COVID-19: Daily Update (4/14)

April 15, 2020



This message was originally sent on April 14, 2020. It is being published here for preservation.

Dear Department chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, Vice Chancellors and others:

While my goal is to keep emails short, simple, and useful, this past week brought with it many developments on academic matters, which I want to share – hence this long email. Several groups have been working hard to address the details of all the changes that are afoot, and I thank them for their prompt attention to these matters. As we approach the final weeks of the semester, do not hesitate to reach out to our office with any additional questions or issues you have.

Final exams

No changes have been made to MU’s final exam policies for Spring 2020. No final exams may be held outside of the final exam week. For the Spring 2020 semester, the final exam period begins Monday, May 11th, at 7:30 a.m. and ends Friday, May 15th, at noon. You can find the SP20 final exam schedule here.

If you plan to give a traditional final exam, please try to use Canvas. Canvas allows you to do timed exams, create question banks, randomize questions, etc. See more here and here. If you require proctoring or enhanced security features, check out Proctorio and the Respondus lockdown browser. It is important to investigate these resources now, as they require advanced set-up from you and your students. The Office of eLearning is offering Proctorio trainings weekly. See below for guidelines on giving final exams this semester.

Last Date to Record Grades

So as to give faculty more time to complete their grading this semester, the last date to record grades has been moved back by one week, to May 22 at 5pm.

Commencement

Teams are working on a plan for a virtual celebration for graduates in May. Additionally, given that the in-person commencement has been delayed, we are currently surveying students for what a future commencement might look like.

Credit Internships, Clinical Placements, and Research for Summer 2020

Undergraduate and graduate internships, student clinical placements, and research for undergraduate and graduate students are recognized as critical and formative experiences for many of our students. As always, and particularly during the current global health situation, each student and their Academic Unit should consider all opportunities thoroughly and weigh possible risks with the benefits of the experience. With this context in mind, please read the principles that must be followed for all credit-bearing internships, clinical placements, and credit-bearing and funded research for Summer 2020.

Summer Camps

Consistent with the decision to not have face to face classes this summer, all on campus summer camps that involve in person activities will be canceled.

Grading in Summer 2020

Summer 2020 courses will be graded in a manner consistent with standard university policy. The Spring 2020 S/U policy that was enacted mid-semester was meant to address the incredible disruption that students experienced in the quick transition to remote education; for Summer 2020, we have made the decision to have courses be online early enough to give instructors time to evaluate their course offerings and course needs and to give students time to assess what courses they can take in the online format.

Virtual International Options

The MU International Center is pleased to announce the launching of Global Mizzou Virtual Internships. This innovative new program is launched in partnership with a long-trusted nationally-recognized study abroad affiliate, CEA Abroad, and the MU College of Arts & Science. The goal of this program is to provide students with a supervised international work experience as they develop key competencies for the 21st century global and remote workforce. Open to all MU academic majors, students can earn academic credit from this experience and make progress towards graduation. Students can use financial aid and scholarships to help cover the costs of this virtual international experience. Students can choose internship experiences from 10 different global hubs around the world.

The MU International Center is also working closely with the College of Arts & Science language departments to open virtual foreign language and culture learning opportunities for students. With the assistance of our international host partner universities, we hope to offer students the opportunity to work directly with local language instructors and students around the world to improve their language proficiency. Stay tuned for more information on this.

The MU International Center can help customize virtual international experiences for MU academic departments. If this of interest to your department, please contact Dr. Mary Stegmaier, Interim Vice Provost for International Programs, at stegmaierm@missouri.edu.

Contingency Planning for Fall 2020

Many people have been asking what, if anything, we know about the Fall semester. We have been working with experts on COVID-19 to assess what the scenarios are for how the virus may affect our campus in the fall. We are beginning to draw up contingency plans for all aspects of our operations based on the various possible scenarios. We plan to have more on this topic soon.

