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"In McKelvey Engineering we take the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff very seriously. We are an institution guided by science and, as we welcome back students and faculty for courses on campus and reopen more laboratories and offices, we are committed to following the protocols developed by public health experts to keep our community safe."
— Dean Aaron Bobick
WashU Fall 2020 Plan
Science, Medicine and COVID-19 testing
- Academic Deadlines
The deadline to add or drop a course without transcript notation will be Wednesday, September 30 at 9 p.m.
The deadline for changing grade options between letter grade and pass/fail/ or audit will be Friday, December 4 at 9 p.m.
The deadline to withdraw from a course with a transcript notation will be Friday, December 4 at 9 p.m.
Students should be able to take all of the above actions on WebSTAC. If WebSTAC is not allowing the change, undergraduate students should email their four-year advisor, and graduate students should email McKelveyRegistrar@wustl.edu.
- Course Delivery and Participation
We are asking that each student tell us how they plan to participate in fall courses. If you missed the initial survey deadline or if you need to change your plans, please complete the McKelvey Intention for Fall 2020 Study webform. If you are unsure about having communicated your plans, check WebSTAC. Under Academics select Unofficial Transcript and click ‘Run’. If you have successfully indicated your intention, it will appear under Semester Coursework and Academic Action beneath your FL2020 classes. If you are unable to find this information, or if it appears you have not yet indicated your intention, go ahead and submit the webform. It will not create issues, as all submissions are entered manually. We will not duplicate records.
If you have questions please contact the McKelvey registrars via email at McKelveyRegistrar@wustl.edu.
- Courses Taken Pass/Fail
Pass/fail policies across all schools have returned to normal and are the same ones that were in place at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, and will remain as such even if instruction pivots to fully remote during the fall 2020 semester. The policy is described in the Bulletin.
- Leave of Absence Policy and Transfer Coursework
Undergraduate and Graduate students wishing to take a leave of absence should contact the McKelvey Registrars via email at McKelveyRegistrar@wustl.edu.
Graduate Students can find more information in the Bulletin.
Undergraduate Students: listed below is the Leave of Absence Policy for undergraduate students, and it can also be found here.
There are several types of leaves available to undergraduate McKelvey students. Students may request to take a leave, without formally withdrawing from the university, in one of the following categories:
- Medical Leave of Absence – taken because of physical or mental health issues, this leave must be approved by both Habif Health and Wellness Center/Student Health Services (SHS) and Engineering Undergraduate Student Services (EUSS). Students wishing to return from this leave must be approved by both SHS and EUSS.
- Military Leave of Absence – taken because the student has decided to engage in military service prior to completing degree requirements. Students seeking this leave should contact EUSS.
- Regular Leave of Absence – taken because a student wishes to engage in an activity that cannot be done while enrolled as a student (e.g., working in start-up company), or a student needs a break from academic coursework and desires not to be enrolled in classes during that time period. Students seeking this leave should contact EUSS for approval. This type of leave is normally limited to one year.
A “leave” indicates a “leave from coursework” for a specific time. When a student is on any leave category mentioned above, it is expected that the student will not be enrolled in full-time coursework at any other institution. Some loan deferrals may require students to be enrolled in at least six units. Therefore, a student may transfer a maximum of six course units per semester back to McKelvey while on leave, provided those units are pre-approved by McKelvey as transfer units, and if the courses are taken in-person (i.e., no online coursework). All regular transfer credit rules apply for students in this situation.
For Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Only
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, approved transfer credit may be coursework taken online while the student is on leave. All undergraduate courses that have been previously approved for transfer from other institutions will be honored whether they are offered in-person or online in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021. These must be courses that have been previously approved for transfer from other institutions. Check our Outside Course Evaluation Database to see if a course has been previously approved. Click on the first letter of the name of the college or university to find the list of previously evaluated courses. Humanities and social science courses not currently listed in the Outside Course Evaluation Database may be evaluated for consideration for approval.
- Incomplete Grades
Students with incomplete grades from fall 2019 will have until December 1, 2020 to have a final grade posted before the incomplete grade changes to an "F" grade. Normally, the deadline would have been May 1, 2020.
Students with incomplete grades from spring 2020 will have until December 1, 2020 to have a final grade posted before the incomplete grade changes to an "F" grade.
Students with incomplete grades from fall 2021 will have until May 1, 2021 to have a final grade posted before the incomplete grade changes to an "F" grade.
- Final Exams
Fall 2020 finals exams will be administered remotely and not on campus.
- Probation and Suspension
Academic probation and suspension rules have returned to normal and are described in the Bulletin.
- Dean’s List
Dean’s List will be awarded for fall 2020 grades, as described in the Bulletin.
