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Winter Quarter FAQ

Spring Quarter

You are reading the Winter Quarter FAQ. A new Spring Quarter FAQ has been posted.

 

Last updated 3/18/2020

 

These FAQs have been updated to reflect new guidance as of March 18, 2020. Some new FAQs have been added regarding final exams. It is recommended that you read the current information below relevant to your concern rather than relying on previous versions.

Please note that all undergraduates were informed on March 13 that they are required to leave campus by Wednesday, March 18 at 5 pm, with very limited exceptions. Graduate students are also facing unprecedented disruptions to their academic studies and personal lives. The intent of the policies and guidelines articulated below is to enable our students to complete their Winter quarter courses while also responding to the imperative to reduce opportunities for transmitting COVID-19. We also recognize that the hopes and expectations that our students had for their education have been replaced, at least for the near term, with anxiety and uncertainty. We urge instructors to interpret this guidance using kindness and empathy.

These FAQs address Winter quarter 2019-20. Separate FAQs are being prepared for Spring quarter.

The information provided is intentionally broad, and it may not address every issue or question that arises in a specific course. There may be exceptional situations that arise and cannot be predicted. In these cases, reach out to your department staff, relevant Dean’s Office, resources identified on the Teach Anywhere website, or the Office of the University Registrar for assistance. Please know that the individuals fielding these questions may not be able to respond quickly, and you may need to rely on these FAQs.

NOTE: The information below will be updated periodically.

Restarting Winter quarter final exams

Class meetings

Final projects, essays, and papers

Final and end-term exams

Stanford Honor Code

Academic Accommodations through the Office of Accessible Education [OAE]

Grades

Academic progress and student-athlete eligibility for undergraduate and coterminal students

Other academic events

Restarting Winter quarter final exams

What is the new schedule for Winter quarter timed exams?

Note: the new schedule does not apply to courses taught within the School of Law and the School of Medicine MD and MSPA programs.

Original exam date

New exam date

Monday 3/16  3:30-6:30 pm, if interrupted and to be rescheduled per instructor

Friday 3/20 3:30 - 6:30 pm, if interrupted and rescheduled

Monday 3/16  7-10 pm

Friday 3/20 7-10 pm

Tuesday 3/17 

Monday 3/23 same time slot as before

Wednesday 3/18

Tuesday 3/24 same time slot as before

Thursday 3/19

Wednesday 3/25 same time slot as before

Friday 3/20

Friday 3/20 no change

For details, see: https://registrar.stanford.edu/winter-quarter-exams

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If an instructor or student needs technical help to administer and complete remote exams, who should they contact?

Canvas Help is the best resource for getting assistance with exam administration and completion. Click the Help link at the bottom left of any Canvas course page.

Instructors cannot ask staff and TAs who might typically support administration of exams to come into the department to assist in person.

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If a time-limited exam was in progress on Monday, March 16, 3:30-6:30 and then interrupted, can the exam be rescheduled?

Instructors should use their best judgement about whether they are rescheduling this exam or assessing their students based on work to date.

Instructors should not reschedule this exam for students who completed and submitted  the exam on Monday, March 16.

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Are Winter quarter final exams, papers, and projects now optional for graduate students as well as undergraduates?

As noted in prior FAQs, the requirement that all Winter quarter final exams, papers, and projects be optional for undergraduate students remains in place.

Instructors may make the take-home exam, paper, or project optional for all students enrolled in the course, including both undergraduate and graduate students, if they choose to do so. If an instructor has both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in their course, making the take-home exam optional for both populations ensures consistency and equity across all enrolled students.

There is no requirement that take-home exams, papers, and projects be optional if only graduate students are enrolled in the course. Instructors, however, may choose to make the take-home optional should they wish to do so, recognizing that this is a period of heightened stress for our entire community.

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If a student cannot take the exam at the new time, what options are available?

These are extraordinary times, and flexibility and empathy will go a long way towards helping everyone to get through them. Instructors should use their best judgement for students who now may have time conflicts or other challenges given the changes to exam times. Some examples are offered below to address these situations.

