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FAQ on special course procedures in Spring 2020

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 4 years, 2 months ago

Emergency light iconA Zoom password will be required to join Professor Liu's live Zoom lectures beginning Friday, April 3. The password is provided on the Gauchospace site for the course.

Emergency light icon  Updated 4/3/2020  Sections in English 25 are beginning in the second week of instruction. They will require students to engage primarily in asynchronous "discussion forum" activity each week. See details below and watch for email announcements from your TAs.

Emergency light icon This version of the English 25 course is designated "X" for experimental. (The URL of this course site starts with an abbreviation for the course ending in "x": eng25s2020x. The "X" version of the course has been adapted by Professor Liu for two special current situations: the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during which UCSB is conducting instruction through remote online means, and the COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) strike by participating graduate-student TAs (including those assisting in this course). Depending on how these situations evolve (and how well features of the course function during them), Professor Liu may need to make additional alterations to this "X" course during the quarter.


Answers to Common Questions


  • Q. How long will the emergency situation in Spring 2020 affect English 25?

    • UCSB will be offering all its courses only through remote instruction for the entirety of Spring 2020 quarter. (See COVID-19 Information for the UC Santa Barbara Campus.)
    • The second unusual situation affecting English 25--the COLA TA labor action--is in effect during the beginning of Spring 2020 and may (or may not) continue through the end of the quarter. Adjustments will be made to some features of English 25 depending on when, or if, the labor action ends (see below).
  • Q. What are enrollment procedures for English 25?

    • Through the end of the first week of instruction (through the end of Friday April 3), students on the wait list in GOLD will be auto-added to the course enrollment when spaces open up. Students on the wait list and also those wishing to crash should listen to the lectures. (Those crashing will not only have access to the main course site here but will be allowed during this period to self-join the course's supplementary Gauchospace site.)
    • After Friday April 3, auto-add from the wait list will be turned off.  From that point on, those on the wait list or wishing to crash the course (and also enrolled students who wish to switch sections) will need add codes. To assist the professor and TAs in managing enrollment in the current remote-teaching situation, all students (whether enrolled, wait-listed, or crashing) are required to fill out a Google Form here: https://forms.gle/Lqfo6NoZFnvAExeF7 between Friday April 3 at 2 pm and Sunday April 5 at noon (all times Pacific Daylight Time). Note: places in the course are NOT determined by who fills out the form first. Important: All students must fill out this form even if they are officially enrolled to hold their place in the course. (This is so that the places of enrolled students who never actually showed up or who intend to drop the course but are still in GOLD can be freed up for others.)
  • Q. What is the English 25 online course site?

    • The main English 25 course site (which you are looking at right now) is kept on PBworks here: http://eng25s2020x.pbworks.com/. (PBworks is a third-party website-building platform that works on the model of a wiki and has strong usage in the K-12 and college educational sector. The service is free for educational purposes. Professor Liu often puts his course syllabi on PBworks and had already done so for English 25 before the current Spring 2020 emergency. The site has been revised to address the emergency situation.
    • In addition, English 25 has a supplementary Gauchospace site: https://gauchospace.ucsb.edu/courses/course/view.php?id=72536. The Gauchospace site is used to provide access to recordings of lectures, PowerPoint slides, and some reading materials restricted to students in the course. It is also used to enable the taking of the mid-term and final exams through remote means. If the COLA TA strike ends, then the Gauchospace site will also be used to support asynchronous section work (e.g., through discussion forums). Associated with the course Gauchospace site is a Gauchocast folder that will contain recordings of lectures as they are uploaded.
  • Q. How will remote instruction for English 25 work?

    • Readings

      • There are two paperback books that must be purchased through an online vendor such as Amazon because the UCEN Bookstore where they were ordered is closed during Spring 2020 (see Required Texts).
      • All other readings assigned on the course Schedule page are online as Web pages or PDF files. (A few are behind a paywall, though UCSB students have free access through the UCSB VPN or Library Proxy server.) 
      • To take best advantage of Professor Liu's lectures, please read the readings on the Schedule before the lecture for which they are assigned.
    • Lectures (delivered live by Zoom but also recorded for later viewing over Gauchocast)
      (Note: if unforeseen technical or other problems arise, the professor may revise these arrangements.)

      • Live lectures: Professor Liu will use the Zoom video conferencing service to deliver live lectures at the regular M, W, F time of the course (1:00-1:50 pm, Pacific Daylight Time). The lectures will always be at the same Zoom meeting ID, which you can open through a URL in a Web browser. A password is also required to join the live Zoom meetings beginning April 3. The password will be provided on the Gauchospace course site. (Note: English 25 live Zoom lectures will be recorded for students who may not be able to attend at the lecture time. By default, your microphone and camera will be muted when you join the session. If you do not want to be included in the recording, simply keep your camera and microphone off.)

        See the information below on joining Professor Liu's live lecture Zooms. (Also see the FAQ question below on "How do I use Zoom, and what happens when I join an English 25 live lecture?"

