COVID-19 Spring 2020 Undergraduate Policies and Procedures Related to Instruction

Questions and answers for undergraduates about choosing the P/N option for Spring 2020 courses are at this link. Please add this P/N Q & A information to your undergraduate ICON pages. Also see

Student Technological or Financial Support
Class Schedules: Synchronous and Asynchronous
Syllabus Updates
SDS Accommodations
Advice and Guidelines For Undergraduate Online Behavior
Student P/N Choice: Spring 2020 Policy
Concerns about P/N Grading
Honors in the Major Policy Changes
Changes in Related Undergraduate Policies
The Importance of Professional Academic Advising in the P/N Decision
Faculty Illness And Emergencies
Handling Student Illnesses or Emergencies
When to Give an Incomplete
Final Exams
Academic Misconduct
Ace Evaluations and Assessment
Summer Courses Including Study Abroad
Integrity Pledges: Samples
Incomplete Contracts: Samples

Students who are already disadvantaged may be more deeply affected than other students by the move to online learning. Some students have told their faculty, for example, that they do not have the technology or internet service needed for online course work; others lack the privacy and quiet required for exams or sustained writing assignments. Students, like faculty, have obligations to care for sick family members, to provide childcare for others, and to keep the household running. Embarrassment and stress may make it difficult for students to communicate these issues.

  • Please believe and trust the students when they share these situations with you.
  • In many cases, it is appropriate to adjust assignments as needed within reason to help the student.
  • Feel free to consult on these situations with Helena Dettmer.

Also refer students with technological problems to the “Keep Learning” site for students: This site has a “Request Help” link as well as many other tips and ideas for learning online; check out this video for ideas to help students succeed in online courses. Laptops for students to borrow may still be available for those who need one. A summary of free software available for students and faculty is at this page:

Emergency funding is available for some students; funding is limited and donations are being requested. See this page and refer students here: . CLAS also has some emergency funding provided by a donor: Contact Diane Hauser at This funding may not be used for tuition and amounts given are reported to the UI Financial Aid Office, counting in the student’s overall FA amount allowed.

Maintaining the class schedule as it appears on MyUI will help students structure their days and keep up with assignments. Adding these same materials online to be viewed later is also crucial so students can study materials on their own as needed.

Some faculty may not be able to maintain or use a synchronous structure because of personal situations. In these cases, it is crucial to email students often using the ICON group email function to ensure that students are keeping up with the expected work. Younger students are especially going to have issues with asynchronous instruction; many of these first-year students are still adjusting to university expectations. It will be easier to intervene to help students regularly rather than dealing with complex student complaints later.

Visit this site for help and training using online instructional tools and resources:

The syllabus should be updated to reflect the new reality of the course, with modified learning outcomes as needed. Final grading schemes may also be revised to better communicate post-Spring Break changes. These changes in grading should not result in more rigorous standards; if possible, keep standards at a similar level as before the break.

Continue to make SDS accommodations as best as possible following usual procedures and policies. As questions come up, please consult with SDS and include Helena Dettmer in the conversation if needed; see

When using online platforms for synchronous discussions, activities, or exams and quizzes, remind students to support each other's learning. The DUS faculty thought sample guidelines for students might be helpful. Feel free to modify and revise this sample of student guidelines:

  1. If an emergency keeps you from attending an online class, be sure to listen to and read all posted materials as soon as possible and to complete assignments by the due date.
  2. Communicate immediately with your instructor if problems persist. Getting help as soon as possible is important to getting back on track. Do not hesitate; just ask.
  3. Find other students who can be part of your learning community, with each of you supporting the others. Your instructor may have a discussion site or chat set up for questions and answers for this purpose. You may also want to create your own study group. Quizzing each other on topics and forcing yourself to explain a point to others will show you what you know or do not know and will help you to remember details. Get involved and use these tools.
  4. During class and exam times, move to a quiet and private room so you and others in the class will not be distracted by music, laughter, conversations, lunch, TV, or stray puppies. Sometimes this space might be only a small closet or a corner of a room with a sheet draped across it to remind others you must not be disturbed. Consider adding a sign for your space—“Genius at Work.” What you are accomplishing is hard so give yourself credit. Great writers, scientists, and artists have often worked and produced in strange and sometimes make-shift places. Now it is your turn.
  5. All other platforms and websites should be closed on your computer, phone, watch, etc. during class lectures or discussion: No Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or shopping sites during class. Your concentration is needed for listening and learning; your concentration will help others to do the same. This is hard stuff; give it your all.
  6. Use an appropriate background for online conferences or meetings and be dressed as if coming to class or to a first day of work. Make it professional. It is good practice for the future.
  7. Have your needed materials at hand, such as paper, pens, homework, copies of completed assignments, and texts. Arrange them on a second chair, a table, or on the floor. Put them in an order that makes it easy to find what you need, even if you are in a crowded closet or a basement.
  8. Be compassionate to yourself, to each other, and to your instructor; we can help each other by caring and by being kind.