An instructor may choose to grade the student on work completed to date. If an instructor chooses to offer students this option, there can be no grade penalty for students who select it. For example, an instructor cannot tell students that there is a class-wide grade ceiling of B for students who do not take the final.

A student may request an Incomplete. If the instructor grants a grade of Incomplete, the student and instructor then should make a plan with that student to resolve the Incomplete in a timely fashion.

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What is the new due date for final papers and projects?

The due date is at the discretion of the instructor, but cannot be earlier than noon on Monday, March 23.

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What is the new due date for take-home or self-administered exams?

The due date is at the discretion of the instructor, but cannot be earlier than noon on Monday, March 23.

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What is the deadline for submitting final grades for Winter quarter courses?

The deadline for submitting final grades for graduating students has been extended to Sunday, March 29.

The deadline for submitting all other final grades has been extended to Sunday, April 5.

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Class meetings

What are the options if a Winter quarter class has content planned over Spring Break?

It depends on how much of the course already has been completed and whether alternative instructional formats can be used to deliver the Spring Break content.

If the Spring Break content can be converted to a format not requiring in-person instruction, a different format can be implemented. If a substantial amount of work has already been completed, the instructor may issue a grade based on the work that a student has already completed.

If the remaining content cannot be modified and if it comprises all, or a substantial portion of, the coursework, the instructor will need to cancel the class by working with student services staff. The Registrar’s Office will work with appropriate campus support systems to minimize the impact to students.

Students may also wish to talk with their VPUE Academic Advisor (undergraduate) or Director of Graduate Studies (graduate) to discuss the impact of a course cancellation on their academic progress.

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Can undergraduate students doing research for research units continue to do their research on campus or at sites off campus?

Undergraduates, with very few exceptions, must leave campus by Wednesday, March 18th at 5:00pm. For undergraduates given an exception to remain on campus, continuing research on campus is allowable if social distancing is possible, now defined by the State of California as at least six feet of distance between individuals.

Instructors are however encouraged to consider alternative options for all undergraduate students, on or off campus, doing research and who are not on campus to finish the quarter. Options may include readings, data analyses, written reports or further project planning.

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Final projects, essays, and papers

Are instructors being asked to make Winter quarter final papers, essays, and projects optional for undergraduate students?

Instructors are urged to exercise judgement and empathy in enforcing deadlines on final papers and projects and to consider ways to accept partly finished work on such projects in lieu of an enforced deadline. It is a time of abrupt and radical change for all students, but especially undergraduates who have to abruptly leave their housing.

Any papers, essays and projects that have not yet been released to students but that form part of their final grade should be made optional for undergraduate students, in accordance with the advice issued to instructors.

Other final papers and projects fall into a different category, depending on when they were assigned, and the weight that such projects and papers have in calculating a student’s final grade. For example, some courses are only graded based on a final project, some final papers are the culmination of a quarter’s work including intermediate due dates, and some assignments may have a significant group component.

Instructors should interpret the new final exam policy in a way that allows students to have the opportunity to have work that they have already completed considered as part of their final grade, while also honoring the intent of the new policy.

When instructors assess the application of the new policy around Winter quarter take-home exams to final projects and papers, they should consider:

  • Undergraduates have been asked to leave campus on short notice, no later than Wednesday March 18th, i.e. before the end of finals week. They will be extremely preoccupied with making new travel arrangements and other plans over the next few days.
  • There are students who simply will not have access to the necessary resources to complete work after they leave campus.

Flexibility and kindness on the part of instructors will go a long way to help with a difficult situation.

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In a course that has both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled, should the decision about whether to accept work to date in place of finished final assignments be the same for both populations?

If an instructor has both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in their course and will make finishing the final assignment optional for undergraduates, making it optional for all students ensures consistency and equity across students in the course.

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What if the final assignment is a group project?

Changes to student availability to work on and complete team projects is likely. This may be especially challenging if the group is comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students. Please see other FAQs for guidance on whether or not it is required that the final group project be optional for undergraduates and considerations for consistency and equity across students.

If some team members are unable to contribute as originally planned, the instructor should strongly consider how to evaluate individual students based on completed work to date.