        Join Professor Liu's Zoom meeting for any lecture at the regular M, W, F times at 1:00-1:50 pm (PDT):
        Click on this link in a web browser and follow the instructions to open the meeting in Zoom: https://ucsb.zoom.us/j/377544976

        Meeting ID: 377 544 976
        (Password will also be required after the first week of instruction. The password will be made available on the course Gauchospace site.)

        You can also join a Zoom Meeting by phone:
        One tap mobile:
        +16699006833,,377544976# US (San Jose)
        +13462487799,,377544976# US (Houston)

        Dial by your location
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 253 215 8782 US
        +1 301 715 8592 US
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
        Meeting ID: 377 544 976

        Find your local number: https://ucsb.zoom.us/u/aeDllD4I7B
      • Recordings of lectures and PowerPoint slides: Because student circumstances and schedules will be disrupted during this unusual quarter when they are not on campus, it is important that those unable to watch live lectures can catch up with them in recorded form. Professor Liu will thus record his live Zoom lectures and as soon as possible upload them to a folder in Gauchocast. Students enrolled in the course will be able to watch the recordings in streaming form (as MP4 videos). In addition, Professor Liu will upload his PowerPoint slides after each lecture to the course Gauchospace site. Note: while Professor Liu will start the process of uploading his recorded lectures to Gauchocast as soon after each lecture as possible, it sometimes takes a long time for the Gauchocast servers to "process" the videos and make them available for viewing.

      • Professor Liu will not be taking attendance at his lectures, since this is unrealistic and unfair to students in the present circumstances (e.g., to students who have had to move home in a far time zone). Students have the flexibility to watch either the live or recorded lectures when they can.
        English 25 live Zoom lectures will be recorded for students who may not be able to attend at the lecture time. By default, your microphone and camera will be muted when you join the session. If you do not want to be included in the recording, simply keep your camera and microphone off.
    • Sections  Updated 4/3/2020 

      • During the COLA TA strike at UCSB, TAs choose the way and extent to which they participate in the labor action. The TAs in English 25 will be teaching their sections beginning the second week through the asynchronous use of Gauchospace discussion forums (and other supplementary asynchronous and optional real-time activities at their discretion). They will also be grading assignments (but will not be reporting grades except upon request as explained below).
        • Section Activities
          • In second week of instruction:

            • Section activities start in the second week of instruction.

              • Students must participate in an easy first assignment in a Gauchospace discussion forum. Basically, they will be asked to introduce themselves in the forum. (TAs will communicate details of the assignment to their sections and also post in each section's discussion forum a prompt for this first assignment.)

              • Students will also be asked to sign up for the "summary" assignments in later weeks (see below). 

            • Students on the wait list or crashing should wait until they are enrolled in the course (if enrollment is possible) and then complete the initial assignment the following week.

          • During subsequent weeks of instruction:

            • Each week in a section, one or more students will be assigned to write for the discussion forum that week a summary of a course reading (of the reading's claims, evidence, and stakes). Summaries must be posted by 11:59 pm of the Friday preceding the week for which it is assigned.

            • Other students must write responses to one of the readings (as summarized) by 11:59 pm of the Monday of the week of the relevant section. In their responses, students can connect the reading to other readings, to other relevant material or issues outside the course, or to the nature of the media, communication, and information forms they are experiencing in their lives (e.g. during the COVID-19 emergency or in the current remote-teaching situation itself). TAs will give specific instructions for their sections.

            • Each section may also occasionally ask students to participate in supplemental asynchronous activities at the discretion of the TA.

          • TA office hours and other real-time activities: TAs will have a synchronous activity of some kind that functions as office hours, and at their discretion can also have other occasional synchronous meetings that are optional for students. 

        • Grading by TAs: During the COLA TA strike, TAs in English 25 will continue to receive and grade student assignments, but will not be reporting grades unless specifically asked by individual students. (See the FAQ question on "How does grading work in this emergency version of English 25?")
    • Professor Liu's office hours

      • Professor Liu will hold office hours over Zoom on Wednesdays, 2:00-3:00 at the Zoom meeting address: https://ucsb.zoom.us/j/796874043 (Meeting ID: 796 874 043). Students will be placed in the Zoom "waiting room" and admitted by the professor into the meeting with him individually one after the other, except that some office hours may start with a collective Q&A session.
  • Q. How do I use Zoom, and what happens when I join a live English 25 lecture?

    • If you are new to Zoom, please prepare by looking at the instructions on the Zoom "Joining a Meeting" page. The first time you use Zoom to join a meeting, you will be asked to download and install a small client program. It is helpful to do this in advance from the Zoom Download Center. You can also join a Zoom Meeting Test to try it out by yourself.
    • Zoom allows you to join a meeting through the device of your choice: computer, tablet or smart phone, or voice-only phone. (Of course, a voice-only phone is not ideal because you will not be able to see the professor's slideshows.) Students may wish to use headphones or earbuds if they know they will be in a noisy local environment.
    • When you join the Zoom meeting for a live English 25 lecture (you may join before the 1:00 pm hour if you wish), you will be be asked to wait until the "host" (Professor Liu) starts the meeting and then places everyone in a Zoom "waiting room." Once he is ready, he will admit everyone from the waiting room into the live meeting.
  • Q. What is the etiquette for a live English 25 Zoom lecture?