- Academic Integrity
While academic integrity might not be foremost in your mind, it is something we should all remain cognizant of at this time. Do not compromise your integrity and urge your peers to do likewise. Your personal decisions ripple through the WashU community. Please note that policies and process related to academic integrity remain unchanged. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to McKelvey Academic Integrity Officer, Laura Setchfield. Policies can be reviewed via the links below.
- Online Courses for Undergraduate Students
- Course transfer policies for McKelvey undergraduates have been modified for summer 2020. For more information please visit our page, Summer 2020 Transfer Course Policy for McKelvey Undergraduate Students.
- Course Drop Date Extension
For the spring 2020 semester, the deadline to drop a course (with no transcript notation) is extended to 9 PM (Central Daylight Time), April 24.
All spring 2020 courses from which a student withdrew prior to March 13, 2020 will retain their "W" transcript notation, as these courses were withdrawn prior to the necessity to move to online instruction.
Students should drop with a "W" through WebSTAC and our offices will manually remove the "W's" as they are posted. The "W scrubbing" will take place at least once a week. So if you withdraw from a course, please wait a week before you confirm that the "W" has been removed.
- If WebSTAC will not let you drop your course, contact the Engineering Registrars (undergraduate engineering students may also contact their four-year advisor in Engineering Undergraduate Student Services).
- Please know, WebSTAC will not allow undergraduate students to drop below full-time status (12 units). Undergraduate students wishing to drop below full-time status should discuss this plan with their four-year advisor.
- Although graduate students are able to drop below full-time status (9 units) through WebSTAC, there may be implications for international students who drop below 9 units. Please consult your OISS advisor to ensure dropping below 9 units is appropriate.
- Courses Taken Pass/Fail
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, spring 2020 courses completed with the pass/fail grade option will count toward all McKelvey degree and program requirements (both undergraduate and graduate) if the courses are passed. Instructors should clearly convey to students the expectations to receive a passing grade. For each McKelvey course offering a letter grade option, students can choose the pass/fail option or letter grade option. For courses taken through other schools at Washington University, courses offered and taken with a pass/fail grade option will count toward all McKelvey program requirements.
Students may change grade options up until the last day of classes, April 24, at 9 PM. In spring 2020 undergraduate students may exceed the cap of 6 units pass/fail, and SP2020 courses will not count against the maximum 18 units pass/fail attempted.
UPDATE (4-24-2020): The deadline for students to switch a spring 2020 course from letter grade option to pass/fail option (when pass/fail is offered as a valid grade option) has been extended:
- For May 2020 degree candidates: The deadline to switch a spring 2020 course to the pass/fail grade option is May 10 at 9 PM CDT. This deadline will allow sufficient time to finalize degree information, including Latin Honors, in time for degree conferral and diploma production. Requests to switch a course to pass/fail option after May 10 will not be possible for May 2020 degree candidates.
- For all other McKelvey students: The deadline to switch a spring 2020 course to the pass/fail grade option is May 15 at 9 PM CDT. Submitted grade option changes might take up to three weeks to process, because priority attention will be given to processing grade changes for students graduating in May.
- The deadline to drop a course without transcript notation has not changed (April 24 at 9 PM CDT).
- The deadline to change a grade option from pass/fail to letter grade has not changed (April 24 at 9 PM CDT).
The deadline for making grade option changes through WebSTAC has passed. McKelvey undergraduate, master’s, and DSc students may request a course be changed to the pass/fail grade option by using the McKelvey Spring 2020 Request for Pass/Fail Grade Option form. Submitting this form indicates your final decision for any course listed. You will not be able to change the grade option back to a letter grade (credit) under any circumstance.
Once submitted, these changes are being made manually and priority will be given to May 2020 degree candidates. For each course we have been provided the letter grade threshold that will be used to determine your passing or failing grade upon changing to the pass/fail grade option. If changing a course to pass/fail will result in your failure of the course, the change will not be made and you will be contacted via email. If you have questions, please contact the Engineering Registrars (undergraduate engineering students may also contact their four-year advisor in Engineering Undergraduate Student Services).
We are working behind the scenes to update the WUachieve degree audit system as course grade options are changed. This is a manual process. Immediately after your grade option is modified, WUachieve may reflect pass/fail courses as not satisfying some requirements. Please allow at least one week for the system to accurately reflect pass/fail courses as acceptable.
PhD students wishing to change their grade option should contact The Graduate School via email. Please send your ID number, relevant course number/title, and May 2020 degree candidate status to Graduate School Registrar, Angela Wilson, or Assistant Registrar, Angie Mahon.
