Ohio University

Academic Policy Update – Fall 2020

The academic policy information below was developed by the Academic Policy and Process group, one of the fall planning groups chaired by outgoing and incoming Faculty Senate Vice Chairs/University Curriculum Council Chairs Sara Helfrich and Ben Bates and has been approved by the provost’s office. The Academic Policy and Process group also consulted or received approval from appropriate shared governance committees. 

  1. Incomplete date extension
  2. Final exams 
  3. Class attendance policy

Incomplete date extension

This has been approved by ESPA (Faculty Senate) and reviewed by the Office of the Registrar.

Policy change: Extend the date for automatically converting Incomplete (I) grades to Failing (F) grades.
 
Rationale. The goal of extending the date for automatically converting Incomplete (I) letter grades to Failing (F) grades is to allow students more time to work with faculty to complete course requirements. Currently, students who are assigned Incomplete (I) grades require students to complete the work within the first two weeks of his or her next semester of enrollment. If work is not completed by this deadline, the grade automatically converts to a Failing (F) grade.
 
Implementation. For any course, extend the date for automatically converting Incomplete (I) grades to Failing (F) grades.

  • The Office of the University Registrar (or designee) will NOT automatically convert Incomplete (I) grades earned during Fall 2020 until May 1, 2021 (spring semester closing date).
  • Faculty assigning Incomplete (I) grades will be responsible for explaining expectations to students.
  • College or campus student services offices and/or academic advisors will be responsible for explaining the potential implications of Incomplete (I) grades to students.
  • When a student applies for graduation, any Incomplete (I) on record will be calculated as a Failing (F) grade for the purpose of determining eligibility for graduation and will be converted to a Failing (F) grade upon graduation.

Final exams

 

  1. Courses taught completely online: Faculty will provide students with final exam or culminating experience due date and time on the course syllabus. This due date must occur during the university defined final exam week. For alternatively scheduled courses (i.e. 10-week, 7-week, 5-week), the final exam or culminating experience must occur during the final week of instruction, per the existing university final exam policy. In addition to the due date and time, faculty will include any technology requirements for the exam or experience on their syllabus as well as applicable start times or time limits.  
  2. Face-to-Face and Hybrid courses: Faculty will provide students with final exam or culminating experience due date and time on the course syllabus. This due date must occur during the university defined final exam week. For alternatively scheduled courses (I.e. 10-week, 7-week, 5-week), the final exam or culminating experience must occur during the final week of instruction, per the existing university final exam policy. In addition to the due date and time, faculty will include any technology requirements for the exam or experience on their syllabus as well as applicable start times or time limits. 
  3. Online Exams 
    1. Unless otherwise required by program accreditation, all faculty are strongly encouraged to use an asynchronous exam.
      1. The need for synchronous exams should be reviewed and approved by the department chair. Faculty members who teach regional campus courses should also notify their campus dean. 
      2. Proctored synchronous exams will need to use University Testing Services.
      3. Synchronous exam window must be at the traditional scheduled exam time. See Registrar listing.  
      4. Should a student be scheduled for an exam beginning earlier than 7:00 a.m. or later than 7:30 p.m. in their local time zone, the student may seek relief from the instructor. This process must be initiated and completed by the beginning of the thirteenth week of the semester. The instructor will provide an examination for the student at a mutually agreed upon time during the final examination period. 
    2. Asynchronous exams should follow best practices identified by the Office of Instructional Innovation. Faculty are encouraged to work with the Office of Instructional Innovation to identify and develop alternative assessment measures and practices.  
      1. The exam window must not close prior to the end of the traditional scheduled exam time. See Registrar listing.   
  4. Other culminating experiences 
    1. Faculty are encouraged to develop culminating experiences that reflect the needs of their discipline and the traditional or standard time-on-task expectations of students during finals week.  
    2. Faculty are encouraged to work with the Office of Instructional Innovation to identify and develop alternative assessment measures and practices.
    3. Other culminating experiences must not be due prior to the end of the scheduled exam time. See Registrar listing. 
  5. Students will not have more than three finals, exams or other culminating experiences, due on the same day. If students have more than three on the same day, they can appeal to the instructor with the exam that is due latest time on that day. If there are multiple exams due at the same time the student will contact the instructor with the highest alpha/numeric course (subject and catalog number) to request an alternative day/time. (For example: student is enrolled in MATH 1200, COMS 2050, ART 1141, and NUTR 1000. All course final exams/culminating experiences have a due date of 11:59 pm on Thursday of exam week. The student will contact the instructor for NUTR 1000 regarding a new date/time.) Since all faculty will identify the due date for their final exam or experience on their course syllabus, students will work with their instructor on a resolution by the 13th week of the semester. If a faculty member changes the due date of their final exam or experience after the start of the semester, the faculty member will be responsible for helping students resolve any due date conflict.
  6. The Offices of Instructional Innovation and Information Technology will develop and provide workshops for faculty. These workshops will focus on meaningful final summative experiences.  
     

