March 16, 2020

The EVC Office is continually assessing policies and procedures as we prepare for remote instruction during these rapidly changing times. Below are some reminders, clarifications, and guidelines that will help you prepare for remote instruction on March 30.

We understand that it's not just our students whose lives got turned upside down. You are doing a lot of work right now to adjust your courses and you are doing it while juggling the impact that COVID-19 has had on you and your families. We greatly appreciate your efforts.

The academic planning subgroup of the COVID-19 Task Force is working hard to answer questions as they arise and the EVC Office will keep you informed with updates as soon as they are available.

This is a long email. Here is what's included:

  • Suspension of in-person instruction – reminder
  • Guidelines on revised syllabi deadlines and assignments – new
  • Suspension of Fifteenth Week "Dead Week" policy – new
  • Final exam schedules – reminder
  • Timelines for degree grades and final grades – reminder
  • Adjustments for testing – new
  • Adjustments for ACE outcomes – new

Suspension of in-person instruction

With the university's move to remote learning, instructors may not meet with individual students or small groups of students for in-person instruction, including assessment activities like exams, labs, and performances. Any type of in-person instruction runs counter to university efforts to maintain social distancing and creates equity issues for students who have returned to their permanent residences as directed by the university.

Guidelines on revised syllabi deadlines and assignments

We strongly encourage you to contact your students as soon as possible to let them know you are working on plans for the remainder of the semester. They need to hear from you. So that students can know what to expect, make plans, and schedule their time appropriately, we ask that you provide the following information in Canvas no later than 5 p.m. on March 29:

  • Revised syllabus – clearly marked and posted on Canvas, including a revision date anytime it is updated
  • Revised grade scale
  • Revised schedule
  • Revised assignments
  • Expectations for exams
  • Expectations for participation
  • Your contact information for students
  • How students can access help for your course

While further revisions to syllabi after March 29 may be necessary, they should be rare and communicated clearly and immediately to students.

Suspension of Fifteenth Week "Dead Week" policy

The Fifteenth Week Policy exists to assist students in planning their time as they complete their courses and prepare for finals. The primary tenets of the policy limit instructors’ ability to add assignments or exams during the final week of classes after the eighth week of the term.

Currently, instructors need to be able to make substantial revisions to their syllabi to accommodate the sudden shift to remote instruction and shortened schedule. As a result, and after consultation with the leadership of ASUN, the rules concerning the Fifteenth Week policy are suspended for spring 2020.

However, instructors are expected to uphold the spirit of the policy as they develop creative new assessments to meet the demands of the shifted learning environment. The addition of new high-stakes assignments to the fifteenth week is strongly discouraged unless they replace high-stakes exams. As mentioned above, instructors are expected to have the updated grade scale and due dates for significant graded work posted to Canvas by 5 p.m. on March 29.

Final exam schedules

No adjustments are being made to the final exam schedule for spring 2020:

  • If you are giving synchronous final exams, use the scheduled time.
  • If you are giving a window during which students must take the final exam, that window should include your scheduled time.

Timelines for degree grades and final grades

These timelines remain unchanged for spring 2020.

Adjustments for testing

Different strategies can be used to adjust exams to ensure students demonstrate learning. Some options include:

  • Replace final exams with projects or assignments.
  • Rework exams as take-home exams.
  • Reduce the point value of tests and exams and increase the value of assignments.
  • Randomize the order of exam questions and use question banks to make it more difficult for students to collaborate on individual-based assessments. The order of choices for answers and the order of questions can be randomized in Canvas. Also, question banks can be used to give a random subset of questions to each student.
  • Use algorithmic questions to test quantitative concepts. This approach changes the numbers to generate unique questions for each student. This feature is available in Canvas as formula quiz questions.
  • If you have students with SSD accommodations that allow for extra test time, make sure you ‘moderate’ the test in Canvas to provide this extra time.

Instructions on how to set up and manage tests in Canvas are available on the Center for Transformative Teaching website. The CTT is developing additional resources on this and other topics. Continue checking its Keep Teaching guide for updates. Also, contact your college's instructional designers for more specific support.

Adjustments for ACE outcomes

Instructors teaching ACE-certified courses may modify how they assess their ACE outcomes, including using a different assignment than originally planned. Instructors are encouraged to flexibly and creatively enable their students to meet learning goals for ACE outcomes.