Quick Guide to Remote Learning
Strategies for Being a Remote-Learner in the Spring Quarter 2020
Due to changes brought about by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the temporary move of UCR courses to remote teaching, we are offering this overview of strategies and tips for you to be a successful learner. Remember, this is a big and sudden shift for everyone involved (faculty, staff, and students), so please be patient as we all move into this new teaching and learning format.
While this will be similar to online learning in many ways, important differences lie in that this is a sudden and unexpected occurrence for UCR instructors and staff, and we are adjusting in real-time to these new realities. Therefore, please remain alert and connected to campus messaging as new changes, new policies, and new instructions are likely to appear throughout the Spring Quarter. The best way to stay prepared will be to stay informed.
Conduct a Personal Technology Inventory: Make Sure You Have What You Need to Be a Remote-Learner
Since all instruction is going to be conducted remotely and not face to face, you will need a way to access the remote teaching materials. All instructors are going to be required to use the iLearn (Blackboard) platform to deliver course materials (a few UCR courses use the Canvas LMS, but it is a small number of courses).
• Do you have access to the Internet or wifi on a consistent basis?
• Do you have a computer (laptop or desktop) that can access iLearn and run Zoom sessions?
• Do you have a tablet (iPad, Surface, Pixel) that can access iLearn and run Zoom sessions?
• Do you have a smartphone?
Many students check out computers on campus, so make sure you have a backup plan in case you cannot come to campus or access to campus is restricted due to COVID-19 health measures.
If you do not have access to the necessary technologies, please know that campus is currently working on a plan to assist students who need help in this area. More information coming soon.
Read Your Syllabus Carefully: Policies May Have Changed; Don’t Make Assumptions
If you are enrolled in the Spring Quarter as a full-time student, you should still plan on spending similar amounts of time to be engaged in your courses. You should still plan on attending your courses and completing your assignments and exams as you would in a face-to-face course. Read the new syllabus carefully.
- Are there any new instructions or policies due to remote teaching?
- Is the class going to meet at a regular time every week via Zoom (synchronous) or are you able to complete the course material at your own pace (asynchronous)? That decision will be up to your instructor so be sure you know the policies of each of your classes, as policies may differ from course to course.
- Does the course have an additional lab or live performance requirement? If so, make sure you understand specifically how your lab, discussion or live performance sections will be conducted and/or handled by your teaching assistant.
Manage Your Time Wisely: Be a Disciplined Remote-Learner
There are lots of different activities to do in remote teaching, so it is important to have a plan about how much time you want to spend on each course. With the move to remote teaching, you will be more responsible for how you spend your time and remain motivated to stay on top of your course work. Some suggestions include:
- Make a new schedule of when all your courses meet.
- Make a plan for when you are going to do your homework, assignments, essays/papers, or studying for exams and papers.
- Remote learning can give you flexibility in your schedule, but don’t let that flexibility lead towards not getting your work completed in a timely manner.
Communicate: Stay Connected and Seek Help When You Need It
You should not feel isolated when participating in remote learning at UCR. Encourage your instructors to connect with other students to create a vibrant peer-to-peer learning environment. Some suggestions include:
- Use discussion board forums to get to know your classmates or to ask for support from your classmates.
- Use Zoom sessions to connect with your classmates remotely to build a sense of community. (FYI, there are going to be sessions for students on how to use Zoom – see the Keep Learning website for days and times.)
- Seek out tutoring resources or writing help or accommodations as needed. Even though the university is working remotely, the support services are still available to assist you in your learning. (If you need an accommodation or have an accessibility issue, please contact the SDRC for further help.)
- You can also contact the Academic Resource Center for more resources.
Learn How iLearn Works: Get to Know the Platform You Are Using Better
UCR courses use iLearn (Blackboard) to provide the remote learning experience. We definitely encourage each student to take the time to familiarize yourself with how iLearn operates (including on mobile phones) and how all the features work.
- Most of iLearn has tutorials that you can find on the Keep Learning website.
- If you are the type of individual that likes a detailed explanation or a video demonstration, please go to the Blackboard help pages, where there is a wealth of information and guides on how to use this platform most effectively.
Manage Expectations: This Is a Change for Everyone
Finally, this is a new experience for all of us. Some things are probably going to work right away, while other things might take a moment to sort out. Please manage your expectations accordingly.
- If you have a problem, please try to be clear and concise so that a solution can be found as quickly as possible.
- Don’t expect immediate responses. There is likely going to be a lag in responses, so give an instructor at least 24 hours for a response, and sometimes, if it is a large course, the wait time might be longer.