technical questions are answered on the Educational Technology Services (ETS) Keep Teaching resource page. 

Please see the the March 18, 2020 CAP Response to COVID-19 notice for academic review related considerations.  Additionally, a page with COVID-19 Academic Senate Updates  for Faculty is available.  Please visit Return to Learn Academics for detailed information regarding classroom safety plans and precautions and upgrades to classroom technology. 

The below FAQ includes answers to specific, non-technical questions about how we can preserve our educational mission.   In addition, please see the Summer 2021 Return to Learn Plan as well as the Return to Campus - On-Campus Checklist.


Return to Campus - On-Campus Checklist

If you are going to be on campus for any reason, please review the following:

  • Everyone must wear a mask indoors.
    • Exceptions for indoor masking include while eating or drinking, within your primary residence, or while working alone in a closed room or office.
    • For fully vaccinated individuals, outdoor masking is strongly encouraged. For unvaccinated individuals, outdoor masking is required during most outdoor activities when six foot distance cannot be maintained. Learn more about mask guidelines.
  • Everyone must be vaccinated for COVID-19 or have an approved exception or deferral.
    • All students, faculty and staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19, or have an approved exception or deferral, per University of California policy. Vaccination documentation must be submitted by Sept. 6; exception and deferral requests must be submitted by Sept. 2. Make a free vaccination appointment.
  • Twice-weekly asymptomatic testing is required for unvaccinated students and employees
  • All employees returning to campus are required to complete return to work training.
    Employees who return to campus, even on an intermittent basis, must complete COVID-19 prevention training, as required by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Cal/OSHA.
    • Employees who previously completed the COVID-19 Return to Work Training: look for a notification from the UC Learning Center to complete a 10-minute supplemental course, which must be completed within two weeks.
    • Employees who did not complete the COVID-19 Return to Work Training: prior to returning, you must complete the updated course, COVID-19 Prevention course within the UC Learning Center.

Please visit the Return to Campus webpage for additional information and resources.

Updated April 2nd - Guidance for In-Person Instruction

FAQ on the Shift of Course Modality Effective November 17th

 Q: Why did the State and County require Institutions of Higher Education to stop teaching in-person indoor classes this week?

 A: Because of the huge national/state/local surge in COVID-19 cases, the Governor and the County are urging people to stay home and not gather in-person indoors for any reason.  Out of an abundance of caution, they are painting with a very broad brush and are treating a wide range of institutions and businesses all the same. 

So far as we are aware, there is no specific data indicating any particular concern about the indoor classroom teaching we had been doing up to this point.  Certainly, there is no such data on our campus; we had not seen any evidence of in-classroom transmission.

Q: Are any classes allowed to be taught in-person indoors at this point?

A: Right now, only courses and training for first-responders may be given in-person indoors.

Q: What is the indoor/outdoor guidance for Spring 2021 instruction?

Please see the the Outdoor Classrooms and Study Spaces drawer further down this page..

Q: Where can I get assistance and advice about shifting to remote instruction?

A: The Teaching + Learning Commons has extensive resources, for instance within the Digital Learning Hub and the KeepTeaching site  .   Commons staff can assist with questions you may have.

 Q: Whom should I contact if I want to explore the possibility of teaching outdoors?

 A:  Please contact AVC-EI Carlos Jensen (  He can discuss scheduling and logistics to see what may work well for your particular course.

 Q: How will I know if the teaching situation changes again?

 A: If the State and County public health guidance change, we will notify the campus and explain the implications.

Q: Does this change impact our research program?   

A: No, our research ramp-up plans are still in place and have not been modified.

Q: Can students (undergraduate, graduate) and postdoctoral scholars continue research activity during the county purple phase?

A: Graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral scholars can continue current research activity if they are in full compliance with the health safety standards of the university and UCSD approved research plan requirements.  For example,  if they are part of a funded research grant, or are completing an approved research activity (e.g., research for masters thesis, dissertation, honors project, 199, etc.), they may continue.

