Dear Writers’ Program Students, Graduates, Instructors, and Everyone Else,

First, we hope you are doing well, that your loved ones are safe and protected from contact with the pandemic, and that despite the rapidly changing environment around us, your mental and emotional wellbeing are as cared for as your physical wellbeing. Remember your first responsibility is always to yourself and your family.

If you are taking, or are thinking about taking, a Writers’ Program course this Spring, thank you. Thank you for choosing our program, our courses, our instructors, our collective creative mobility during this turbulent time. Anyone who has experience working in the creative arts knows that this area of study, this area of culture, is vital to a society’s wellbeing because it is vital to every individual’s wellbeing. Not to sound trite, but we know you have a lot going on, and we know you have choices when it comes to your education, and we thank you for choosing us.

Even as UCLA Extension strives to respond thoughtfully and effectively to this crisis, we are identifying opportunities for enduring change that can help us better respond to future crises that may affect how we operate.

As of now, all Writers’ program staff, along with 90% of all UCLA Extension staff, will be working remotely until further notice. This is a huge shift in how our institution operates. We are doing all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our students. Our staff and instructors are working doubly hard to ensure the shift of in-person classes to an online environment is as comparable an experience as possible, and that our online classes do not suffer in any way from all the shifts happening around them.

To these ends, we wanted to share some information, and some resources. Bear in mind, as with all things the past few weeks, this situation is changing constantly, and we may not be able to provide immediate updates. However, this post should serve as a standalone resource for some things that will not (we hope) change for Spring quarter.

For continually updated information and resources, please refer to the main UCLA Extension site’s alert page: https://www.uclaextension.edu/ucla-extension-alerts

Enrollment
In-person courses that are now online will function as close to in-person courses as possible. This means live instruction, structured meeting times, etc.
Online courses that were scheduled to be online will remain in the same asynchronous, deadline-driven format.

If you need to withdraw from a class, you can still do so either from your student portal, or by contacting Enrollment Services directly. With their team working remotely, the best direct contact option is to send an email to enroll@uclaextension.edu and be patient in waiting for a response. Emails are time stamped. As long as you submit your request before the refund deadline, it will be honored. In addition, we have extended the standard Writers’ Program refund deadline time period from 5 days to 14 days for most courses.

Exceptions to refund policies will continue to go through the standard procedure. However, given the exceptional nature of everything, please reach out to us with any extenuating circumstances or concerns – our priority in all this is ensuring students have a positive experience while keeping all necessary records in accordance with policies.

If you are an international student studying on an F-1 Visa, the transition of in-person classes to the online format will not affect your student status for the Spring quarter. Please stay in touch with our International Student Office for other updates and information.

If you have any concerns or questions about a course this quarter, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to support you.

Operations
As we move to a fully virtual office, staff will be available best by email. If you need to speak with someone by phone for a non-urgent matter, please email first to set up a time to talk.

We will continue to operate during our standard hours of Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm, and you can call our main line during these hours. However, we respectfully request that general questions be emailed to us so we can keep the phone lines free for urgent issues.

Additionally, as we know and appreciate this is and will continue to be a difficult, stressful time for many of you, we ask you to remember that it is for staff as well – not just in the Writers’ Program, but throughout the institution. Please be mindful that, like you, staff may be ill, caring for family, tending to children, or ensuring their own safety first.

Technical Support
Our systems may struggle under the burden of suddenly becoming a fully online institution. These hurdles are inevitable. It will be frustrating.

Before starting class, please take time to test your computer equipment to ensure you can login and navigate Canvas effectively. You will have access to your class two days before its start date. Please use this time to troubleshoot any tech issues. Canvas support is available 24/7 (1-888-307-3065 or support@unexonline.zendesk.com).
Again, please be mindful that they are likely to be overwhelmed with help requests. Be open and communicative with your instructors regarding any technical issues you experience as it relates to accessing course materials. And let staff know if there are any persistent tech issues.

Instructors may ask you to access materials or lecture videos outside of the Canvas platform. Please be as flexible as you can, but please also make sure your instructor knows if you have any technological limitations (examples: spotty internet connection, device that does not allow external program downloads [like Chromebooks] or outdated operating systems, etc).

We want all students to be able to access the same materials and have the best quality experience, but we also want to ensure everyone has access to the same tools. It will be a learning curve for all.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding our courses and Program, our email inbox is always open. We may take a little longer than usual to respond, but we will respond.

Stay tuned to our site in the coming weeks for more information, but also for tips and levity in getting through difficult times. And again, thank you for making the Writers’ Program part of your life.

Best,
The Writers’ Program Staff

 

 

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