Academic Council: Updated Academic Continuity Expectations

The Academic Council met 4-22-20 to discuss academic continuity planning for the duration of the COVID-19 disruption. The Academic Continuity Plan approved by the Academic Council on March 4, 2020 ( remains in effect until the academic disruption is declared over by the Academic Council except as modified below. The modifications and new expectations below are in effect beginning Summer 2020 and until the Academic Council declares the end of the Academic Disruption or approves new modifications.

(Note: “Instructor” is used in this document to indicate “Instructor of Record”, which may be instructors or GEs.)

Assumptions Guiding These Changes

  • Changes made to Winter and Spring had to consider the fact that we had less time to plan, and were changing expectations for students and instructors that they had not accounted for
  • We know how summer term will operate and have time to plan for that
  • We will know more about how fall term will operate and will have time to plan for that
  • We have policies governing student engagement and contact hours and should follow those as closely as possible
  • Students will be able to make choices about summer and fall courses that account for their specific situation, so we need fewer accommodations and we will insist on our high expectations for courses
  • Some students will still be in less than ideal situations for summer and beyond, and Instructors should try to accommodate them  where reasonable
  • In a non-pandemic scenario, instructors of courses would have been expected to deliver content and engage with students during scheduled class times
  • In a scenario where all or some courses are remote, some instructors will be in less than ideal situations in terms of workspaces, teaching materials, and technology.

Modifications to Current Expectations

The following expectation from the March 4th Academic Continuity Plan is modified by the Academic Council as indicated below:

  • March 4, 2020 language: Requires instructors with attendance or participation polices to modify those such that attendance is not counted in grades and participation points could be made up or waived.
  • April 29, 2020 update: Instructors may count attendance and participation as part of the grade provided they have reasonable ways for students to complete make-up assignments for missed class sessions or participation points without loss of credit. Instructors must communicate these policies in their syllabi. Instructors who are unsure whether they are making reasonable accommodations should confer with their unit heads for guidance.

Continuation of Grading Policy Adjustments

The following grading policy adjustments approved by the Academic Council on March 25, 2020 for Spring term are continued by the Academic Council until modified or disruption is declared over. These adjustments are in effect for undergraduate and graduate courses except for graduate courses offered in the JD and LLM programs in the Law School, which are under a different policy passed by the Law School.

  • The deadline to change grade-optional courses from graded to P/N (pass/no pass) will be extended 30 days after the date that final grades are posted for that term.
  • The option to change from graded to P/N will be available for all courses that are designated as graded only and for grade optional courses.
  • Courses that are designated as P/N only will remain as they are. There will be no additional options for these courses.
  • Any course grade of P will be counted as a P* grade for the purposes of the policies below. This means that courses taken as P/N can count toward graduation requirements. Credits earned in courses offered only as P/N will use the P* designation.
    • Undergraduate: “Students must earn 168 transfer or University of Oregon credits with grades of A, B, C, D, or P*.”
    • Graduate Master’s degrees: “A minimum of 24 credits must be University of Oregon graded (not pass/no pass) credits.”
  • Instructors of record shall maintain letter grades throughout the term and record final course grades for students in all courses).
  • If a student chooses P/N by the deadline, grades will be recorded as follows:
    • Undergraduate: a P grade for a C- or above, and an N grade for a D+ or below.
    • Graduate: a P grade for a B- or above, and an N grade for a C+ or below.
    • Law: a P grade for a D- or above, and an N grade for an F.
  • Departments are asked to waive any requirements that (a) limit how P/N courses count toward the major; that (b) require specific grades for courses that count toward the major; or that (c) serve as prerequisites for other courses. This is especially important for cases where the lack of such a waiver will require students to enroll in an additional term or delay graduation for students. Departments are to report how they want P/N grades from any term during the disruption to count toward requirements to the Registrar’s Office by May 6, 2020. The Registrar’s Office will send a link to a webform for reporting this information. The Registrar’s Office will reach out to departments directly regarding prerequisites.

New Expectations

The following new expectations are approved by the Academic Council as of April 29, 2020 and effective beginning Summer 2020. These expectations follow two principles: first, that we have policies on student engagement and contact hours that instructors should follow, and, second, that we have time for students and instructors to plan for new expectations that will improve remote education in Summer 2020 and beyond.

  • Courses that were originally scheduled for online and coded with “V” (for virtual) shall be taught as planned.
  • It is expected that non-WEB courses shall provide live engagement during the scheduled meeting times as defined by the Student Engagement Inventory for the course. Instructors may make the following adjustments for courses that have to be offered remotely or partially remotely (some face-to-face and some remote):
    • Live engagement can take many different forms. For example, it might include a mix of content delivery, facilitated discussions on Zoom, facilitated discussion board discussions, breakout sessions for students on Zoom, group project time with the instructor available for guidance. The following are not suitable replacements for contact under current policy:
      • Posting of supplemental content materials
      • Announcements
      • Assignments
      • Office hours, online or otherwise
    • Whatever the mix, at least 50% of the live engagement should include planned and structured content delivery or discussion.
    • Where appropriate and possible, instructors should create opportunities for student-student interaction.
    • Whatever the mix, instructors should be available to students during each scheduled class period. If instructors are not going to be available during a scheduled class period, they should treat that as a “cancelled” class meeting and handle that as they would during a regular, non-remote term with appropriate notifications to students and anyone else as required by the department, and appropriate replacement of that instructional time.
  • Instructors should schedule and be available to meet during office hours outside the scheduled class time in accordance with department and/or school/college policies on office hours.

Technology Tools and Software
It is required that Canvas be used for all courses during the academic disruption. Instructors shall publish their Canvas sites and use them to post materials, collect assignments, provide alternatives to lectures/discussions for students who are absent from class, and post grades. Students and Instructors are required by university policy to use their Uoregon accounts for university business including instruction, and must not share their credentials with anyone.

Instructors may use other FERPA-compliant software to supplement Canvas use. These include the UO licensed versions of Office 365, which includes One Drive and Teams, Zoom and Dropbox. You can find out more about acceptable technology tools and software here:



Leave a Reply