Teaching News: Student Surveys, Grade Flexibility, Integrity, and more

December 3, 2020

The Teaching Engagement Program and UO Online offer many resources to support you.

Congratulations on being so near the end of term, colleagues. This week the Student Experience Surveys for your courses are open. This newsletter offers advice for how to boost student participation in the surveys, extend students grading flexibility, and facilitate AEC accommodations. We respond to instructor concerns about academic integrity with concrete ideas for your final assessments. Finally, we again highlight student well-being resources and invite you to close the term with us in a 30-minute session devoted to strategizing for winter remote classes.

We know this term has been challenging — we are here to support you.

Encouraging Student Experience Survey Participation

The Student Experience Survey is open for your courses until this Friday, Dec. 4 at 6pm. Student feedback is perhaps more important than ever as faculty and graduate instructors adjust to new teaching modalities, pressures, and opportunities during the COVID pandemic. Let students know you value their feedback, especially qualitative comments, and that providing feedback may be a valuable opportunity for them to reflect on and take pride in their learning. (Find other ideas for ways to reinforce students’ sense of their own learning here.)

The survey is available on DuckWeb in Course Surveys.

The University Senate’s Continuous Improvement and Evaluation of Teaching Committee suggests using ~10 minutes of a remote class meeting to administer it. Here’s how.

Extending Grade Flexibility

As you’re working with students to complete fall term, there are ways to offer them extra flexibility. These options should be evaluated against what’s possible for you as an instructor during this fraught time. The Office of the Registrar lists grading option changes.

  • Academic Council gives faculty and graduate instructors latitude to “modify course expectations such that required work is reduced or grading schemes are adjusted provided they can still meet course learning objectives.” You can make changes to the advantage of students even late in the term, like adjusting the points, duration, format, of the final exam or providing additional opportunities or extended deadlines.
  • Eligible first-term undergraduate students who earn F grades in fall 2020 will have them automatically converted to N grades.
  • Students have the P/N option available for all courses; students have until January 16, 2021 to change fall courses from graded to P/N.
  • As a last resort, you can grant an “Incomplete” if the quality of the student's work is otherwise satisfactory. The policy on incompletes states that “Faculty and students should develop a contract outlining the requirements and specific deadlines for making up the incomplete. Contracts should be filed in the departmental office through which the course is taught.”

Supporting Academic Integrity

TEP and UO Online offer these timely ideas for how instructor framing and testing practices can support academic integrity.

Connecting with AEC, Facilitating Testing Accommodations

The Accessible Education Center (AEC) collaborates with faculty and instructors to facilitate access and inclusion for students with disabilities. If you have any questions related to specific student accommodations or access issues, creating accessible digital content, or best practices for accessible course design, contact the AEC at uoaec@uoregon.edu or (541) 346-1155.

If you have decided to administer a timed remote exam, make sure to facilitate testing accommodations outlined on students’ notification letters, including adding extended time in Canvas as appropriate. To view each of the notification letters that have been emailed to you throughout the term, log in to AEC’s Instructor Portal.  If you have any questions about testing accommodations, contact aectesting@uoregon.edu or (541) 346-1074.

Accessing Student Well-being Resources

University Counseling Services encourages instructors to demonstrate their care and commitment to student mental health by reaching out to students who appear to be struggling. From a place of empathy and compassion, listen to their concerns and don’t hesitate to ask questions (e.g. "how can I support you?”). Students appreciate your flexibility and effort to connect them to resources based on their circumstances. Learn more strategies from UO Counseling Services.

Find out exactly how to refer students to a range of academic and well-being supports.


Winter Warm-Up: Designing for Student Engagement

Wednesday, December 16
10-10:30 a.m.
Register here.

An engaged class community has a measurable impact on student learning. For many students and instructors, creating that genuine community in a remote context has been a challenge, both because we are physically distanced, and because many of us have extra demands on our time. How can we design for community even before day one of the term, while being strategic with our time as instructors? In this 30-minute session we will share three questions to consider and three engagement-building strategies for addressing those questions that you can deploy at the beginning of winter term.