126

As someone who's been out of academia for a while, I would like to offer a different perspective. Yes, occupying your co-advisor's attention when the roof is on fire is tone-deaf. However: you have acquired skills that are obviously in high demand these days, and are thrown into a (hopefully) once-in-a lifetime situation to apply these skills. Especially ...


117

This is a question to the programme leader. Frankly in a scenario where cheating is just waiting for an invitation, relative marking is grossly inappropriate. It is not just giving cheaters an unfair advantage, it gives the honest ones an unfair disadvantage. Ask for guarantees that cheating by others will not directly disadvantage you.


114

I think it's reasonable for you not to support these circumstances, but also no need for you to report/escalate the situation to compel some change in behavior. In your place I'd advise your students A) that you cannot help with installation of non-standard copies, and B) you can't be responsible if the non-standard software they use prevents them from ...


75

I also teach a data and programming course, though I mainly use Python. Is it possible for you to shift grading away from an exam and toward something else? A project, for example? Before going back to academia I spent years working as a policy researcher, and exam conditions simply aren't a realistic test of real-life coding abilities. For that matter, ...


74

Your department defers to you as the final authority on the student’s grade, and for a good reason: because you are the only person who sees the full picture of the student’s performance and the context in which it was assessed. The department can give you high-level guidance and advice, but that is never a substitute for an instructor’s reasoned judgment ...


72

There are really two parts to the Chair's question: How much additional work have you had to do so far? What additional work do you anticipate going forward? Are there any time savings that should also go into the calculation? What is the appropriate renumeration for that work? You should be able to estimate the answer to (1), and explain where the number ...


71

Unless we somehow want students' grades to reflect the quality of their home Internet connection, the quality of their hardware, and their tech savvy (or their families'), there is not a sane alternative but to take seriously essentially all claims of technical problems. No, it it not really possible to "prove" technical problems, nor is it ...


61

I think it would be a mistake to miss such a meeting. You will be isolating yourself, adding to the problem. Go there, even if you only listen the first time. Perhaps you have an option to switch offices. Ask. Perhaps there is a coffee room in which people can gather. Go there. Take your work with you in case no one shows up. Introduce yourself when they do. ...


59

Yes. I had a similar experience where my agency restricted travel and did not allow me to present. In my case, I listed that the presentation was delivered by someone else who could attend. Matching the style of your CV, I would write something like: Academic, F. My cool title. Awesome conference. City, State. March 2020. Invited oral presentation. ...


55

How about using something other than Zoom? Other softwares support features that can help with this. Moreover there are some serious security and privacy concerns about Zoom (see e.g. this statement by the FBI and this investigation by the NY attorney general; Bruce Schneier has written an overview of the concerns here). In our department we use ...


55

The game is: you listen, but then, you decide. Just because students don't like something, you do not have to do what they ask. Check whether what they say has merit, if so, you can promise to change for next year (or for the current if there is enough flexibility). Well-designed courses often cannot be massively adapted on the fly. I always explain to ...


54

Universities around the world are trying very hard right now to find ways to balance students’ rights to privacy and dignity with difficult practical questions concerning the transition to remote teaching and testing. Regarding testing, the reality is that cheating is a common occurrence in many places even in normal times when testing is done in the ...


50

I would advise two things. First, take the exam honestly. But also complain to the university and the professor that you find the conditions to be conducive to cheating and you question the fairness and validity of the exam under these conditions. But you have to do the second part early, perhaps now, before the test is given and certainly before you are ...


50

Have you considered offering an Incomplete instead of immediately offering a pass or fail grade? This might be a compromise you could suggest which wouldn't automatically pass the student without the work being completed, while still allowing them the opportunity to complete that work and pass the class. Having been in a similar teaching situation this ...


47

Is this usual behavior Short answer: no. Longer answer: I have heard many stories of bad workplaces, both in academia and beyond. Even at good workplaces one occasionally encounters weird, rude, and borderline exploitative practices and staff/employer attitudes. So perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to say it’s not usual. But by and large, the situation ...