    • Important: students should be aware that all live English 25 Zoom lectures are being simultaneously recorded (for uploading later to Gauchocast). Lectures and recordings are private to members of the course. (See also the intellectual property policy for the instructor's lectures and other materials.)
    • Large videoconferencing meetings with many participants require special rules of conduct to guard against unintended or malicious behavior by participants. By default, Professor Liu will start his live lecture Zooms with the following settings:
      • Participant audio (the microphone on your device): muted.
        • Please keep yourself muted unless you "raise your hand" and request to speak (see below). 
      • Participant video (the camera on your device): off.
      • Screen sharing: disabled for everyone except the professor.
      • "Chat" function: off. (Chat in Zoom is turned off because the professor cannot easily notice or respond to chats from students during a lecture, and he thus also cannot monitor for inappropriate chats in a large group that are visible to all.)
    • Occasionally, Professor Liu will ask students for their questions or comments, though this is difficult to manage in a remote lecture course. The etiquette for asking or answering a question in a live Zoom lecture meeting is as follows (see screenshot with instructions below. Note, your Zoom control bar may be in a different location once the professor has shared his screen with you to see his slides):
      • First, use the Zoom "raise hand" function (available through the "Participants" control that opens a panel to the right).
      • When the professor calls on you, unmute your audio (your microphone). Then mute your microphone once more when you are done.
        • Note: It is difficult for the professor to interact with students more than a few times during a live lecture, or sometimes even to notice who has raised a hand (because he is concentrating on his talk and his slides). Please have patience and be understanding if the professor does not get to you.)

      • Screenshot of Zoom interface, with control bar
  • Q. What do I do if there are technical problems during a Zoom meeting?

    • If you have Internet problems trying to watch the professor's live lecture over Zoom:

      • Turn off your own laptop camera to conserve network bandwidth in your home or other location.
      • See if there is competing activity on your location's network that could be postponed to another time (e.g., someone in your household watching streaming TV or playing online video games).
      • Where feasible, try connecting directly to your home router with an Ethernet cable instead of relying on Wifi.
      • Wait for the professor to post on Gauchocast the recorded version of the live lecture and watch it at a less congested time of the day.
    • If the professor has technical problems and can't reliably get online or stay online with a class at the appointed time:

      • In the event that a lecture can't start or is interrupted because the professor cannot get online or is having network problems, wait for the professor to make an email announcement or watch a recording of the lecture later when it is uploaded to Gauchocast.
  • Q. How do I turn in assignments in English 25, and what is the format of the files I should send?

    • Required assignments listed on the course Assignments page (and also referred to on the Schedule page) are due by 11:59 pm on the date they are due. Students must email their assignments directly to their TA (at the email addresses that will be posted to the course Gauchospace site). (For the optional assignments: do not send them to your TA unless requested.)
    • Essay assignments should be sent to your TA as a document in Word or PDF format.
      • Filename: Please name your file for an essay in the following format to help your TA manage incoming submissions:  Your name - Essay 1, (Your next essay would then have the filename, Your Name - Essay 2, etc.)
      • Necessary information at the top of each essay: Please be sure that each of your essays includes the following information on the first page:
        • Your name
        • Your TA's name
        • Title of the essay
  • Q. How does grading function in this emergency version of English 25?

    • Due to the COLA TA strike, no grades on assignments will be communicated to students by the TAs or final grades submitted to the registrar except by student request. TAs will continue to grade assignments and exams. As part of the COLA strike action, however, TAs will not except by individual request communicate grades to students for specific assignments and exams, and they also will not except by individual request submit final grades to the Registrar at the end of the quarter. But students can ask their TA for an informal grade report (by email or verbal communication) at any point in the quarter; and students who urgently need a final grade to be recorded on time at the end of the quarter can also ask their TA to submit that final grade. See the UCSB 4 COLA group's explanation for undergraduates about "Grading Requests", which includes the policy statement that TAs "are willing to submit individual grades for students who urgently need them.... They will never require you to disclose the reason for your request."
    • Three minor course assignments in this "X" version of the course have been made optional: the "Create your system for working with online readings" assignment in Week 2, the "Spreadsheet" assignment in Week 8, and the "Text Analysis Assignment" in Week 10. But the main assignments consisting of three short essays and two exams will remain as requirements. (See Assignments page.) However, if the COLA strike by TAs ends in time, one or more of the minor course assignments may be restored. 
    •  Updated 4/3/2020 to adjust for restoring section activities in the course (and thus the section participation grade)  The percentages of the final grade contributed by specific assignments have been adjusted for the elimination of the minor assignments. On the Assignments page, each required assignment (the three short essays and the two exams) is defined as contributing 18% to the final grade in the course. There is also a section participation grade that contributes to 10% of the final grade.
  • Q. What are some best remote learning practices for students taking a course being taught over the Internet?























































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