Letter from the President re: Midterm Requirements

Undergraduate students,

We have heard your concerns regarding the onerous midterm requirements for your courses this term and want you to know what steps we are taking. While our advocacy initiatives are not always apparent to the general student body, we have been diligently emphasizing the importance of constructive assessment strategies with the University since this issue emerged in the Spring. Our initial action in May directly contributed to the reversal of the external webcam requirement for the Spring/Summer term and led to our participation with the Working Group on Remote and Online Assessment (WGROA).

Our consistent feedback to this group, tasked with providing recommendations to faculty, was that assessments need to be grounded in sound pedagogy and stress a climate of mutual respect. COVID-19 has placed us all in undesirable learning circumstances where we acknowledge that there are challenges related to the evaluation of academic performance. We have continued to advocate for an environment that prioritizes innovative remote teaching strategies. The solution to these challenges is not a focus on surveillance and policing, but rather by fostering a community of trust between students and educators. The midterm requirements that students have shared unfortunately do not reflect the efforts of the WGROA and instead impose even more unrealistic expectations that actually inhibit academic performance.

The position of the Students’ Union has remained the same since our original stance about external webcams in May. We recognize the equity, security, and privacy concerns that many students have experienced with the online proctoring software Lockdown Browser. We have been very clear in our position that faculty should be exploring and implementing alternative assessment methods rather than defaulting to Lockdown Browser.

I encourage you to email sufeedback@wlu.ca to formalize your concerns. We will be bringing this feedback to the Provost and Vice President: Academic as soon as possible.

As always, stay safe & stay golden.

Devyn Kelly
Students’ Union President & CEO