While we remain committed to a full return to in-person instruction as soon as it can be accomplished safely, the ongoing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic make it clear that UCLA will need to provide a robust and wide-ranging suite of remote courses in fall quarter.
At this moment, we do not yet know how many students we will be able to accommodate in residential halls and apartments, and a large number of courses cannot be held fully in person given current safety guidelines and space constraints. UCLA will need to allow students who are unable to reside on campus or take in-person classes to have the opportunity to progress appropriately in their academic programs. Consequently, we are asking departments, divisions, and schools to plan to offer sufficient remote courses to provide all students with the options to fulfill department and degree requirements.
The campus goal is for academic units to ensure that they provide sufficient numbers of required courses remotely so that no student’s academic progress suffers from an inability to attend in person. It is especially critical that large introductory courses, or courses that must be taken in sequential order, are available to students to the same extent as they would be in a normal fall quarter.
While the majority of classes should be prepared to transition to remote learning if it becomes necessary, not every course can or must be conducted remotely. Some courses may be impossible to teach remotely and others may become too degraded if offered remotely. Departments may also consider offering some small courses for those who are able to meet in person, while keeping in mind recommendations for safe physical distancing.
For Deans and Department Chairs:
Deans and department chairs should begin reviewing fall offerings to determine both those courses that cannot be conducted in a remote fashion and which faculty members need to be excused from in-person, though not remote, teaching. In addition, deans and chairs in consultation with faculty executive committees should determine which courses must be offered as remote learning. Chairs may consider possible rescheduling of courses while still ensuring that their departments offer a sufficient number of remote courses to enable student progress.
Final determinations for which courses we will be able to offer on campus will depend on physical distancing guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health regarding classroom capacity.
We need to collectively work to ensure that departments have enough teaching assistants and readers available to assist faculty in larger remote lecture classes. Deans should also ensure that their IT support units are prepared to offer timely and effective support to faculty and TAs who are being asked to teach remotely. On a case by case basis, if extra primary course sections are necessary to provide students with optimal remote learning experiences, we will work to identify resources.
Additionally, staffing needs should be considered in every scenario. We are asking deans, vice provosts, and vice chancellors to make decisions about their respective units and communicate plans for remote work with staff members.
Faculty should expect that in the fall, large courses will be taught remotely, as will some smaller required courses. Please take advantage of the various support systems available in order to begin considering how to translate in-person courses to remote offerings. While fall preparation workshops are currently in development, similar support workshops for summer courses can be found on the UCLA Administration planning for summer page.
Faculty should communicate with department chairs to understand expectations for their departments’ fall curricula. Within current fiscal limitations, the university is committed to providing the necessary support and resources toward remote teaching to ensure that our students have an optimal experience in the fall. Faculty should contact their departments if additional TAs are needed. Technical support can be obtained at the UCLA IT Services faculty and staff resource page.
We remain very grateful for your flexibility and dedication to providing the quality education that all of our students deserve and expect from UCLA. I know that our extraordinarily talented faculty and staff will continue to innovate and adapt for the benefit of our campus community.
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost