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Cornell University

Resilient Practices for Course Management

Building resilience into your course planning can reduce the impact on your course due to unplanned disruptions such as we have seen in recent years.

Use learning management software (LMS) such as Canvas and Gradescope to organize course materials, assignments and grades so you, course staff, and students can access the information from anywhere. Have all assignments turned in electronically via the LMS. Ensure that assignments are graded and scores released to your students on the LMS in a timely manner, which increases the impact on student’s learning and their effort to improve their work. Use the LMS gradebook and keep it up to date. Assign a department administrator or trusted colleague to your Canvas course to provide back up should it be needed.

Build slack into your course calendar from the start of the semester. Allocate one or two days for “review and catch-up” along the way. Front load assignments to the extent possible – students will appreciate early feedback and not having all the work pile up at the end of the semester. Identify back-up staffing for all course aspects. Build some resilience into your grading plan such as a dropped assignment, “best of” grades, or slip days. Early feedback is important. Consider lighter grading of some assignments for faster turnaround, if necessary.

Establish TA grading and workload expectations. Align TA workload with their appointment letter and check in regularly with them. Ask TAs to let you know if the workload isn’t within expectations so you can show them how to be more efficient or can adjust what you are asking of them. Be clear on expectations for grading, using the LMS, amount and type of feedback, and timeframe. Let TAs know that by FERPA, students have a right to see their grades so putting grades promptly on the LMS is required.