Community Update #10 COVID-19- Course Completion Plan

As we work through the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation at York we want to provide as much clarity as possible. The purpose of this communication is to provide additional details regarding holding courses online or by other means effective Monday, March 16 until the winter academic term is completed, as announced in President Lenton’s statement this morning. https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/message-to-the-community-on-yorks-response-to-covid-19/

Creating your Course Completion Plan
All face-to-face classes are suspended as of Monday, March 16. This means that any in person class activity has been suspended until further notice. This applies to both undergraduate and graduate courses. However, the university remains open until further notice for individuals to work and study.

To protect the safety of our community and to provide all the supports for our students to complete their semester, York University is moving immediately to be able to complete the winter academic term through online instruction or other means.

We are asking all instructors to develop plans to complete their courses under these unique conditions by Wednesday March 18th, and to submit these plans to their Department/School/Faculty. Your course completion plan should address the following:

  • How you plan to make course materials available to students online and conduct class activities remotely
  • Any changes you are making to your evaluation scheme (see information on Evaluation and Exams below)
  • Any course components or evaluations that cannot be replaced or delivered in alternate ways, so your Department or Faculty can work with you to develop remediation plans.

Instructors and students will be supported in their efforts to teach and learn in alternate on-line formats https://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/course-continuity/
Please make sure you communicate with your students in a timely way to let them know how you will provide them with course materials. We strongly encourage students and faculty to communicate remotely using the tools available to them rather than meet in person.

Evaluation
Instructors have the flexibility to offer an adjusted grading scheme to students by changing the number, kind and weight of assignments including tests and examinations. Note: This option does not apply to Osgoode Hall Law School.

Should you choose to make changes to the grading scheme, please ensure they are fair and do not disadvantage any student. Just a reminder: students can continue with the original evaluation scheme if they choose to do so, even though this might mean a deferral of certain evaluation components beyond the end of the academic term.

Exams
Where a course has a sit-down test or examination, we would encourage instructors to think of alternatives such as take-home exams or assignments, wherever possible. The University is currently investigating whether final exams can be held as scheduled, during the regular examination period and will provide more information regarding this situation when known. In addition, the deadline for students to opt in or out of a Pass/Fail grade has been extended to the last day of the examination period. https://secretariat-policies.info.yorku.ca/policies/pass-fail-grades-policy/

For those course evaluation components which cannot be delivered in an alternate, virtual format or replaced with alternative evaluations, remedial options will be made available on a deferred basis.

Grades
To the extent that interim grades have been assigned by you or your Teaching Assistants, please expedite the gathering of these grades and submission of grade records in the normal fashion as soon as possible.

Special Consideration
In considering how you can best complete your course, please give special consideration to those students in their final year who have applied to graduate in June and accommodate them as much as possible to ensure they can finish their program on time.

Accessibility
It is understood that there may be some academic programming that cannot be moved online and/or instructors or students who cannot engage through electronic platforms. Instructors with accessibility concerns should approach their Associate Dean or Faculty Affairs so that accommodations can be developed. Student Accessibility Services will be providing guidelines for instructors around accommodation and follow up for students (please see the Teaching Commons website below).

Supports for Online Course Materials and Teaching
Moodle has been amended to include all instructor information. This negates the need for a request to create a course on Moodle and will facilitate set up for next week. Courses will appear on instructor dashboards along with all of someone’s existing courses. Instructions can be found at https://lthelp.yorku.ca/getting-started-with-moodle/hide-course-from-your-view.
Learning Technology Service, along with other UIT teams, will be available over the weekend to support the preparation of online course delivery next week. In addition to resources available on the Teaching Commons website https://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/draft-page-covid-19-planning/ we have some information which might be helpful for you as well:
Moodle - https://lthelp.yorku.ca/moodle
Lecture Recording - https://lthelp.yorku.ca/lecture-capture
Zoom - https://yorku.zoom.us

We will be augmenting these resources in the coming days. Please reach out to us or your Faculty support colleagues with any questions you may have. Learning Technology Service can be reached at lts@yorku.ca

Communication, Empathy and Respect
Many students are understandably anxious about how the COVID-19 situation will affect their studies and academic progress, in addition to their concerns about their health, family and friends. For all York University instructors, the well-being, learning and success of our students is of paramount importance.
Empathy, respect and accommodation should be the approach we all take as we try to figure out all of the complexities of this situation. I would encourage you to communicate regularly with your students via Moodle or email, to let them know how you will be handling the balance of the course, and the options they have to complete it.

I want to thank all faculty and contract instructors sincerely for your work over the coming days to develop course completion plans. I recognize this is a stressful and challenging time for all of us. Please take care of yourself too, while you are taking care of your students.

Lisa Philipps
Provost & Vice-President Academic, York University Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School