Technical Issues (Procedure)
As our courses have moved online we’ve all become more reliant on technology and more exposed when it fails. With the move online, students have at times reported an inability to submit assignments or complete assessments due to internet outages, computer crashes and other technical issues related to our learning tools (e.g., Canvas, Zoom, LockDown Browser & Monitor etc.). What follows therefore is an updated procedure along with some guidelines for reporting and evaluating these issues.
In an effort to streamline the handling of these requests, we have created a Technical Issues Form that captures the information needed to review a student’s claim. If a student reports an issue, please direct them to the Dealing with Technical Issues section of the Learning Remotely page, accessible from the Help menu in Canvas. We will add a link to this form directly in the syllabi for upcoming semesters. Instructors should re-assure students that a process exists to address these issues after the fact.
If a student experiences a technical issue preventing the completion of a course requirement, here’s the process that should be followed:
- Students should email a copy of their work to the instructor as soon as possible.
- Students should complete the Technical Issues Form and email it to the instructor for review. This will allow the Support team to share technical logs with the instructor to help them investigate the issue.
- If the instructor requires further information from our technical support team to help evaluate the claim, they should add details of those requirements to the Technical Issues Form and submit it to itmedic.schulich.yorku.ca.
- Our technical support team will review the form, add any supporting information if possible and return to the instructor.
- Instructors should review the returned form and communicate decisions about whether to accept the deliverable along with any late penalties etc.
- If a student is not satisfied with the decision or if the student and instructor have not reached an agreement regarding the outcome of the submission, they should contact Student Services.
- Student Services (undergraduate, graduate) can advise on options for appeal (currently only available at the end of the semester) and if necessary, escalate the issue to the ADAO.
Evaluating Student Claims
There will be many cases where our support team can’t decisively verify whether or not there was a technical issue. For example, if a student claims his or her internet went down, they can only tell you what pages, if any, the student was accessing on Canvas at the time. A brief description of what can and can’t be verified is included below.
The equipment needed to participate in online classes has been communicated in every syllabus.
- The expectation is that students are responsible for ensuring they have the necessary equipment and corresponding practices in place (e.g., ability to tether to a hotspot in the event of an internet outage, data backup strategy in the event of computer failure) to complete course requirements.
- These expectations will be more clearly articulated in further syllabi.
But technology can still fail at inopportune times and even the best-prepared student may have limited options to respond during this ongoing pandemic.
- Equipment needed to work remotely, like webcams and microphones, may be out of stock.
- Libraries and coffee shops, once a reliable source for an internet connection, are closed or on limited hours.
- Safely navigating to a repair shop may take longer than it used to.
Therefore, instructors will need to consider in advance how they will accommodate students with legitimate issues.
It is up to the instructor to weigh the student’s responsibilities, the limitations of technology and the realities of the pandemic in deciding how to respond to the claim. Please bear in mind York Senate’s request (communicated in March 2020) for directors/supervisors to exercise leniency and flexibility in response to student requests for extension of deadlines for course assignments or a deferred date to write a class test.
We thank you for your efforts thus far and your continuing commitment to Schulich students.