March 4, 2020

To: UCSB Faculty and Instructors
From: David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor
  Henning Bohn, Chair, Academic Senate
Re: Planning Contingencies to Preserve the Continuity of Instruction


Most of you will recall that in 2018, when a fire and road closure caused us to cancel some classes, postpone final exams, and make alternative arrangements for both instruction and testing, Instructional Development posted instructions for faculty who might need to make use of remote instruction. We also used a service called Proctor U for students who were on UC Education Abroad Programs to take Fall Quarter final exams in January. Last November, when another fire caused alarm, we were ready to deploy these capabilities, if needed. We have continued to expand our capacity for remote meetings. Zoom video conference use since 2018 exceeds 62,000 meetings and 240,000 participants.

The spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused a great deal of anxiety and raised questions about how we would ensure the continuity of instruction if the situation worsened and students or faculty were unable to come to campus due to illness or quarantine. Although no cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in our area, and there is no reason to believe that the rest of the academic year will be disrupted by the spread of the virus, this is a good moment to remind faculty about the capabilities we have for remote instruction and record keeping for courses.

Please see this website prepared by Instructional Development:

We strongly recommend instructors to make use of the capabilities of GauchoSpace to keep timely and accurate records of course assignments, course submissions, and grades. If an instructor or other course staff were to become ill or quarantined, this would ensure that an accurate record of assignments and grades would be accessible, allowing coursework to be completed and grades to be submitted. In addition to keeping records, our course management system can accommodate the submission of course assignments, and facilitate the calculation and submission of grades. We strongly recommend that key course documents (such as syllabi, assignments, and course readings) be placed online so students could access them remotely if either students or faculty were unable to come to campus.

In the unlikely event that circumstances warranted it, we would again contract with Proctor U to provide and administer remote proctored exams, at no cost to students. During the 2018 fire and road closures, we also encouraged faculty to show flexibility and allow some alternative assignments so students could complete their courses. Again, if necessary, in consultation with the Academic Senate, we would suggest comparable flexibility, while maintaining the integrity of our course requirements and Academic Senate policies.

If you have questions about these Instructional Development resources and GauchoSpace resources, please send an email to Staff from Instructional Development and Letters and Science IT will be available through that email address to answer questions and schedule online or in-person consultations.

It is important to emphasize that this information is offered as part of our regular contingency planning. The campus is open and there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on-campus or in Santa Barbara County. Our campus continues to work closely with the UC Office of the President, the California Public Health Department (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

More information can be found at:

Thank you.