- Courses taken pass/fail have no impact on a student's GPA. If a pass/fail course is passed, it will count toward McKelvey requirements but will have no impact on the GPA. If a pass/fail course is not passed, it will not count toward McKelvey requirements and it will not impact the GPA.
- If a course was initially only offered in the pass/fail option only, then pass/fail will remain the only option (a student cannot change such a course to a letter grade).
- Students taking any course pass/fail should confirm with the course instructor the requirements needed to pass that specific course. Each course instructor determines his/her own pass and fail grading criteria.
- This specific policy applies only to programs and degrees offered by the McKelvey School of Engineering. Other divisions on campus have their own policies that apply to their programs and degrees.
- For undergraduate students planning to pursue graduate or professional degrees in the future, please check with your graduate or professional school advisor to determine if it is appropriate to complete courses in pass/fail status.
- If you are receiving scholarship support from outside of WashU, which would be scholarships that are not administrated through WashU Student Financial Services (i.e., scholarships that are not listed in your WashU financial aid award letter), then you may want to confirm that pass/fail grades are acceptable in order to keep receiving future outside scholarship support. If you are receiving outside scholarship support, you should contact that scholarship provider and not WashU Student Financial Services.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I change my spring 2020 independent study to pass/fail?
Before changing independent study courses to pass/fail, please discuss this option with the instructor.
- I am a PhD student. Can I change my courses to pass/fail?
Yes. The Graduate School will accept courses taken pass/fail during the spring 2020 semester.
- Does this policy mean any course can count towards my program or degree?
No. The intent of this policy is to allow courses that were already part of the program curriculum to be taken pass/fail.
- I’m an undergraduate student. Will pass/fail units count towards the requirements for my second major or minor in another school?
Not necessarily. Other undergraduate schools are working to implement similar policies, but they will not necessarily be identical to ours. Please refer to the appropriate school COVID-19 webpage for more information.
- I’m in a joint program that exists between Engineering and another school (e.g. Business and Computer Science). Will pass/fail units count towards my degree requirements?
For most joint programs, students are prime to one school or the other. Our policy covers students who are prime to the School of Engineering. If you are unsure of your prime school, please contact the Engineering Registrars.
- I want to take a non-McKelvey course as pass/fail, but that option is not available at WebSTAC.
Although our policy allows us to accept pass-fail courses from other schools towards McKelvey requirements, we cannot force other schools to allow the pass/fail grade option.
- One of my spring 2020 courses is a retake. Can I change the grade option to pass/fail?
Generally speaking, if you retake a course, the new grade is the one that counts, and an “R” is placed after the prior grade (provided you pass the course). This policy holds for courses taken pass/fail during spring 2020. So, if you take a course pass/fail this semester (and pass), the units will count toward your requirements, and the prior grade will no longer be calculated into your GPA.
- Audited Courses
For the spring 2020 semester, students may change a course from audit to a letter grade option (or from audit to pass/fail) until 9 PM (Central Daylight Time), April 24. Given the challenges in administering audits remotely, it will not be possible to switch a course to audit for the rest of the spring semester.
- Fall 2019 Incomplete Grades
Students with incomplete grades from fall 2019 will have until December 1, 2020 to have a final grade posted before the incomplete grade changes to an "F" grade. Normally, the deadline would have been May 1, 2020.
- Some courses are designed to be yearlong with an “I” given after the fall semester and a letter grade assigned for both semesters at the end of the spring. For example, this is common for master’s students working on projects. If a student choses the pass/fail option for spring 2020, then the pass/fail option will be applied to both semesters unless an exception is granted by the instructor and department.
- For students earning an “I” in fall 2019 semester because they failed to complete the required work, the letter grade approach should be retained unless the instructor and department choose to make an exception.
- Thesis and Dissertation
McKelvey will allow remote participation in MS thesis defenses. With respect to graduate students completing thesis projects this spring, PIs have been asked to develop a completion plan for the students that does not involve any additional laboratory work. Students with questions about thesis completion should contact their department.
Per the Graduate School, all defenses will take place virtually until further notice. PhD students should consult with their PI regarding their dissertation.
The deadline for submitting a thesis or dissertation is April 20th. There is no plan to modify this deadline as it was determined by considering the degree date – which remains unchanged. The degree date for spring 2020 is May 15.
- Final Exams
Spring 2020 finals exams will be administered remotely and not on campus.
- Probation and Suspension
Academic probation and suspension rules have been adjusted for the SP2020 semester. Students will not be placed on academic suspension due to spring 2020 grades, but students may be placed on academic probation.
- More information on probation and suspension criteria can be found in the bulletin.
- Probation does not appear on the official transcript.
- This policy does NOT allow for a student to graduate with an insufficient GPA. Students should take this into consideration when making decisions about the pass/fail grade option.