Note: Questions and answers for undergraduates about choosing the P/N option for Spring 2020 courses are at this link.

  • The P/N option may be requested by UI undergraduate students, regardless of college, for any course offered for a grade in Spring 2020 unless an exception to this policy has been given to the course by the University of Iowa Critical Incident Management Team in consultation with the Office of the Provost. These exceptions are related to accreditation/licensing issues.
  • Students also may apply the P/N to S/U or S/F courses.
  • Students who have applied for graduation in Spring 2020 have until May 26 to request the P/N choice. That is, students who are graduating in Spring 2020 may change this choice through their UI MyUI portal until May 26.
  • Continuing students (i.e. those who have not applied for graduation for Spring 2020) may choose the P/N option through May 8 through their MyUI portal. Using the tool at MyUI, they may switch this choice or otherwise change it through May 8. After May 8, continuing students request a change to their choice using the form provided at the CLAS student pages;
  • Instructor and advisor permission is not required for the P/N option.

 P/N may be used for the following types of courses:

  • CLAS GE Core requirements
  • Major, minor, and certificate requirements
  • University Honors courses and Honors in the Major courses offered by departments/programs and Honors contract courses.
  • Elective courses
  • Courses needed for other graduation requirements, such as UI/CLAS residence or the 120  s.h. requirement
  • Study Abroad courses finished online (the student should inform the study abroad advisor as soon as possible that the P/N will be chosen; Study Abroad will inform the Registrar of the final grade).
  • Some courses requiring grades for accreditation, such as in Nursing, must be taken for grades. These exceptions have been approved by the Provost. There are very few exceptions in CLAS.

Deadline for Requesting P/N

  • Students who have applied for graduation in Spring 2020 have until May 26 to request the P/N choice. That is, students who are graduating in Spring 2020 may change this choice through their UI MyUI portal until May 26. This is the latest date for any change for graduating seniors.
  • Continuing students (i.e. those who have not applied for graduation for Spring 2020) may choose the P/N option through May 8 through their MyUI portal. Using the tool at MyUI, they may switch this choice or otherwise change it through May 8. After May 8, continuing students may request a change using the form available at the CLAS undergraduate pages:​​​​​​​

Study Abroad students completing a study abroad course online should inform their study abroad advisor as soon as possible that the P/N will be chosen; Study Abroad will inform the Registrar of the final grade. Questions should be addressed to the Study Abroad advisor.

Petitions Allowed
CLAS students missing the P/N request deadline may petition for an exception through June 5; please ask CLAS students to contact the Office of Academic Programs and Student Development at and at +1 319 335-2633. (Students from other colleges should be directed to their college’s undergraduate office.).

Other Details about P/N Grades in Spring 2020

  • The P will appear on the student grade report and transcript if the student has earned a C- or higher in the course and has requested the P/N by the deadline.
  • An N will appear if the student has earned a D+ or lower in the course and has requested the P/N by the deadline.
  • Neither the P nor N are factored into the student’s GPA.
  • Faculty will report the letter grade earned (A+ through F), and the Registrar will then convert this letter grade to a P/N if so requested by the student.
  • Instructors will not need to enter the P/N grade in MAUI and will not approve or deny the P/N request.

Graduate and Professional School Admission
A student’s admission to graduate or professional school could be harmed because of the presence of P/Ns on the transcript and because of lost GPA points that might have been earned while increasing the GPA. In many cases, professional and graduate schools will continue to ask for the original grades or GPA before the conversion to P/N, as is now often the practice. Other institutions could be making exceptions to these policies. Refer students to those institutions for guidance. Policies are rapidly changing and websites might not yet be updated.

Sequenced Courses
Many sequenced courses progressively require a greater in-depth knowledge and thus have a minimum grade required for an earlier course in sequence before the student may register for the next course in the sequence.

  • Students who choose to take such a course for P/N option will be allowed to register for the course in the next semester with the P grade (i.e. the blocking system will recognize P as allowing a student to register).
  • Departments may not make exceptions to this policy.

