End of semester FAQS for Gabelli School faculty
What should I do upon learning that a student has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
If a student tells you that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please ask the student if you can share that information with the University. If you get that approval, please email the information either to the dean’s office of the school in which the student is enrolled (we will then forward it on) or else directly to Maureen Keown, Director of Health Services. Maureen Keown will reach out to the student to check on their status and direct the student to university resources that can offer support, as well as the Dean of Students of the relevant campus and John Carroll, Associate Vice President for Security Services.
If a student is hesitant to have the information shared, then please just let them know that University Health Services is available to help them if they have questions or concerns.
Depending on the student's needs, additional remote support may be found at: Campus Ministry; Counseling and Psychological Services; Office of Disability Services. For Gabelli School of Business Undergraduate students, you may also contact Angela Grassi. The link to the student COVID-19 Emergency FAQ is also quite helpful. If you have specific concerns about a student, you can always reach out directly to any of these offices, as well as the appropriate academic dean’s office.
What should I do when a student who isn’t attending class or completing assignments doesn’t respond to repeated outreach?
Please share that information with the relevant class dean/academic advisor (Undergraduate) or assistant dean (Graduate). In some cases, these are students with whom we have worked and we may be aware of the larger context, or other faculty may have shared similar information. The deans will follow up with the student by email and/or by phone. They may also contact other faculty who have the student in class, to see if there’s a larger pattern. As needed, they will work with the Office of the Dean of Students on further outreach (which may include contacting family members) and referrals to CPS or other offices at the university.
What should I do upon learning of a student's financial, housing, or other need?
A variety of funds are available for students who are experiencing emergency financial hardship. Please reach out to the relevant class dean/academic advisor about the need; they will serve as the liaison with the Financial Aid office and/or with the committee managing Student Emergency Funding.
How can I help students decide whether to elect Pass/Fail for my course?
The United Student Government (USG) at Rose Hill recently submitted to the Deans a petition on behalf of the undergraduate student body “asking that all professors notify students of their current class grades prior to the pass/fail declaration date of April 24th, 2020." While we realize that you cannot assure students of what their final grades will be, we encourage you to please share with them how they are doing at this stage of the semester. Any information you can give them about their status will be helpful for them as they decide whether or not to opt for Pass/Fail. It will also be helpful to please let them know how the final assignment will be structured and graded. This will enable them to judge their readiness to complete it successfully.
Will a faculty member know if a student declares pass/fail?
As is the case normally, faculty will not know whether a student declares pass/fail until the faculty member visits the grade submission page. At that point, the student’s grade mode will be visible and the instructor will be prompted to enter either a letter grade or pass/fail.
I don’t want students who get a poor grade in one course to move on to the next course. How can I advise them?
If a student receives a Pass in a prerequisite course, they will be able to proceed to the next level. Therefore, it is important that such students receive advising from their class/program deans about the needed preparation for upper level courses.
I’d like to set a grade of C- as passing. Can I do that?
No. As is the case normally, a D grade is still considered a Pass.
I would like all of my students to be graded P/F. May I request that all students in my course receive a P/F?
No. This is a choice that must be made by an individual student. For a variety of reasons outlined in the Optional Pass/Fail FAQ (Undergraduate) and Pass/Fail Spring 2020 Grading Option FAQ (Graduate) some students should not elect Pass/Fail.
Completing the Semester
What if I can't make it through the full semester's worth of material in light of disruptions?
Most generally, we encourage you to be flexible with yourself with regard to course expectations. It's entirely possible that you will not cover all of the material that you had intended this semester. That's fine. In fact, it would be surprising if you did get to everything you intended. The key is to keep your learning goals in mind as you close out the semester rather than to view the next few weeks as a rush to a pre-determined finish line.
Will final exams be given according to the schedule that the university has published? How will this work for students in different time zones?
A: Final exams may be given asynchronously if appropriate, but still must be due on the scheduled day. If you need to give your exam synchronously, you should stick to the scheduled time to avoid conflicts with other exams the students may have. With the agreement of the class, you can shift the exam to another time to accommodate students in different timezones.
How can I assess student learning this semester?
What may have worked very well for final exams in the past (for example, closed-book exams, multiple-choice questions, etc.) may not work as well in the current environment. Instead, it might be more productive to think creatively about types of assessment that would enable students to demonstrate their achievement of learning goals. This could be an open book exam, or it could be something else entirely. It could, for instance, involve asking the students to craft an exam and explain why they pose the questions they do, with citations of specific readings or discussions. Or it might mean asking students to write a more traditional set of essays addressing, say, the three main learning goals of the course, directing them to synthesize a range of materials to address those goals. You may find this article from the Chronicle thought-provoking.
That said, before abandoning a final exam altogether, please consult with the chair in your department. It’s important to have consistency with courses that are multi-section (such as language courses, Calculus, etc.), and either all sections should have a final or no sections should. If your course is a key prerequisite for another course, your department may want you to give a final. If you decide to not give the final, you should share an updated syllabus with students (and with your department) as soon as possible.
Are there online proctoring tools I can use for administering final exams?
The various software options that the University has explored for proctoring exams are both prohibitively expensive and overly-complicated, requiring extensive user training. While we can explore alternative options for coming years, it is unlikely that such tools will be available for this semester. Therefore, as the previous answer suggests, faculty should consider developing alternative final assessments that do not lend themselves to possible academic integrity violations. The Director of Online Learning at Fordham has produced this video about how to assess students in an online context.
How can I assess attendance in an on-line course?
In a remote learning environment, being "present" might not mean being logged in at the same time as the instructor for a synchronous learning experience. The Fordham attendance policy might not make sense now that we have transitioned to online teaching and learning. You are encouraged to define attendance in any way that makes sense for your particular course. The real key here is to be sure to communicate that definition clearly to the students. It might, for instance, mean logging in to Blackboard a certain number of times a week, or contributing to a discussion thread in a particular way, or posting materials to a course site. If you have concerns about a particular student’s attendance, you can also reach out to the deans in the student’s home college who might have more specific information to share.
Have deadlines for faculty to submit final grades been adjusted/postponed?
No. It is still important to submit grades on time, especially for graduating students.
One of my students hasn’t been participating since we moved online. I’d like to give this student a chance - can I give them an INC?
If a student hasn’t been participating, please inform the student’s class dean to they may reach out to provide support for the student. If a student has met all course requirements EXCEPT the final exam, then the instructor may report a temporary grade of ABS, as described below. If a student hasn’t participated for several weeks, then you should award the student the grade that they have earned.
A student missed the final exam. Should I give the student an INC grade?
If a student misses the final (either with or without contacting you ahead of time), you should report a grade of ABS. Please review the policy for the ABS grade for Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students. If the student does not complete their exam by the determined deadline, ABS will revert to an F grade.
What are the downsides of giving INC grades?
While it may seem like a gift to students, INC grades can in fact be a burden. A student who has several INC grades is in a difficult situation. This student has a short amount of time to complete the work, and now no longer has the structure and support of the classroom. Unfortunately, students often don’t complete the work and the grade turns to an F. Prolonging the semester is often stressful for students and this decision should be made very carefully. Given our current situation, it may be best for the semester to end as it was scheduled to end. Please talk with the appropriate class/program dean if you have questions about incomplete grades.