Spring And Summer 2020

Posted: April 6, 10:30 a.m.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to persist for a significant period, the University of Alberta has made the decision to offer Spring and Summer 2020 courses through remote delivery. Making this decision now will allow time for faculties to cancel those courses where learning objectives cannot be met, and consider offering additional or alternate courses that have already been developed, or can be adapted, to support effective remote delivery.

This would also align the university with many of our comparator institutions that have already made the move to on-line/remote delivery for Spring and Summer 2020. This creates an opportunity for U of A and other post-secondary students to participate in our remote offerings at a time when other institutions may not be operating at full capacity.

We have outlined the specifics of these changes and their impacts on you as an instructor below. Please read the details of this message and the content reflected in the associated links thoroughly. Instructors should work directly with their Chair (or the equivalent in their faculty) to address specific questions or concerns about their courses. 

Remote Delivery

All graduate and undergraduate University of Alberta courses offered in the Spring or Summer terms of 2020 will use remote delivery. The move to remote delivery is not possible for all courses. Courses that cannot meet learning outcomes or objectives through remote delivery will be cancelled (e.g. field courses requiring international travel). 

Exceptions to remote delivery can be made by Deans if the learning outcomes of a course necessitate in-person delivery, and if delivery of those courses can be adjusted to comply with all relevant University, provincial and federal public health directives.

If you believe that you require an exception for the delivery of your course, please work through the normal channels in your faculty or department.

Cancelling/Modifying/Adding Courses

Deadlines for course cancellations and communicating course exceptions are as follows: 

  • Spring 2020 Term: April 17, 2020
  • Summer 2020 Term: June 11, 2020

If an exception has been made to deliver a course in-person, the faculty or department must communicate with registered students by the deadline noted above. 

Course cancellations must be recorded in Bear Tracks. The Office of the Registrar (Examinations and Timetabling) will communicate with your department/faculty on the process to request changes to classes

If a course is cancelled, registered students will be automatically notified through their Bear Tracks account. 

Deadlines for adding courses are as follows:

  • Spring 2020 Term: April 17, 2020
  • Summer 2020 Term: June 18, 2020
Grading and Assessments

Grading for Spring and Summer 2020 will follow a full, traditional University of Alberta grading scheme as outlined in the Academic Calendar. As is usual practice, the specifics around assessment must be included in the course outline.

Final Assessments/Exams

IST is preparing services and technology to accommodate remote final examinations for Spring and Summer 2020. CTL and IST staff will assist faculties and instructors to create and deliver final examinations and assessments which support their course and program learning outcomes in a remote online testing environment

There are risks and challenges to remote exams, however, exams that can be created and completed using the eClass quiz activity will be able to be proctored remotely. For exams that require a different mode of student answer other than digital (e.g. paper calculations or complex drawings), IST will provide recommendations of available options. More information will follow.

Privacy and Security Considerations for Online Meetings and Classes

As the University's administration and academics is now being conducted online due to COVID-19, staying cyber secure while working, teaching or learning from home is all the more crucial. Cybersecurity exposures and risks exist when conducting online meetings and classes. IST has assembled some topics, tips and related articles to advise you of these vulnerabilities, as well as provide insight and guidance to mitigate such instances. Please see the IST website  for more information from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Privacy and Security Considerations: Online Meetings and Classes.

Technology Requirements

We are developing university-wide recommendations that outline minimum standards for student-owned computing technology and internet access for the Spring and Summer 2020 terms. We will share this information in the coming weeks. 

In some cases, there may be course-specific technology requirements. In all cases, efforts should be made to provide alternatives for students. 

If a course requires technology above the university-wide recommendations, instructors must consult and receive approval from their Chair and/or Dean (or their delegates). Faculties or departments will need to communicate these requirements, and possible alternatives, directly to registered students no later than 10 business days prior to the start of the term. 

Textbooks and Teaching Materials 

With reduced in-person university services, students will not have access to printed teaching materials and course reserves that would normally be held in the libraries or made available for in-person purchase in the bookstore. The University of Alberta Bookstore and Libraries are available to assist faculty with course material adoption for the Spring and Summer terms. Additional resources and information are linked below.

University of Alberta Bookstore

The University of Alberta Bookstore is available to assist faculty with course material adoption for the Spring and Summer terms. Requests may be processed using our course materials adoption tool at bookstore.ualberta.ca/t-textbook-adoption.aspx. Please email any questions or concerns to txtadopt@ualberta.ca. Students will be able to purchase their course materials online at bookstore.ualberta.ca. Free shipping will be included on all orders.

University of Alberta Library

Please be advised that the print collections of the University of Alberta Library are currently closed, including Course Materials/Reserve rooms, so students cannot access print textbooks via the Library.

The Library offers many unlimited access ebooks within its collections that may be suitable alternate course readings, and would be available to students at no cost. Please note that if you will be assigning a textbook that the Library has previously made available to students in print, it may not be possible, due to publisher restrictions, for the Library to purchase the same textbook in ebook format. Should you have any questions about Library ebooks and their suitability for course adoption, please contact the Library.


During the pandemic, many textbook publishers have made the online versions of their textbooks available free of charge for students on the textbook platform VitalSource. A list of publishers that have made their books available can also be viewed online.

Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees

Mandatory non-instructional fees for students enrolled in Spring and Summer 2020 terms will be assessed only for services that students are able to access, including remote services. A summary of applicable non-instructional fees will be available in the coming weeks.