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Grading in the Time of Covid-19

Danica L. Schieber

While I have previously taught online before, this semester has not been like any other I have experienced, or I am guessing, like any of us have experienced. Our generations have not experienced a world-wide pandemic before. Our students are struggling right now and so are we. However, we still want to help our students finish this insane semester. As an Assistant Professor of Business Communication, I have made some specific adaptations during this semester and have received positive feedback from my students regarding these changes.

One of the ways that I am working on making this semester more survivable is by pushing back all of the due dates for assignments to the end of the semester. Many of our students do not have reliable (if any) internet right now, and are struggling to access the information that we have posted on our LMS. I’ve heard from several students that they are forced to drive to a fast food restaurant and complete assignments while sitting in their cars. Asking them to “attend” a synchronous online class is simply not feasible for all of them right now.

I have also cut down the page requirements for their final project (a research report), and have changed the final exam from a 50 question exam to a business letter that addresses a business communication problem. This assignment still measures their learning from the semester, as they have to use what they have learned to write this letter (i.e. persuasive writing to a specific audience), but it does not require students to all log on to Blackboard at the same time to take a long exam. This letter can be written at any time and uploaded to our LMS by the final exam date.

I am also holding online office hours for each of my classes, at different times and days during the week. This way if students’ jobs have changed or their hours have changed, they can hopefully still attend some of my office hours. My students seem to appreciate having a chance to still chat with me, even though it isn’t technically face to face. Sometimes they just need to chat about everything they are dealing with.

Lastly, I am trying to reach out to students individually who have not engaged with the class since the switch, or whose engagement has gone down and encourage them to contact me with questions. It is my hope that my students will try to just finish this semester and I will do my best to just be here for them.

Author Biography

Danica L. Schieber is a Assistant Professor of Business Communication at Sam Houston State University.

Recommended Citation: Danica L. Schieber. (2020).Grading in the Time of Covid-19. the Western ABC Bulletin, 2.1.

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