Instructor Frequently Asked Questions

 

Absent Students

What if a student stops coming to class and/or turning work in?

  • Contact the student’s advisor. When a student stops coming to class or turning work in, you should contact their advisor. Advisors can offer resources for academic support, among other things. To determine a student’s advisor, email First Year Writing at firstyearwriting@uconn.edu with the student’s name and Peoplsoft ID number (not NetID), along with a brief explanation of why you’re concerned about the student or students. First-Year Writing will then share the student’s advisor name and email with you. Contacting a student’s advisor is often only the first step to help a student re-engage in your class. Please email First-Year Writing for further guidance. For more information on Advisor responsibilities, see UConn’s Advising website
  • Submit DFUN Grades. If it is midterms and your student is in danger of earning D, F, or N (no basis for grade), then you should inform the Registrar via the StudentAdmin system. DFUN grades give your students (and their advisors) the warning time they need to turn around those grades before it gets too late in the semester. Consult the Recording Midterm Grades guide for specific instructions.

What if a student has never attended class or turned work in but is still enrolled?

  • If a student has never attended class or turned work in and it is still within the add/drop period, then contact the student. First, inform the student of the add/drop deadline and let them know of their options to either drop the class or stay in the class. If a student chooses to stay in the class, inform the student of course requirements and what they’ve missed. Stress that if they choose to stay in the class, they will need to meet with you to discuss the course and make a plan together for catching up. If students withdraw during the add/drop period, it will not show up on their transcript. See the Academic Calendar for semester-specific dates for add/drop. 
  • If a student has never attended class or turned work in and it is after the add/drop period, contact the student (see above) and their advisor. Advisors can offer resources for academic support, among other things. To determine a student’s advisor, email First-Year Writing at firstyearwriting@uconn.edu with the student’s name and ID number, along with a brief explanation of why you’re concerned about the student or students. First-Year Writing will then share the student’s advisor name and email with you. Contacting a student’s advisor is often only the first step to help a student re-engage in your class. Please email First-Year Writing for further guidance. For more information on Advisor responsibilities, see UConn’s Advising website
  • If the student has never been to class or turned work in and it is midterms, then submit DFUN grades for this student via the StudentAdmin system. DFUN grades give students (and their advisors) the warning time they need to turn around those grades before it gets too late in the semester. Consult the Recording Midterm Grades guide for specific instructions.

What if a student reappears halfway through the class?

Sometimes a student who has been absent for most of the semester returns and wants to know how they can make up work and improve their grade.

  • Have an honest and compassionate conversation with the student about what is preventing them from attending class and/or completing work. With the student’s input, work out a plan for how they can complete missing work. Be aware that you may have to adjust some course components (e.g., the student won’t be able to make up peer review with classmates, but you can suggest they go to the Writing Center). Stress the importance of keeping to the new deadlines you agree upon. This is to help them stay on track to catch up but also to manage your own labor.
  • In some cases, it may be appropriate to recommend that a student withdraw and retake the course at another point. Make this recommendation with compassion. Do not phrase it as a failure on the student’s part, but in their best interest academically at this time. Please note, a student may choose to stay enrolled in your class even if they are unable to complete the work. They may lose funding and/or endanger their visa status if they drop below a full credit load.  

 

Enrollment

What if a student asks for a permission number to enroll in my course?

  • Do not, under any circumstances, give students a permission number to enroll in your course, especially if your course is at capacity. You can direct the student to look for other open sections in StudentAdmin or direct them to email First Year Writing at firstyearwriting@uconn.edu if they become insistent. 

What if a student adds my class near the end of Add/Drop?

  • If a student enrolls in your course near the end of the Add/Drop period, you cannot ask them to withdraw. You can only deny students when your course is already at capacity. When a student enrolls in your course late, try to help them decide on a schedule to complete the work they have missed up until the point they enrolled.

 

Ethical Scholarship Concerns

What if a student plagiarizes?

  • First-Year Writing follows the Writing Program Administrator (WPA) guidelines on the misuse of sources and plagiarism, namely to focus on prevention by dedicating some class time to the concept of ethical scholarship and of academic writing as conversation, as well as to the conventions of citation and attribution. We also encourage a broader conversation about ethical scholarship that goes beyond plagiarism, and that fits within an overall framework developed throughout the semester of academic writing as an act of joining an on-going conversation (and observing certain standards within that conversation).
  • If you believe a student has misused sources in a draft, come talk to First-Year Writing. In most cases, we recommend seeing this as a teaching moment with students. However, come talk to us first about the particular circumstance and we can formulate a plan together about how to turn this into a teaching moment.
  • If you believe a student has misused sources in a final draft, begin by contacting First-Year Writing so that we can weigh in and brainstorm solutions before contacting the student. See our web page on Ethical Scholarship for more information and resources. 

 

Incompletes

What if a student asks for an Incomplete?