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If a course’s final assignment due date has already passed and/or the student’s work has already been submitted, does the new final policy apply?

No, the new policy does not apply when students have already submitted their final assignments.

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Can instructors allow students to complete final projects for their courses in on-campus facilities?

It is allowable; however, it may not be advisable. There can be no requirement for students to be in the lab to complete their coursework for the quarter. Any lab work must include appropriate social distancing, now recommended by the State of California as least six feet between individuals. Moreover, undergraduate students must leave campus by Wednesday, March 18. Instructors should clearly communicate with their students the options for completing the quarter and how they will be assessed.

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Final and end-term exams

Does the new policy requiring take-home exams to be optional apply to all Stanford students?

The change applies to all undergraduate students.

Instructors may make the take-home exam optional for all students enrolled in the course, including both undergraduate and graduate students, if they choose to do so. If an instructor has both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in their course, making the take-home exam optional for both populations ensures consistency and equity across all enrolled students.

There is no requirement that take-home exams be optional if only graduate students are enrolled in the course. Instructors, however, may choose to make the take-home optional should they wish to do so, recognizing that this is a period of heightened stress for our entire community.

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When should the instructor contact students in the course with information about the options available to them and how grades will be calculated?

This announcement will require many instructors to quickly make the required changes to their take-home exams and final grade calculations. Instructors will notify students in their class as soon as they have determined the options that they will offer and how grading will be completed. This information should be sent to students with sufficient time for them to make informed decisions and to report their decision to the instructor.

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What information will the instructor provide to help a student decide whether or not to take the optional take-home exam?

Instructors will communicate clear information about the choices available to students, the deadline and method(s) by which students must notify the instructor of their decision, and how the final grade will be calculated.

Instructors are not obligated to provide individual students their current grades based upon already completed work, but it may be helpful to do so to aid student decision making.

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What should a student consider when deciding whether to take an optional take-home exam?

It is recommended that a student consider their individual circumstances, including travel plans and performance to date in the class. The student may want to discuss their options with their Academic Advisor in VPUE or their instructor.

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When and how should a student notify their instructor that they are not going to take the take-home exam?

Students should follow their instructor’s directions.

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If an instructor doesn’t make a take-home exam optional, what should a student do?

This concern should first be raised with the instructor because some instructors are still updating their information. If the student is unable to resolve their concern with the instructor, they should elevate it to the Department Chair or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department offering the course. These individuals are identified for all departments and programs in the Stanford Bulletin: https://exploredegrees.stanford.edu/

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Are instructors allowed to give an in-class exam?

No. The in-class exam format is no longer permitted in Winter quarter 2019-20.

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If an instructor needs to convert an in-class exam to a take-home format, what are the options?

A take-home exam can be administered via a course management system (e.g., Canvas) or via email (e.g. PDF, scan/send). Keep in mind that both distribution and collection must be facilitated in a manner that maximizes social distancing. Consult the Teach Anywhere website on assessment best practices.

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How can an instructor who is accustomed to closed book exams convert to an open book exam?

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is available to help you adapt your final exams into different formats and to measure student learning in an online format. For assistance, complete a consultation request.

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When an instructor converts an in-class exam to a take-home format, can it be administered at a different time?

To minimize students’ schedule conflicts, it is strongly encouraged that instructors schedule their take-home exam for the same time period as the originally scheduled in-class final exam, to the extent possible.

Undergraduates who have travel conflicts may opt to not take the exam.

Regardless of when a take-home exam is distributed, it cannot be due prior to the end of the scheduled in-class final exam time.

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Can an online exam be closed book?

No. It is not permissible to offer a take-home exam closed book.

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If an instructor is confident that they have sufficient information to evaluate their students and issue class grades, can they choose to cancel the final assessment?

Yes. In some cases, when the nature of a class or exam is not suited to remote delivery, other options, including submitting grades based on work conducted to this point, may be used. However, instructors are encouraged to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge at the end of the quarter, and CTL staff are available to help instructors to develop alternatives to this option.

