A TA’s Guide to Teaching Remotely at UCLA
Resources for Your Students for Remote Learning
Remote Assessment Recommendations
There is a lot to consider when moving to remote assessments. Most of us need to transform assessments, adjust expectations, and/or consider many factors in administering exams.
- Outlines key recommendations from UCLA leadership bodies.
- Provides alternative assessments consistent with recommendations.
- If alternative assessments aren’t possible, this document provides best practices for remote testing.
This document was a collaboration of UCLA Online Teaching and Learning, the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences, HumTech, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and SEASNet.
General Tips on Teaching With Technology
Our approach to technology is to start with your goals for your class and then identify the technology that will support those goals. We have therefore organized this section based on potential goals, such as Facilitating Interaction, Ensuring Accessibility, etc. Within each of those sub-sections is information about tools that can enable those goals in a remote environment.
For technical information about digital tools (e.g., how to install and use tools such as Zoom, VPN, and Box), laptops and equipment loans, and campus policies regarding issues like software purchases, security, and privacy, please go to UCLA Digital Toolkit. That site also has information on whom to go to for troubleshooting and 24/7 IT support.
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching stands firm in our commitment to supporting Black lives, both inside and outside of the classroom. The recent and continued horrific killings of Black people in America underscores our country’s long history of racism toward Black Americans and challenges us to bring about positive change. This communication focuses on what we can do right now to care for and support students in our classrooms.
Following and participating in troubling events can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of our students and affect their ability to perform to their fullest academic potential. We urge instructors to be flexible and compassionate, and to consider when it is appropriate to reduce volume of work and stress for students, teaching assistants, and instructors. This can be done while maintaining high standards for depth of engagement and quality of work. Here are some issues to consider and resources to support your teaching.
To our Black Community: We see you, we hear you, and we stand in solidarity with you.
Some Key Considerations
We will update this resource guide as additional guidance and resources becomes available. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the recommendations in CAT’s Short Guide to Inclusive Strategies for Remote Teaching, CEILS’s Resources for Teaching through Traumatic Times, and UCLA’s Checklist for Remote Assessment Recommendations. Additional resources from UCLA and from external sites can be found below.
We encourage you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest updates and revisions to this guide, as well as additional resources to include on our page. Thank you for contributing to this important conversation.
Student Perspectives on Remote Instruction
As a result of the transition to remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLA’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) and UCLA’s College Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) partnered to design and administer a questionnaire to obtain course-level feedback about the student experience during remote learning.
Winter and Spring 2021
The questionnaire was administered at the end of the winter and spring quarters. A review of the 49,784 winter responses and 44,520 spring responses suggests a similar overall pattern of results to those from the fall. Students generally expressed positivity about their experiences with remote instruction. For an overall look at the quantitative data from all three quarters, please see this summary report.
Researchers from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching are taking a deeper look at the results from all three quarters and will be focusing on lessons learned during remote instruction that can be used in the classroom, regardless of instruction modality— remote, face-to-face, or hybrid. Currently, a report addressing the importance of building community as it relates to learning is available.
Please note in this image of the form that the question regarding accommodations was reworded in winter and spring to read “The instructor(s) made it clear that they could be flexible in accommodating student needs given the circumstances, as appropriate (consider, for example, the response to issues with technology, time zone differences, inadequate space for learning, etc.).” for clarity.
Building upon our work in the spring, in Fall 2020 we provided instructors with direct access to all of the data associated with their individual courses (these “Course Feedback on Remote Instruction” results can be accessed through MyUCLA on the same page as the regular course evaluations). The questionnaire was streamlined and administered through the Evaluation of Instruction Program (EIP), the same process as course evaluations, resulting in more than 59,000 responses (a 46% response rate). The quantitative results are presented in a dashboard that allows for the responses to be disaggregated by course-level variables and self-reported student demographics. As in the Spring, the results from the Fall were overwhelmingly positive, thus we encourage readers to utilize the action-items generated in the Spring 2020 reports. Fall 2020 questions can be found in this PDF.
(Screenshots of Fall 2020 dashboard: All responses)
In Spring 2020, we generated reports with ideas to improve common remote teaching practices informed directly by student experiences. These reports (available below) can be used by instructors as they prepare for future iterations of remote instruction. The quantitative results are also presented in a dashboard that allows for the responses to be disaggregated by course-level variables and student demographics. Spring 2020 questions can be found in Appendix A of the Background, Methodology, and Demographics report.