COVID-19 FAQ Academic Staff

updated Oct 13, 2020

Assessment in Online Courses (including tests and final exams)

The section on tests and assessments in the Academic Calendar (Section G) now includes newly approved regulations for tests, timed assessments and exams that are held online.

You are not expected to be available to answer questions for a full 24-hour period. It is recommended that you define a few windows of time where you will be available to answer students’ questions when they are taking timed tests, assessments or exams, and make those times clear in the course outline with reminders in D2L.

Yes. Please let your students know they can contact the IT Support Centre with technical issues.

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (TI) has a number of sessions and resources to support academic staff in designing assessments for online course including principles for meaningful online assessment, assessing student learning in large enrolment courses, and promoting academic integrity (see for further information).

The TI has also developed a self-directed online learning module specific to design online assessments.  Additional sessions to support assessment in online courses will be offered throughout the summer and the Learning Technologies and Design Team can also provide support.

Please visit the book a consultation page to set up a consultation or ask us a question. A Learning and Instructional Designer can help you to work through the purpose of an assessment and different ways to assess student learning. The Learning Technology Coaches can also provide support from developing D2L course shells, setting up the grades tool and organizing content, to setting up quizzes, rubrics and drop boxes for course assignments.


Formal accommodations are arranged through Student Accessibility Services and are governed by the Student Accommodation Policy and Procedure for Accommodations for Students with DIsabilities. In the fall term, much of the advisory work of Student Accessibility Services will be conducted remotely. Instructors with questions about accommodations for students with documented disabilities should contact


Be explicit with students about your expectations regarding academic integrity. Talk about academic integrity explicitly at the beginning of the course and revisit the topic throughout the course. It is important to let students know what materials, if any, they are permitted to access as part of their learning and assessment. If file-sharing outside of the D2L shell is not permitted, make that clear. Review the University of Calgary Statement on Academic Integrity with students.


Further information is available at the following sites:


The university will not have an online proctoring platform available for tests, timed assessments or exams for the Fall 2020 term. There is a project team with IT and the Office of the Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning currently exploring options for a potential roll out of a platform for the Winter 2021 term. 

There are many issues to consider when implementing an online proctoring system including: privacy and security of students and staff, resources to support the implementation, training and use of a proctoring system, set up and alignment of the system set up and use with university policies, practices and procedures for academic integrity and academic misconduct, and ensuring the technology needs to run proctoring software are clearly communicated to students and staff. We want to ensure time for consultation with students and staff and make sure we have a system that will support academic integrity and academic success. Given these considerations, we will not have time to select and implement a system for the Fall 2020 term.


Course Materials and Recordings

Zoom can be used to record classes, and many classrooms are being equipped with webcams and microphones to allow you to connect your classroom to a Zoom meeting so it can be recorded or allow students to participate remotely.


YuJa can be used to livestream and record classes, and can be used to publish videos for your class so they can view them asynchronously. YuJa also adds closed-captioning and makes the videos searchable so students can quickly find relevant portions.


More information on pre-recording course content in Yuja and D2L available here:

Visit our elearn site for more teaching and learning technology resources eLearn @ UCalgary


Platforms like Zoom and YuJa offer the opportunity to synchronously record classes or pre-record lessons and post them for asynchronous learning.

Recorded lessons can be helpful for student learning but you are not required to record and post classes or lessons in D2L. If you do post recordings in D2L, they are protected by the Commitment to Responsible Use of Materials in D2L

It is important to inform students when classes are being recorded and posted in D2L. The operating standard for media recordings in learning environments provides information on informing students and recommended practices. The commitment to responsible use of materials in D2L highlights that course materials posted in D2L are protected by Canadian copyright and cannot be distributed without permission.

The university’s intellectual property policy remains in effect for online and remote courses. This policy applies to all teaching materials developed for courses offered in-person, as well as in online and remote contexts.



Yes, the regulations for the weighting of final exams and the weighting of in-class assessments will be the same as set out in the Academic Calendar.

As part of ongoing efforts to support student mental health and wellness, the university is giving students the option, for any one course completed in the fall 2020 term, to either accept their final grade or opt for a flexible grading option. Read more. 

Face-to-Face Classes

Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at night. Classrooms will not be cleaned during the day between classes, however wipes and hand sanitizers will be available for individuals to use to clean spaces they are using throughout the day. Courses will be scheduled so rooms are not being used in back-to-back time slots.

Studio and theatre spaces used for performance labs like dance and some drama classes will be disinfected between uses, and there will be a minimum of 30 minutes scheduled between courses in these spaces.

Information on procedures for someone in a class being diagnosed with COVID-19 is under development and will be in place before the beginning of the Fall 2020 term.

There may be requests from some students that they can choose to take a course or course component online even if the calendar states that it is face-to-face. Course instructors may be able to provide some accommodations, however this will not be possible for some courses. Students will be advised to build their schedule with only courses that are offered online if they cannot attend face-to-face sessions.

  1. A student in the classroom is a close-contact of a positive COVID-19 case, what now?

    In these situations class does not need to be cancelled. . Only the student who was a close contact of the COVID-19-positive individual will need to isolate for 14 days. View UCalgary’s isolation guidelines.