If an instructor makes changes to the course requirements, they should communicate to students the impact of any changes on the final grade calculation.

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Can an instructor postpone the final exam to allow for additional time to adapt it to a take-home format?

No. The final exam schedule for Winter quarter remains in effect. For a variety of reasons, Winter quarter instructors should submit grades in a timely manner as grade submission impacts graduation.

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Can an instructor make a take-home exam shorter than the scheduled length of the three-hour final exam?

Yes. However, the instructor may not call the exam due before the end of the regularly scheduled examination time for that course, per the End Quarter Period and Examination Policy.

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Does an instructor have to accommodate students who have traveled home and are in different time zones?

Typical practice for institutions with synchronous exams is that they continue regardless of the time zone of the student. If a student has OAE academic accommodations, that limit the time that a test can be administered, they should work with their OAE advisor.

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If an undergraduate student is unable to access the course materials or exam, what options are available to them?

An undergraduate student may choose not to complete any coursework that the instructor has deemed optional and to receive a final grade based upon the work that has already been completed.

If an undergraduate student has satisfactorily completed a substantial portion of the coursework, they may still request a grade of Incomplete for Winter quarter even though the deadline has passed. If the instructor grants the Incomplete, there should be an agreement between the instructor and student for when the remaining work will be completed.

For students who have applied to graduate for Winter quarter 2020, an Incomplete may delay their degree conferral to a later quarter. Students should consult with their Academic Advisor in VPUE about their options.

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What resources are available for students who need technical help for Zoom or Canvas?

If your instructor is delivering a course or coursework using Zoom in Canvas, refer to these instructions to learn how to participate in your online course.

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Stanford Honor Code

What are the Honor Code guidelines for take-home exams?

The Honor Code applies to all exams, including both in-class and take-home exams. All members of the Stanford community are expected to uphold the Honor Code in all academic work, including exams.

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Is it allowable for a take-home exam to be closed-book?

No. As stated in the Interpretations of the Honor Code, “If take-home examinations are given, they should not be closed-book examinations…” Open-book exams place no limitations on the materials or resources that a student may access during the exam. Instructors are encouraged to identify the actions that are and are not permissible (e.g., collaboration, citation expectations).

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Do other aspects of the Honor Code remain in effect for a take-home exam?

Yes. The Honor Code requires take-home exams to be open-book. However, during a take-home exam students also are expected to uphold the other aspects of the Honor Code. Prohibited activities under the Honor Code include:

  • Copying from another’s examination paper or allowing another to copy from one’s own paper
  • Unpermitted collaboration
  • Plagiarism
    • Please note - as always, this extends to copying code - so while it may be permissible to consult materials beyond your class materials, it is not advisable to do so. If an exam submission is overly influenced by existing code, it will be detected and referred for charges of plagiarism.
  • Revising and resubmitting a quiz or exam for regrading, without the instructor’s knowledge and consent
  • Giving or receiving unpermitted aid on a take-home examination
  • Representing another’s work as one’s own work
  • Giving or receiving aid on an academic assignment under circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that such aid was not permitted
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Is it allowable for a take-home exam to be time limited?

Yes. Take-home exams can be administered with time limits and align with the Honor Code if electronic time-stamps are used that record when a student opened the exam and when they submitted the exam. This allows instructors to choose from the following scenarios:

  • A take-home exam that is available only during the scheduled three-hour hour exam period for the course. This is the option we are encouraging instructors to use.
  • A take-home exam that is available for a longer length of time (e.g. one or more days), during which students must take the exam within a set period (e.g. three hours).

Electronic time-stamping removes any undue temptation for students to misrepresent their start and end times and thus violate the Honor Code. Electronic timestamps represent a technological advance that was not possible when the Interpretations of the Honor Code were first written.

In the above circumstances in the absence of independent timestamps, a time limit may not be imposed on a take-home exam. Regardless of when or how a take-home exam is distributed, instructors may call it due no earlier than the end of the scheduled in-class final exam time

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If a take-home exam is administered during the three-hour window of the scheduled final exam, is that a violation of the Honor Code?