- Students will still be eligible for non-academic suspension, such as but not limited to, conduct suspension due to academic integrity violation.
- Dean’s List
Dean’s List will not be awarded to McKelvey undergraduate students this semester (spring 2020). We want students to feel comfortable taking courses pass/fail and not conflicted about keeping courses for letter grade so as to maintain eligibility for the Dean’s List. Learning course material, even if in pass/fail status, should be the priority without concern for the Dean’s List. Therefore, we have removed Dean’s List as an option for this semester.
- Academic Integrity
We understand this semester has been challenging as a result of our move to online learning coupled with the stress of navigating consequences of a global pandemic. While academic integrity might not be foremost in your mind, it is something we should all remain cognizant of at this time. Do not compromise your integrity and urge your peers to do likewise. Your personal decisions ripple through the WashU community. Please note that policies and process related to academic integrity remain unchanged. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to McKelvey Academic Integrity Officer, Laura Setchfield at email@example.com. Policies can be reviewed via the links below.
- Additional Academic Resources
WashU Libraries are currently still open and available for you to access remotely. Many resources are still available to you even though you aren't here on campus. You can view all remote resources and updates from the libraries here: https://library.wustl.edu/about/covid-19/
- Online Learning
With the transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester, faculty will likely make greater use of Canvas and Zoom. Should you need additional resources to access those services, please see the links below:
- Learning Center
The Learning Center has put together a "Strategies for Learning Remotely (for Students)" page on their website. Please spend some time exploring that sight for assistance and FAQ's to be successful with the new learning format. Learn more here: https://teachingcontinuity.wustl.edu/strategies-for-learning-remotely/
- Writing Center
Writing Center remains open and available to help with writing assignments and application materials. Schedule an appointment online during regular hours (Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. -9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.)starting Monday, March 23. Please visit the web page to view information on setting up online appointments, how to attach documents to your sessions, troubleshooting, etc. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For information on how to use VPN to connect to Engineering academic lab shares or other network access to computers on campus visit the Engineering IT Networks & Remote Access page.
- Technical support
Contact Student Technology Services for assistance by emailing email@example.com, or starting Monday, March 16, by calling 314-933-3333.
- WashU Commencement Ceremony
The University has canceled the Commencement ceremony on May 15, due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. Please watch for additional communications in the weeks to come related to a future celebration. For updates and information: https://commencement.wustl.edu/
- Engineering Recognition Ceremony
The school’s recognition ceremony scheduled for May 14 has also been canceled. Please watch for additional communications in the next several weeks.
- WashU Commencement Ceremony
- Fall 2020 Registration
- Registration Schedule
Dates for Fall 2020 registration have been modified for certain undergraduate populations. Students impacted by these changes have been notified via email. Please refer to registration communications for more information. You can view your assigned registration day/time in WebSTAC.
- April 9 – graduate students
- April 14 – class of 2020 or earlier
- April 20 – class of 2021
- April 21 – class of 2022
- April 22 – class of 2023
- Four-Year Advising
- Advising meetings will still take place. All advising will take place via a phone appointment. You can schedule your appointment here.
- Call the provided number at your scheduled appointment time.
- It helps if you are around a computer with internet accesses at the time of your appointment, but not required. Your advisor might want to review your registration worksheet and WUachieve degree audit with you.
- Please have your registration worksheet started or completed before your advising appointment.
- Email is also a way to reach your advisor
- Faculty Advising
Your faculty advisor must authorize you for registration. This is true for both undergraduate and graduate students. If your faculty advisor hasn’t yet informed you of the best way to schedule a remote advising appointment for Fall 2020 registration, please email them to find out the best way to do that.
- Registration Schedule
- Habif Health and Wellness Center
UHC (and UHCSR by extension) has updated some of their policies around COVID-19. Students will still have deductible/coinsurance, but effective 3/30/20, UHC will be waiving all member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing AND treatment through 5/31/2020. Also, they will be waiving cost-sharing for telehealth services by in-network providers for ALL services, COVID and non-COVID through 6/18/2020. More information here
- Internet Service
Several internet providers have offered free/reduced internet service for student affected by the COVID-19 response. Two providers are listed below:
- Comcast Internet Essentials
"Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)."
- Charter Spectrum Broadband
"Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households."
- Comcast Internet Essentials
- Students on Campus
- Policy for undergraduate research
Personnel density in research labs will be carefully controlled during the fall semester. This will be done to reduce the likelihood of labs being shut down due to the spread of COVID-19 and ensure mission-critical research can continue to be performed. Therefore, during the Fall 2020 semester, McKelvey undergraduates may not pursue on-campus, laboratory-based independent research for credit (e.g. as independent study, undergraduate research). McKelvey undergraduates may perform on-campus, laboratory-based research if hired by a faculty member and paid as a research assistant. McKelvey undergraduate students may pursue research for independent study credit if it can be performed remotely and if it is approved by that department.
