Biology Students in a Digital World

Most classes for the Fall 2020 Quarter are being conducted online. Reach out to your instructor to learn more about how each course will be delivered. Each instructor may have a different tool or platform. For example, you may have one instructor using Canvas, another on Google Classroom, or maybe another on some combo of email, Zoom and YuJa. Some of you may already be using online learning and are ready to get going. For others, this may be new territory. No problem either way. You’re at the right place.

Expectations for winter quarter instruction are that it will follow the same general plans as fall quarter. Most undergraduate courses will be taught remotely. We will provide updates as concrete information becomes available.

To learn more about what UCI is doing to prep for Winter Quarter, FAQs, and general information, visit the UCI Forward website.

Studying Remotely

Getting Started

You’ll need to make sure your broadband is a minimum of 1.5 MB, preferably higher. You can do a quick internet speed check at (click on “begin test”).

If you do not have access to internet, no worries, we have resources. Here are links to providers and services to get fast and inexpensive access:

  • Lifeline discount program provides a $9.25/month discount
  • Cox Connect2Compete is a low cost service
  • AT&T Access program offers services between $5-$10/month
  • Cheap Internet offers several discounted plans
  • Spectrum Internet Assist discount program
  • Comcast Internet Essentials for $9.95/month
  • Everyone One provides low cost offers from various providers
  • Human IT provides low cost offers from various providers
student studying

Tools for Successful Learning


The video teleconference service that UC Irvine has made available to all students, faculty and staff. Zoom has many features which you’ll want to familiarize yourself with. To gain access simply log in. There is a presentation on how to use Zoom which you can access here.


The platform that allows students to view video lectures uploaded by instructors. You can also store media online using YuJa. It also links to videos using Canvas. You can access YuJa here.


This is the platform for UCI courses. You may already have been using Canvas for multiple activities including lectures, assignments, exams, grades and more. You can access Canvas here.

Tips for Online Learning

You may already be super familiar with online learning. Or maybe not. Either way it doesn’t hurt to follow the tips below:

Stay Connected in A Digital World

Keep in touch with your academic advisors during this time remotely. Appointments in person are not available, but you can schedule a virtual appointment.

✔  Get in touch with your instructor in advance to make sure you’re enrolled and to get answers to any initial questions you may have.

Organize and keep track of your class meeting times. Enter them into Google calendar or other online alert system.

Use the tutorials for the platforms you’ll be using. Don’t assume you’ll “figure it out” during the first class.

Refresh and brush up on programs you know. While you may have used Zoom (or other platforms) before, programs and interfaces change. Get back into the program before your first session and brush up.

Carve out a space for your sessions. Eliminate as many distractions as possible. A desk or table is better than a bed or couch.

Use earbuds or headphones to block out extraneous sounds.

Have good lighting so that your instructor and fellow students can see you.

Plan to be online 5-10 minutes before start time. That way, if you have any issues, you’ll have more time to resolve them.

Participate and Communicate. If you’re having an issue during the session, send a message to the instructor. Let them know. Others may be having difficulty as well.

Ask questions. As you know, the only “dumb” question is the one not asked!

Take advantage of study groups. Join or create your own or find a study buddy from your class.

Stay on top of deadlines. If a submission is due by midnight, don’t wait to file it until 11:55 p.m. Get your submissions in before the last minute.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

To make this online learning environment work well, it is important for all students to approach each session in a professional manner. This will keep the session moving along and will ensure that you get the maximum value out of it. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to keep online discourse professional, respectful and optimized for learning:

  • Use proper spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid crude and/or otherwise offensive language.
  • Be mindful of your appearance when your camera is turned on; keep a proper distance, dress appropriately and avoid distracting behavior.
  • Be respectful of the opinions of others.
  • Don’t interrupt. Let others complete their thoughts first.
  • Be open with your opinions but introduce them with “I believe”, or “I think”.
  • Share links and resources as appropriate.
  • Respect the diversity of your fellow students.
  • Keep communication centered around coursework as much as possible.
  • If you need to move around or leave the room, turn off your camera.
  • Help others who may not be as familiar with online learning.
  • If you have a question, try the chat option before interrupting the instructor.
clip art of check marks and x's

News Update

Flu Shot Required

To help protect public health and reduce the burden on hospitals during an anticipated rise in flu and COVID-19 cases this fall and winter, the University of California is requiring all students, faculty and staff working at UC locations, to get flu vaccinations before Nov. 1. A process to request exemptions will be established.

UCI Anteater Pledge

All students are required to take the Anteater Pledge. The Anteater Pledge is a commitment to our community to do everything we can to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Make this pledge to affirm that you understand the expectations that we have with one another.


Still have questions? You’re at the right place. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers to get and keep you on track.

How do I connect to the VPN?

Message from OIT, 4/1/20:

To accommodate the increased need for remote access to the campus network, we now have multiple VPN servers for different purposes, and we are continuing to order and deploy more hardware.  Meanwhile, to help us make the best use of the resources we have, please choose your connection to the campus carefully.

For many, there is no need to use the VPN at all: Canvas, Zoom, and email (Gmail or Office 365) don’t require the VPN.  But here are some guidelines regarding use of the VPN:


  • If you use subscriptions licensed by the UCI Libraries, please use with Group UCIFull.  You can also use the WebVPN: go to and choose WebVPN as the GROUP.

Accessing the VPN

If you try to access a UCI resource without the VPN and cannot make a connection, try these in order:

  1. Use the Cisco AnyConnect application (the “Software VPN”), enter in the Ready to Connect field, then choose Default-UCI as the Group.
  2. If you cannot get a connection on vpn2, enter in the Ready to Connect field, then choose Default-UCI as the Group.
  3. If you cannot get a connection with Default-UCI, enter in the Ready to Connect field, then choose UCIFull as the Group.

If you are already using please disconnect and try

The various VPN choices and their applicability are documented at which will be updated with any new instructions.

We appreciate your cooperation as we try to make UCI resources available to as many people as we can.  Please reach out to OIT Security by opening a ticket if you have any questions.

What will happen to my lab classes?

Faculty will make accommodations to meet the requirements for these courses, whether in person or via an alternative delivery mode.

How can I meet with my instructors and/or academic advisor?

How can I meet with my instructors and/or academic advisor? Currently the best way to get in touch with your instructor and/or advisor is to email them. They will let you know the best ongoing method of communication.

What facilities are still open on campus?

Here is a link to a spreadsheet for the latest information on building closures.

Where can I get the latest updates on COVID-19?

You can get regular updates at

What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Contact the Student Health Center (SHC) at 949-824-5301 for instructions on what to do. They will ask you some questions about your symptoms and advise you on steps to take. More details are available at

Additional information and updates regarding classes and the UCI campus can be found at

Have a question?

Bio Sci Chat is intended for questions that can be answered quickly.  Questions/advisement requiring more time should be emailed to an academic counselor. Please visit the BioSci Student Affairs page to find contact information.

Chat with an Academic Advisor
UCI BioSci Anteater