COVID-19 Weekly Update (10/8)

Oct. 9, 2020

(This message was originally sent on October 8, 2020. It is being published here for preservation.)

Dear Department Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, Vice-Chancellors and colleagues:

Below are our updates for this week.

A Note from Academic Integrity

We are seeing a new, significant problem since Covid-19 increased the number of online courses: masses of students cheating on an exam by communicating with each other via group chats (e.g., using the GroupMe app) during the exam. These cases involve fifty or more students at a time. In addition to undermining the integrity of courses, they are causing instructors great headaches.

Our colleagues in Educational Technologies put together a very helpful resource here. You will see a section about online test security. The advice is very helpful, though, unsurprisingly, not foolproof. Students are taking screen shots of questions, asking each other if they have the same exam with questions and multiple choice options in the same order, to get around some of the techniques used to minimize cheating. In addition to the advice from ET, please ask students to affirm our Honor Pledge with each exam and paper assignment.

Second, we have written to you previously about “Coursehero” and other websites that permit students to upload and download exams, papers, and other assignments from their courses. Many of you are still unaware of the amount of material from your courses that is accessible to students on those sites. We highly recommend checking Coursehero to see what materials of yours are already out there.

Finally, the Office of Academic Integrity soon will roll out a new reporting system that we hope will make the process much more efficient for all. We are maintaining our Option A and B reporting forms, but the new system will allow you to submit the relevant information through a web portal, removing the need to save and email a PDF. However, for cases involving many students (like the ones described above), please contact our office before reporting. We have to use a modified procedure for this unfortunate type of situation.

If you have questions about academic integrity, please feel free to email us at or give us a call at 573-882-6488.

Budget Slides

Here is a link to the slides that were used with the Chairs last week regarding the current budget situation:

Pedagogies of Care

Pedagogies of Care: Open Resources for Student-Centered & Adapted Strategies in the New Higher Ed Landscape is a collection of resources for teaching, learning, collaboration, and assessment. Victoria Mondelli, Director of the Teaching for Learning Center, is one of the collection’s editors. It includes videos, podcasts, interviews, and articles to be used for teaching and professional development.

Faculty and Graduate Student Input for the Library

The University of Missouri Libraries is looking for your input on the resources you rely on most. In particular, they are facing the need to reduce the total number of journal subscriptions and need your input as they identify the most essential titles to keep. Faculty and graduate students are invited to attend one of these sessions:

Thursday, October 15, 2:00 PM, at

Wednesday, October 21, 2:00 PM, at

MU International Engagement Awards

It’s not too late to submit a nomination for the 2020 MU International Engagement Awards — the deadline is Thursday, Oct. 15! See the full call for nominations for more information and nomination instructions.

May 2020 Commencement Update

We sent a message to Class of 2020 graduates on Monday informing them that an in-person commencement will be postponed for at least the rest of the year, given the ongoing public health challenges of COVID-19. As you know, in May, we celebrated the graduates with a virtual event and hope to do it in person when it is once again safe. You can read the rest of the message on our website.

Tiger Food Fight

Even though many Homecoming activities won’t be held in person this year, one tradition being carried on is the Tiger Food Fight. This Friday, from noon to 6 p.m. you can donate canned goods at the drive-thru at the circle drive of the Reynolds Alumni that will benefit the Food Bank of Central Missouri and the Tiger Pantry. Read more about the other Homecoming events, including the blood drive and virtual spirit rally.

Thanks as always for all you do.


Latha Ramchand