- McKelvey graduate students engaged in research in engineering labs
In an effort to reduce the number of people on campus, the University has asked all PIs to identify essential laboratory work and only have people working on that. This includes experiments under way that cannot be easily halted, or maintaining lab facilities that require occasional intervention. Graduate students are encouraged to do as much work as possible remotely and work with their PIs regarding how to proceed.
- Assistant to the Instructors (AI's/TA's)
Graduate and undergraduates students in St. Louis are allowed to work on campus with their faculty and staff if necessary to provide assistance with their assigned courses (in this case, assist in providing online coverage of their courses). Otherwise they should not be on campus.
- McKelvey Computer Labs
Students are not allowed in the computer labs.
- Spartan Makerspace (Jubel Hall)
The Spartan Light Metal Products Makerspace will be closed until further notice as of Thursday, March 19. Please visit the makerspace website for details.
- Machine Shops and Urbauer Makerspace
The machine shops in Urbauer and Jubel halls, as well as the Urbauer Hall Makerspace, are closed. Students, faculty and staff will be notified when they reopen.
- Policy for undergraduate research
- Student Technology Resources
Academic Lab Access using RDSH Servers
This service allows students taking classes in McKelvey to access many of the programs found in the Engineering labs on your personal computer. VPN is NOT required to access this service. To access the remote server login to: https://lab.seas.wustl.edu/rdweb/webclient/ with ACCOUNTS\WUSTL Key username
Access Lab machines remotely using Labstats
Due to physical distancing restrictions, several of the computers in McKelvey computer labs are not accessible in person. However, we have a web portal where these computers can be accessed remotely.
To access these computers please connect to the URL below: https://remoteaccess.labstats.com/washington-university-in-st-louis-engineering#computer-group_1010
Like the RDSH servers, these resources are accessible to all student taking classes in McKelvey and can be accessed with your WUSTL Key without connecting to VPN.
Some applications require enhanced 3D graphics capability beyond what can be provided by the RDSH server. This service provides remote access to these tools and can be logged into here: https://wustl.apporto.com.
Login with your WUSTL Key. You'll see an application called "Engineering CAD Applications." If you launch that, you will get a desktop in a browser window where the following applications are installed:
Autodesk Civil 2019
Autodesk Inventor 2019
Autodesk Revit 2019
Ansys (Fluent) 2020R2
Academic Lab Hours
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our labs will NOT be open 24/7 or on the Weekends. The schedule for Fall 2020 is: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The EIT offices will not be available for walk-up support this semester. Student requiring technical assistance should work with Student Technology Services (STS) or the new Tech Den technology hub for support with their computers and technology:
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we have modified how we will handle poster printing for Fall 2020:
- Requests must be submitted 48 hours in advance
- All poster printing requests will need to be submitted electronically via Service Now (link coming soon)
- Printers will be printed by consultants in the evening, labeled, and placed in the hall for pickup
- Due to the contactless nature of our offices, we will NOT be able to accept BearBucks for poster printing. We will only accept payment via a departmental charge for the fall semester.
Current Engineering Master’s students are eligible to apply for a one-time grant to assist with technology needs. If approved, students will receive a refund via their student account to pay for the expense. When purchasing a computer or accessory, students are required to submit proof of purchase within 10 days. Failure to submit proof of purchase could result in the revocation of the grant and a balance due to the University. If the grant request is for internet service, students are required to submit a billing statement from the provider prior to approval. Students will be notified of the result of the application at their WashU e-mail address. Current Engineering PhD students can apply for the technology grant via the Graduate School.
- Summer programs – international
- University-owned and operated study abroad and international academic experiences (undergraduate and graduate) are cancelled for summer 2020.
- Undergraduate research program for international students during summer 2020 are cancelled for summer 2020; do not offer awards for undergraduate travel during summer 2020.
- Summer Financial Aid available through Student Financial Services
Matriculated Washington University students who are accepted into a degree program may apply for summer school financial assistance. Financial assistance is generally in the form of student loans. To be considered for loan assistance, students must satisfy the following requirements:
Current undergraduate students must be enrolled in and complete a minimum of 6 units of course work during the summer semester with a C (2.0) minimum grade point average.
Students must complete a summer school aid application, which is available through Student Financial Services, and applications must be processed before the summer session in which you are taking courses ends.
- EUSS is making an effort to still offer tutoring services.
- All tutoring will be held via a video conference format. Your tutor will work with you to set up a time and format.
