Instructor Information to Minimize Impact to Final Exams and Class Meetings

If PSU is closed, has a delayed start, or early closure on final exam or class meeting days, instructors may find the following information helpful in determining how best to accommodate both the learning outcomes for their classes and the hardships and safety needs of themselves and their students.

  • Faculty should discuss the University Closure Policy and Inclement Weather Procedures (Campus Closure – FAQ) with their students at the beginning of the term, and are encouraged to include any established alternative plans or instructions in the course syllabus, so students fully understand – in advance of inclement weather – how to get closure information before traveling to campus and what to expect if final exams are impacted, or classes are cancelled.
  • When the PSU campus remains open, faculty members are asked to exercise normal flexibility and make reasonable accommodations for students who miss class, miss an exam, or are unable to submit coursework as a result of inclement weather or responsibilities related to other community closures. Students who choose not to come to campus when classes are being held, are making a decision not to attend class.
  • When PSU is closed, faculty may not require or even suggest that students be on campus. This includes cases where an early closure is announced or occurs in the middle of a class or exam meeting time. In these cases, students should be released immediately.

In all cases, communicating expectations for courses is important and helpful to concerned students. You can send your entire class an email through your PSU gmail account. During campus closures, OAI and OIT offices are also closed. However, some support personnel will be working remotely. You can submit a support request to the OAI Faculty Support Desk, but you won’t be able to reach the Support Desk by phone. You can direct your students to email the OIT Help Desk at help@pdx.edu.

Campus Closure during Final Exam Week

Campus-Based Courses

Rescheduled Exam Meetings

Final exams follow a standard Monday-Thursday schedule based on the day, time and location of the first weekly class meeting.

When PSU closes due to inclement weather: The University will reschedule exam meetings to alternate days, with the goal of maintaining the same time period and location for impacted finals, beginning with Friday of finals week and extending to Saturday if necessary.

  • If PSU is closed, has a delayed start, or early closure on any day during final exams, impacted final exams for that first day will be moved to Friday of finals week (same time and room as originally scheduled).
  • If there is a second day of full or partial closure or delayed start, impacted final exams will be moved to either Friday or Saturday of finals week.
  • If there are more than two days of closure during exam week, the FADM VP with the input of the PSU Incident Management Team and impacted bargaining units will determine when and how to accommodate impacted final exams.

Announcements of weather closures will be announced via PSU Alert, which includes a posting to the PSU homepage. Changes to the finals schedule will be posted online in response to emerging conditions.

Alternatives to On-Campus Final Exams

Faculty are encouraged to plan ahead and familiarize themselves with the variety of options/alternatives to in-person final exam meetings in case they wish to utilize those options. Any such alternatives should be communicated to students as early as possible so they do not travel to campus unnecessarily.

Options to consider:

  • Grant credit and assign final grade based on all course performance and grading prior to final exam (i.e. omit final exam grade from calculations). In this case, instructors should provide students who want to take the final (to perhaps increase a grade) the option of doing so. Make arrangements for students to complete exam later if this is seen as necessary in order to grant credit and assign an accurate and appropriate grade in the course.
  • Provide an online version of the final or substitute some other online assignment or activity to replace the final.
  • If a final is interrupted midway through based on early campus closure, you may also consider reconfiguring the grading scale to use whatever portion of the exam was completed as basis for final exam grade.

Online Courses

Online activities planned for the final exam period may continue at the discretion of the instructor, making allowance and accommodation as needed for any weather related impacts. Examples: inability of faculty or students to travel to locations where they have access to suitable technology, lack of assistance from the PSU Help Desk or the OAI Faculty Support Desk, power outages, etc.

Faculty are encouraged to plan ahead. You should communicate any changes to students as early as possible.

Campus Closure during Term

When class time is lost due to campus closure the faculty member will determine the best methods for having students meet the learning objectives or make-up the course content associated with cancelled class meetings.

Assignment deadlines are the prerogative of faculty, however reasonable accommodations should be made to minimize the negative impact on students. After reviewing the goals of the missed class session, you might consider how students can make progress on those goals digitally: additional videos, readings, or brief activities/assignments that students can do on their own. Be clear with students about the goals of any digital learning activities and how they will connect with upcoming class activities.

Allowances will be made by the Registrar’s Office to mitigate impact to affected academic deadlines (i.e. course drop/add, petitions, etc.) as situation warrants. Such changes will be communicated to students, faculty and staff.

Digital Alternatives for Campus-based Courses

  • Communicate to your students about changed deadlines.
  • Deliver course materials and lectures to your students.
  • Hold “live” sessions with students to replace missed office hours or class meetings.

As you weigh your options, it’s important to consider your own and your students’ comfort with technology. Additionally, inclement weather can often limit access to power and internet as well as disrupt schedules. Be as flexible as is judicious and possible.

Communicate

Course Materials

Virtual Meetings

  • Hold a virtual course meeting. Synchronous web meetings can be an option when inclement weather prevents in person classes from occurring, but there are a few added complications to weigh:
    • You and/or your students may not have adequate internet access to participate in a virtual meeting.
    • Road and school closures, reduced transit service, and other logistical disruptions may make it difficult for your students to attend a virtual meeting — even if it is at the same time as your regularly scheduled class.
    • Virtual meetings put pressure on you and your students to use new technology in a time-sensitive environment.
    • Because of these added factors, consider making the virtual meeting recommended and offering a suitable alternative for students who cannot connect virtually.
      1. Use Blackboard Collaborate for virtual course sessions in D2L. If you already use D2L for your course, Blackboard Collaborate, which is included available through D2L, is the best way to hold a virtual class meeting.
      2. Use Google Hangouts Meet for smaller meetings. Hangouts Meet operate separately from D2L, so they may be better suited to one-on-one meetings or for courses that do not already use D2L. Note that Hangouts Meet can accommodate a maximum of 25 participants at a time and cannot be recorded.

Online Courses

Because online courses are generally available 24/7 and on-campus attendance is not required, online courses may continue during inclement weather closures at the discretion of the instructor. While online activities may continue, faculty members are asked to exercise normal flexibility and make reasonable accommodation as needed for any weather related impacts. Examples include the inability of faculty or students to travel to locations where they have access to suitable technology, lack of assistance from PSU Help Desk or the OAI Faculty Support Desk, power outages, etc.