Create Your Learning Space

Remote courses will remain the same as those held in the 20-21 academic year, but new in-person and hybrid courses reintroduce the possibility of in-person meetings for some classes. In some ways, all these courses are the same: You have a professor, TAs, and classmates. You also have lectures, readings, papers, exams, and discussions. Most importantly, you also have deadlines.

It's important to take into consideration the different methods you will be learning in each of your classes and construct a beneficial learning environment for yourself as you either continue to learn remotely, transition to in-person learning, or adopt a combination of the two.

As a reminder, your ultimate goal in any 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. The various instructional models classes will take are described below, as are some tips for optimizing your learning space!

Course Instructional Models

The model each course will follow is indicated by location, "In-person," "Online," "Hybrid," or "Remote" in the UC Santa Cruz schedule of classes, and likewise allows students to search for courses that are offered in any of these different ways. The table below describes the various instructional models classes will take.

In-Person Instruction: This designation indicates a course that will be taught in person at a 50% classroom capacity. In-person courses will indicate where on campus they are being held and are synchronous.

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.

Hybrid Instruction: This designation indicates a course that will be held half in-person and half remotely, Alternating in-person class meetings with remote asynchronous or synchronous instruction. Each student is expected to participate in both formats (in person and remote synchronous, or in person and remote asynchronous). This will appear in the schedule of classes as "Hybrid Instruction" and will allow students to search for courses that are offered this way.

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. This will appear in the schedule of classes as "Remote Instruction" and will allow students to search for courses that are offered this way. This 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.

Creating Your Learning Space

When learning at home, It is essential that you set up a space that feels comfortable, is quiet and with limited distractions, and allows you to focus on your classwork, lectures, and studying.

Quick tips:

  • If at all possible use a desk or table and a chair. Sometimes your bed is the only quiet place you have. If that is the case, simply set yourself up so you are propped up and can use your computer/laptop/phone with ease.

  • If you have them, use headphones to mute surrounding noises.

  • Limit distractions:

        • Put away that cell phone!

        • Pause social media (it will be there when you get back).

        • Don’t multitask even though it is tempting.

        • Exit non-essential browsers as it may slow your internet speed.

        • Let folks in your space know when you are “in class” and studying.

  • Get up and get dressed. Best to not attend class in your PJs!

Inside the Virtual “classroom”

Though you may not be physically on campus in a classroom, in remote classes 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.

Meeting Basic Needs

Fall quarter 2021 is adopting a mix of online, remote, and in-person classes. This means that a portion of students will be taking some of their classes online and some in-person. We know for some students this will be a difficult transition. There are several resources that can help.

For graduate and undergraduate students:

- Needing assistance with basic needs, housing and food insecurity as well as access to a laptop computer or lack/poor internet needed for instruction, please contact Slug Support (https://deanofstudents.ucsc.edu/covid-19-operations.html).

- Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to meeting our registered students’ needs and will continue to provide services, primarily remotely through phone or video. Get more information about online services and remote appointments (https://caps.ucsc.edu/news/caps-covid-19.html).

- DRC is operating remotely. For students needing accommodations, please set up an appointment (https://drc.ucsc.edu/about/drc_covid_response.html).

- All advising is now being done remotely. To make an online appointment, visit our website to find out how.

Technology and Internet Access

Do you have the tools you need?

Check in with your instructor. What kind of computer, laptop, or tablet do you need? What software do you need? Is there adequate internet access in your remote location?

Don't have what you need to transition to remote learning, contact Slug Support. They can help with basic needs, food and housing insecurity as well as a loan you a laptop.

Some tips from the ITS website:

  • A few options if you need to establish network connectivity from off campus are Comcast, Cruzio, AT&T, Charter Communications, and Google Fi. Please contact the companies directly to arrange for services and make sure to ask for student discounts!

Don't have what you need?

  • For graduate and undergraduate students who do not have a functioning laptop and/or are struggling with poor or no internet, please contact Slug Support.

  • Preferred method: email the Dean of Students office at deanofstudents@ucsc.edu.

  • Alternative method: phone the Dean of Students office at 831-459-4446 and leave a detailed voicemail including name, student ID, and a telephone number at which they can be reached.

  • For additional information including hours of operations, visit the Slug Support COVID-19 operations website page.