- Priority will be placed for students who have already been working with EUSS tutoring for Spring 2020. We will make our best efforts to keep tutoring, however, we anticipate to have less tutors available for the remaining weeks of the semester.
- If you request a EUSS tutor after 03/11/20 we will attempt to connect you with a tutor, however, new tutoring matches will be limited and can not be guaranteed.
- WashU Crisis Response Fund for Students
The WashU Crisis Response Fund for Students was designed to provide financial resources for Washington University students who, as a result of unexpected additional costs or loss of income, need emergency financial support to pay for essential needs, such as housing, food, and medicine, between March 15, 2020 and April 30, 2020. The deadline to submit a request for a stipend has passed. If you have questions about the Fund or would like to check in on the status of your application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In mid-April, the University will reassess the Fund’s capacity to determine whether it will be possible to provide further support to students beyond April 30th.
- Tips to improve a video conferencing meeting if you are remote
If you participate remotely in a video conference, follow these instructions to ensure the best experience.
- Try to connect via a wired Ethernet jack. This prevents WiFi dropouts and speed issues.
- If connecting from a laptop, plug in the laptop wall power. Battery use can adversely affect video quality.
- Test the connection before the call; this is strongly recommended.
- Ensure that you have a camera, microphone, and headphones or speakers available. Earbuds or headphones are preferable to avoid audio feedback and echo. Most modern laptops and all-in-one desktops have a headphone jack, microphone, and speakers built in.
- Be aware of your surroundings and how you appear visually.
- Call from a quiet location with no background noise.
- Close blinds on windows so that you are easier to see on video.
- Wear neutral, solid-colored clothing. Avoid black, white, or striped clothing.
- Be aware of your behavior. Because you are on a video conference, people can see what you are doing at all times.
- What course modalities does McKelvey support for teaching in-person and remote courses?
Course modalities refer to how an instructor offers a course. Face-to-face, on-campus has historically been the traditional model. However, the exigencies of COVID-19 have prompted instructors to pursue new course modalities rooted in distance education, online learning, and educational technologies.
As you review the different modalities, you may find it helpful to view the matrix at the end of this section. It provides a quick reference of key features and requirements for each modality.
- On-Campus: Face-to-Face
- On-Campus: Hybrid/Hybrid Alternating
- On-Campus Plus Zoom
- Online: Asynchronous
- Online: Synchronous
On-Campus Modalities in Traditional Classrooms
The following modalities require students to come to an on-campus, traditional classroom that does not include educational technology for videoconferencing or recording of class meetings. However, both students and instructors must adhere to university protocols regarding health and safety. Linked here: https://covid19.wustl.edu/academics-student-life/classrooms/
This mode of instruction is likely the most traditional. These class sessions meet in person at specified day(s) and times throughout the term. Good for courses that have heavy hands-on components, like labs. Also good for classes with 25 students or less.
- Pros: It is familiar, requires minimal mastery of new technology, and it allows instructors considerable flexibility inside the classroom. Also, new lesson plans do not necessarily need to be developed.
- Cons: It requires instructors and students meet in the classroom. This requirement prohibits remote learners from taking the course. Too, social distancing, masking, and cleaning protocols must be maintained.
This modality blends in-person sessions on specified day(s) and times with online, asynchronous learning opportunities (e.g., video-lectures, online activities, discussions). For example, instead of teaching a tradition, on-campus course that meets T-TH 9:30 am -11:00 am, instructors would have students only come to campus on Tuesdays from 9:30 am -11:00 am. All other learning activities would be moved to an asynchronous, online format. Good for courses that have heavy hands-on components, like labs. Also good for courses with more than 25 students.
- Pros: Combines the best practices of face-to-face and online learning; research indicates that hybrid instruction is more effective than purely face-to-face or online instruction.
- Cons: Still requires students to come to campus (albeit less frequently), which can limit schedule flexibility and the participation of remote learners; still requires that social distancing, masking, and cleaning protocols be maintained; requires careful calibration between face-to-face and online learning activities. This modality often asks instructors to learn new, educational technology.
For larger courses, consider an alternating hybrid approach. This modality allows for increased enrollment in on-campus classes under social distancing conditions, by cohorting students and alternating the cohorts that attend class sessions. The instructor repeats the same material twice for the separate cohorts, and students complete other learning activities asynchronously online to offset their reduced face-to-face classroom time.
- Pros: Reduces classroom density. Allows for meaningful in-person interactions.
- Cons: Adds complexity to course design process. Course must be fully built as asynchronous, complemented by alternating synchronous sessions. Can limit schedule flexibility and the participation of learners. Still requires that social distancing, masking, and cleaning protocols be maintained.
