Office of the Provost
Spring 2021 mid-term resources and reminders
As we approach the halfway mark of the semester, academic life at UConn is settling into a routine, albeit a routine that is still new to us all amid a pandemic. Although there are far fewer people on our campuses, I can still sense the changed energy when students and faculty are engaged in coursework and events across the University. All of this activity is the result of much hard work and dedication on the part of faculty, staff, and students, and I continue to be grateful for your commitment to progress in a challenging year.
The middle of the semester is always a good time to assess progress personally and for our students, and perhaps even more important this year given the different approaches we have all implemented in our courses. As we did in the fall at this time, I wanted to share a few resources for all instructors to utilize in their instructional plans, as an opportunity to review your and your students’ trajectory through the end of the semester.
Mid-term formative feedback surveys can be a useful tool for instructors to hear anonymously from their students on course materials, lectures, assessments, and other elements of course design. We encourage all instructors to implement a mid-term formative feedback survey in their courses. These surveys can be valuable resources to make mid-course adjustments, as well as to broaden student engagement. The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness offer resources to develop and distribute formative feedback surveys. In all cases, these are designed to be private (for instructors’ personal use only, not to be shared with department heads or other administrators). If you are interested in utilizing formative feedback, you can begin with a resource guide prepared by CETL. I appreciate the support of the Senate Executive Committee and leaders in the undergraduate and graduate student senates in pulling these materials together.
Sharing mid-term grades with your students is another important part of reviewing student progress, which can have positive impacts on your students’ engagement in coursework. University Senate By-Laws state that by the end of the sixth week of the semester, instructors shall submit midterm grades for students in 1000- and 2000-level courses who have earned less than a C, or U, or N grade up to that point.
In these challenging times, however, I encourage all instructors to share mid-term grades with their students in all levels. Students and instructors are continuing to adapt to new modes of learning and this feedback on progress will help students make adjustments and access resources as necessary to stay on track academically, and assess their trajectory in the course to make decisions earlier on potential withdrawals or pass-fail designations in courses. This is also an opportunity to refer students of concern to academic support resources like the Academic Achievement Center (AAC).
We are sharing guides here with different options to submit grades to PeopleSoft. Informing your students of their grade or posting mid-term grades in HuskyCT is helpful, but posting grades in PeopleSoft is necessary to ensure this information regarding student progress is available to staff at the University who provide academic support. Grades can be submitted beginning on Monday, February 22, through Thursday March 18.
As always, thank you for all you are doing.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs