Course Flexibility and Attendance Expectations

In addition to the below, please see the additional guidance for course flexibility on and after election day

Understanding Course Flexibility and Attendance Expectations

In planning the curriculum for the fall, faculty and departments were asked to prioritize:

  1. Ensuring that all students could make progress toward their degree with robust curricular choices without having to attend classes in the middle of the night in their local time zone. As a result, all courses that are required for a concentration and that do not have curricular alternatives were expected to plan their class activities so that every student would have attendance options between 7:15am and 10:30pm in their local time zone. For courses that do have reasonable curricular alternatives, departments were asked to manage scheduling so that every student, regardless of location, would have access to a range of alternative options, though it might be the case that not every option would be open to every student.
     

  2. Ensuring that in all courses, all students would be expected to participate in 2-4 hours of live interaction with members of the course community, including faculty, teaching fellows, and peers.
     

Fall 2020 Course Listings and Schedules

  1. Expected attendance class meetings. Courses may be listed in the course catalog and described in the syllabus with a specified class meeting time for the whole class, as is typically done in an on-campus semester. This notifies all prospective students of the times at which they are expected to be present so that they may make their own choice as to whether they can productively attend class at that time. Once a student has registered, it is their responsibility to attend, not the responsibility of the course to provide an alternative session. Although some students may elect to take a course that meets between 10:30pm and 7:15am in their local time zone, the presumption is that the course is not a curricular option for those students. As a result, this class listing option should only be used for elective courses and courses with curricular alternatives. Students considering a course with expected class times between 10:30pm and 7:15am in their local time should seek a curricular alternative. If there is not a good curricular alternative, students should consult with the faculty member and with their resident dean.
     

  2. Pre-scheduled section or small group meetings with expected attendance. Courses may be listed in the course catalog and described in the syllabus with specified section or small group meeting times among which students must select. By providing meeting times that are sufficiently spaced, students anywhere in the world can take the course in their local time zone. Note that these scheduled meetings may be led by the instructor of record or by a TF; they do not need to be standard TF-led section meetings. Students who find that the scheduled times fall only between 10:30pm and 7:15am in their local time zone should consult with the faculty member and their resident dean.
     

  3. No pre-set times. Courses may be listed in the catalog and described in the catalog without any specified meeting times. By not providing meeting times, the instructor commits to adapting course meetings to ensure 2-4 hours of synchronous interactive time weekly for every student at a reasonable time in their local time zone regardless of where they are located in the world. Students who find that attendance is expected of them between 10:30pm and 7:15am in their local time zone should consult with the faculty member and their resident dean.