FAQs for Faculty Spring 2020 Semester Remote Learning

Updated March 20, 2020

For additional official Provost communication, including special policies for Spring 2020 on grading/pass/fail, visit From the Office of the Provost.

Special Policies on Grading and Withdrawal Options for Undergraduate Students. The following policies apply only for Spring 2020.

As the University’s instruction moves online, we want to ensure that both students and faculty are supported to do their best work. With this in mind, the University has adopted a special policy on Grading and Withdrawal exclusively for the Spring 2020 term of instructional continuity.

For the Spring 2020 term:

  • All undergraduate students will have the option to choose the letter-graded or “Pass/Fail” (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades) option for each of their courses.
  • Students can make this choice up until the last day of classes.
  • The choice to take a class P/F can apply to any course, including core, major, minor, certificate courses as well as free electives. (See Note below.)
  • The choice can be made without permission from the advising deans.
  • Any courses taken P/F will not count against the six P/F courses allowed by existing policy.
  • The Withdrawal date will also be extended to the last day of classes. Withdrawals will still require approval by the deans.

Students should exercise their options selectively and thoughtfully. Students should consult with their advisor and faculty as to whether it would be disadvantageous or inappropriate to choose a P/F option for certain courses, especially those required for the next level of education, licensure, employment or academic honors.

Who is required to provide instructional continuity?

Instructional continuity is the responsibility of all instructors of record, including full-time faculty, adjuncts and teaching associates who are currently teaching a class.

What are the options for Instructional Continuity?

The university has extensive and updated resources to support faculty and instructional continuity at https://instructionalcontinuity.georgetown.edu/ (Main and Med Center) and https://www.law.georgetown.edu/instructionalcontinuity (Law Center). Faculty will find resources and ideas for the range of activities needed to sustain and complete a course, including:

  • Providing instruction (through synchronous class time, live and recorded lectures)
  • Setting up online office hours (which may be especially important in this situation)
  • Setting up discussion groups, group work, and online writing and reflection
  • Arranging for how students will submit work online and receive feedback and grades
  • Arranging for examinations or exam options

What are faculty obligations for instructional continuity?

During “instructional continuity” 1) academic and instructional progress should continue; and 2) regular class schedule remains in place, and 3) office hours must be held remotely. Faculty are advised to focus on tools that most closely approximate their in-person classes. This will likely entail the use of some combination of synchronous tools (live, in-time) and interactive asynchronous tools. 

Faculty should hold office hours online, via Canvas, Zoom, or similar software, just as they would have on campus. Students may also sign up for office hours online using Google Calendar (if their professors use that venue), Canvas or by sending an email to their professor with a request for an appointment via other means such as Skype. 

For any reason if you are unable to hold class or office hours, you must notify the relevant dean’s office as soon as possible.

Instructors on Main and Med Center campuses will find resources at the Instructional Continuity website: https://instructionalcontinuity.georgetown.edu/

Faculty at the Law Center will find resources at the Business and Instructional Continuity Website: https://www.law.georgetown.edu/instructionalcontinuity 

What if I am ill and cannot provide instructional continuity?

You should inform your dean’s office and make sure students in your class are informed. You should find a way to make-up the class or arrange for coverage.

What if my child’s school/daycare are closed and I can’t provide instructional continuity at the regularly scheduled class time?

All effort should be made to hold class at the regularly scheduled time. Other options include: record your lecture in advance and make it available during class time; give the students group work or other activity to be done during class time. If you have any questions, please contact Reena Aggarwal, Vice Provost for Faculty.

What if I teach a course that requires lab work, performances, or other experiential learning?

Faculty and instructors should consult the instructional continuity website at https://instructionalcontinuity.georgetown.edu/ (Main and Med Center) and https://www.law.georgetown.edu/instructionalcontinuity (Law Center) for options. 

Can I deliver my classes from campus or do I need to be off-campus?

You must deliver classes from off-campus unless granted an exception by the relevant EVP.  

Why am I required to record my lectures?

Some students might not be able to attend class synchronously during the regular class time for various reasons, for example, they might be in a different time zone. Therefore, we are requiring faculty to record their lectures–or any portion of class sessions that might be valuable for students to review later–and make them available to students in their class. These are just intended to be resources between you and your students.  Our policy on recording is intended to support our students’ learning in these circumstances in every flexible way possible. If you use Canvas for conducting class, you can easily delete taped lectures at the end of the semester.

What are the options for administering exams?

Options are discussed on the instructional continuity website at https://instructionalcontinuity.georgetown.edu/ (Main and Med Center) and https://www.law.georgetown.edu/instructionalcontinuity (Law Center).

Faculty may also contact CNDLS or IST staff to discuss how to ensure academic integrity. Each dean has reached out to faculty members about preparing for instructional and academic continuity. Faculty should hold office hours online, via Canvas, Zoom, or similar, just as they would have on campus. Students may also sign up for office hours online using Google Calendar (if their professors use that venue), Canvas or by sending an email to their professor with a request for an appointment via other means such as Skype. 

If I run into technology-related difficulties, whom should I contact?

Call the UIS HelpDesk at 202-687-4949.

Is the university infrastructure ready to handle all online learning and what is our capacity for Zoom and Canvas when used by such a large community?

Our UIS and CNDLS colleagues have assured us that because of the cloud-based nature of our interactions, there is adequate capacity in all infrastructure systems. Of course, we have never before experienced the needs for this scale of support; every available staff person from these departments will be focused on instructional continuity. 

How do we coordinate with graduate assistants who may also have to teach differently?

Each professor should coordinate with teaching and laboratory assistants by offering information about instruction on how to use Zoom or Canvas to fulfill their teaching obligations, including online office hours. 

How do we account for students with academic accommodations in an online environment?

In general, moving to an online environment makes it easier for students with accommodations and special learning needs. But it would be good practice to check with your students if they have adequate internet bandwidth and means to access class remotely, and if they have any learning needs that are complicated by instructional continuity. If that is the case, students should check in with the Academic Resource Center.

How do we ensure academic continuity for study abroad students?

Some students may have the option to continue their current program through instructional continuity or remote learning provided by their host program. That should be a first choice for completion. For all other students, Georgetown is designing academic continuity solutions for undergraduate students to ensure that students will be able to earn a full semester of credit through new online coursework scheduled to run from the end of March through mid June. Some of this coursework will draw on the study abroad work you’ve completed to date.  We understand that this will involve a period of advising and transition in coursework.  Your advising deans will work with you to make this transition as smooth as possible. Please reach out to your advising dean about academic continuity.