Graduate Division COVID-19 Update
March 29, 2020
Dear Grad Students and Post-Docs,
I hope you are getting some rest and enjoyment from this Sunday and not stressing about the quarter starting tomorrow. As a reminder, campus is encouraging instructors to use Week One of Spring quarter as a “soft open,” being lenient with deadlines, attendance, and so on. Hopefully, students will also treat instructors with grace as we all figure out this world of Emergency Distance Learning together.
As you prepare for the start of the quarter, please note the resources and advice surrounding technology for distance collaboration, teaching, learning, and other work.
Additional Technology Resources:
As a reminder, UCI has TWO programs through which you can get access to additional technology that you might need during this time of emergency distance learning. If your need is predominantly as a student, meaning you need a laptop to TAKE classes, please use the loan program through the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. If your need is predominantly as an employee, meaning you need a laptop to teach, grade, conduct your sponsored research, you should use the program through your hiring department. Using the correct program helps us to get the right support to the right place as quickly as possible. Any attempt to make requests that are not needed, to request from both programs at once, or to otherwise disrupt this system hurts our most vulnerable students. Please be kind to one another.
This message went out Friday evening to faculty from OIT, but it may be relevant to many of you as well:
If you are trying to conduct remote instruction from home, it is possible you may encounter internet performance problems. We wanted provide some options to help you mitigate this potential issue:
- Upgrade your broadband through your Internet Service Provider (ISP).Broadband is generally the fastest, most consistently performing option for connecting to the internet. Many ISPs are providing free broadband upgrades for faculty, when asked. Contact your ISP to request this.
- Come to campus and record your lectures using UCI's network. Campus is working on a plan to provide remote teaching classrooms for faculty who need them. More information on these classroom spaces will be coming soon.
- Use your existing smartphone as a hotspot. As a last resort, you can set up your phone as a mobile hotspot and connect to it. This option is generally not as fast or reliable as broadband service, but it can work if needed. Contact your cellular phone provider and ask for a free upgrade to tethering and unlimited data, as a faculty member teaching remotely.
Contact information for internet and cellular service providers and more details can be found on the TechPrep @ UCI website under Internet Connectivity: Resources to help you get connected from off-campus.
Don’t forget I am holding office hours each weekday. You don’t have to have a question to stop by office hours, you can just come to chat. Talking to students is honestly the highlight of my day!
Below are our office hours for the next two weeks. All times are Pacific Standard Time.
- Monday, March 30: 9:00am – 9:30am
- Tuesday, March 31: 1pm – 1:30pm
- Wednesday, April 1: 10am – 10:30am
- Thursday, April 2: 12:30pm – 1:00pm
- Friday, April 3: 10am – 10:30am
The Zoom link for the GD office hours is: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057.
Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, will also be hosting a series of office hours for the next two weeks to help with the ramping up of the quarter.
These will be 4 – 5 pm on:
- Monday March 30
- Tuesday March 31
- Thursday April 2
- Tuesday April 7
- Wednesday April 8
- Thursday April 9
The Zoom link for the OVPTLY office hours is: https://uci.zoom.us/j/254764170
Will Unsoeld was an American mountaineer who was part of the first American expedition to summit Mount Everest. He went on to become the director of the Peace Corps in Nepal, traveled around promoting Outward Bound, and eventually became a founding faculty member at Evergreen State College in Washington State, where he focused on experiential education. A hero to many, Unsoeld’s life and mission teach us many things. For me, it is an attention to the natural environment all around us. The quiet of this new world of social isolation has renewed my appreciation for the sunshine and flowers, and I hope that despite the stress and pain, you are enjoying these things too. Unsoeld, having conquered some of the toughest challenges in the world, also had this advice to offer about community:
“Take care of each other. Share your energies with the group. No one must feel alone, cut off, for that is when you do not make it.”
He was talking about high altitude trekking, but the same can be said for all of you, for all of us. I am so pleased by the spirit of caring and community I see all around UCI. I know that together, we can make it through this challenge. We will come out stronger on the other side.
Thank you for all you are doing. As always, I hope to see you soon.
Sending you my best and that of all of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division