No. A timed take-home exam does not violate the Honor Code. If the exam has electronic timestamping and students are aware that their exam start and end time will be tracked electronically, this is permitted.

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How should an instructor incorporate time for a student to access and submit a take-home exam in a three-hour exam window?

When administering a three-hour take-home exam, faculty are strongly encouraged to adjust their exam content to allow students time to download, print, scan, and/or upload their exams. All aspects of the exam should occur within the three-hour window.

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Can an instructor administer a take-home exam for a longer length of time (e.g., multiple days) with no limit on when students can start and finish the exam?

Yes. This is permitted. Regardless of when or how a take-home exam is distributed, instructors may call it due no earlier than the end of the scheduled in-class final exam time.

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Academic Accommodations through the Office of Accessible Education [OAE]

Should instructors do anything differently for students who have Office of Accessible Education (OAE) Academic Accommodations?

Instructors must continue to provide academic accommodations as approved by the OAE. Students with OAE academic accommodations should provide instructors with a letter outlining their approved accommodations. If a student has new or updated accommodations, the OAE will provide the student with a new letter to give to instructors. In some cases, OAE may reach out directly to an instructor to let them know that a letter is forthcoming.

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How may a student request an update to their Academic Accommodations?

A student who would like to request an update to their academic accommodations should contact their OAE advisor.

The Office of Accessible Education has new information specifically related to COVID-19 on their website.

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If an instructor is offering a take-home exam and a student has an OAE academic accommodation for additional test-taking time, does that extended time also apply to a take-home exam situation?

The specific accommodation for take-home exams is based on the nature of each student's disability. Most OAE academic accommodation letters indicate that additional time is required for any timed exams. This includes timed exams that are taken at home. Other OAE letters indicate students should receive extended time on non-timed take-home exams as well. The OAE advisor listed on a student’s academic accommodation letter can assist with the interpretation and provide guidance on the implementation of a specific accommodation.

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For a timed take-home exam, how much time should be granted to students with an Academic Accommodation for additional time?

If a student has an academic accommodation for additional time on timed exams, this will be indicated on their letter from the OAE.

Instructors must apply the additional time to the entirety of the exam window offered to students. For an exam with a three-hour window:

  • A student with time-and-a-half (1.5X) should have 4.5 hours for the exam.
  • A student with double time (2.0) should have 6 hours for the exam.

The OAE advisor listed on a student’s academic accommodation letter can assist with the interpretation and provide guidance on the implementation of a specific accommodation.

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If a student’s instructor is not providing the OAE-approved academic accommodation for an exam, paper, project, other assignment, who should the student contact?

When an instructor is not providing a student’s approved academic accommodation, the student should contact their OAE advisor.

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Grades

What grade can an instructor enter if they need more time to finish grading?

If an instructor requires additional time to complete their grading and students have submitted all work, then it is appropriate to assign the student an ‘L’ grade.

The ‘L’ grade is a temporary notation that represents creditable completion of all course work. An ‘L’ grade is not appropriate if there is unsubmitted work or if the student is not likely to pass the class.

Instructors in the Law School, Graduate School of Business, and School of Medicine should refer to their own grading policies.

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Can instructors decide to give all students enrolled in the class a grade of Incomplete?

No. It is never appropriate to give an entire class grades of Incomplete.

An Incomplete grade is an appropriate grade only when requested by a student and is restricted to cases in which the student has satisfactorily completed a substantial part of the coursework. Given the current circumstances, instructors are encouraged to be flexible when an individual student requests a grade of incomplete.

Incomplete grades do not award any credit and can drop students below the minimum required unit load. This could negatively impact academic progress, graduation, NCAA and Veteran’s certifications, and financial aid.

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Since the Incomplete deadline has passed, may an instructor still honor a student’s request for an Incomplete?

Yes. Instructors may use their own judgement about whether a student’s request for an Incomplete grade is still appropriate for their course. Instructors are encouraged to be flexible but still keep in mind that the student must have satisfactorily completed a substantial part of the coursework.

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If an instructor cancels their course’s take-home exam, how will final grades be calculated?

