College asks for Request for Exception application if ‘W’ sought
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
As the end of a turbulent winter 2020 semester draws closer, the college throws a wrinkle into the provision of final course grades for students.
“Students who believe their final grades have been negatively affected by the changes in [the] mode of instruction will be able to request to withdraw from a course with a ‘W’—after final grades have been assigned,” stated an answer in the Douglas College COVID-19 Frequency Asked Questions webpage “by submitting a Request for Exception to the Office of the Registrar by May 1, 2020.”
The decision marks the second change in academic policy for an institution dealing with providing post-secondary instruction during a pandemic. The first change in policy in the context of mitigating the impact of COVID-19 for students was extending the official withdrawal date to April 9.
In essence Douglas’ new change farther extends the withdrawal deadline until after final grades are issued, giving students the ability to assess their academic standing after the end of a class; however, students must submit an application to receive the “W” notation—adding extra work to a stressful time.
Currently, the Request for Exception process at Douglas College is nested under the “Appeal of Educational Decisions Policy.” Requests for exceptions are solely for late withdrawals under certain circumstances including medical, compassionate, death in the family, personal/family issues, and employment, as outlined in the policy.
Douglas College did not provide what circumstance that COVID-19 application would fall under.
Students desiring to pursue the request for exception process need to submit an application and appropriate supporting documentation. Additionally, students need to contact the instructor for each course that they are requesting an exception to complete the application.
Completed applications are then forwarded to the Registrar at either main campus.
Typically, request for exception applications are reviewed; however, no other information about the process after submission was supplied by the college via their announcement.
British Columbia’s largest public degree granting institution continues to lag behind other post-secondary institutions in terms of providing grading alternatives for students during a historic pandemic.
Recently, the senate at Capilano University vanquished grades for the spring 2020 semester. Capilano provided students the option of accepting their final grade as calculated or receiving no grade but the associated number of credit hours towards their degree.
Whereas Langara College has opted to allow students to receive a “No Grade (NG)” notation on their academic record “as a result of the incredible pressure on students enrolled in Spring Semester 2020,” according to the Lastest Updates release on the Vancouver college’s website.