Note: No new human subjects research can be conducted outside of the approved research plans which require compliance with the campus and county health safety requirements and CDC guidelines.

Q: Will I be able to hold an in-person final exam?

A: Yes if your class is scheduled to be in-person.

Q  Is there any update on campus plans for spring quarter?

A: Campus is now planning that all on-campus housing for undergraduates will still consist of singles during spring.  Research ramp-up plans have been updated.  Please stay tuned for further updates related to teaching as we receive additional guidance from the State and County.

Q: Can I continue to teach in the classroom with no students present?

A: Yes. Faculty may still use their assigned in-person classrooms to teach or podcast from, just without the students present.

Q: If I shift to outdoor instruction, can I still podcast?

A: Yes. 

Academic Affairs Newsletter

The EVC's Office regularly shares educational continuity related updates in a newsletter to all academic appointees on the general campus and SIO. Visit Academic Affairs Newsletter to sign up and subscribe.

Academic Events Involving Travel - Trips and Recruitments

Q: I am a faculty member who has a trip planned for university business. Should I cancel that trip?

A:   See  Return to Learn - Resources for University Travelers for the latest university guidance on travel. If you plan future travel, only essential travel is permitted and campus pre-approval is required. 

Q: I am supposed to travel with a group of students for fieldwork/study abroad/etc. Should we continue this trip?

A:  See Return to Learn - Resources for University Travelers for the latest university guidance on travel.

Q: We are considering the recruitment season for our next cohort of graduate students, part of which involves inviting students to campus to meet faculty and interview. Some of our recruits are no longer wishing to travel to San Diego. Should we cancel these types of events? 

A: Departments should consider the degree to which they can conduct recruitment activities virtually (such as via Zoom).  See Return to Learn - Resources for University Travelers for the latest university guidance on travel.

Access to Canvas

Q: How can we help faculty in my department who are having difficulty getting their classes organized and prepared due to having no access to Canvas till their first day on pay status?

A: We are aware that some faculty with pay dates that fall after quarter start dates are experiencing difficulty acquiring early access to CANVAS.  To assist with a short term remedy, Dean or Chair's offices’ should send an email to with the following information for each new instructor who needs Canvas Access:

  1. First and Last Name
  2. A direct email to send Canvas account credentials 
  3. The Course department, Course number(s), and Sections (if using sections) they need to be added to. 

Q: Will this access provide a new faculty member access to other university resources?  

A: No, this will solely resolve CANVAS access.  

Class Meeting and Attendance - Spring 2021

Q: Has the campus announced its plans for the delivery of instruction during Spring 2021?   

A: Yes. For the Spring 2021, it is our intention to offer courses across all of our divisions, colleges, programs and majors through a combination of in-person and remote instruction. Please visit COVID-19 Academic Senate Updates for additional guidance on the remote delivery of courses and information on Doctoral Time Limits and Instruction and check Return to Learn Academics for detailed information regarding classroom safety plans and precautions and upgrades to classroom technology. 

Q: Where can I find information about Spring 2021 classroom logistics and teaching technology upgrades?

A: Please visit Return to Learn Academics for detailed information regarding classroom safety plans and precautions and upgrades to classroom technology. 

Q: Where can I direct students about the types of courses (remote, in person, hybrid, etc) UC San Diego will be offering in the Spring 2021, course registration planning, class sizes and waitlists, and quarter grading options? 

A: The Spring 2021 Schedule of Classes FAQ houses all of this information and is frequently updated.

Q: Is there a convenient place where the course modality types are defined so that I can be sure what I will be offering in terms of the courses I am assigned to teach?

A: Yes, the Course Modality Glossary drawer below was designed to provide detailed explanations of the types of courses to be offered at UC San Diego.

Q:  Should remote teaching be synchronous or asynchronous?

