What is remote learning?

In some ways, remote learning will be the same as in-person courses: You have a professor, TAs, and classmates. You also have lectures, readings, papers, exams, and discussions. Most importantly, you also have deadlines.

All communications with your professor, TA, or classmates, will be taking place online virtually or via email. You won’t see your peers in class every week now, but you will read their comments in discussion forums or in other classwork.

As a reminder, your ultimate goal in a remote learning environment is to continue to learn new things, try new approaches, and find new ways to engage with the material, your classmates, and instructor.

What is the difference between online and remote education, and synchronous and asynchronous instruction?

Online Education: This designation indicates a course that has been approved by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI) to be taught online. Online courses are indicated by location, “Online”, that appears in the UC Santa Cruz schedule of classes, and likewise allows students to search for courses that are offered this way. In general, online courses are asynchronous (defined below). If instructors want to have an additional meeting time, they will often indicate this through a second meeting or a required secondary discussion.

Remote Instruction: This designation indicates a course that is normally taught in-person, but will be offered remotely due to COVID-19 health directives requiring shelter in place and/or based on social distancing guidelines. In anticipation of remote instruction for fall, the campus has created a new designation, “Remote Instruction." This will appear in the schedule of classes and will be used to indicate remote instruction and allow students to search for courses that are offered this way. This new location option has also been added to the Campus Curriculum & Leave Planning (CCLP) drop down menu. In general, remote instruction courses will be synchronous (defined below), but asynchronous instruction (defined below) are also possible for remote instruction courses.

Synchronous Instruction: Courses that require students meet at particular times of the day or week are considered synchronous. Synchronous courses have days and times listed in the UC Santa Cruz schedule of classes, so that students are prevented from time conflicts with other synchronous courses. Having a set time can be helpful for students in planning their course work. Synchronous classes also have a confirmed exam time during final exam week, based on the class meeting days and times.

Remote Asynchronous Instruction: Remote asynchronous instruction courses are more flexible, and do not have any time-bound content. They allow students to view lectures and/or participate in discussions at any time of the day or week that works best for them. It is important to note that this definition extends to final exams: final exams for asynchronous courses that require a fixed three-hour time block will be offered during one of the “non-standard” times in the final exam schedule. Because students may have conflicts with other asynchronous classes’ exams, faculty must also offer alternate exam times. Asynchronous courses will not have days and times printed in the class search, and for this reason, will not generate time conflict errors for students.

Inside the Virtual “classroom”

Though you may not be physically on campus in a classroom, you are still in class. Reading and writing, online lectures (via Zoom or Google Hangouts) are the main ways you'll communicate in a remote learning classroom.

Although some hard copies of textbooks may still be required, you should be prepared to access classroom materials online. Course materials can still be purchased from the Bay Tree Bookstore.

Quick Tips:

  • Read the syllabus carefully! Note remote library access and information on disability accommodations.

  • Take notes when you’re reading or watching lectures. Write down what you don’t understand.

  • Get into the discussion forums. Comment on things you find interesting, relevant, or confusing.

  • Ask questions (unmute yourself first! Or use the chat function). You’ll soon see you’re not the only one seeking answers.

  • Be helpful when you can — the confidence gained from helping others succeed is a great motivator for success.

  • Learn how to watch video lectures, how to submit assignments, how to take exams, how to move from one module to the next, what’s happening this or next week…All of this information is available in Canvas.

Office hours and checking in with your instructor and TA

It’s important for you to go to online office hours. Office hours are there for you, so you can talk to the professor, or ask one of the many questions you have about the course or assignments. Your professor and TAs want to talk to you — it’s why they chose a profession in teaching!

Quick tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Others may have similar questions and concerns. You are not in this alone.

  • Be on the lookout for announcements from your professor or TA and check your email frequently.

  • Try to be patient if you don’t get a response immediately. Your instructor and TAs are managing a lot of emails and adjusting to this change too.

Communicating with intention and respect

We are all used to informal online writing styles (e.g., social media, chat rooms or blogs, and text messages). Because of the distance, it may be tempting to use a similar approach and/or writing style, maybe even communicating out of frustration or anger. But that is not ok just because we are all now online.

UC Santa Cruz asks students to adhere to our Principles of Community, helping us create a remote learning community that values and supports every person in an atmosphere of civility, honesty, cooperation, professionalism, and fairness. The UC Santa Cruz Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion also provides additional resources and information for students.

Academic integrity

Remote learning environments follow the same policies as in-person classes. Cheating on exams and plagiarism are examples of violations in the realm of ethics and integrity. If you have any questions on what constitutes both good scholarship or the consequences of failing to work within campus expectations of honesty and professionalism, please view the available resources through the Student Handbook and University Policies, particularly section 100, the student code of conduct.