Class attendance policy

OHIO publishes a Class Attendance Policy (Appendix A) in both its undergraduate and graduate catalog. The current policy states: 

  • The weight given to class attendance in determining your grade is an academic matter; thus, all instructors are responsible for their own attendance policies. 
  • Although instructors’ policies govern how excused absences will be handled in their classes, certain absences are considered legitimate by the University. These include illness, death in the immediate family, religious observance, jury duty, and involvement in University-sponsored activities. 
  • If you are returning to class after a legitimate absence, you can expect your instructors’ assistance (makeup work, excused absences, recalculation of the student’s grade based on remaining work) within the limits of their established attendance policies. There are occasions when the size or the nature of the course makes it necessary to limit the number of excused absences or the availability of makeup work, particularly for examinations or such special events as field trips or outside speakers. Such limitations should be explained in the instructor’s attendance policy at the beginning of each course. 

Recommendations

Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines, the university will treat an absence for a student who is sick with or who has tested positive for COVID-19; is engaging in quarantine at the direction of a health care professional, other official health department order, or authorized university official; or who thinks they might have COVID-19, as a legitimate absence.

Students asked to quarantine, isolate, or voluntarily self-quarantine (e.g., “remain-in-room” plan) due to exposure to, suspected exposure to, or infection with COVID-19 should not attend class. For COVID-19-related absences totaling two weeks or less of instruction (total), students will not be required to provide formal documentation and should not be penalized for absences. As much as possible, students are expected to:

  • Notify instructors in advance of their absence 
  • Keep up with coursework and submit assignments electronically and on time  
  • Work with instructors to make-up synchronous or face-to-face activities, as necessary. 

For legitimate absences totaling more than two weeks of instruction, students should consult with their instructors about whether and how they can successfully complete each course by the end of the semester. For full semester courses, students may withdraw from individual courses or the institution prior to the end of the 10th week of the semester without effect on their GPA. For seven-week courses, students may withdraw from individual courses or the institution prior to the end of the 5th week of the semester without effect on their GPA.

If after the 5th week of a seven-week course, or the 10th week of a full semester course, students become unable to successfully complete course objectives due to medical reasons, they can request a medical withdrawal from courses or the institution in accordance with University Policy 12.050: Canceling Registration, Dropping Classes, and Withdrawing (Appendix B). Once the effective date is established, removal of classes from the academic record, grading, and refunds will be determined by existing policies, based on the effective date as for any other cancellation, withdrawal, or class drop.

In order to accommodate students or faculty who are in quarantine, isolation, or voluntary self-quarantine but who are still able to participate remotely in courses, we recommend offering additional participation options if your course is scheduled to meet face to face. Examples include (but are not limited to) streaming face to face courses, offering alternative content delivery (e.g., textbook, lecture notes, lecture slides, etc.), lecture recordings, or online activities. For instructional design support in creating additional course modalities, contact the Office of Instructional Innovation.

On or before the first day of class, faculty are expected to:

  • Communicate attendance expectations and policies in their syllabus. For sample syllabus language, see Appendix C.
  • Communicate a process for notifying faculty in the event of illness or expected illness. 
  • Offer reasonable accommodations for students who cannot attend class due to illness or expected illness.

This temporary campus-wide policy requires everyone to be on their honor. It requires that faculty and instructors trust the word of their students when they say they are ill or expect that they are ill, and it requires that students report the reason for their absence truthfully.

For the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, all members of the University community to be attentive to their health and safeguard others by following the university’s protocols and the CDC’s guideline to “stay home when you are sick.” You should stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms and follow the protocol at https://www.ohio.edu/coronavirus/protocol, including calling the OhioHealth COVID Hotline for Ohio University at 1-877-OUCOV19 (877-682-6819). Additional information is available at the CDC’s website

Appendix A: Class Attendance Policy 

Class Attendance Policy (2020-21 OHIO Undergraduate Catalog) 

The weight given to class attendance in determining your grade is an academic matter; thus, all instructors are responsible for their own attendance policies. Although your instructor will state specific attendance requirements during the first week of classes each semester, the University does expect you to attend and participate in classes regularly.

Excused Absences. Although instructors’ policies govern how excused absences will be handled in their classes, certain absences are considered legitimate by the University. These include illness, death in the immediate family, religious observance, jury duty, and involvement in University–sponsored activities. 