A: Remote teaching does not need to be fully synchronous.  Indeed, any lectures delivered in real-time must also be made available in an asynchronous format via Canvas to ensure students who are ill or in another time zone can fully participate in the course.  For options and resources, see

Q:  Must I tell students I am recording them if I hold a live class via Zoom, record it, and post the recording for later asynchronous use by enrolled students?

A:  If your course is a hybrid course, yes. Faculty who wish to record their remote classes that are held live on Zoom should, at the start of each class session that will be recorded, announce to the students (on air) that the class will be recorded and made available to students asynchronously. This announcement gives all participants fair notice of the recording in much the same way as customer service telephone lines announce at the beginning of a call that “this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.” In addition to making an announcement at the beginning of each class session to be recorded, it would be a best practice for faculty to note on their syllabi that class sessions will be recorded and made available to students asynchronously. Finally, for documentation purposes, it is best if the oral announcement at the beginning of each class is itself recorded, so there is no question about whether the announcement was made for any particular class session.

Q: Is the number of faculty-student contact hours for the remote version of a course the same as for the in-person version

A: Remote teaching should be structured to allow for faculty-student interactions through synchronous or asynchronous means (including virtual office hours via Zoom, Canvas chat, etc.) in a manner that approximates the expected total faculty-student contact hours for the regular course.

Q: Are there stipulations on when instructors can offer/require assessments?

 When enrolling in their Spring 2021 courses, students took into account the dates/times of course meetings and of any exams outside of class hours.  Therefore, synchronous lectures or assessments should be offered during those pre-scheduled and pre-announced time slots to the maximum extent feasible.  Lecture material should also be made available asynchronously on Canvas (e.g. via podcasts) so that students who are ill or in another time zone will not be disadvantaged.  For any synchronous assessment, please plan in advance to have an alternative time to handle the needs of students who are ill or in another time zone. 

Q: What do I do if I suspect academic integrity violations?

A: The Academic Integrity Office provides Resources for Instructors

Our superb quality and reputation can only be sustained if faculty and students commit to academic integrity. For students, this means that they complete all of their exams in a way that honestly and fairly demonstrates their knowledge and abilities at that particular moment in time. For faculty, that means that they work to design and deliver final exams in ways that uphold integrity, and they check to ensure that those exams were completed with integrity. It also means that faculty report all suspected academic integrity violations to the Academic Integrity Office. Please visit our take action page for tips on preventing integrity violations and sign up to receive newsletters with new tips throughout the quarter.


Course Continuity If an Instructor Is Ill

Q: What informational resources are available regarding tbesting, tracing, quarantine, and campus safety protocols if I might feel ill?

A: Please visit Return to Learn Questions and Answers About the Program.

Q:  What are the elements of a departmental strategy for dealing with faculty absences due to illness or quarantine?

A:    A departmental strategy would include the following general elements.  Please see specific entries on these in the FAQ.

  • Plans for ensuring coverage of lectures by Zoom or podcasting methods.
  • Plans for handling the lab/studio elements of courses.
  • Plans for handling graduate oral exams, project presentations and thesis defenses. 

Q:  How can I make a good strategy for what will happen to my lecture course if I am ill?

A:  Here are some essential elements:

  • Use podcasting so that your previous lectures will be available to students.
  • If a previous podcast set for the course you are teaching exists, make it available via Canvas to help with continuity.
  • Identify colleagues who can help cover the lecture (or answer questions about the posted podcasts). If there are none in your home department, other UC campuses or your professional association might be sources of alternatives.
  • Inform your chair/director/provost of the plan for coverage.

Q:  How can I make a good strategy for what will happen to my seminar course or discussion section if I am ill?

A:  As you would do for lectures, we recommend identifying colleagues to cover these by using tools such as Zoom to continue interacting with students.  If you are not able to teach, we recommend following your plan for being absent from class -- and that you inform your chair/director/provost of your absence, so they can assist with logistics.

Q:  How can I make a good strategy for what will happen to my lab/studio course if I am ill?

