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UCLA’s teaching and learning community is committed to helping instructors prepare for the next few weeks of teaching with the possibility that our graduate student and postdoctoral scholar instructors may strike. Acknowledging the critical role they play as our partners in instruction, our goal is to support you in sustaining a constructive learning environment for your students. You have already heroically responded to the demands of adapting your workload due to teaching and doing research through the pandemic, and it is by no means imperative that you follow any of these suggestions. If you are considering making changes to your course in response to these events, the teaching and learning centers are here to support you with individual consultations, and hope that you will be mindful of your own needs, your work/life balance and well being. 

You can see a 3-page doc summarizing this information here.


Questions about canceling class or making it remote or asynchronous

Instructors have customary discretion and autonomy to adapt their courses to strike circumstances while honoring Academic Senate regulations, just as they have discretion and autonomy to address other events or schedule conflicts throughout the quarter.

As stated in the UCLA Guidance for Research during this time: “Consider that members of the campus community and the public may prefer to work remotely or attend campus events remotely to avoid crossing picket lines.”

Academic Senate Faculty have customary discretion and autonomy to adapt their courses to strike circumstances while honoring Academic Senate regulations. Generally, our faculty can honor strikes, so long as they are not supervisors/managers under HEERA (Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act), but may risk some loss of pay. Lecturers are required to abide by the terms of their collective bargaining agreement, including Article 35 (No Strikes/No Lockouts), which provides that Unit 18 lecturers may not cancel classes, withhold work, or interfere with the operations of administration. Lecturers should check with their union for further guidance.

Students enrolled in courses, independent study or otherwise, should continue to do the activities associated with those courses and be graded in response to their academic progress regardless of employment or strike participation. Faculty may still communicate with striking students regarding academic activities.

Determine how to clearly communicate to students

As much as possible, use communication tools and ways of teaching and assessing students (in person, online, etc.) that you have been using throughout the term and that are familiar to you  and your students.

Note that Bruin Learn notifications for instructors are turned OFF by default so you will want to plan to check your site frequently for discussion activity or adjust notifications.

Be sure to communicate with students in multiple ways about how you will support their learning. Tell them in person, by email, AND on your Bruin Learn site. You may want to post a short video describing how class will work during the strike. 

Give students enough time to plan studying and commuting accordingly.

  • If it’s about attending sections, indicate that on a weekly basis at the beginning of the week (create a Plan of Action in Bruin Learn).
  • If it’s about shifting the format of a large assessment, we recommend providing at least a week’s notice; even if the situation changes, we recommend staying with the original shift.
  • Provide at least a week to complete any other assignments.

If TAs are not available, let students know how to best communicate with you 

Plan ahead so that you can organize communication (especially emails) efficiently. For example, ask students to use standardized subject lines such as: “course name | question about <topic>”. If you do this, provide students with categories for the subject lines (admin issue, absence, etc).  

If possible, use tools already familiar to students to facilitate communication to students and for student to student collaboration.

  • If those don’t exist, set up a tool (e.g. BruinLearn Discussion Forum or UCLA Slack) and provide students with guidance on how to use it. Check out CAT’s Course Communication Tool Comparison Guide for tips. 
  • Encourage students to ask you questions in the online discussion forum or help each other with homework in a chat. (You may need to redirect students who email with questions to the forum or chat.)  
  • To improve efficiency, consider creating forums or chat threads for different categories of questions (e.g. administrative, concepts from the week, grading questions, tips to practice self-care).

Plan for instruction assuming tas will not be present

You may not know ahead of time whether your TAs will be present (and based on EVC/P Hunt’s announcement, you cannot legally ask them whether they plan to participate in the strike), so plan for sections as though TAs will not be present. 

Decide what to focus on: What are your critical learning goals and outcomes?

Professor in university classroom teaching students

How can you adapt instruction?

How can you adapt grading?

Where to go for more help or info (technical or pedagogical)?

Bruin Learn Technical support

Local Pedagogical support

Some of these tips and strategies have been adopted from the UCLA Multiple Modality – Teaching Resources + Recommendations. Visit Bruin Learn Resource site and Bruin Learn’s knowledge base for additional support articles specific to Bruin Learn.

We want to acknowledge UC Santa Barbara Office of Teaching and Learning, UC Irvine Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation and UC Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning, who inspired some of the guidance in this document.