COVID-19 Information for Instructors, Academic Advisors and Administrators

Undergraduate Information and Advice for Science Instructors, Academic Advisors and Administrators

Background and priorities

In view of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic (see https://uwaterloo.ca/coronavirus), instructors, academic advisors and administrators continue to work on managing the impacts on undergraduate student learning.  Delivery of in-person courses was suspended at the University of Waterloo at the end Week 9 (March 13, 2020) of the 12-week formal lecture period.  Planning for this change is informed by a recognition that everyone (faculty, staff and students) is stressed, graciousness is the preferred attitudinal response, and acceptance that accuracy in assessing student understanding has become more challenging.  This is an exceptional time. No one expects instructors, students, or staff to be as productive, efficient or creative as usual. Our mantra should include ‘Compassion and self-care’.

Decisions and recommendations have been informed by three priorities:

  • Safety for members of the university community
  • Consideration of learning objectives and academic progression
  • Equitable impacts on students

Recommendations are provided, knowing that instructors understand local context, have the authority to make decisions in their course, and can seek helpful advice from appropriate local administrators and resources (e.g., associate chairs/directors, Science teaching fellows, and support units, including Centre for Teaching Excellence [CTE], Centre for Extended Learning [CEL], AccessAbility Services [AAS], Student Success Office,[ SSO]).

Key resources to track include:

AccessAbility Services (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: https://uwaterloo.ca/learn-help/instructors/additional-topics/special-access.
  • 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.