This page outlines methods to help students prepare to attend classes and do schoolwork remotely. These strategies and tools can be used to help prepare for unexpected emergencies such as a campus closure that directly affects instruction. Each link will take you to resources to help you get set up with the tools your instructors may use and other activities you can undertake on your own to be prepared.
Information and resources listed here will continue to be updated as the campus works to provide additional tools, resources, and strategies. Last update: April 10, 2020 9:00 am
Note: As you prepare for online coursework, please be aware of increased cybersecurity threats disguised as information about COVID-19.
Understand your instructors' plans
Check the syllabus in each of your courses for information on how instructors will handle unexpected shifts to instruction. Consider reaching out to your TAs and instructors to ask them:
- What are their expectations of you as a student if you are unable to physically attend class or if the campus closes?
- How would they like you to communicate with them?
Sign up for emergency alerts
Sign up to receive alerts from Emergency Management via text message and email:
Continue to study
In the event that campus is closed, the university may continue to hold classes online or only cancel a few days of classes. You may feel that it's a nice break BUT in either situation, you as a student are still expected to complete your coursework and study.
Remember, for every unit you are taking, the expectation is that you will do three additional hours of work related to that class outside of class. This includes things like homework, reading, and studying. Make sure you don’t fall behind.
Communicate needs to your instructor
When your situation changes and affects your ability to learn, inform your instructors as soon as you can. Your instructors will be best suited to help you if they are informed early about problems or special needs.
It will be important to have robust internet services to make the best of your remote learning experience. Charter, Spectrum, and Comcast have announced plans to offer free internet service for 60 days to households with students as schools move to remote instruction in response to COVID-19. Use the phone numbers below to directly contact these companies to arrange services.
Charter and Spectrum - 1-844-488-8395
Comcast - 855-846-8376 for English speakers or 855-765-6995 for Spanish speakers
We also suggest you contact your mobile cellular provider (e.g. Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon) to inquire if they will offer personal hotspot service to be added to wireless plans. These additional plans typically cost approximately $10 per month.In addition, confirm that you know how to track your data usage so that you do not unexpectedly run up expensive data charges.
Familiarize yourself with available technologies and resources
Your instructor may communicate that they've chosen to use digital tools that are new to your class in order to facilitate online instruction.
In Getting Started with Digital Tools below, you will find links to guides to help you get set up with the various tools your instructor may ask you to use.
One tool the UC Merced campus uses to hold virtual meetings and classes is Zoom. Visit our Zoom page to learn more about managing Zoom features like joining meetings, testing your audio & video, using the virtual whiteboard, sharing screens, and more.
1. Setting Up Notifications in CatCourses
Many instructors will put course resources and information into CatCourses to facilitate remote instruction. You can choose to be notified within CatCourses, via email, or via the CatCourses app. Take a look at your notification settings in CatCourses and adjust them so you are notified as you prefer about the things you find important.
2. Participating in Discussions in CatCourses
Your instructors may use Discussion boards in CatCourses to facilitate class conversation. Sometimes these are required assignments that are graded, and sometimes they simply allow for group or course-wide conversations to occur.
3. Turning in Assignments in CatCourses, Using TurnItIn
Instructors can set up Assignments in CatCourses that allow students to submit work online. You may be asked to upload documents, files, or provide text responses. Instructors and TAs may also provide you feedback and grades via these Assignments.
4. Attending Class Virtually Using Zoom
Zoom is a videoconferencing platform that allows for synchronous audio and video communication. Instructors can schedule meetings that allow students to attend class online and facilitate virtual instruction. Students may be required to join Zoom meetings for lectures, group work, or other class activities.
5. Watching Pre-Recorded Lectures or Course Videos with Kaltura in CatCourses
Your instructors may provide pre-recorded lectures or videos that you will be asked to watch. These can be accessed through the Kaltura Media Gallery tool in CatCourses . This menu will be available in any course that uses Kaltura.
6. Accessing Campus Resources Using VPN
You'll need to utilize UC Merced's VPN service to facilitate remote connectivity and access on-campus resources such as library materials and campus computing resources. OIT recently announced the transition to a new VPN service that is more reliable and more secure. If you were a user of the Janus VPN, it is strongly recommended that you migrate to the new service as soon as possible following the directions below. Those new to installing a VPN service should follow the instructions to get started.
7. Access Library Resources
The Library has a full page of information about how to access resources from outside of campus.
8. Access Virtual Computer Labs & Software
UC Merced Remote Lab
Academic and Emerging Technologies has created the UC Merced Remote Lab service which lets instructors and students access the OIT instructional computer labs Windows computers to prepare and complete classwork that uses class software.
Please note that UC Merced Remote Lab requires that you use the UC Merced VPN service. See #6 above or go here to download the UC Merced VPN.
- Connecting to UC Merced Remote Lab (Windows)
- Connecting to UC Merced Remote Lab (Mac)
- Available Class Software
Adobe CC Software for Faculty & Students - Adobe has provided temporary at-home access to Adobe Creative Cloud to students and faculty impacted by COVID-19 campus closures so that they may continue their work remotely. Please see our Temporary Adobe CC Access Knowledge Base article to learn how to access the Creative Cloud Desktop Apps on your personal device.
9. Quizzes & Exams: CatCourses & Respondus LockDown Browser/Respondus Monitor
Your instructors may ask you to take assessments online using the Quizzes feature in CatCourses. Additionally, instructors may require the use of Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor. Respondus Lockdown Browser is a special web browser that you may be asked to use while taking Quizzes in CatCourses. If the LockDown Browser is required, you will be prompted to download and install the browser if you access the Quiz from any other web browser. If you are required to use Respondus Monitor, you will need to use LockDown browser and enable it to use your web camera.
10. Grad Students: Plan for online Qualifying Exams, Thesis, and Dissertation Defense
Take a look at CatCourses tutorials for students
Browse through our CatCourses FAQs
Reach out to the OIT Service Desk
UC Merced is providing free access to Calm, the #1 sleep and meditation app, for students, faculty and staff. Click here to learn more.