Instructor FAQs

If you are seeking information regarding rules, regulations and mandatory expectations for undergraduate teaching in the Faculty of Arts & Science, please view the Academic Handbook.

Fall 2021 at U of T

Given the importance of in-person learning to the student experience, the Faculty of Arts & Science is planning for most Arts & Science courses to take place in person this fall. However, as always, our planning will continue to be informed by Public Health guidance. Read the latest update from Dean Melanie Woodin and the Undergraduate Student FAQs.

For information on updates to marking scheme requirements and the Final Assessment Period for Fall 2021, please see the A&S Academic Handbook for Instructors.

Absence declaration: For 2021-22, the Verification of Illness (or “doctor’s note”) is not required. Students who are absent from academic participation for any reason (e.g., COVID, cold, flu and other illness or injury, family situation) and who require consideration for missed academic work have been asked to record their absence through the ACORN online absence declaration. The absence declaration is considered sufficient documentation to indicate an absence and no additional information or documentation should be required when seeking consideration from an instructor. Students should also advise their instructor of their absence. Instructors can contact their Undergraduate Administrators if they have questions or would like confirmation for a particular student.

Changes to Final Assessment Period and Course Marking Scheme Requirements – Fall 2021 (F/Y Courses)

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the December Final Assessment Period will be available for Faculty-administered in-person final exams and Instructor-administered online final assessments. In deciding between in-person and online testing, note the following:

  • Lecture sections with the “99” code (eg, LEC9901) cannot have an in-person final exam.
  • Courses with only online elements (LEC, TUT, and PRA) should not plan for an in-person final exam unless previously discussed with the Associate Chair of the department or the Dean’s Office.

There should be no scheduled classes or other required class activity during a Final Assessment Period (for Fall 2021: December 10-21).

In-person Final Exams:

  • UPDATE: As stated in the December 15, 2021 email from the Provost, all in-person final exams for the current term at the University of Toronto are cancelled. Therefore, all in-person undergraduate exams in A&S originally scheduled from Thursday, December 16 to Tuesday, December 21 will not be taking place. Instructors should consult with their Associate Chair, Undergraduate, or their Program Director, on how to proceed for courses with cancelled December final exams.
  • For courses with in-person exams completed December 10-15, OFR will manage student requests for exam viewing, remark requests, and deferred exams (as was done before the pandemic).

Online Final Assessments:

  • Online final assessments are administered by instructors. These include: 
    • Untimed take-home assessments (completed within an extended period)
    • Timed online tests (scheduled or completed within a specified period)
    • Other (e.g., assessments combining timed and untimed parts; oral test)
  • These assessments are typically review-like or of a ‘summative’ nature. For example, a final assessment should not require students to carry out new research for an essay.
  • Online final assessments are governed the same way as term work.

For Y-courses, the April Final Exam period will be similarly structured. Y-courses may opt for a term test during the December Assessment Period (in-person or online), keeping in mind the limitations around “99” coded lecture sections and courses with only online elements (as noted above).

  • As noted above, December will have a Final Assessment Period that can be used for in-person final exams and online final assessments. Y-courses may have a term test during this period.
  • First-year courses are not required to a have a final assessment (or final exam).
  • No test or combination of tests worth over 25% may be scheduled during the last two weeks of term:
    Nov 26 - Dec 9. 
  • For F-courses, at least 10% of students’ final grade must be returned before November 8. 
    For Y-courses, at least 20% of students' final grade must be returned no later than January 14.  
  • No individual assessment may be worth more than 80%. 
  • Term work deadlines should be within the term (i.e., period in which classes meet prior to the Final Assessment Period), with one exception:

For Fall 2021, instructors may set the submission deadline of one term assignment during a Final Assessment Period provided that:

  1. The course has no final assessment or exam (or term test for Y-courses) scheduled during the Final Assessment Period.
  2. Instructors give students the term assignment details no later than the last two weeks of the term (no later than November 25 in the Fall and no later than March 25 in the Winter). Where feasible, consider providing the assignment details even earlier. This will help enable students to work in advance on assignments at this busy time of the year.

The institution has provided guidance for instructors on privacy and copyright considerations when recording and posting online lectures and class discussions, for more information please visit Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation - Video Recording of Lectures and Class Sessions.

The institution has also provided sample syllabus statements for instructor recording of remote/online courses. If you are planning to record your online course, you should include these or similar statements in your syllabus.

Please note:

In response to the effects of the pandemic, the University introduced the Absence Declaration tool in Acorn to record any absence from academic work, whether for medical or non-medical reasons. Students should complete the Absence Declaration anytime they are absent from academic work, not just when they have missed a specific course deadline. 

The information is recorded by the University and it may be accessed by academic units (departments, program offices) as well as by College and Faculty registrar staff. It is also monitored by the University to track absences overall.

Instructors will not be automatically alerted when a student declares an absence. It is a student’s responsibility to let instructors know that they have used the Absence Declaration so that you can discuss any needed consideration, where appropriate. Some instructors may ask their department to confirm absences reported by students to ensure that they have been entered into the system on the dates indicated by a student. Find more information about the Absence Declaration tool