If you are returning to classes after a legitimate absence, you can expect your instructors’ assistance (makeup work, excused absences, recalculation of the grade based on remaining work), within the limits of their established attendance policies. There are occasions when the size or the nature of the course makes it necessary to limit the number of excused absences or the availability of makeup work, particularly for examinations or such special events as field trips or outside speakers. Such limitations should be explained in the instructor’s attendance policy at the beginning of each class. If you are involved in University activities that might conflict with your class schedule, check with your instructor as early as possible to make satisfactory arrangements. You may document reasons for your absence as follows:

  • If you are participating in an authorized University activity (departmental trip, music or debate activity, ROTC function, or athletic competition), you can obtain notification from the sponsoring office. If you are in the military reserves and reserve training (including reasonable travel time to training locations), a letter from the commander of your military reserve unit showing the date of the absence and the reason for it will serve as prior notification. 
  • If you visit OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Ohio University Campus Care, or other health care facilities, you can ask for and receive official notification to verify to your instructors that you have visited these health care centers on a specific day. However, it is your responsibility to request and obtain such notification. It is assumed that, whenever possible, you will visit the health service as an outpatient without missing class.

If your grade has been affected by a legitimate absence or absences that your instructor does not excuse, you may appeal through the normal grade appeal process (first through the instructor, then the department chair or school director, and then the dean of your college). If satisfaction is not achieved through this process, the dean may appoint a faculty committee of five members, including the chair or director of the department or school in question, to consider your case and render a decision. The decision of this committee is not subject to further appeal.

Dropping Nonattending Students. If you miss the first two meetings of a class where the meetings are fewer than 80 minutes or the first meeting of a class where the meeting is 80 minutes or longer, the instructor has the option of not admitting you to the class, whether or not you are registered for it. If you miss the first two meetings (or first meeting if 80 minutes or longer), check with your instructor to verify your status in the class. If you have not been admitted, you will need to drop the class by accessing MyOHIO Student Center.

Note: If the instructor does not admit you to the class, you must drop the class from your schedule by accessing MyOHIO Student Center. Otherwise, you will receive an FN (failure never attended), or an FS (failure stopped attending) for the class at the end of the semester. FN and FS grades count in your GPA the same as F grades (0.0 grade points). 

Class Attendance Policy (OHIO Graduate Catalog 2019-20) 

The weight given to class attendance in determining your grade is an academic matter; thus, all instructors are responsible for their own attendance policies. Although your instructor will state specific attendance requirements during the first week of classes each semester, the University does expect you to attend and participate in classes regularly. 

Excused Absences. Although instructors’ policies govern how excused absences will be handled in their classes, certain absences are considered legitimate by the University. These include illness, death in the immediate family, religious observance, jury duty, and involvement in University-sponsored activities. 

If you are returning to class after a legitimate absence, you can expect your instructors’ assistance (makeup work, excused absences, recalculation of the student’s grade based on remaining work) within the limits of their established attendance policies. There are occasions when the size or the nature of the course makes it necessary to limit the number of excused absences or the availability of makeup work, particularly for examinations or such special events as field trips or outside speakers. Such limitations should be explained in the instructor’s attendance policy at the beginning of each course. If you are involved in University activities that may conflict with your class schedule, check with your instructor as early as possible to make satisfactory arrangements. You may document reasons for your absence as follows: 

If you are participating in an authorized University activity (departmental trip, music or debate activity, ROTC function, or athletic competition), you can obtain notification from the sponsoring office.  If you are in the military reserves and reserve training (including reasonable travel time to training locations) may fall upon class days, a letter from the commander of your military reserve unit showing the date of the absence and the reason for it will serve as prior notification. If you visit OhioHealth O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, Ohio University Campus Care, or other health care facilities, you can ask for and receive official notification to verify to your instructors that you have visited these health care centers on a specific day. However, it is your responsibility to request and obtain such notification. It is assumed that, whenever possible, you will visit the health service as an outpatient without missing class.  


If your grade has been affected by a legitimate absence or absences that your instructor does not excuse, you may appeal through the normal grade appeal process (first through the instructor, then the department chair or school director, and then the dean of your college). If satisfaction is not achieved through this process, the dean may appoint a faculty committee of five members, including the chair or director of the department or school in question, to consider your case and render a decision. The decision of this committee is not subject to further appeal. 

Dropping Nonattending Students. If you miss the first two meetings of a class where the meetings are fewer than 80 minutes or the first meeting of a class where the meeting is 80 minutes or longer, the instructor has the option of not admitting you to the class whether or not you are registered for it. If you miss the first two meetings (or first meeting if 80 minutes or longer), check with your instructor to verify your status in the class. If you have not been admitted, you will need to drop the class by accessing My OHIO Student Center. 

Note: If the instructor does not admit you to the class, you still must drop the class from your schedule by accessing My OHIO Student Center. Otherwise, you will receive an F, an FN (failure never attended), or an FS (failure stopped attending) for the class at the end of the semester. FN and FS grades count in your GPA the same as F grades (0.0 grade points). 

