Monday, April 23, 2007

Bringing Closure to Spring Term - May 6th

The last day class activity for spring term is May 6th. The list of suggestions below is drawn from the CCCOnline website under the Faculty tab, with a few updates:

Ways to Bring Closure to the Term with Students

• Learners may be tired; encourage students to persist to a strong finish.
• Provide a reflective learning and suggestion discussion thread.
• Provide a “saying our good-byes” community thread.
• Have Learners Review Their Progress to Date-An end-of-Term learner-directed exercise at this time is to ask the learner to pull down the various grading requirements for the term and tally their own grade books against the assignments and categories and the syllabus and communicate with you if there are any variations.
• Post course grades in the course grade books before they are officially due, inviting learners to review and ask questions before grades are officially submitted.
• Submit grades through email link like last term: Student Services will send an email with directions to faculty.
• Submit course grades by Thursday, May 10th, 5 pm.

Early Grades for Graduates

You may have a few requests from learners for early final grades—this is due to a few campuses asking for grade submissions for graduation purposes. These can be sent to

In addition to the grade, please include the course title, number, section, your name, and the learner’s name as an attachment (FERPA).

Issuing an “Incomplete”

Faculty may agree (not required) to granting an “I” if a learner only if a learner has completed a minimum of 75% of the course work at a “C” or better. IMPORTANT: The Incomplete form located in your faculty lounge needs to be submitted to CCCOnline Registrar at the time the “I” is filed. A copy should also be sent to the learner.

While land-based schools allow up to one year to complete coursework, CCCOnline students will only have one term access to the online course. Having the learner commit to a shorter timeline can encourage finishing the course.

Alternative to the “I”

An alternative to the “I” is to tell the learner that you will assign the grade earned to date, but that would agree to accept assignments after the term, and then file a change of grade as appropriate. Once again, the specifics should be in writing, and sent to the learner. In this case, it would also be advisable to send a copy to the chair in case any questions arise. The benefit of this decision is that it brings closure to the term gradebook.

Looking Ahead to Next Semester

Making Notes, Saving Posts: How do we use what we’ve learned towards next term?Stephen Brookfield (1995) and Pratt and Paloff (1999) all note the value of using what we’ve learned to actively inform our practice, and Angelo and Cross (1993) also note that a part of assessment and evaluation is to use that feedback to improve instruction.

While the course experience is still fresh, jot down notes on what you might want to change based on student feedback as well as your own sense of how the course went. It might include screen edits (and you could save those pages), thoughts about revisions to assignments, tweaking assignment directions, revising rubrics to more clearly indicate what you assign points to and how that it observable in the learner’s submission, thoughts about how to improve content or interactivity. It might include policy changes, like allowing the learner to skip a discussion or take a late quiz or assignment of their choice, thus decreasing the negotiations that are required between you and the learner.

Others also choose to select and compile all the first discussion posts they create to announce a given discussion topic and the instructions for posting to it. Such a file is sometimes stored in the course info files in the shell for easy referral the next term.

Downloading and Saving the Gradebook
Download and save a copy of your gradebook to your desktop to answer student grade- questions that might come up at a later date.

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