Learning Technologies

Visit the elearn website to learn about campus-supported online learning platforms that are available to use in your courses. Software available includes:

  • D2L Brightspace (course content, grades, discussions, etc.)
  • Zoom (online classes and meetings)
  • YuJa (video sharing)
  • Top Hat (online student response system)

We recommend that you and your students have reliable access to several core technologies in order to effectively participate in online teaching and learning. Detailed recommendations are available.

Other platforms can be used, but you will be responsible for evaluating compliance with University of Calgary policies and regulations regarding privacy, security, and information access and retention. We recommend that you work with Information Technologies to conduct a formal review of any software that you will be requiring students to use as part of your course. Please use the form on the IT Service Now website.

Are there any guidelines related to student conduct during zoom sessions?

As in face-to-face sessions, communicating expectations for student conduct in online and remote courses is important for setting up a positive learning environment. Visit our extensive information on academic integrity and student conduct, as well as tips on how to set up a positive learning environment in Zoom.


Student conduct in Zoom  is more likely going to be related to Non-Academic Misconduct, rather than academic misconduct so you might wish to add a link to the policy and procedure as this would cover the posting of pornography etc. However, managing students in Zoom is not much different to managing a classroom and instructors should make clear their expectations for behaviour. Reporting to the conduct office should be when all other methods have failed or if the behaviour is significant.


Student Conduct Office

Student Non-Academic Misconduct Policy

Student Non-Academic Misconduct Procedure


Zoombombing is a disruptive intrusion in a Zoom session, generally by internet trolls and hackers, where the audio and chat of a Zoom session can be interrupted. There have been several reports of potential security vulnerabilities, which have been addressed either by Zoom or by the University of Calgary. 


The University of Calgary Zoom account provides several features that have been configured to protect your privacy and ensure security within classes and meetings. Learn more about Zoom security and privacy recommendations,  and suggestions on how to set up a positive learning environment in Zoom. 


A description of recommended technologies is available online.

Your students may not have access to these technologies, or to a quiet place to participate in synchronous sessions without being disturbed. A student-centric model of designing a course to be asynchronous - allowing students to participate as they are able - can enable a more reliable and inclusive experience.


The Student Accessibility Centre has resources to help you develop more accessible course materials. Check out a range of resources.


There are many online resources for campus online teaching and learning tools. All support content can be found on eLearn @ UCalgary.

For technical issues contact IT Support Centre.

For teaching and learning questions contact the Taylor Institute.

USRI and Course feedback

Student feedback through the Universal Student Ratings of Instruction (USRI) will be collected for spring/summer and fall courses and will only be released to course instructors. Feedback will not be released to department heads, associate deans or deans unless you, as the course instructor, provide prior approval. This is included in our agreement with the Faculty Association. Academic staff are still free to use and share their student feedback at their discretion, such as in a teaching dossier.


Students can access their course feedback forms (both USRI and Faculty forms) through their Student Centre and through D2L. We will be developing some communications for students for the fall term so they are aware of how and when they can access these online forms. 

Course Scheduling

You can book space prior to or during the term to record or live stream your course content. You can book a space through the online booking form -  click on “Request an Event”.

Requests are submitted through Ad Astra, and click on general assignment rooms at top of page, then use the drop down menu to choose centrally scheduled academic room change request form. Complete the form and submit.


Blended courses: learning that includes in-person and online/remote components.  

Hybrid courses: online/remote learning that includes synchronous and asynchronous components.


Synchronous components must follow the currently scheduled times for the course. This is to ensure students do not have time conflicts with their other courses.

Yes. There is some flexibility depending on how the course is delivered. Courses that are fully in-person or synchronous, schedule the GFC hours for a course as per usual. While asynchronous, hybrid and blended courses do not necessarily schedule the GFC hours, they should be used as a guideline for the amount of instruction provided per week so that students can plan their time accordingly for each course.

For example, if a course has 3 GFC hours per week and is using recorded lectures for asynchronous instruction, three hours of recorded lectures should be planned per week.


For the Fall 2020 term, tests, exams and assessments will take place in the mode within which the course component was offered. For online courses, exams will take place online, for face-to-face courses or course components, tests and exams can take place face-to-face.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GATs)

Please see this site for Teaching and Learning Continuity - Graduate Teaching Assistants for suggestions on how to support GATs. Also connect with your graduate program director or associate dean who oversees graduate education in your area for faculty-specific ideas and initiatives for supporting GATs in your programs.

Please connect with your local graduate program director, department head or associate dean for support.

Additional FAQ's

Yes. Please see the Taylor Institute's Course Outline Template, for Fall 2020 here.


If your course is fully online then all components of the course (including optional sessions) are to be held online. it is important to ensure that students who may be situated in other parts of the country or world are able to fully participate in course activities.

For support on how to design online learning experiences, visit the Teaching Continuity website, connect with your associate dean teaching and learning (or equivalent teaching and learning leader in your unit), or contact a Learning Technology Coach.


If your course is fully online then office hours should also be held online. For blended or hybrid courses, a mix of in-person and online office hours is recommended. For fully face-to-face courses in-person and online office hours could also be offered.

Instruction in the 2021 winter term will continue to be delivered with a blend of face-to-face and online modalities. Read more.

Any additional questions about teaching and learning? Contact us

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