A: As in the case of all other courses, identifying colleagues who can cover the course via Zoom in your absence and informing the chair/director/provost of the plan is the first step for dealing with illness. It is also time to develop content-specific contingency plans in the event of your illness. For short-term illnesses, this can include colleagues planning to focus on theoretical aspects of the laboratory or studio in remote lectures. For longer-term illnesses, solutions will be course specific and should be discussed with colleagues and your chair/director/provost.

Q:  If I am too ill to teach, even online, can I just ask my TA to take over the course?

A:  No, that goes beyond a TA’s expected responsibilities.  Another faculty member will need to fulfill the responsibilities as the instructor of record. You should discuss a strategy with your chair/director/provost.

Q:  What happens if my TA gets ill?

A:  The ill TA should stay home and look after their health.  You will most likely need to cover the duties of the absent TA yourself. You should not ask other TAs to pick up the duties of missing TAs. As always, keep your department chair in the loop as they may have additional suggestions.

Q: What should we do about graduate student thesis/dissertation defenses if one or more committee members, or the graduate student, is/are quarantined or ill?

A: Graduate Council has approved allowing any or all members of thesis/dissertation committees (including the student) to attend defenses remotely.  This modification will be in place through end of Summer (September 5, 2021).

Q: How can I best prepare to ensure my final exam will be given if I fall ill?

A:  See below:

  • Write the exam early and make a copy accessible to your chair/director/provost.
  • Specify the grading rubric in advance.
  • Talk with your chair/director/provost about who could best proctor and/or grade your exam in your absence.

Course Modality Glossary

*Note: If you plan to take biology courses in the fall, please find more information about course delivery and expectations on the Division of Biological Sciences' website.

in-person instruction - crowd icon
In-Person Only
This is the traditional form of instruction with students and instructors joining the course in the classroom or lab (onsite). Physical attendance is required and course materials do not need to be provided asynchronously online. This option may be appropriate for courses such as labs that require the use of specialized equipment only available on campus.
Similar to the In-Person Only option, In-Person courses will be delivered on campus with students and instructors physically present in the classroom. However, all course materials must also be provided asynchronously for students to access anytime online . For example, lectures are provided in real time in the classroom, recorded, and posted on Canvas along with all assignments and other course materials. This is appropriate for courses that benefit, but do not depend on physical presence, where the connection between student and instructor are particularly important (e.g. foundation courses), or for instructors that prefer to engage with their students in-person.



This option combines elements of the In-Person option and remote instruction. Some course components are delivered on campus while other course components are offered remotely. All course materials, including components offered in-person, must be provided asynchronously for students to access anytime . For example, a course may deliver lectures online by posting recordings on Canvas and convene weekly discussion groups in the classroom. Students who are unable to join the discussion groups in person would complete an equivalent assignment, such as submitting a paper with their comments about the discussion topic. This modality may be appropriate for classes that require interaction and problem-solving with an instructor, or hands-on group work, but are too large to fully accommodate in-person due to social distancing requirements.
This is the only option without an element of in-person instruction. Instruction and all course materials are provided remotely and asynchronously, just as courses are currently being delivered in our remote learning environment. This option provides the most flexibility for students and instructors to continue the course with minimal disruption during the university’s transition back to campus. This may be an appropriate option for instructors who are unable to return to campus, for classes that are too large to be safely accommodated, and classes with large populations who may be unable to join us in person.

Health - Protocols and Resources

Q: Where can I go for up to date information about Testing, Tracing, Quarantine, and Campus Safety Protocols?

Please visit Return to Learn Questions and Answers About the Program for information about these topics and other frequently asked questions.

Q: I, or others in our community, may be vulnerable to more severe symptoms and consequences of the COVID-19 virus (due to age or underlying health conditions).  Should I (and others) stay away from campus?

A: Our first concern is the safety of our campus community.  We are also committed to our students’ academic progress.  We need to balance these goals appropriately.  Contingency plans for delivering instruction remotely is an important tool that can achieve both goals.   Nonetheless, no one in our community should feel compelled to put themselves in harm’s way.  Any individual with personal health concerns should contact their chair/director/provost to make appropriate plans. Similarly, any TA with personal health and/or safety concerns should speak with their instructor of record/department chair/divisional dean to make appropriate plans for Fall.