Appendix B: University Policy 12.050

Canceling Registration, Dropping Classes, and Withdrawing 

G.  Registration changes for medical reasons 

  1. Guidelines 
    1. Medical registration changes are cancellations, withdrawals, and class drops that are approved for medical reasons. The guiding principle that determines the effective date of the action is whether or not the student's illness rendered him or her incapable of doing academic work as of a certain date. 
    2. If the effective date is prior to the beginning of the semester or session and the intent is to drop all classes, the action would be cancellation of registration. If the effective date is after the beginning of the semester or session and involves dropping all classes, then it is a withdrawal from the university. If the intent is to reduce the scope of the academic load after the semester or session has begun, then one or more, but not all, classes would be dropped or withdrawn from as of the effective date as determined by the onset of the illness. 
    3. Once the effective date is established, removal of classes from the academic record, grading, and refunds will be determined by existing policies, based on the effective date as for any other cancellation, withdrawal, or class drop. As for other withdrawals, medical withdrawals cannot have an effective date later than the day before the last day of classes for the semester or session - the last date on which withdrawal is permitted. Withdrawal for a semester or session is not permitted in cases where the student has completed final examinations or other terminal work for the classes and grades have been submitted. Refunds involving medical withdrawals for financial aid recipients are based on mandated federal formulas. 
  2. Procedure 
    1. Domestic undergraduate student obtains "Request for Withdrawal Form" from the student services office of the college in which he or she is enrolled or regional campus student services office. Domestic graduate student obtains "Request for Withdrawal Form" from the graduate college and must obtain approval from the department of study. International student obtains approved "Request for Withdrawal Form" from international student and faculty services office. 
    2. Student services office of the student's college, graduate college, or regional campus indicates the effective date of withdrawal on the form in the space to the right of the official's signature. 
    3. Athens campus student gets the request approved by the college student services office or graduate college and residential housing office, and submits form to the registrar's office which processes the withdrawal based on the effective date. Regional campus students get the request approved by the student services office, which drops all classes from the student's record and submits the form to the registrar's office for further processing. 
    4. Students unable to be physically present on their campus should contact the appropriate student services office to initiate the withdrawal process. Acceptable official notification includes notification by a student via telephone, through a designated website, or orally in person. The office contacted shall document oral notifications; however the office may request, but not require, the student confirm his or her oral notification in writing. The registrar's office processes the withdrawal and notifies appropriate offices. 
    5. n cases where the effective date is prior to the deadline but the deadline has passed, the student services office presents the recommendation to the tuition appeal review panel. Requests for special consideration based on medical circumstances also may be presented to the tuition appeal review panel by the student services office. For medical related cancellation, withdrawal, or class drop, the tuition appeal review panel will determine the effective date based on documentation provided. 
    6. The dean of students, at his or her discretion, may place a registration hold on students who withdraw or cancel registration for medical reasons. The purpose of such a hold is to ensure proper review of the student's medical condition prior to re-enrollment. 

Appendix C: Sample syllabus language

Instructors are not required to use this language and should modify it as needed.

What is the attendance policy?  

Class attendance is expected and strongly encouraged. For attendance purposes, the first day of class is the date noted in the Ohio University academic calendar as the first day of class. It is not the first day after drop/add; i.e., you will already have at least one absence if you add the class late. It is your responsibility to notify your instructor as soon as possible if you are going to miss class for any reason, and preferably prior to missing a class date. If you are unable to attend class but able to complete course work (e.g. self- quarantine and asymptomatic), discuss with your instructor how you can best complete your course objectives during this time. 

  • Excused absences: Certain absences are considered legitimate by the University. These include illness, death in the immediate family, religious observance, jury duty, required military reserve training, and involvement in University-sponsored activities. Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines, the university will also treat absences for students who are engaging in self-quarantine at the direction of the health care professional or other official health department, or who think they might have COVID-19 as a legitimate. Provided that these absences do not exceed a total of two weeks of instruction and provided that work for the absence period is made up, these absences will be excused. For absences due to causes other than illness, suspected infectious illness, or quarantine, students should provide appropriate documentation. For illness, suspected illness, or quarantine totaling less than two weeks of instruction, no documentation is required. If you have legitimate absences totaling more than two weeks of instruction, you may not be able to meet the learning outcomes for the course before the end of the semester. In this case, please consult with the instructor. 
  • Unexcused absences: Other absences are not excused in the sense that they may result in a grade penalty. For each unexcused absence beyond the first, you will lose 10 points of participation. In addition, you may not be able to make up in-class work for days on which you were absent without a University-recognized legitimate cause. 
  • Making up work: The work that you need to make up for periods in which you were absent includes not only class points but learning. Make up work may require you to turn in additional assignments that develop the same skills or knowledge that we worked on acquiring in class.