Faculty council resolution on COVID19 Pandemic and Racial Discrimination
I thank members of Mizzou’s Faculty Council for adopting a resolution that affirms our commitment to respect for all members of the Mizzou community. Click here to read more.

Applause

As the world adapts to a temporary new normal with classes and meetings online, so has an MU tutoring program. The “A Way With Words & Numbers” (or AWWWN) non-profit tutoring program housed in the Career Center has taken their tutoring lessons online. Under the guidance of Career Center’s Director Rob McDaniels, three MU graduate students – McKinzie Duesenberg, a doctoral student in school psychology, Claire Nolan, a master’s candidate in school counseling, and Kelli Russell, a master’s candidate in school counseling – converted the established program from in-site to online to continue to serve elementary students from 13 Columbia Public Schools in these uncertain times.

The Southeastern Conference announced today that our very own Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Anthony Lupo won the SEC’s 2020 Faculty Achievement Award. The recognition is given out to one faculty member from each school once a year. The SEC then awards one of those candidates as SEC professor of the year. Click here to read more about Dr. Lupo and his research in atmospheric sciences along with his commitment to be serve students. Congratulations Dr. Lupo.

Congratulations also to Dr. Syed Hasan Naqvi, and Dr. Kang both faculty members from the Department of Medicine for their recent awards from NIH and the NCI.

Please let me know how our office can help you – stay safe and thanks for all you do for Mizzou.

SP20 Final Exams: Quick tips and Resources

The purpose of this document is to provide a single page of practical guidance and resources for instructors as they navigate final exams in the remote environment.

Please note that no changes have been made to MU final exam policies for Spring 2020. Most importantly:

  • No final exams may be held outside of the final exam week. For SP20, finals begin Monday, May 11th, at 7:30 a.m. and end Friday, May 15th, at noon. You can find the final exam schedule here.
  • Fixed-schedule exams based on regular course meeting times may not be rescheduled for another time.
  • Group final exams include all sections of the course

For information about non-standard class meeting times, conflicting final examinations, students with more than two finals in a 24-hour period, exceptions for late-afternoon/upper-division courses, or courses that meet once a week, please see the Registrar’s page here. For a full accounting of final exam policies, see the MU Faculty Handbook, Article V. Examinations here.

Communicate with students

  • Create a plan (e.g., when the exam will occur, what format) for your virtual final exam/project.
  • Communicate your plan early and in multiple places (e.g. email, Canvas Announcements and Calendar).
  • Ask students to share any specific concerns or needs (including lack of computer or WiFi) with you via email as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours in advance.

Share MU student support resources
o Technical support: (573) 882-5000; techsupport@missouri.edu
o Student well-being: https://wellbeing.missouri.edu/

Consider alternative assessments

  • Eliminate the final. MU does not require final exams. You may eliminate the final, or make it optional based on graded assignments completed before the final exam week.
  • Create a replacement assessment. These could be essays, short answers/problems, papers, PowerPoint or video presentations, etc., etc. You can find good ideas here and here. Consider using the original scheduled final end time as due date.
  • Be flexible. Learning accommodations, technology problems/access, mental health issues may challenge even alternative assessment.

If you plan to give a traditional final exam

  • Use Canvas. Canvas allows you to do timed exams, create question banks, randomize questions, etc. See more here and here.
  • Proctoring or enhanced security features. Proctorio and the Respondus lockdown browser are the most readily available.
    • Become familiar with these now; they require advance setup from you, your TAs, and your students; they may also require troubleshooting. There are weekly Proctorio trainings online.
    • Proctorio requires a computer and webcam; have a “plan B” for those without the technology.

Addressing academic integrity

  • Have students actively acknowledge the MU honor pledge on your exam or final assignment. Studies show that this discourages academic dishonesty.
  • Before finalizing exams/alternative assessments, review information on promoting academic integrity in the online environment; incorporate these strategies into final assignments and their deployment.

