Due to COVID-19, I have found myself teaching a course online. I worked with the university teaching center to transition the course online, prepared an online classroom, and updated the requirements of the course to deal with asynchronous leaning. The course went along reasonably well, and at the end I felt good about the learning demonstrated by a majority of the students.
However, some students did end up failing the course, largely due to a poor performance on the final assessments. Here is the situation:
- The students failed to turn in early homework. I reached out to them to see if there was any technical difficulties. There were technical difficulties, and I provided a solution that the students confirmed as solving the technical issue.
- The students continued to turn in homework late, wherein I often had to reach out to them to get submissions. Trying to be empathetic to the COVID-19 situation, I waved the late penalties (although the late submissions are recorded by the online system).
- The final exam was available for two weeks as a take-home. The student turned in very little, earning less than 10%.
- Upon seeing their grades, they reached out stating the same technical issue as before (which they had previously said was resolved) and that they needed to pass the course to graduate.
I feel as though I am being pressured by the students and department to pass the students with a minimum grade (the department thinks we should be lenient due to the pandemic). The students never showed up for online lectures (NB: all course materials were available for fully asynchronous learning), their course interaction scores were very low, and I felt I did everything I could to succeed in the course. Yet I feel completely at fault and guilty.