Meanwhile instructors may want to consider how to best review content from Spring 2020 early in the fall semester while assessing student knowledge to guide this review, with the hope of helping students to catch up as soon as possible.

Many of these sequenced courses, and especially those with GE CLAS Core status, offer Supplemental Instruction which will continue online this spring. Encourage students to enroll. See

Required GPA Standards

The CLAS standard for Honors in the Major of the cumulative UI GPA of 3.33 must be maintained in Spring 2020 for a student to graduate with Honors in the Major.

If a student’s GPA is currently below these two needed standards, the student may not be able to use the P/N option for all courses and remain a candidate for honors. Students should be carefully advised in these matters; in some cases, it could be best to drop Honors.

CLAS Honors in the Major Policy Exceptions

  • The exceptions below might not be used by University Honors; see that website for any related information.
  • Since all Spring 2020 courses using letter grades may be taken for a P/N grade, Honors in the Major course requirements stating that a student must earn a minimum grade in an Honors seminar or another Honors course must be waived for Spring 2020. We hope students earning Honors will continue to take courses for grades; however, if a student chooses to use the P/N option, they may do so and still earn Honors in the Major if they have met the GPA requirements stated above and have completed all other requirements for Honors in the Major. Please consult with Helena Dettmer on related issues.
  • Departments may make reasonable waivers or substitutions for Honors in the Major requirements if waivers are done consistently and fairly for all Spring 2020 graduates in that major. Waivers do not need to be sent to the Registrar or approved by CLAS. The waivers should instead be approved by the departmental/program coordinator of Honors in the Major in consultation with the DEO.
  • Any requirements involving group attendance, such as a presentation, a poster board session, or oral defense should be dropped or a substitute activity created. Honors in the Major requirements must be completed by the time grades are submitted.

Course Drop Deadline Extended

The deadline for all undergraduate students to drop a course with the W for Spring 2020 has been extended until May 8, the Friday before Final Exam week. Some students may prefer to drop a course rather than to request a P/N grade if the predicted grade is below a C-. Neither the N nor the W is counted in the GPA, but the N does indicate an inadequate performance while a W is neutral. The usual online drop procedures will be used.

CLAS Limit on Total of P/N s.h. Waived for Spring 2020
P/Ns earned this spring by CLAS students will not be counted toward the student’s total number of allowed P/N hours (which is currently 15 s.h. for P/N or 30 s.h. for P/N and S/U/F together). Other undergraduate colleges at UI may have different policies.

CLAS Undergraduate Dismissal for Low Grades for Spring 2020
Rather than dismissing students who have been continued on probation through Spring 2020 and remain on probation once spring grades are calculated, CLAS will allow these undergraduates to remain on probation for an additional semester. In other words, students will not be dismissed at the close of Spring 2020. Other undergraduate colleges at UI may have different policies.

Financial Aid
The UI Office of Financial Aid is making exceptions for satisfactory progress toward the degree; generally, this progress is needed for continued financial aid. Students with concerns should discuss the matter with directly with Financial Aid. See

Statement on the Transcript
The Registrar will add a statement to the transcript about the situation for Spring 2020 to remind readers of the context of the student’s earned grades and of the appearance of P/N notations.

Faculty should be prepared for a sudden absence by having a back-up instructor in place if at all feasible. As soon as possible, alert your DEO to the problem. Please contact Helena Dettmer as well as the Associate Dean for your discipline. Generally, each situation will vary widely and could require different solutions.

Documentation at this time cannot be required if a student falls ill. Trust the student who reports an illness,  COVID-19 or otherwise. Each case must be weighed and considered separately. If a student is extremely ill, the best choice for the student may be to drop the course or withdraw from the semester. These deadlines are extended through May 8. Likewise, students can request a P/N option to help cope with the work and to catch up through May 8. This semester, students have additional choices to help them to cope with illness or trauma. Instructors should allow make up exams as needed for ill students within reason. Please consult with Helena Dettmer about the definition of “within reason,” if needed.

The policy for giving an Incomplete remains unchanged for Spring 2020. Student may drop a course or earn a P/N through May 8 and these, in many situations, will be preferable to the Incomplete. Keep in mind that a student may not graduate with an Incomplete on the record; Incompletes turn into F grades at the end of the next regular semester (i.e. omitting summer or winter sessions).

