Winter 2020

As a result of the exceptional circumstances presented by the COVID19 pandemic, and with the endorsement of Deans’ Council and GFC Academic Standards Committee, GFC Executive unanimously approved a number of changes to normal U of A practices in order to enable instructors and students to successfully complete the Winter 2020 term.

The below information was first published in March 2020. Additional information from under the Winter 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

We have communicated these changes to students as well, and it may be helpful for you to review the student messaging available.


For all courses for the Winter 2020 term, the process by which the term marks will be translated into a final letter grade for the course will be replaced, resulting in one of the following: 

    1. CR (credit): completed requirements, no grade point value assigned, credit provided
    2. NC (no credit): failure, no grade point value assigned, no credit provided
    3. IN (Incomplete): if there is insufficient information to assign CR or NC, instructors should assign IN. 
Exemptions to this grading scheme may be established by the Deans for reasons related to accreditation and licensure after appropriate consultation with other impacted Deans (i.e. issues of service teaching). If an exception is made for a particular program or course, students will be informed by their Dean no later than March 27, 2020.

Updated April 21, 9:00 a.m.

  • All instructors must find an alternative to in-person final assessments for each Winter 2020 course that they teach for both undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • Faculties strongly encourage instructors to pursue alternate forms of assessment other than traditional final examinations delivered in a remote format. Resources for creating alternate types of assessments can be accessed through the Centre for Teaching and Learning
  • All final assessments and the few proctored final exams will be delivered remotely and will be held according to the schedule previously published by the Registrar.  
  • Final exams will not be done through a remote proctored assessment unless approved by the Dean (or delegate) for exceptional circumstances.  
  • Instructors must inform students of the format of their final exam or assessment and receive a modified course syllabus that communicates this information clearly no later than March 27, 2020. 
  • This deadline allows for students to make an informed decision before the revised withdrawal deadline (April 8, 2020). 

We understand that having a sense of relative performance within a course may be very necessary for some students applying to highly competitive programs.

  • We are developing a downloadable letter about the CR/NC grading change, as well as advice and guidance instructors can use if they choose to provide commentary to indicate how a student performed within a course. While this won't replace traditional grading, it will be a useful addition to certain applications.   

All Winter 2020 course outlines for both undergraduate and graduate courses  must be updated to outline all changes to exams, assessments and grading and shared with students no later than March 27, 2020. 

  • In order to facilitate this work in a consistent and expedient manner, the COVID-19 Subcommittee on Academic Impacts will distribute a template with the required new regulations. The cover page template will be circulated by the Office of the Registrar on Monday, March 23, 2020 by end of business day.
  • This template will explain the rationale for the mandatory changes to examinations and grading regulations.
  • Instructors must complete the template cover page for each of the courses they teach and attached to your current syllabus to be an official record of the changes.
  • The completed cover page template to the syllabus must be distributed to students by instructors no later than March 27, 2020. 

Information applies to both undergraduate and graduate students

  • Academic standing is used to determine the eligibility of students to continue in or graduate from their programs.
  • Academic Standing Regulations may be modified by the Dean of each Faculty to minimize any negative impact on students as a result of the changes to grading, exams, and final assessments for the Winter 2020 term.
  • Students will be notified by the Dean of their Faculty no later than April 1, 2020.
  • The deadline has been extended to April 8, 2020.
This is being done in order to give students the time they need to make an informed decision, based on the changes to remote delivery, exams, and assessment practices, about whether they should complete or withdraw from Winter 2020 term courses.

Important Note



In the event that the University must cease all activities, all grades which have not yet been submitted and approved will be considered to be Incomplete (IN) temporarily. 

  • When activities resume, Credit (CR) and Non-credit (NC) grades will be determined based on whether or not the student has demonstrated achievement of the majority of the course learning objectives and learning outcomes as outlined in the revised course outline (syllabus) in effect on March 27, 2020.