Winter Graduate Course Completion (For Faculty)

The University and FGS continue to operate virtually.

York University is:

  • Moving to offer only required services on our campuses. Effective by end of day Thursday, March 19, [with limited exceptions] buildings on our campuses will close with limited access as needed for required services;
  • Cancelling all in-person exams during the formal winter exam period of April 7-25, 2020 (https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/community-update- 13-covid-19-all-in-person-examinations-cancelled/)

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

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

Exams
FGS is not aware of any graduate courses with examinations scheduled in the formal course examination period with room allocations; however, in-person formats of graduate program comprehensive/qualifying examinations can no longer be administered until further notice. Programs need to create electronically mediated options (e.g., take home, online via Zoom, blended format). Teaching Commons resources may be helpful in imagining possibilities as well as what is feasible with Moodle and Zoom for written and oral components, where applicable. https://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/course-continuity/

Programs may offer to students the option to defer the in-person examination sitting until such time as the in-person cancellation ends; however, at this time there is no possibility of suggesting when that might be.

We appreciate that these decisions can involve Executive Committee decisions and/or membership agreement right when everyone’s focus is on course completion plans; however, students will need clarity about comps/qualifying examination formats for their own decision-making.

Please convey through your GPD, who will forward it to fgsdean@yorku.ca, how your Program will adapt your comprehensive or qualifying examinations to non-in- person formats as soon as possible, so that FGS can support your decisions, be able to identify where the strong challenges may be, and facilitate future queries.

Course Completion Plans

Course Completion Plans

Community Update #15 COVID-19 provides relevant information for determining your course completion plans: https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/community-update-15-covid-19- course-completion-information/

  •  ... 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 ...

The ideal completion plan for all courses would be 100% of material covered; however, we encourage faculty members to be flexible in the ways that they complete their courses. The flexibility described by Senate Executive applies to graduate courses and may be helpful in some circumstances. Elaboration of this flexibility includes the following:

  • 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 https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/community-update-15-covid-19- course-completion-information/ (emphasis added).

This option is part of course instructors’ flexibility and is not one for graduate students to choose. Course instructors know best the relation between learning in the graduate course and the assignments designed to assess and evaluate that learning.

Important Caveat:

  • 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. https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/community-update-15-covid-19- course-completion-information/

Finally, Community Update #15 COVID-19 - Course Completion Information contains the following language:

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.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies provides a different, individualised process, including

  • a course extension, with deadlines to be agreed upon by a student and the professor within FGS guidelines and approved by the GPD (https://gradstudies.yorku.ca/files/2014/08/course-transaction.pdf?x69816); and
  • a petition (https://gradstudies.yorku.ca/files/2014/06/academic- petition.pdf?x69816). The multi-purpose petition form specifies various program registration options, including an “other” category, with which students can explain the nature of their request, including withdrawing from a course without receiving a grade on the transcript. A short personal statement providing the rationale for the request is required to be submitted. Students must consider carefully the academic implications of petitioning to drop courses, given that we cannot yet provide clarity as to how course offerings in the summer term will be affected the present, on-going, and rapidly changing circumstances.

Both forms are submitted first to the Graduate Program Office for GPD recommendation. The Program Office forwards the forms to FGS. The forms are fillable PDFs and can be submitted electronically with either ink or digital signature, or an email confirmation as “signature.”

Some graduate programs grade normally with a pass/fail option, but this is not normally a blanket option for all graduate programs. Information about “Graduate Courses and Grading” can be found at https://gradstudies.yorku.ca/current- students/regulations/courses-grading/

We encourage all instructors to be in touch with their students as soon as possible regarding course plans. Please submit these plans to your Graduate Program Director, who will compile them into a program response to be sent to fgsdean@yorku.ca and your anchor Faculty AD Grad by Wednesday 18 March 2020, so that we can support your decisions best and be able to identify where the strong challenges may be. All Faculties need to assess the information and coordinate plans by Friday 20 March 2020.

Grades

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

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

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).

To learn more, read Tips for Accessibility When Moving to Online Course Delivery V1SAS.

Supports for Online Course Materials and Teaching

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.

moodle.info.yorku.ca

Moodle is password protected, has a discussion board function, and can host uploaded materials in a variety of formats.  Password protection for your and students’ uploaded materials, for instance, presentations or essays, is important.  Public sites without protection may present challenges with removing content, intellectual property, etc.

There are resources online through the Teaching Commons which may help with adapting to online delivery:

In addition, we have some information which might be helpful for you as well:

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