If you develop flu-like symptoms—fever, cough and difficulty breathing—please seek medical attention. Students should call Student Health Services at 858-534-3300 for guidance and to determine if you need to be seen by a provider. Students may also go to login with your Student AD to send a message to “Ask-a-Nurse." Faculty and staff should call their health care providers. Please always call ahead before arriving.

See Return to Learn - COVID-19 Prevention for the latest university guidance on this topic.

Q:  I am feeling really anxious and concerned, what resources are available to me?

A. If you are experiencing heightened feelings of anxiety during this time and would like to access counseling services, there are resources available. Campus employees may call the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) at 858-534-5523. UC San Diego Health employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program provider aligned with their medical coverage or call 619-543-3200. Students may be advised to call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 858-534-3755. 

See  Return to Learn - Wellness for the latest university guidance on this topic.

Q:  What should I do if I am ill?

A:  Activate your plan for being absent due to illness.  Let your chair/director/provost know that you are ill and discuss your plans with them.  Also consult the COVID-19 FAQ on Leave and Remote Work Provisions for Faculty and Academic Appointees to understand the university's paid leave provisions.

If you develop flu-like symptoms—fever, cough and difficulty breathing—please seek medical attention. Students may be directed to call Student Health Services at 858-534-3300 for guidance and to determine if they need to be seen by a provider. You may also direct students to login with their Student AD to send a message to “Ask-a-Nurse.” Faculty and academic appointees should call their health care providers. Please always call ahead before arriving.

If you are experiencing heightened feelings of anxiety during this time and would like to access counseling services, there are resources available.  If you are a campus employee, call the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) at 858-534-5523. If you are a UC San Diego Health employee, please contact your Employee Assistance Program provider aligned with your medical coverage or call 619-543-3200. Students may be advised to call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 858-534-3755.

See Return to Learn - Wellness for the latest university guidance on these topics.

In-Person vs. Remote Instructional Activities

See also Synchronous and Asynchronous Remote Instructional Activities for additional information.

Q: Am I required to teach in-person?

In-person instruction is voluntary (and not required).

Q: Are TAs required to lead in-person sections?

TAs may choose whether to participate in-person or remotely.  Any scheduling of in-person sections should take these preferences into account.   

Q: Can instructors/TAs change their mind and decide to change to remote instruction?

If instructors and/or TAs initially want to teach in-person, they can change their  mind and go remote at any time. Please be aware that these types of changes can affect students who may have made housing (or other) decisions based on an expectation of taking an  in-person course. 

Q: Can I change a remote course into an in-person course? 

Once students are enrolled, we cannot change teaching modality from remote to in-person because the initial modality may have influenced students’ decisions about where they choose to live this term. Your department may add an in-person section that students can choose to move to, but students cannot be required to shift to in-person. 

Q: Do I need to provide all elements of in-person instruction in an additional remote equivalent?

No. As always, it is a recommended practice for in-person instructors to post course materials such as readings, syllabi, and assignments in Canvas so they will be available to students at any time.  Moreover, in-person instructors are encouraged to post podcasts or notes of in-person lectures.    These practices would not just help accommodate any students who become sick or otherwise need assistance during the term, but also help all students learn and be more successful. 

The instructor for a course or course section that is designated as in-person does not have to simultaneously teach that same course or section in remote format. That said, supporting both in-person and remote learners in a single section or class, though challenging, may sometimes be desirable in order to support student success and access. 

Q: Can students opt out of in-person class meetings or in-person -assessments in favor of remote  ones?

