Teaching Continuity at Caltech  /  Advice & Guidance  /  Midterms and Finals

Midterms and Finals

As announced on March 18, 2022, the Institute will return fully to in-person instruction by Monday, April 4, 2022. Resources for remote and online teaching are provided on this site if Caltech must shift to remote instruction in the future.

Outside of special emergency permissions granted during the pandemic, Caltech's accreditation is limited to in-person instruction.

Here are some special considerations for remote midterms and final exams. We want to especially highlight the use of FERPA-compliant tools for electronic communication of student work and grades. FERPA-compliant tools include: Caltech.edu email, Canvas, Gradescope and Caltech Box (the latter is recommended for sharing among faculty/TAs; please exercise caution with settings for student privacy if using otherwise). Other tools may not be FERPA-compliant and are not supported by Caltech for the exchange of student work and grades.

Zoom videoconferencing may be used for review sessions and office hours, both live/synchronous, and recorded to share afterward with students. Likewise, instructors can meet with TAs via Zoom. As some students may be unable to join live sessions, please consider making recordings of review sessions and office hours available.

Clearly Communicate Your Instructions and Expectations

  • Give students information about how long they have to complete their midterms, when their midterms must be submitted by, how to submit their work and who to contact if something goes awry with internet connections, technology or other issues

Submission of Student Work

  • Give students specific instructions for submission and formatting, including file types you will accept.
  • If students are expected to take photos or scans of handwritten work, remind them to check the images for legibility and (if you wish) combine multiple pages into one document.
  • Provide a filename template to students so that you and TAs can easily keep track of their work: e.g., lastname_firstname_exam2_date.
  • Conduct a test run of the work submission process with TA(s) or administrative staff to make sure the instructions, file formats, etc. will work.
  • Provide a secure submission method that meets FERPA standards.

Honor Code

  • Please revisit the honor code and give guidelines to your students as to how the Honor Code applies to your midterm.
  • For example: depending on their situation, students may not have printers available and will need to view midterms on a screen. Consider whether this will require an adjustment of honor code instructions. In this case, it might be specifying that students should not have any other windows open, especially if they are not allowed to access notes/materials/etc.

Create a grading timeline and communicate with grading TAs or other instructional staff about their grading assignments and deadlines.

When returning student work, do so via an individual, secure, FERPA-compliant method.