COVID-19 Updates and Guidance > Updates > 4-20-20-Remote learning tips and Pass/D/Fail guidance

For faculty: Remote learning tips and Pass/D/Fail guidance

April 20, 2020 

Dear faculty,

We’ve made it to the start of the fourth week of the quarter! Time flies and crawls all at once as we make our way through this crisis. I hope that you and your students have begun to settle into our adventure with universal remote learning. At the same time, I understand that with each phase of the term new issues arise. The current issues that I want to share with you are all about being in the midst of the term.

  • As you know, for Spring and Summer 2020 courses, students in all undergraduate programs, with the exception of CEO cohorts, and some graduate programs may opt for a Pass/D/Fail grading basis.  There is now a set of FAQs related to this temporary policy posted on the COVID-19 website. If you or your students have questions, please refer to the FAQs.  
  • Faculty who are conducting a significant portion of their classes synchronously may now be experiencing Zoom’s limitations personally. There may be bandwidth issues for either faculty, students or both that make your lectures inaudible. Once again you are encouraged to move course content and activities to asynchronous delivery, reserving synchronous meetings for truly essential purposes. During the time that you are meeting with your class on Zoom synchronously, here are two tips:
    • For Zoom sessions, try to connect your computer with an ethernet cable to your cable-modem or router, or at least try to set up your computer as close to your modem as possible.
    • Do your best to limit other bandwidth-intensive activities in your household during your synchronous Zoom class (e.g. other Zoom meetings, streaming  videos, etc.). This may be especially difficult if you live with children in school or other adults working from home. In that case, moving to more asynchronous activities is your best bet.  
  • If you’re encountering difficulties with any aspect of remote learning - technology, course design, giving students feedback, etc. - please contact your instructional designer. You can email, chat or call. You are not alone in this work; your instructional designer can listen and offer support and useful suggestions.
  • Finally, if you haven’t yet given students feedback on an assignment, please do and then please post those grades or points earned in the D2L gradebook so that students may track where they stand.  Such feedback is critical in helping students manage stress and/or take action related to their performance in your class. 
I know I have said this before but I have to say it again: I am extremely appreciative for all the hard work that you are doing during this difficult time. Not only are our students experiencing stress and anxiety but all of us are. The emotional upheaval we are experiencing has no predictable pattern so please remember to be kind to others and most of all to be kind to yourselves. Hang in there, we will get through this!


Salma Ghanem
Interim Provost