This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit one of the following COVID-19 information pages:

Science update: Strategies for completing winter 2020 courses amidst COVID-19: Addendum 6

Saturday, April 4, 2020

This message was originally sent to instructors in the Faculty of Science by Marlee Spafford, associate dean, undergraduate studies.


Congratulations on getting through the Formal Lecture Period; it’s been an impressive team effort.  I am highlighting four points regarding Winter 2020 course management.

Current Protocol for Students Missing Final Exams (see Accommodation, illness or extenuating circumstances) :

  • VIFs are submitted electronically to the SUO (or Optometry/Pharmacy administrator)
  • Quest has a COVID-19 self-declaration, students can use (no other documentation is required)

Course Outlines

  • If there are COVID-19 altered assessment methods, these are to be reflected in the course outline (thanks to those who have  already done this); ideally, the outline should indicate both the original and altered methods

AAS-Approved Accommodations

  • Instructors need to maintain AAS-approved accommodations.
  • LEARN deadlines for online tests and assignments can be adjusted for individual students to support sanctioned additional writing time (this is a larger task for high enrolment courses) – see: See LEARN Help for more information.
  • A small number of students need scribes for tests (a function that cannot be accommodated through LEARN). In these cases, instructors may want to defer the test to a time when in-person testing can occur or offer an alternate method of evaluation.
  • Assistive technology can be incorporated with LEARN for students who have this need. AAS can advise instructors on these issues.

Remote Final Exam Tips

  • Consider what are the key testable items that will map to course learning objectives: students will be under additional stress writing tests so instructors may want to consider that when designing their tests.
  • Maintain the originally scheduled exam day for timed tests but allow the exam duration (e.g., 2.5 hours) to occur within a 24-hour period (it will be important to be specific regarding the exact beginning and ending of the 24-hour period).
  • Consider adding extra time (e.g., 15 minutes before and after the exam period) to accommodate minor connectivity problems (e.g., give 3 hours for a 2.5-hour exam).
  • Encourage students (before the exam) to collect evidence if they encounter connectivity problems (e.g., screen shots).
  • Students who cannot complete the test due to connectivity problems, should receive a CR if the instructor is providing consideration for the problem or an INC if more work will need to be done to complete the course.
  • Allow access to take-home exams over multiple days, with deadlines later during the exam period.
  • Maximize integrity by:
    • Using a test delivery system (e.g., Crowdmark) that allows questions to be individually ordered across student papers.
    • Lowering the weight of the online exam.
    • Incorporating the following ‘integrity acknowledgement’ as the first question:
      • I declare the following statements to be true:
        • The work I submit here is entirely my own.
        • I have not used any unauthorized aids.
        • I have not and will not discuss the contents of this test until after the submission deadline.
        • I acknowledge that the typical penalty specified in Policy 71 for a first offence of premeditated cheating is zero on the test, course failure, suspension and disciplinary probation.

I hope this information is useful.  Thanks to everyone as we continue to work under these extraordinary conditions.

Stay well.