CAA to vote on 3 items in Thursday meeting

Corryn Brock, News Editor

The Council on Academic Affairs will vote on three items during its meeting Thursday at 2 p.m.

The council will meet virtually.

One item the council will vote on is a proposal to amend the current delivery mode definitions. 

Specifically, the proposal seeks to further explain the types of online courses available to students, online synchronous and online asynchronous. 

Online synchronous courses “rely on regularly scheduled virtual meetings between instructor and students that occur in real time as a central method of instruction,” while online asynchronous courses “s rely on methods of instruction that do not require regularly scheduled virtual meetings between instructor and students that occur in real time.”

The proposal was prepared by CAA Chair Claudia Janssen Danyi and the rationale for the proposal is:

“In light of the distance education practices applied in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CAA reviewed EIU’s delivery mode definitions and looked into current developments in online and hybrid delivery during the fall 2020. The discussion identified a need to distinguish online synchronous and online asynchronous delivery because they rely on different teaching methods and place different scheduling demands on students. Students voiced that they were often unsure whether their online class required regular meeting times or not. Thus, clarity on the nature of an online class as either asynchronous or synchronous will enhance transparency and make it easier for students to plan their semesters.”

The second item the council will vote on is a proposal to restructure grade appeal committees.

A memorandum from Faculty Senate Chair Don Holly and Janssen Danyi suggests that all college grade appeal committees with one university-wide grade appeal committee.

The rationale for the proposal explains that internal governing policy 45 currently requires all colleges to have their own grade appeal committee and that each committee be staffed by six faculty members and two students. 

The rationale for the proposal says the reason for the change is “College grade appeals are rare; the great majority of appeals are handled at the department level. Indeed, some colleges go years without having any appeal cases. Given how rare appeals are, we propose that college grade appeal committees be replaced by one university-wide grade appeal committee. This would significantly reduce the number of faculty needed for grade appeals committees. It would also cultivate expertise in the grade appeal process among those that serve, since a single campus-wide committee would now see more appeals. This could make for a more fair and consistent assessment of appeals.”

The council will also vote on a proposal to allow students to take a capstone course offered in the department as a fulfillment of the senior seminar requirement.

The course would be optional to take as a senior seminar, not required. Similarly, no department would be required to create or modify a course to make it an option for a senior seminar.

Originally, senior seminars were intended to require students step outside of their major during their senior year to see how their filed connects to the larger university mission. The courses were meant to be rigorous enough to be valuable at a senior level, however, they have not lived up to that original purpose, according to the proposal.

General Education Coordinator Grant Sterling, proposed the item. He said “It is in light of these perceived deficiencies that this proposal is offered. A capstone course in the major could be designed to meet almost all of the original parts of the (senior seminar) vision. Capstone courses in the major are likely to be rigorous, to be staffed by the best professors in a department, to require students to bring together ideas from multiple prior classes, and are certainly much more likely than (senior seminar) to be taken seriously by students.”

 

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]