A reminder about technology, course design, and accessibility resources for instructors

  • Tech support for instructors: (573) 882-3303; coursehelp@missouri.edu
  • Academic Technology and Instructional Design Support Hours here.
  • Schedule of webinars and trainings from Office of eLearning here.
  • Information on accessibility in the Canvas environment here.

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Recommendation for Summer 2020 – Credit Internships and Clinical Placements for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Undergraduate and graduate internships and student clinical placements are recognized as critical and formative experiences for many of our students. As always, and particularly during the current global health situation, each student and their Academic Unit should consider all opportunities thoroughly and weigh possible risks with the benefits of the internship experience.

Some academic degree programs require approved credit bearing internships for graduation. Some of these are also required by accrediting bodies. The requirements within academic programs not related to accreditation are often associated with a best practice for the discipline and widely adopted across the country by these disciplines.

With this context in mind, the following principles must be followed for all credit-bearing internships and clinical placements for Summer 2020:

1. Any internship/clinical placement that can be done in a fully remote format is allowed.
a. Clear expectations for the intern supervisors and faculty must be established to track student work with appropriate and ongoing feedback throughout the internship experience.
2. If remote options are not available, alternative experiences that replace the internship while still achieving the learning outcomes related to internship experiences should be pursued.
3. In person or hybrid internships/clinical placement for credit should only be considered if there is no longer a stay-at-home order and items 1 and 2 above are not possible or appropriate because of accreditation, licensure, or other requirements. Approvals of in person or hybrid internships/clinical placement must follow a clearly articulated process and require approval by the unit and/or dean (or their designee).
Each college should design the process to review exception requests.
a. To consider an approval, the following documentation is necessary:
i. The name of the organization hiring the intern, the location of the internship, and the start/end dates of the internship.
ii. The company/organization’s commitment to upholding public health standards that address health and safety of the intern(s).
iii. A job description with clear work expectations, learning outcomes and assessment for the internship.
iv. The organization’s commitment to comply with labor laws
v. A statement from the student to state how they will maintain their own personal safety.

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Recommendation for Summer 2020 – Research for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Undergraduate and graduate research is recognized for providing critical and formative experiences for many of our students. As always, and particularly during the current global health situation, each student and their Academic Unit should consider all opportunities thoroughly and weigh possible risks with the benefits of research experiences.

Some academic degree programs require research for graduation. Students also pursue research opportunities to prepare them for advanced degrees and to expand employment options. In addition, students are critical for many funded research projects

With this context in mind, the following principles must be followed for all credit-bearing and funded research for Summer 2020. Please note that credit-bearing includes dissertation and thesis hours:

1. Any research that can be done in a fully digital and remote format is allowed.
a. Clear expectations for the research supervisors/faculty must be established to track student work with appropriate and ongoing feedback throughout the research experience.
2. If digital and remote options are not available, alternative experiences that replace or complement research while still achieving the learning outcomes related to research should be pursued.
3. In person or hybrid research activities should only be considered if there is no longer a stay-at-home order and items 1 and 2 above are not possible or appropriate because of federal funding requirements or research projects that are required for master’s and doctoral programs. Approvals of in person or hybrid research placement must follow a clearly articulated process, taking into account guidance from the Office of Research and Economic Development about what is considered essential research, and require approval by the unit and/or dean (or their designee). Each college should design the process to review exception requests.
a. To consider an approval, the following documentation is necessary:
i. The location of the research experience, and the start/end dates of the research experience.
ii. Documented commitment to upholding public health standards that address health and safety of the student(s), as defined in the CDC guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-gettingsick/prevention.html).
iii. A description with clear work expectations, learning outcomes and assessment for the research experience.
iv. A statement from the student to clarify how they will maintain their own personal safety.
v. If appropriate, a statement from the PI or advisor/mentor that provides details about the safety precautions that will be taken by the lab or other research setting.
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Sincerely,
Latha Ramchand