Community Update #15 COVID-19 - Course Completion Information

The university has announced the cancellation of all in-person exams in the normal exam period of April 7-25, 2020. Students have been informed that they can leave residence and our campuses and will be able to complete their courses without returning to our campuses this academic term.

The purpose of this communication is to address the implications of this announcement for Course Completion Plans.

Information to Inform Course Completion Plans

  • In developing course completion plans, it is prudent for instructors to assume that students will need to be able to complete all course requirements without further in-person instruction or evaluation.
  • Senate Executive has NOT reduced or extended the term.
  • Senate Executive has confirmed that instructors have flexibility to change the number, type, and weight of assignments as required, and has further elaborated on this flexibility as follows:
    • Where a course director has graded assignments that amount to 70% or more of the final grade in a course, the instructor may give individual students the option of receiving a final grade that is based on a re-weighting of assignments already completed, provided the instructor is satisfied that the learning objectives of the course have been achieved and that fairness to students and academic integrity are preserved.
    • Students must have the option of completing additional assignments that follow the original grading scheme in the course, understanding that this decision may require deferred evaluations which may delay course completion. Note: This does not apply to Osgoode Hall Law School.

Senate Executive’s elaboration today allows a course evaluation scheme to be revised to eliminate a final assignment or exam.

I want to emphasize the need for flexibility and creativeness on the part of instructors, in transitioning their courses away from in-person formats in a manner that upholds academic integrity and provides options for course completion that are fair to students.

A lot of work is being done in the post-secondary sector around this issue. Resources and creative suggestions on this topic of revising course delivery and course evaluations to eliminate in-person activities are available at: https://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/course-continuity/

Timelines for Instructors

  • As previously communicated, Course Completion Plans are due to your Chair/Director/Dean (for undergraduate courses) or GPD and Associate Dean Graduate (for graduate courses) by no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
  • Instructors are asked to communicate with students in your course(s) as soon as possible and by no later than Friday, March 20, 2020 to indicate how you will make course materials available and complete course activities.
  • By no later than Friday, March 27, 2020 all students should be informed by their instructors of any adjustments to evaluation and grading schemes.
  • Instructors are asked to also communicate with their Teaching Assistants on these same timelines, to allow TAs to plan for completing their work.

Flexibility for Students

Please be aware of the following accommodations approved by Senate Executive:

  • an extension of the deadline to Withdraw from a Course Without Receiving a Grade for F/W 2019-2020 and W 2020 courses to 9 May 2020; and
  • an extension of the deadline for students to opt in or out of the Pass/Fail grading option is extended to the last day of the final examination period to 9 May 2020.

For those who wish to find information on communications to students, please visit: https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/category/students/

Once again, I am grateful to all the colleagues across the University for your efforts during this extraordinary time.  I am confident in the professional judgment and skill of our instructors to provide our students with the best possible options consistent with academic integrity.

Lisa Philipps

Provost & Vice-President Academic, York University