Requirements for Allowing an Incomplete

  • The student must be in good standing to qualify for an Incomplete i.e., should be earning good grades in the class. Students who are struggling with the materials find it very hard to learn without guidance but faculty are not expected to tutor a student who has be given an Incomplete; faculty have many other important obligations. The student must be able to complete the work independently.
  • The work that the student must complete should thus be small. “Small” will vary by course since it is relevant to the overall work assigned.
  • Remind students that they may drop the course late or may change the grade to P/N in Spring 2020 as long as the deadline of May 8 is met. For many, this is better than taking an Incomplete. Refer the student to an advisor for help with the decision.
  • Students in difficult health situations or facing family emergencies should be referred to the Office of Academic Programs and Student Development (Helena Dettmer’s office); you may also call to consult with staff on problems or contact staff directly email.
  • See the end of this document for a two sample Incomplete agreements. Having such an agreement in writing helps to solve issues and questions about grades if the work is not turned in on time.

The College is continuing to enforce its policy that no exams of any kind may be given the week before the final examination week. Thank you for upholding this policy.

Some instructors will no longer require a final exam but will offer another activity that does not require proctoring. This activity is due on the date and time of the final exam as scheduled by the Registrar, but the activity may be assigned to students before the final exam period begins.

Note that the Registrar has removed all exam days and times from the MyUI schedule since many students will no longer have such exams.

  • If you are giving a final exam, you must use the scheduled exam period assigned by the Registrar to avoid creating conflicts for students.
  • Communicate with students about any final exams; be clear about the day and time since it is no longer on the MyUI Schedule.

Courses offered normally online use Proctorio, an online proctoring tool used during exams. This tool is not available for all courses, however, and the DUS group expressed concerns about academic integrity while trading ideas on how to encourage honest work, below:

  • Talk about integrity before due dates and tests.
  • Students cheat when they get desperate, run out of time, and do not know how to solve a task or tackle a problem, especially in a high stakes situation. Encourage students to seek help early and frequently—which is often why successful students earn strong grades.
  • Assure students that in your experience most students are honest and know that cheating hurts others. Many students come to UI with standards related to sports—playing fair is crucial or the win has no meaning. Others come to UI sincerely wanting to help others by becoming doctors, therapists, social workers, and teachers—honesty and integrity are key in these positions and part of the student’s identity.
  • CLAS has a Code requiring academic honesty as does UI.
  • Appeal to the student’s identity as a person who is honest and compassionate and who plays fairs.
  • Use different strategies for the evaluation of student learning than exams. For example, a student may make a video project or might be asked to video tape themselves teaching family members (or holding a discussion or a Q and A) about the topic.
  • Ask students to sign an integrity pledge before the exam begins (see below for examples). Research has shown this is an effective strategy.
  • Use Zoom for exams and watch students take the test. Ask students to show the UID card on their webcam in Zoom on entry before the test. Students should also scan the UID with their material at the end of the test to verify identity.
  • Use the ICON function to lock down the browser.
  • Use the ICON function to scramble questions or to use different but similar questions.
  • Use ICON to indicate a start and end time for the exam; note the amount of time used by each student and see if this corresponds to the length and quality of an exam in a very broad way.

Academic Misconduct Reporting
Please continue to submit academic misconduct reports during Spring 2020:

If a paper, project, or exam (etc.) shows evidence of cheating, the item should be graded down. Most instructors assign the F grade for the related item. If the cheating is very egregious , it might be appropriate to assign an F for the whole course. Please consult with Helena Dettmer first since CLAS also assigns sanctions and these sanctions both separately and together must remain appropriate to the offense.

Sanctions Assigned by CLAS
Student offenses are tracked and this will continue during this semester, with CLAS assigning sanctions. Those with a second or third offense will be suspended or expelled since these students are aware of the UI expectations for academic integrity and have completed the required Academic Integrity Seminar but have chosen to cheat anyway.

Suspension of Academic Integrity Seminar for Remainder of Spring 2020
The Academic Integrity Seminar will not be assigned for first offenses for the remainder of Spring 2020. The seminar costs the student $100 and the seminar is completed online.  For some students who are already struggling with technology and finances, this could make the difference in their not continuing at UI.

The seminar will be reinstated for Summer 2020. Use of the seminar includes a hold on the student’s future registration, which is only removed when the seminar is completed.


The University of Iowa will offer online-only instruction for Summer Sessions 1–3, which begin May 19, 2020. A decision on whether to offer face-to-face instruction for Summer Sessions 4–5, which begin June 15 and June 29, respectively, will be made later this semester. In order to provide flexibility, colleges may choose to offer only online courses during all of the 2020 summer sessions. Additionally, clinical and experiential activities will be addressed on a program-by-program basis.

