Providing Reasonable Accommodations
“Reasonable accommodations” should be made for students who are in quarantine, isolation, or are symptomatic but undiagnosed, giving them the information and assignments necessary to achieve the course goals.
Accommodating students who are unable to attend class in-person is challenging and will be unique to your course and students. Individual consultations are available with a TLC staff member or one of our peer support faculty associates to explore options.
“Reasonable accommodations” should be made for students who are in quarantine, in isolation, or are symptomatic but undiagnosed but those actions will vary by course, activity, and learning outcome. These accommodations should give students the information and assignments necessary to achieve the course goals.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when evaluating options.
Communication with Your Students
Since students may need to miss more class time than usual this semester, open lines of communication between you and your students are crucial. This will help them to successfully navigate changing circumstances.
A strong communication plan will enable you to know what adjustments need to be made and when, inform students of your expectations, convey changes in course policies, and indicate how they can continue to be successful in the course.
For those students who must miss class because they are ill or need to quarantine, you’ll need to inform them how they can acquire the content, participate in classes and activities, and complete missed assignments and exams. One possible solution is to provide virtual office hours that will help you connect with these students as well as other students.
It is advantageous to leverage learning management systems (such as eCampus and SOLE) to communicate with students, provide them with opportunities to communicate with one another, and to pose questions. Your communication tools might include:
- Announcements (in eCampus remember to check the box to also email a copy of the announcement to students)
- Discussion forums
Content Delivery Options for Students Who Cannot Attend Class
Provide a synchronous online session. This is the best means of reaching students who cannot attend class in person because they can participate from a distance.
- Create a Zoom session for your class that your students in quarantine or experiencing symptoms can join to listen to the lecture. You can also ask for a student volunteer to watch the Zoom chat for questions and help students locate content and materials.
- Create a Collaborate Ultra session in eCampus for students to join (similar to above).
Record your lecture
- You can use Mediasite Catch in the classroom to capture your lecture.
- If you use the Zoom or Collaborate Ultra options detailed above, those can also be recorded and shared.
Create short videos, demonstrations, tutorials, or iClicker assignments for asynchronous delivery
These options can potentially benefit all students, not only those who cannot attend class. Having these materials available for all students allows them to review content at their own pace and as many times as needed.
- iClicker assignments is a relatively new student response option that allows students to work at their pace before, during, and after class.
- You can use Mediasite Mosaic for Windows or Mac to create short videos. This tool has the ability to embed questions.
- Tips for creating microlectures (~5 ½ minutes long).
Provide lecture notes and/or presentation slides
- It is helpful to post lecture notes in eCampus or SOLE for the use of all students rather than email them to individuals.
- Lecture notes can be used in addition to a recorded lecture to encourage students to view the recording. It can be beneficial to provide a skeletal outline of notes rather than heavily detailed notes.
Alternatives for Class Activities, Assignments, Quizzes, Exams
If a student misses in-class activities, these options can be helpful.
- Ask the student to provide a written or verbal response to in-class discussion prompts and questions. One verbal communication tool that can be used is VoiceThread.
- Ask your in-class students to write a brief summary of what was discussed in class and ask students who were absent to respond to the summary.
- For group work, ask the quarantined student to work with a group virtually outside of class time. If several students miss class, they can form their own group and collaborate virtually.
- Use a student facilitator (e.g., a GTA, TA, or a quality student who attended the class) to explain what was missed during class and answer questions.
- Allow make-up assignments and homework
- If a student misses several assignments, think about offering a single, more comprehensive make-up assignment in place of several smaller assignments.
- Provide alternative assignments
- Meet with students virtually to discuss missed material
Quizzes and Exams
- Offer make-up quizzes and exams.
- If you want to offer a controlled space for make-up assessments and/or are concerned about academic integrity, please take advantage of the new University Testing Center. Instructors can request a window of availability to allow students to schedule seats at their own convenience by appointment. Please consult with Beth Bosley directly with inquiries about special requests.
- Allow students who miss an exam to complete an alternative assignment, such as a paper or short research project.
- Offer several low-stakes assessments rather than a few high-stakes exams. With multiple assessments throughout the semester, it is less of an impact when a student misses one.
- As a last resort (for classes with a considerable number of assessments), consider dropping the lowest quiz and/or exam score(s). Keep in mind that doing this will place a larger weight on the other quizzes and exams and provide fewer opportunities for students to practice and learn.