  • A student should be granted an incomplete only when they have completed the majority of the course work. If you are unsure about whether a student has completed a majority of the course work, please email First Year Writing at firstyearwriting@uconn.edu to see if an incomplete would be appropriate in the given situation. The “incomplete” grade is discretionary, and we want to make sure you know what you, too, are signing up for when you consider whether to offer or to allow the student this option. Granting a student an incomplete will require you to set new deadlines and grade work during winter or summer break when many of us use that time to take care of other responsibilities. If you are contacted by an advisor, the Dean of Students or another university representative about giving a student an incomplete, please get in touch with First-Year Writing at firstyearwriting@uconn.edu. 

How do I update an Incomplete grade?

  • A student who has been granted an incomplete has until the third week of the following semester to finish their work for the course. (See the Registrar’s Academic Calendar for semester-specific dates.) If a new grade is not submitted via the StudentAdmin system, the “I” turns automatically into an “F.” Grade their work as you would normally during the semester, but be mindful of your time when providing feedback. 

 

Grades

How and when do I submit DFUN grades?

  • According to University Senate By-Laws, instructors of 1000 and 2000 level courses should share midterm grades for students “who have earned less than a C, or U, or N grade up to that point.”  DFUN grades are typically submitted halfway through the semester (around week 6). Check the Digest for specific dates. The DFUN submission period generally lasts a couple of weeks, so be sure to update DFUN grades as necessary. To submit DFUN grades, see Recording Mid-Term Grades guide from the Registrar.

How do I submit final grades?

What if a student disputes an assignment grade?

  • A student may be unhappy with a grade they receive on a final draft of an assignment. You can and should have an in person or synchronous meeting to discuss the student’s concerns regarding their grade for the assignment. We recommend scheduling this meeting a few days after the student’s initial complaint to give them some time to reflect on their complaint. You may want to invite the student to draft a document outlining why they believe they deserve a different grade, using specific evidence from their work, the assignment prompt and other relevant class material. This might give students a chance to critically reflect on your assessment of their work. You should also draft your own document outlining how you arrived at the grade you did prior to this meeting. You can use these documents as the basis of your discussion with the student. If, after the discussion, you feel the grade is justified but the student still disagrees, you can let them know that they can contest their final grade in the course at the end of the semester. They will have an opportunity to explain why they believe their assignment deserves a higher grade in a short narrative for the grade appeal. For more information on the grade appeal process, please visit our website.

What to do when a student contests their final grade for their class?

  • A student may decide to contest their final grade in your class. According to the Student Handbook, students have 10 working days from the day the final grade is posted or the last day grades are to be posted, whichever is later, to contact the instructor and request a grade change. If the instructor does not agree, the student has 10 working days to submit a grade appeal to First-Year Writing. For more information on grade appeals, please see our website

 

Student Needs

What do I do if I receive an accommodation letter from the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD)?

  • Carefully read the letter you receive from CSD about the accommodation request for a particular student. If you have questions about the nature or application of the accommodation, you can contact CSD for clarification. We recommend that you have a discussion with the student the accommodation is for regarding how to best put the accommodation into practice. The CSD website lists sample accommodations and procedures, which may be helpful for determining what accommodations can be made. Please note, accommodations cannot fundamentally alter or reduce the essential requirements of the course. Please reach out to First-Year Writing if you would like guidance. 

What to do when a student asks for accommodations without an accommodation letter from the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD)?

  • To receive semester-long accommodations, students need to be officially registered with CSD and you should receive a formal accommodation letter from CSD. Students should register at the beginning of the semester in order to give CSD enough time to process their application and contact instructors. You can direct students to CSD’s Request Accommodation’s page for information about how to register with CSD. In the meantime, you may wish to set up a meeting with the student in order to discuss their learning needs. After speaking with the student and getting additional information from them, we recommend you reach out to First-Year Writing to discuss options.  

 

ENGL 1007 Seminar and Studio Relationship

What is the relationship between 1007 Seminar and Studio?

  • The studio is a one-credit writing lab that is corequisite with the three-credit seminar in academic and multimodal writing. In the studio, students work with their projects from the seminar to create a digital Learning Portfolio. Students also practice many of the digital literacies introduced via the studio module content (e.g., Module 1: Accessible Circulation). For more information on the Studio, please see our website.

When and how do I share my Studio grades with my seminar instructor?

  • Studio instructors should share grades with the relevant seminar instructor at midterms and again at the end of the semester. For midterm grades, Studio instructors should only share DFUN grades. The easiest way to share grades is via email. You can create your own excel spreadsheet or use our templateSeminar instructors should send their rosters to the instructor of their linked Studio courses. 

What happens if a student fails the studio? 

  • ENGL-1007 represents the co-requisite three credit Seminar and one credit Studio. If a student fails the Studio, they do not fail ENGL1007. Instead, the “F” Studio grade is weighted at 25% of a student’s overall grade for 1007. For example, if a student earned an “A” in Seminar and an “F” in Studio, their overall grade for 1007 would be a “B.”

How do I calculate Seminar and Studio grades together?

  • Seminar instructors are responsible for calculating the combined Seminar and Studio grade. Once the Seminar instructor has received grades from the instructor of the linked Studio, they calculate students’ overall grade by weighting the Seminar at 75% and Studio at 25%. You can use this grading calculator or make a copy of this template spreadsheet which has built-in equations for weighting the Seminar and Studio grade together.