Miscellaneous Academic Updates

Colleagues:

Please see below for some miscellaneous academic updates in our new reality. I recognize that all of you are being flooded with information at the moment, so I tried to be as concise as possible. If you have any questions or wish to discuss these matters further, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Summer courses

The intent is for UBC to keep teaching all of our summer courses, but likely online. I am trying to connect with all of our summer instructors in the coming week so that we can discuss in further detail.

Teaching evaluations

Teaching evaluations will be occurring this year (as per usual), but with the caveat that the data points collected will be “de-emphasized” in merit and APT cases, for example. The thinking here is that instructors will still want student feedback on their courses, and may also be interested to see how the online portions of their courses were received. TA evaluations (which are typically paper-based) will be trickier. If your TAs want feedback, please let us know. We will need to create a Qualtrics survey for this purpose.

Students with disabilities

The Centre for Accessibility is sticking to their standard procedures as much as possible. This raises a number of very challenging, nuanced issues which will require case-by-case consideration, but for now, please assume that the process of accommodations for students with disabilities remains the same. Should you encounter an issue, please get in touch with me right away.

Grading options / final exams

By now, most of you have finalized your protocols for student assessments. A couple of things to note:

  • You cannot have a final exam in the last two weeks of classes. You can, however, have “lower stakes” quizzes and assignments
  • You are entitled to replace your final exam with alternative modes of assessment, but please do so in consultation with your class and make sure that communications on this are crystal clear
  • If you have a final exam scheduled during the exam period, that is when it should take place. This might lead to pushback from students in different time zones half-way around the world, but unfortunately, there is no simple technological fix for this
  • An option that might be available to us is to change your class to Credit/D/Fail status. Note that this is complicated and not our preferred solution. Importantly, we should not communicate this option widely. That said, please get in touch with me if this is something that you would like to explore

Computer labs in Forest Sciences Centre

We are shutting down the computer labs in the Forest Sciences Centre, as they present high risk spaces for transmission. This may impact some of your students who are taking online courses and/or completing assignments in the labs (perhaps because they do not own a laptop or have internet access). If you encounter a student in this situation, please have them contact Student Services right away.

Admissions

Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, our admissions numbers for 2020/21 (as of today) are comparable to last year’s – we seem to be in decent shape in this regard, despite a number of challenges revolving around high school closures.

Some light reading if you want to distract yourselves for 5 minutes:
https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/welcome-to-your-hastily-prepared-online-college-course

Stay safe and well. All the best,

Rob

Posted in: ,

Related Articles