45

Yes, I think you can ask. You don't need to give a reason if things are handled justly. "Personal reasons" should be enough. If the person has harassed you in the past or is known to you to cheat you have adequate reason. And, it might be important to do so if you think that it would affect your performance. You will need to decide whether to give ...


41

I decided to elevate my comment to an answer. When this is all over, and most of your readers will probably know multiple people who died during the crisis, this would not be a good [look]. This is a global crisis that is only just beginning. By the time the dust settles, millions may have died from the virus alone. It would be a rare reader who does not ...


38

First, a two hour time limit might be difficult to enforce or to guarantee, especially if it uses a real-time clock. At some level of scale you may start to find that some students didn't get the exam paper or were unable to return it by the deadline. So, I'd start by rethinking if a time limit of less than a day is really essential to your exam. Second, ...


35

Let me translate: I am an adjunct professor at a University for a course where the students have to use a certain software "X" during the course. For your course, Students must use the software. students who apparently have had issues in installing the (legally distributed) student version of X The software provided by you is not working. One ...


30

To me, it would seem unusual and tongue-in-cheek to acknowledge a person or organization who did not make any conscious effort to assist you. Acknowledgements are typically used as a means of recognizing the effort of others and thanking them for their contribution. Your local government's quarantine may have incidentally benefited you, but no effort was put ...


30

I'm not sure why you are considering this "offer". You've given a lot of downsides that could easily lead to future pain and suffering. But other than a weak endorsement in your first paragraph, you haven't really given any positive aspects to this position. If you have any other offer(s) with better conditions, you should probably consider them ...


29

Can I rightfully refuse to use the school's platform? TL;DR: legally, probably not, but you are still more or less in the right according to the norms of academia. Longer answer: This isn’t so much about rights in the legal sense. The underlying context is that there is a longstanding tradition in academia that faculty own the rights to written (and other)...


29

We have the same kind of procedure at my university in europe. My advisor put it this way: This online testing is an offer for those who want/need to use it. It is far from ideal, but if you really need to take that exam now, you have the possibility. If it is not so urgent, you can wait until exams can be held at the university, though the time for that ...


28

A signed offer letter is normally a valid contract. Usually it is the only contract document. Only someone who has read the offer letter can give you a perfect answer to this question. They have announced their intention to break the contract. That is illegal unless the offer letter says otherwise. Moving on is probably your best option. There are ...


27

I think a lot of us are dealing with this right now. Here's what I and some of my colleagues are doing. Open book exams: As a lot of people are saying, there's no practical way to police students' use of outside resources, so don't. Write the exam with the expectation that they are using notes and possibly even Google, and let them know that. You don't want ...


27

Taking an unpaid leave of absence would often factor into tenure decisions. I would begin a discussion with you department head today. Express your concerns. COVID-19 is a very unique circumstance. Surely they could find a way for you to teach remotely if you start a discussion right now. If I was a department chair, I would be finding ways to accommodate my ...


26

As Dan Romik’s answer suggests, I think it is unlikely you’ll be able to get an individual exception from this policy. However, you can give polite and respectful feedback explaining that you find it highly intrusive. That would, I think, be perfectly appropriate. It’s true that, as other answers say, everyone (including both students and professors) has ...


26

I don't know if this is much of an answer, but it's become more than will fit in a comment. If you just joined in Fall 2020, it's not unusual that you haven't made the kind of connections you're looking for yet, especially given the challenges of the pandemic. I'm a PhD student, and I'm sure it's very different for faculty than for students, but I'm not ...


25

Ah mate, I am in the same situation. Moved city to a new place, a new job in Feb 2020. What a time to do so! My colleagues are super nice, but covid just makes everything hard. People are having personal issues, burnout etc, and it makes the friendly "hey let’s get a coffee together" very hard (legally impossible often). Not just logistically, but ...


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