Novel coronavirus information

April 14, 2020

Academic accommodations for students

This message was sent to instructors at all University of Washington campuses.

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your continued efforts to adapt your courses and teach remotely. We recognize that this academic environment is challenging, requiring flexibility and patience from all of us. Below, we address a few recent concerns and resources.

Accommodating students: As you are well aware, some of our students are facing challenges that make their reliable participation in synchronous course activities difficult. These challenges, which student leaders have raised with President Cauce and us, include unreliable internet connections and technology limitations. Students now living in various time zones around the world are having difficulty participating in classes in real time (synchronously). Some students are living in crowded households without reliably quiet places to study. Further, as the pandemic advances, some of our students have — or soon will — become responsible for caring for ill family members, or become ill themselves. We ask that you be as supportive as possible at this time by accommodating students facing such challenges.

As a reminder, Teaching Remotely, hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning, has advice and information on ways instructors can accommodate students — content that is updated and expanded regularly. One example: Instructors may record Zoom sessions, or capture lectures using Panopto, so that students may watch at other times, not just during scheduled class.

Mid-quarter feedback: From now until May 1, faculty may opt to ask students to submit a mid-term evaluation to provide instructors the opportunity to determine how their remote course is proceeding, and to identify needed changes for the remainder of the quarter. End-of-quarter evaluations will also be available, and either would fulfill the Faculty Code requirement to have at least one course evaluated by students each academic year. Details can be found on Teaching Remotely.

Exams: As midterms approach, Teaching Remotely also offers advice and ideas for administering exams, such as suggestions for using Canvas quizzes and written assignments to evaluate student learning.

Thank you again for keeping our students and their learning first and foremost during this time.


Mark Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor, Earth and Space Sciences

Joseph Janes
Chair, Faculty Senate
Associate Professor, Information School