On-Campus Plus Zoom
This modality consists of a group of students that meets on campus in a Zoom-enabled room at a specific time on a specific day, linked to a group of remote students who meet at the same time on Zoom. Instructors poll the class to gather a sense of modality preferences with students—ultimately allowing students to choose how they attend the course. An option for courses with more than 25 students.
- Pros: Instructors can provide meaningful, in-person experiences without investing time in creating asynchronous learning activities. Offers students maximum choice in participating in face-to-face and online class environments, while maintaining social distancing. Allows for synchronous participation of students who cannot be on campus at any time.
- Cons: Less flexibility for students, particularly for ones in different time zones. There will likely be an educational technology learning curve for instructors. Engaging with students live and via remote audio/video participation can be challenging. Still requires that social distancing, masking, and cleaning protocols be maintained. Adds complexity to the course design process.
This modality consists of a group of students that meets on campus in a Zoom-enabled room at a specific time on a specific day, linked both to a group of remote students who meet at the same time on Zoom and a group of online asynchronous students who may utilize recordings of the on-campus session. Students in the online asynchronous group have the option of connecting via Zoom, if and when they are available, with the live classroom and the instructor. An option for courses with more than 25 students. Also a good option for courses with many students located outside of US time zones.
- Pros: Instructors can provide meaningful, in-person experiences without investing time in creating asynchronous learning activities. Offers students maximum choice in participating in face-to-face and online class environments, while maintaining social distancing. Allows for synchronous participation of students who cannot be on campus at any time. A particularly attractive modality for international students who are located in non-US time zones.
- Cons: Students who don’t attend class sessions in real time may feel left out when watching recordings after class has ended. Engaging with students live and via remote audio/video participation can be challenging. Still requires that social distancing, masking, and cleaning protocols be maintained. Adds complexity to the course design process.
Fully Online Modalities with No On-Campus Presence
The following modalities require no physical classroom. All course activities are conducted online asynchronously and/or via synchronous videoconferencing.
There are no set meeting times with this modality. All course content is available to instructors and students 24/7 via the course website (typically via Canvas). If an instructor offers synchronous meetings in this modality, student attendance is completely optional. Good for courses with more than 60 students wherein course is fully designed before the start of the term.
- Pros: Most flexible format in terms of scheduling for both instructors and students.
- Cons: Can be difficult to keep students engaged and motivated. Building a sense of community can be a challenge. Requires significant up-front investment in course design.
This format is similar to the standard, on-campus modality in that class meetings occur at scheduled times throughout the term just as they would in a traditional, face-to-face course. However, instead of meeting in person, students and instructors meet online via a videoconferencing tool, such as Zoom. Good for courses with more than 60 students.
- Pros: This modality is most similar to in-classroom learning environments in that all instruction and student interaction can be conducted in “real time.” Traditional lesson plans can often be used. Heavy investment in course design not typically required.
- Cons: Least flexible of all the online learning formats. Students must have the time, bandwidth, and tools to participate in frequent, required video conferences at fixed times. In longer sessions, student attention may faulter. Difficult for learners who are not located in US time zones.
Assigned Room on Campus
Requires Synchronous Meetings
Uses Canvas and/or Course Website
On-Campus Plus Zoom
Information drawn from DePaul University’s “Course Modalities” teaching guide and WashU Olin’s “Course Delivery” site.
- How should I administer my exams?
With distance learning, there are clear issues around test security, both in terms of students accessing unauthorized assistance and copying tests for others to use. While there is no perfect solution to these issues, below are some steps that can mitigate both.
- Tests administered by paper
- Proctors – Find partners (employers, local universities, libraries, etc.) who can agree to proctor tests for distance students. Tests are sent to proctors with expectations for testing conditions. Proctors certify that conditions are met and send completed tests back to us.
- Take-home, open-book exams – Modify tests so that students are free to use available resources. Have students submit finished exams via Gradescope or Canvas as pdf files.
- Tests administered electronically
- Canvas testing – Canvas’ quizzing tool allows for required passwords, time limits, randomized question and answer order, sample questions from test pools, and IP address restriction.
- Gradescope – Gradescope has features for students to complete and submit exams on paper with an electronic template or in Gradescope using the online assignment feature. Gradescope has fewer security options than Canvas, but can use AI-assisted grading to highlight patterns among student submissions, including unusual overlap on exams.
- Zoom proctoring – Faculty can set up a Zoom meeting and ask students to enable their webcams while taking the exam. This can limit unauthorized collaboration and also allow students an opportunity to ask clarifying questions during the exam (either using a private chat or in a breakout room). Zoom is whitelisted for use with Respondus Monitor.
