November 18, 2020
This message is distributed to All-Instructors, Academic-Assistant-Deans, and Academic-Department-Managers.
The following is being sent on behalf of the Instructional Support Team
As we wind down Fall quarter, the Instructional Support has lots of news.
Moving into Finals
Taking exams -- especially finals -- can be a stressful time for instructors and for students in the best of circumstances. The Instructional Support Team wants to acknowledge this possibility and let you know that we are here for you. It can also be helpful to acknowledge exam stress and share tips that might be useful for reducing stress. You can find tips to pass along to students here (from UCSB’s ECoach messaging) and some resources for managing remote instruction stress for instructors and TAs (including a research article) here, compliments of UCSB colleague Dr. Robby Nadler.
Keeping the (University) Calendar in Mind
As you plan for the end of the term and for Winter quarter, remember university holidays/non-instructional days. Please do not require students to attend synchronous activities (or, ideally, turn in work) on these days.
Fall: November 26 and 27
Winter: January 18 and February 15
GauchoSpace Activity Settings Expert Guidance
Doing a timed assessment with students? Ready to publish a GauchoSpace quiz or assignment, but uncertain that you have everything set up as you intended? Have an expert look at your activity settings to verify this for you. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for email assistance with your activity or to schedule a Zoom consultation.
Update to GauchoSpace for Winter Quarter
After Fall grades are submitted, the GauchoSpace team will be performing an update of GauchoSpace, updating the core code to Moodle 3.9. This update will make GauchoSpace more useful and easier to use. New features with the update include: major forum enhancements, including a new grading interface; redesigned courses blocks on the user's home dashboard; a redesigned activity chooser; and many, many other enhancements and bug fixes. Will will also be adding a new Scheduler activity to enable an easier method for scheduling office hour appointments using GauchoSpace. The GauchoSpace Team will be holding workshops highlighting the changes and have documentation and videos highlighting the updates and changes. More details, including times for workshops will be posted on the GauchoSpace Recent Updates and Roadmap help page and sent out via these updates.
Instructional Improvement Program Faculty MiniGrants Available
The Faculty MiniGrant program provides campus-level support to faculty for small course and curricular redesign, enhancement, or improvement projects. Funding of up to $1,000 is available for the development of enhanced learning experiences for undergraduate courses, acquisition or development of new instructional materials for undergraduate courses, and/or piloting new approaches to teaching that may form the basis of future, larger, project proposals. Full information, the Call for Proposals, and the Application form are available at: http://grants.id.ucsb.edu/
We’ll have more on finals week activities, new workshops, and more coming soon - watch this space!
The Instructional Support Team