UCR issues winter quarter instruction update

On Nov. 30, UCR Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Smith provided a campus update on the status of the winter quarter. 

According to Smith, a total of 50 courses have been approved for in-person instruction with remote options for winter. This represents 2% to 3% of UCR’s overall course offerings. The approved courses that will meet indoors require specialized settings such as studios and laboratories. Other approved courses will meet outdoors or off-campus and are subject to the health and safety protocols of the host location. This includes courses that might meet outdoors for fieldwork or off-campus internship courses. All of these approved courses are consistent with state guidelines. 

Smith wrote that UCR will continue practicing the policy that was in place during the fall quarter. This means that individual study, thesis, practicum and similar one-on-one unit-bearing activities may occur in-person without a remote option if the instructor determines that a remote format is not feasible. International students whose visa status requires registering for at least one class with mandatory in-person participation have to enroll in one of these classes. Smith wrote that “New international students should consult with the International Affairs Office and their program advisors on the requirements. A small number of courses in the School of Medicine also will meet in-person without remote options.” 

According to Smith, no in-person instruction activities that use standard classrooms or lecture halls have been approved by UCR. Instructors for all lectures, discussions, colloquia, seminars, workshops and other similar course types should plan to teach remotely for winter quarter. As the campus remains in phase two operations, undergraduate research must be conducted remotely in winter. 

Instructors can find more information on the delivery modes for specific courses in the schedule of classes. Students should expect to be contacted by their instructors with more information if their course has plans to teach in-person. The schedule of classes will continue to be updated and the university will  notify the campus via email if they must make further changes to their instructional plan for winter. 

Smith had two specific requests for winter quarter instructors. He asked that they please consider increasing the enrollment limits in their remote courses, where possible, to help students make timely progress toward their degrees. He also asked that they incorporate student learning outcomes into their syllabi and link those outcomes to the lectures, readings, homework and labs that students complete as part of their coursework. Smith believes that doing so is a best practice across institutions of higher education and creates a roadmap for students to meet faculty expectations and for faculty to assess learning effectiveness. “Especially for remote teaching, this helps to reduce potential confusion between students and faculty. For guidance, faculty can use this How-To Document on the assessment website, or visit XCITE for help,” stated Smith.

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