With the anniversary of the Camp Fire heavy on our hearts this week, it’s a good opportunity to take a moment for yourself to pause. Consider giving yourself a “10-minute sabbatical” to reflect and recharge. Take a walk through the colorful leaves in Bidwell Park, meditate in the Zen Den in BMU 301, or do something that truly enriches you. If you were affected by the Camp Fire and prefer to be with other people this week, there are Group-counseling sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to discuss the emotional impacts and next steps for faculty and staff affected by the Camp Fire.
Given the unprecedented end-of-semester challenges from the Camp Fire, it’s ok to ask yourself “Do I really need to administer a traditional final exam?” If the answer is yes because it’s a required high-stakes exam for a certificate or a gateway exam to the next course in the sequence, then by all means, administer it. If, however, you plan to give a written final exam purely because that’s just what professors have always done, then consider a few possible alternatives for students to demonstrate their learning.
- Ask students to apply what they’ve learned by connecting your course material to other classes they’ve had, or to the current social, economic, scientific, or political context
- Enhance inclusivity by allowing students to develop some of the final exam questions or essay prompts
- Have students present their work to each other in a poster session, portfolio reveal, gallery walk, or some other event
The university requires that classes meet at the designated time during finals week. I encourage you to explore innovative possibilities to make that a meaningful, worthwhile, and perhaps even enjoyable culminating experience for students. Provost Larson’s 11/30 e-mail noted that there may be exceptions to the required final exam policy, especially this semester, so you have some latitude to be intellectually creative with your assessments.