Memo Regarding the CMS Latin Exams in September 2020

Dear Students at the Centre for Medieval Studies,

     Because of the uncertainty about how the Fall term of 2020 will unfold at the University of Toronto in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMS Latin Committee met on May 26 to discuss our options for administering the Centre’s Latin exams in September. After serious deliberation, it was agreed that under the current conditions writing the exams online will be the default option. In light of the problems experienced in the April writing of the exams and in consideration of the feedback the Latin Committee received from the CMS Student Executive Committee, it was decided that CMS will not again use the services of ProctorU. A different system for writing the exams online was agreed upon (see below, Section 1). As an alternative to writing the exam online, the possibility of writing the exams on-site in person was also discussed (see below, Section 2).

     Training for the online option will be provided during the summer, after which a new round of feedback from the students will be requested, in order to ascertain whether any adjustments need to be implemented. The aim is to ensure that the September Latin exams are written in an environment which allows students to perform at their very best in a fair and equitable way.

 

     Important Dates and Information

    

     Information about the training for the online option will be provided during the month of June.

     Students who are planning to take the Latin Exam on September 9 (Level 1) or September 11 (Level 2) need to register via email with Rhonda Marley by August 4, 2020. At the moment of their registration, students are asked to indicate whether they prefer writing the exam on-site in person, should this option be available in September 2020. Students in different time zones should indicate their time constraints at the time of registration.

     CMS will communicate to students registered for the exams all the details concerning the exams, both online and in person (if this option is available), by August 20, 2020.

1. Writing the Latin Exams online

After discussing three options for administering online exams, the Committee agreed on using the following hybrid system. Exams will be conducted online through the Quercus site (accessible with students’ credentials for registered U of T students and via temporary guest access for students who have not yet registered and for external participants). Live support and monitoring will be offered to the participants in the exams by members of the Latin Committee through a video-meeting on Zoom. Students will not be recorded while taking the exams, nor will a browser lock-down software be used.

This hybrid system will provide equal conditions for all students, conditions which are comparable with those occurring during regular times during on-site in person exams. This effective and friendly monitoring was successfully implemented during the April Modern Language Exams at CMS. The hybrid system also includes configuration strategies to ensure that the needs of students with special needs are accommodated.

For additional information about Quercus, please consult this page.

For additional information about Zoom, please consult this page.

2. Writing the Latin Exams on-site in person

     While it is not currently possible to guarantee on-site in person exams, the Committee discussed also this option. A decision was made that in case the University of Toronto makes the public buildings accessible in September 2020, the students who so desire can write the Latin Exam at:

     2a. The Library of the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies.

     The PIMS Library offers many advantages over the spaces at the Centre for Medieval Studies:

1) because of its size, the PIMS Library can ensure satisfactory social distancing;

2) the PIMS Library will provide equal conditions for all students writing the exam;

3) the PIMS Library will provide a quiet space where the students can concentrate on the exam without any external disturbances. In order to ensure this, the Librarian has promised to close the Library for other patrons during the exams. As an exception, students will be allowed to bring in water and snacks, while phones and all other personal belongings will be placed in the lockers.

For additional information about the PIMS library, please consult this page.

     2b. The University of Toronto Exam Centre.

     Students with specific accessibility needs or health concerns can express their preference for writing the exams in person at the University of Toronto Exam Centre. The Exam Centre will do its best to satisfy such requests, should this possibility be available.

For additional information about the University of Toronto Accessibility Services, please consult this page.

     It needs to be stressed that both “writing in person”-options depend on the decision of the University of Toronto to make the relevant buildings accessible and require an explicit choice to be made by the student who is interested in one of these options. This is why each student, who will be writing the Latin exam/s in September, is asked to specify whether they would prefer to write the exam on-site in person, provided that this is possible by the University’s regulations, at the moment of the registration no later than August 4. Any change in preferences should be communicated to Rhonda Marley by September 1.

For the Latin Committee

Dr. Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Chair

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