This message was originally sent to instructors in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences by Leeann Ferries, associate dean, undergraduate studies.
In view of the most recent university update regarding COVID-19 (see https://uwaterloo.ca/coronavirus/), instructors will understandably be considering how students can complete sufficient course work and how final grades will be determined this term. I acknowledge that all members of the university community are experiencing notably increased stress during this time. UG associate deans have conferred to make some recommendations aimed to assist instructors.
These recommendations are informed by three, ranked priorities:
- Safety for members of the university community
- Reasonable consideration of learning objectives and academic progression
- Ensuring equitable impacts on students
- This is an extraordinary time that is best served by compassionate, student-centric solutions
- Despite our best efforts, all course learning objectives may not be able to be met this term
- The instructor’s chosen grading approach should be consistently applied to the class (e.g., not numerical grades for some, CR for others)
- As much as possible, instructors should maintain proactive communication with their students through Learn and email
- Course element deadlines (e.g., assignments, quizzes, reports) between March 14 and March 22 need to be eliminated or delayed until the final two weeks of the formal lecture period
- If instructors have sufficient graded material from course activities during the formal lecture period to meet most learning objectives, then they should consider re-weighting course elements to assign a numeric final grade (assuming the course normally leads to a numeric grade)
- If instructors still plan to administer a timed, online final exam, they must schedule it when the in-person exam was originally scheduled (to avoid student conflicts) and they are encouraged to lower the exam’s weight to acknowledge that students are stressed and test security cannot be controlled as well as with proctored in-person exams
- If instructors do not believe that they can reasonably reflect student learning using existing marks, then they should consider grading the course on a CR/NCR basis
- Instructors should not add major online term tests (i.e., >25%) during the final week of the formal lecture period, as per the UG calendar regulations - http://ugradcalendar.uwaterloo.ca/page/Acad-Regs-The-Formal-Lecture-Period
- As much as possible, INC grades should be avoided because this will interrupt student academic progression and may create prerequisite barriers
As you begin to contemplate how to move forward, several sources of support are available to you, including CTE (see Jordan Rettinger’s helpful message this morning), and their recently developed Keep Learning site - https://uwaterloo.ca/keep-learning/. This website provides resources and suggestions to help you modify your course to teach remotely.
I hope these recommendations are of some help. Please do your best to maintain your health, while you help your students. If you have any questions, please let me know.