At our March 18, 2022 session, the group discussed how we make exceptions during the pandemic. What is the balance between sticking to the syllabus and making exceptions for each student’s needs? What do you do when a student comes up at the end of the semester and asks to turn in all their late work because they experienced difficulties during the semester? Do you make an exception for the circumstances? Or hold the line? How do you decide? How do you ensure a lack of bias?
Several thoughts emerged in the discussion:
Codify exceptions: Several participants shared that they build the opportunity to make exceptions into the syllabus. For example, if a student can drop two assignments, it can help them avoid falling behind on work and allow them to maintain their grade even if they have a few stumbles during the semester.
Overcommunicate: Participants discussed how important it is to hear from students before assignments are missed and how important it is to reach out to students after assignments are missed.
Build resilience: There was much discussion about caring for students while holding them to fair standards. Several participants discussed the impact of exceptions on building resiliency vs. building fragility.