- Lockdown browser – Lockdown browser can be used in conjunction with Canvas’ quizzing or another form of electric administration. Lockdown will restrict which actions can be taken on computers during the test, and log all clicks and keystrokes. Suspicious behaviors can be flagged for review.
- Repondus Monitor – Uses webcam and microphone with artificial intelligence to record student behavior during exam administration. Also limits and tracks computer activity. Students have to remain on screen at all times and not interfere with camera or microphone. Also Monitor can flag students who appear to use another device (i.e., cellphone) while being monitored.
- Distance proctors – Some companies provide human-assisted proctoring. Similar to monitor above, but with added live supervision. The distance proctors are watching several students at once and are assisted by AI flags to determine which students requires close supervision.
Finally, research has shown that required students to sign an honor code statement regarding the importance of academic integrity immediately prior to an exam can reduce cheating. Each of these measures, including honor code statements, are intended to increase the burden and decrease the likelihood of cheating, but cannot prevent students from doing so. For more details, see the Assessment Brown Bag discussion on our faculty blog.
- Tests administered by paper
- I prefer to work out problems for my students manually. How can I do this without my students being present?
We appreciate the need for handwritten lectures and know that some of your most effective teaching simply isn’t suited to a PowerPoint slide. For content that needs to be written, there are several options:
- Use an iPad, Surface tablet, or other device with a stylus and use Kaltura to capture a screen recording, or Zoom to do a live demonstration
- Schedule recording time in Jolley 421 to use a large screen touch device with a stylus and to get guidance on how to best record your content
- Check out or purchase a WACOM Bamboo tablet and stylus to use with a desktop or laptop computer.
- On a limited basis, schedule a recording in a classroom with an EIT staff member for either a live or pre-taped whiteboard video
- Set up a USB-style doc cam, webcam or smartphone as secondary input in a Zoom meeting to focus on written content
PowerPoint, Kaltura, and Zoom all feature annotation software options and McKelvey will be offering ongoing for using these tools to deliver your content.
- What should I do about my labs?
McKelvey is working with individual faculty to determine support needs for various types of lab learning. Some options for remote delivery of labs may include:
- Recorded demo of lab steps (EIT will help film the demos), followed by distribution of data and problems sets to students via Canvas
- Virtual labs, including simulations
- Curated lab kits shipped to students
We know that labs are important part of your learners’ experience, and we are evaluating these options in coordination with the dean and department chairs.
- Who can students call for technical support?
Students with persistent technical issues should contact the WashU Tech Den at https://techden.wustl.edu/support-help/.
If you students need financial assistance to acquire the necessary hardware for your course, please direct them to contact the Office of Student Success.
- What technological resources is McKelvey providing me to teach remotely?
McKelvey has purchased and approved several tools for delivering course content remotely, including video recording and hosting platforms, as well as our LMS and teleconference tools. For FAQs and user guides related to each tool, see the links below:
- Other Topics
- Please publish your revised syllabus, including any revisions to the grading rubrics and point students to it.
- There are various ways to structure and conduct exams that are completed remotely. These options offer varying degrees virtual "proctoring". While they offer no academic integrity guarantees, there might be options that fit your need. For more information, please contact Jason Crandall (email@example.com).
- McKelvey Engineering is working to provide substantial flexibility about course grade options (this applies to non-UMSL and non-Sever programs). We are coordinating at the school level and seek consistency across the university to the extent practicable.
- If you are pre-recording materials to be viewed by students and discussed during a class session, please do upload materials with enough time (e.g. at least 1-2 days) for students to view prior to class. Also, there have been reported cases of Zoom taking several hours, or even a day to process recordings; they added the infrastructure to largely eliminate this bottleneck, but this is yet another reason to record your materials as soon as practicable.
- Links to recordings of training sessions from earlier in the week.
Only visitors whose presence on campus for mission-critical purposes will be allowed on campus. Mission-critical visitors include:
- Finalists for faculty and/or leadership positions
- Families of current students for drop-off or pick-up only
- Vendors and consultants hired for mission-critical university work
- Others depending on circumstances and approval
Requests for permission to bring visitors on campus will be reviewed and approved through a university process.
Approved, mission-critical visitors who come to campus must follow all health requirements, including wearing a mask or face covering, physical distancing and enhanced personal hygiene and hand-washing. A screening process for approved visitors will be implemented to make sure they are checking for symptoms before coming to campus.
All non-essential university-sponsored travel, including all student group travel, is suspended until further notice. Requests to engage in essential university-sponsored travel must be approved by the chancellor or provost, a dean, executive vice chancellor or vice chancellor. All approved essential travel must be registered here. All travel restrictions are subject to change based on travel conditions and public health guidance. Most student group travel will be considered “non essential” for the foreseeable future. Read additional travel and study abroad information.