Maintaining Educational Continuity in the Context of the Coronavirus

Dear Colleagues:

As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, we are doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.  Campus experts have been communicating often and broadly about how the community can take precautions, with information delivered in-person at select campus locations and through a special website that houses facts, policies, messages and podcasts.

We are also preparing for potential situations in which members of our campus community become ill or under quarantine.  We remain committed to ensuring that our students continue to receive a top-quality education, along with superior support services and extracurricular experiences, despite world events.
To this end, we expect all faculty and academic administrators to take the actions outlined below.

FACULTY

Effective immediately, the instructor of record for each course must:
1. Establish a complete and regularly updated gradebook in the Canvas learning management system (https://canvas.eee.uci.edu); if your course is already in the EEE Legacy Gradebook, you may use that platform instead. This will ensure that if the instructor or other course staff become ill or are under quarantine, an accurate record of all assignment scores will be accessible, so that students can receive their course grades in a timely manner.
2. Ensure that final exam papers can be reliably collected and graded, and the course grades computed and submitted, even if the instructor or other course staff become ill or are quarantined.
3. Plan how to adjust course policies related to class attendance so as not to penalize students who become ill or are placed under quarantine.

Starting in the Spring Quarter 2020, the instructor of record must take the following step in addition to those listed above.
4. Place all key course documents (e.g., syllabi, assignments, reading lists) on Canvas, so that students can access them remotely even if unable to come to campus due to illness or quarantine. If the course has a separate website, provide a link to it from Canvas. You are highly encouraged to take this step for your winter 2020 courses.

Starting in the Spring Quarter 2020, all faculty are encouraged to do the following, which will make it feasible for students to keep up with a course even if illness, quarantine, or travel restrictions prevent them from coming to campus:
5. Arrange for lecture capture – e.g. video, streaming, podcasting – of your course. Use the Yuja platform tool (https://yuja.replay.uci.edu) to create and distribute the content via Canvas. This ensures that the material is stored safely and is available with sufficient internet bandwidth.
6. Make the content available to your department, as part of an inventory other instructors can draw upon if necessary.
7. Ask your department whether previous instructors have captured lectures for your course, so you can draw upon those as necessary and appropriate.
It is important that these steps are taken to ensure the continuity of our educational excellence. If you encounter challenges for any of the steps above, please alert your department chair or other unit leader.

ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATORS (deans, chairs, directors)

Effective immediately, you are required to take the following steps:

  • Work with all faculty in your unit to ensure they take the steps outlined above.
  • Make contingency plans for how your unit will keep courses running if instructors or course staff become ill or are quarantined.
  • Plan ahead to meet the ADA needs of quarantined instructors or students who had arranged accommodation with respect to in-person.
  • Plan to increase summer course offerings for summer 2020 to support the academic advancement of students from abroad who cannot go home during summer 2020. This should include current students and inbound transfers from California community colleges. Vice Provost Michael Dennin will soon provide additional details to assist you.
  • Inventory courses for which lecture capture exists already. Make faculty aware of the inventory and make the material available as needed to support current courses.
  • Arrange for key courses to undergo lecture capture in spring 2020, summer 2020, and beyond, so as to provide the greatest coverage in future times of need.

For assistance with the items involving educational technology, please see the learning management system contact us page (https://eee.uci.edu/contact/) or send an email to eee-support@uci.edu

Thank you for taking these steps to ensure the educational resilience of our campus and to support our students’ academic success in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Howard Gillman
Chancellor

Enrique J. Lavernia
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

James Steintrager
Chair of the Academic Senate, Irvine Division

Jeffrey Barrett
Vice Chair of the Academic Senate, Irvine Division