 All study abroad courses for Spring  and Summer have been canceled.  It may be possible to offer online substitute summer courses for study abroad or other courses since students may need these credits or courses to earn a major or to graduate this summer. Please discuss this with your DEO and the related Associate Dean of your discipline. Adjustments to already scheduled offerings may also be allowed.


Sample Integrity Pledges

  1. The CLAS “official” Academic Code of Honesty pledge:

      "I pledge to do my own academic work and to excel to the best of my abilities, upholding the IOWA Challenge. I promise not to lie about my academic work, to cheat, or to steal the words or             ideas of others, nor will I help fellow students to violate the Code of Academic Honesty."

  1. Short pledge:

        I am an honest person, and I do my own work.

  1. Longer Sample

            I agree that

  • I will complete this quiz independently, without assistance from anyone else
  • I will complete this quiz without notes, readings, or any other course materials
  • I will complete this quiz without the use of any devices, such as phones or tablets
  • I will not copy or reproduce any quiz questions or answers
  • I will not share information about quizzes with other students in class, or with future students

I understand that violating the above items constitutes academic fraud, and will result in discipline in accordance with the policies of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the department or program offering this course.


Student name:                       

Student e-mail:          

Student Iowa ID:        


Instructor name:        

Instructor e-mail:      


Course Name, Number and section: 



Specific work to be completed:


Work to be completed by:


Default grade to be assigned if student does not complete work by above deadline:

Current grade:


Agreement confirmed with student via e-mail (DATE and copy of e-mail)



Prior to completing: 1) Download form to your computer; 2) Open newly saved form and type in it; 3) Save again




Student: Check one: BA       MSW      PhD        Check one center:   IC    DM     QC     SC   Hybrid


Please carefully read the Incomplete policies and procedures on the other side of this form and print clearly.


_____________________________________________________   ______________________
Student Name UI-ID#                                                                               Advisor Name



Phone Number                                                                   UI-Email address


SSW: ________: ________    ______/_______



Dept. Course:          Section                 Semester and Year                   Course Title                                                                  


Instructor: Please carefully read the Incomplete policies and procedures on the other side of this form and print clearly. You may only submit a grade of Incomplete when this contract is signed by the student and submitted to the admissions & program coordinator. 


  1. The grade of Incomplete is to be used only when a student's work during a session cannot be completed because of illness, accident, or other circumstances beyond the student's control.  How does the student’s circumstances meet this criterion?




  1. Instructors may report a mark of Incomplete only if the unfinished part of the student's work, in a course other than thesis or independent study, is small; the work is unfinished for reasons acceptable to the instructor; and the student's standing in the course is satisfactory. The specific work left outstanding that the student must complete:




  1. Students must complete the work no later than the end of the following session in which they received an Incomplete. Taking into consideration reasonable time for the grading and the grade submission process, the date(s) the work must be turned into the instructor include:




  1. If the student does not complete all work by the agreed upon date, the instructor has the option to let the I turn to a F or grade the work the student turned in.  The student may also be dropped from a subsequent course, because the Incomplete course is a prerequisite, and/or the advancement policy may be initiated. 


*Student: Initial here to indicate you understand item #4 above:________



Instructor Signature (type name in box) Date                         Student Signature or designee*  Date

                                                                                           *Student’s signature is not required for this contract to be binding.


Program Director Signature or designee (typed)                                     Date


Program Administrator will save signed copy to MAUI advisor notes, and copy to instructor and student:  see below.                           








A course may not be repeated to remove a grade of Incomplete; the grade must be removed by completing the unfinished part of the work.


Students may not attend any course in the next semester that has an Incomplete graded course as a prerequisite. If the student does not complete the work by the final date specified in the contract, the student must drop any courses for which the Incomplete graded course was a prerequisite and take it when the course is offered again and after the Incomplete has been removed.


The instructor must change the grade no later than the end of the following session, including summer.


A grade of Incomplete will automatically turn to an F at the end of the next session, excluding summer session, if the instructor does not change the grade.  This rule applies even if the student is not registered in the subsequent session.

*Undergraduate students: See other UI policies (“Grading,” “Incomplete Grades”


1. The student will set up an appointment to meet with the instructor.

2. The student and instructor will set interim and final due dates for outstanding work.

3. The instructor will complete the contract and submit it to the admissions & program coordinator, 308 North Hall, Iowa City, prior to submitting the Incomplete grade.

4. The instructor will then submit the Incomplete grade in MAUI.

5. The admissions & program coordinator will put the contract in the student's file, copied to MAUI advisor notes, and copied to the program administrator.

6. The instructor will submit the grade before or when grades are due at the end of the subsequent session.