If the instructor cancels the take-home exam for the course, final grades then should be calculated on work students have done in the course to date. Instructors must communicate to students what the revised weighting of various assignments and exams, and how the final grade will be calculated.

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If a student elects not to take a course’s optional take-home exam, how will their final grade be calculated?

If a student chooses not to take an optional take-home exam, their grade should be calculated on work they have completed in the course to date. Instructors will communicate to students what the weighting of various assignments and exams will be if they choose not to take the take-home exam.

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Since take-home exams are now optional, will all students enrolled in a course automatically receive a passing grade?

No, students will be evaluated on their performance in the class, whether or not a take-home exam is offered.

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If a student would like to withdraw or change the grading basis for Winter quarter 2019-20 because of all of the changes to exam format and housing at the end of the quarter, is that possible?

An exception has been approved by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP) and the Committee on Graduate Studies (C-GS) to permit students to request late class withdrawals and/or changes to class grading basis to CR/NC (for those classes that have CR/NC as an option).

Late requests for exceptions for a change from CR/NC to a letter grade or a change of unit total are not appropriate and will not be considered. The exception to extend the deadline does not change university or program degree requirements regarding the allowable limits of CR/NC units.

To request a late withdrawal or late change in grading basis from letter to CR/NC, the student must submit an official exception request before the scheduled final exam begins and before any final grade is submitted. Requests for this exception must include correspondence from the instructor that the change is appropriate. Instructors of undergraduate students are encouraged to be flexible. This form is available on the Student Center dropdown menu in Axess. More detailed information is available at: https://registrar.stanford.edu/late-withdrawchange-grading-basis.

Students should consult with their Academic Advisor (undergraduate) or their Director of Graduate Studies (graduate) to discuss the implications of a late withdrawal or change of grading basis for their academic progress, degree progress, visa status, athletic eligibility, residency requirements, and financial aid eligibility and loans (where applicable).

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If a student disagrees with the final grade they earn, can a student request a late withdrawal from the course or request a late change of the grading basis?

No. A student must submit an official exception request before the scheduled final exam begins and before any final grade is submitted. If the final has occurred or final grade recorded, a student cannot withdraw or change the grading basis for the class.

If a student has concerns about the final grade they earn in a course, they should speak with the course instructor.

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When will students be able to see their final grades?

Grades will be available in Axess per standard practice.

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Academic progress and student-athlete eligibility for undergraduate and coterminal students

How will satisfactory academic progress for undergraduates be addressed?

Because of the unusual circumstances of this current situation, including variance in how courses across the university may be managed, Winter quarter review of academic progress for undergraduates conducted by the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) will be postponed. Undergraduate students with a current academic status (e.g., Probation), as well as coterminal students, are encouraged to consult with their Academic Advisor (Academic Advising Director assigned to your residence, Academic Advisor located in the Athletic Academic Resource Center, or Academic Advisor in Sweet Hall). To book an appointment with your Academic Advisor, go to https://undergrad.stanford.edu/academic-advising-stanford.

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Will NCAA student-athlete eligibility be impacted?

The Stanford Athletics Department and Compliance Services Office are working with institutional officials, the Pac-12, and the NCAA to determine the impact of Stanford’s decision to allow grading modifications for Winter quarter 2019-20. Once additional information is available, the Stanford Athletic Department will communicate directly to student-athletes.

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Other academic events

Can a student or members of a University Oral Exam committee participate in the examination remotely?

Yes. Vice Provost Stacey Bent has temporarily delegated responsibility to approve an exception to this policy to the department or program faculty Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). If the DGS is unavailable or is participating in the defense, the department chair may grant approval.

Exception to the above policy would allow the student, the principal dissertation advisor, and/or the out-of department chair, as well as other committee members, to participate remotely. Thus some defenses may be conducted completely remotely, though not all will be automatically fully remote. Delegating review of exception requests to local faculty leaders allows decisions to be made quickly, taking into account individual needs in response to the changing COVID-19 situation.

This delegation will be in place for dissertation defenses occurring from March 9 - April 15, 2020, with the possibility of further extension as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

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