Students who enroll in an in-person course or choose an in-person component of a hybrid course do so with the understanding that instruction will be in-person and that they will participate in-person.  Therefore, they cannot opt out of in-person class meetings or assessments.  However, it is possible that a student may face unexpected circumstances that prevent in-person participation (e.g., they may have to quarantine or experience a life event that requires an accommodation). In those cases, transferring a student to a remote or asynchronous version of the same class is an acceptable solution (with student consent). If there is no existing remote option for the course, the student should seek an accommodation from their instructor, as they would in any in-person course.  

Library Remote Resources

Q: Does the Library have a page where I can find Library resources ?

A:  Yes.  Visit the University Library and  Library Updates and Resources for information on available resources. 

Q: How can I request a scan (PDF) of print journal articles, or book chapters (no charge), or items the UC San Diego library doesn't own (Interlibrary loan)? 

A: To request a scan (PDF) of print journal articles, or book chapters (no charge), or items we don't own (Interlibrary loan) please use this form. 

Q: How do I place items on Course Reserve from remote?  

A: To place items on Course Reserve using the Library's “eReserves” for online course materials consult this link.

Q: If I want to use Canvas and direct students to licensed items, is there anything I should be aware of?

A: If you use Canvas for your courses and point students to licensed items such as eBooks or online journal articles, students will need to be using the campus VPN service to enable access to these resources.  Direct them to use the VPN AnyConnect (client) for access to library resources, instructions.

 (Please remember to link to library licensed content whenever possible, instead of posting the PDF. This is usually required under the terms of our resource licenses and gives us usage data to justify continuing subscriptions.) 

Q: How do I ask the Library to purchase an eBook or other online resource for my course or research?

A: Please use our Recommend a Purchase form.

Q: Is there a library guide for "Resources for Teaching Online."

A: Yes. Please visit our Resources for Teaching Online.

Q: Are there any guides for finding affordable course materials and/or open access content for teaching from remote?

A: Yes, please consult the Library's Affordable Course Materials: Open Educational Resources (OER) for Faculty Guide.

Outdoor Classrooms and Study Spaces

Six outdoor instructional spaces have been made available for use on campus to allow for safe, in-person teaching. The four 80x60 outdoor classrooms, two in Warren Mall and two in Revelle Plaza, are ADA compliant with the capacity to seat up to 60 students socially distanced. The two in P416 has the same features and the capacity to seat up to 75 students socially distanced. Each space features a comprehensive A/V setup, including boosted wifi access, ethernet connectivity for instructors, zoom and podcasting equipment, weather-proof pendant speakers, microphones, and LCD display screens located throughout the space, as well as traditional whiteboards. They have raised floors in case of inclement weather and will have the same enhanced cleaning services as our traditional campus classrooms.  In addition, there are now a total of six outdoor study spaces; two in Warren Mall, three in Revelle Plaza and one in the P416 location.

See the list of classroom and study space capacities and locations here:


For additional information visit the Return to Learn Academics page.


Recommendations for Remote Assessment

A sub-committee of the Educational Continuity Taskforce, with input from the Commons, Educational Technology Services, the Academic Integrity Office, and the Campus Privacy Officer, has come up with recommendations for remote assessment that were distributed on April 21, 2020.  Please review.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Remote Instructional Activities

At UC San Diego, we are committed to teaching and assessing all our students, as well as doing our best to make all students feel welcome and supported. During the pandemic, when much learning is hybrid or remote, some of our students will have significant or intermittent challenges with participating in a remote course session in real time for personal, technical, or safety reasons (e.g., internet outage, computer failure, illness, caregiver obligations, or time zones).  We don’t want these to become demoralizing barriers to their full academic engagement.  In recognition of this, we are operating under the shared expectations that course material for remotely offered courses should be made available in asynchronous format and that an asynchronous equivalent (or readily accessible alternative-time accommodation) should be provided for any synchronous remote learning experience (including assessments) an instructor or TA chooses to offer.  

At the same time, our faculty have the freedom and responsibility to design courses, learning experiences, and assessments that are, in their academic judgment, best suited to the subject matter, the students’ level of preparation, and the intended learning outcomes.  The faculty are best positioned to determine exactly how to accommodate the situation of a student who cannot join a synchronous session or what an appropriate equivalent learning experience might be.  The expectations above are couched in very general language precisely to preserve the flexibility for faculty to exercise their creativity and judgement in devising specific pedagogical solutions for their particular courses and students.

