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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Remote Instruction in the Spring: Dylan De-escalates

Dear UCR Senate Colleagues:

As everyone prepares for Spring Quarter “remote learning” classes, i want to offer some advice and insight that is informed by what’s been happening at other UC campuses and universities around the country.  As always, feel free to email me at my personalUCR email address if there’s anything you think i should communicate to campus administration and leadership.

  1. “Remote learning” is an emergency measure.  These teaching adjustments are temporary ones.  Treat them as such, even if the suspension of in-person classes is extended beyond April 3 to the full Spring Quarter.  We’ll be back in the classroom after we get through this crisis.  We do not need to magically transform ourselves into YouTube or TikTok stars!  We just need to get through this period as functioning teachers.

  1. Don’t pressure yourself to produce the equivalent of serial TED talks, Academy Award-winning documentaries, or high profile Netflix specials.  Instead, teach to the best of your ability, don’t worry about “production values,” and work with the tools you’re most comfortable using. Communication with our students is the most important thing, and this emergency situation doesn’t change that. Consider low tech and no tech solutions to engage students as well. The “Keep Teaching” UCR website is a one-stop resource that is constantly being updated, so please use it:  https://keepteaching.ucr.edu/

  1. Emergency remote learning is not a backdoor to coerce the faculty into permanent online teaching (or de facto strikebreaking).  Any proposed permanent online curriculum must be fully reviewed by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses, as well as the faculty Executive Committees at each College/School, at a minimum.

  1. Please offer concise, constructive feedback to the hard-working staff who are supporting us with daily updates of the UCR “Keep Teaching” website!  This team works out of the Center for Teaching and Learning (also known as XCITE, Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Engagement), and has pledged to me that they will be as responsive as possible to faculty input.  I recently learned that a total of six staff members (including the Directors) are tasked with running remote learning for the entire campus.  Campus infrastructure in this area is extremely limited.  Feel free to reach out directly to [local emails omitted].

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.


Dylan Rodríguez
President-Elect, American Studies Association (2020-2021)
Chair of the Academic Senate, UC Riverside Divisio (2016-2020)
Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies
University of California, Riverside


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