We appreciate instructors’ ongoing adaptability and during these challenging times, in support of our educational, research, and service missions.

Answers to some frequently asked questions and links to additional resources are provided below.  See also In-Person vs. Remote Instructional Activities for additional information.

What types of materials should I  provide to my students asynchronously when teaching a remote course?

Essential course materials like syllabi, readings, assignments, slides, and lecture contents  should be made available asynchronously for students to consult at any time they may need them. 

Am I required to record or podcast my lectures when teaching a remote course? 

While we strongly encourage instructors to provide course materials asynchronously, there are many ways to do this.  These include recording or podcasting lectures; however, alternative mechanisms, such as sharing presentation slides or videos or posting outlines or notes may suffice in lieu of a recorded lecture.   More information about pros and cons of delivering lectures asynchronously vs. synchronously and tips for synchronous virtual lectures can be found on the Digital Learning Hub website. 

Please note that many students will assume that lectures are going to be recorded by the instructor and available asynchronously.  Therefore, we encourage instructors to clearly explain (e.g., in the syllabus, during lectures) how course content, including lectures, will be made available to students throughout the quarter.  

Guidance for streamlining and clarifying course structures, as well as  syllabus  and Canvas site templates and technological instructions, are available on the Digital Learning website

Are students allowed to record my lectures and post them for later viewing?

Students are not permitted to record or post course lectures - doing so is a violation of the student code of conduct and copyright laws. We encourage instructors to set clear expectations for students regarding recording and sharing of course materials, and reiterate the course policy in the syllabus, Canvas, and during lectures. 

What are some examples of synchronous and asynchronous course activities with similar learning purposes?

This slide from the Teaching + Learning Commons illustrates a number of course activities, including examples of how one might create an asynchronous alternative for a synchronous activity. For example, digital collaboration tools might be used to substitute for group activities normally completed in person, or students might use course discussion boards in response to specific reading questions or discussion prompts.    Additional information about various types of remote assignments instructors could use to assess student learning is available on the Digital Learning Hub 


What about remote-modality discussion groups?  Can I mandate that students attend synchronously? 

Synchronous discussion sessions shouldn’t disadvantage students who are particularly burdened by unstable internet, limited computer equipment, and other challenges.  Courses should be structured to  enable  students who cannot attend a particular synchronous remote discussion section to participate in an equivalent learning experience. For example, many courses offer asynchronous alternative discussion assignments (e.g. posting comments on a discussion board). 

A few large, multi-section remote  courses have piloted course designs with a sufficient number of synchronous discussion sections to accommodate all students; enough sections are offered to accommodate all relevant time zones and students may sign up for the time that works best for their schedule.   If you are interested in exploring this option, please contact AVC Jensen for assistance, including coordination with the Registrar’s Office.

Where can I find more information about offering course content remotely?

Please visit the Digital Learning Hub’s website to connect to best practices, resources, and services available  to support remote course delivery  . We encourage faculty to consider modalities that match the needs of their discipline and  maximize flexibility for instructors, instructional assistants, and students while  meeting the expected course learning outcomes.

Where can I learn more about instructional technology tools, online learning platforms, and other digital resources to support asynchronous learning? 

Using Digital Tools for Teaching and Course Management

Q:  Where are the best dedicated pages for easily accessible remote teaching resources for UC San Diego Faculty?

A: The Teaching+Learning Commons have developed Services and Resources for Educators and an FAQ for Educators.  In addition, visit their main COVID-19 hub for remote teaching resources here ETS has also developed a guide on how to get started with remote teaching.

Q:  What guidance has the campus given around copyright of instructional materials?

A: Here is a brief review of copyright issues related to faculty-created materials to help faculty understand and protect their rights.  And here is guidance for faculty regarding their use of copyrighted material created by others.

Q: Are the steps faculty are being expected to take now in the context of COVID-19 general good practice?

A: Yes. In general, these are course management issues that you should be thinking about every time you teach.  Although the campus notices and updates specifically address the COVID-19 situation, these plans generally fall under the “What if I’m hit by a speeding electric scooter on Library Walk and can’t teach my class?” contingency planning.  Please ensure you read the instructions carefully and have an established gradebook recorded regularly and that you have contingency plans for any remaining exams / quizzes / midterms / final exam.  As mentioned in the note below, if you need assistance moving grades into Canvas, there is assistance on campus

  1. ETS is provisioning all instructors of record and assigned course TA’s with Zoom Pro accounts through UCSD.  This makes it relatively simple to set up group meetings on-line and to record these meetings and make them available at a later time. Note that only the session host (instructor or TA) needs to have the Zoom Pro account; students can use the usual free Zoom tool.  See this link.
  2. Consider having Zoom office hours, rather than 1:1 meetings formerly held with students in your office
  3. Consider who will be your backup for your Final Exam if you become ill during Finals week.
  4. Consider using the campus automated Podcasting system, available in all 100+ general assignment classrooms.
  5. If you’ve podcast a course in the past and chose to leave it posted, you can reuse those lectures anytime.
Q: How can I safeguard my Zoom class sessions or office hours?

A:  Using Zoom for your video classes and office hours is quick and easy. But you want to make sure your only attendees are the people you invite. The Zoom Meeting Safeguards page has tips to make sure this happens

Q: Why is campus mandating use of Canvas for course gradebooks and key materials?

A:  Canvas is the official campus learning management system.  It is fully supported by ETS technical staff and scalable to meet the full needs of the campus.  ETS has already arranged for Canvas to interface with many other useful pieces of educational software that ETS also supports.  ETS has also developed a guide on how to get started with remote teaching.

o   Placing gradebooks and materials on Canvas ensures that they are reliably available in a standard, secure format, even when students or instructors are ill or quarantined.  

o   Canvas allows instructors to communicate timely instructions and announcements to their students. 

Q: Can I have students turn in homework via email instead of through Canvas?

A:   No. If the individual to whom the assignment was emailed were to become ill and unable to grade and upload scores to Canvas, then it would be very difficult and slow for the university to gain access to their account to recover the assignments. This would adversely impact students.

Having assignments in Canvas allows other course staff to take over grading seamlessly if the original instructor/TA is taken ill or otherwise unable to grade. It also provides secure documentation for the student that they actually turned in the assignment on time.

Q:  How can I learn to use these unfamiliar digital tools?  Is help available?

A:  Yes, ETS and the Teaching + Learning Commons maintain on-demand assistance.  Weekend and late evening expert help is also available from the IT Service Desk.   Please note that phone and in-person demand for assistance is currently very high, so we encourage you to first use the self-service knowledge base. Additionally please email the Digital Learning Hub in the Teaching + Learning Commons for assistance with incorporating digital tools into your teaching.

Q:  When should I make podcasts or do lecture capture?

A:  In all possible courses over the next year, so that we can build up the strongest possible inventory in case of need.  Prioritize required or gateway courses which impact the most students.

Q: What will happen to the podcasts generated during this particular emergency? Am I able to determine how long they are accessible?

A: Podcasts are generally removed at the end of the quarter; however, faculty can elect to make them available indefinitely.  With respect to the COVID 19 crisis, please consider opting in to make them available longer. After this emergency, ETS will follow up with all Winter and Spring faculty to determine if they would like to keep or remove their podcasted class sessions. 

Q: Will campus seek my permission to access my podcasts for use by other faculty?

A:  Yes, it is campus policy to obtain permission from the faculty member before allowing other faculty to access their podcasts.  Please consider granting permission to help us all get through this period.  It could be a tremendous help to a colleague who has fallen ill, for instance. Please email if you need assistance or to connect you with a colleague for their lecture content.