Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs are intended to promote consistency across the campus in the event that you cannot meet in person.  Instructors are encouraged to be flexible and understanding of each others' needs.  

Campus Clarity

Estuary & Ocean Science Center at Romberg Tiburon Campus - The Estuary & Ocean Science Center at Romberg Tiburon Campus will maintain minimal operations.

Downtown Campus - The downtown campus activities that can be redirected to the main campus will be redirected. 

Main Campus - At the main campus, on-campus operations will be limited to necessary offices, with the vast majority of staff and faculty using remote modalities.

During a partial campus closure, all events are cancelled and all instruction is transitioned to remote modalities.  The campus will remain open to maintain business continuity, though some buildings will be closed and many operations will be reduced. Some staff will work remotely, as determined by operational need and their supervisor and Human Resources. Find recent campus announcements in the Advisories section of the SF State COVID-19 website. 

Remote learning modalities include fully online courses, and a variety of alternative modalities for remote instruction,  including emailing students and using  virtual modalities (e.g. Zoom, iLearn) in a variety of combinations. Instructors should exercise professional judgement, flexibility, and discretion in determining the best way to provide instruction given the circumstances, and reach out to the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) and Academic Technology (AT) for support and guidance at any time during this transition and beyond. The SF State Quality Learning and Teaching Rubric provides a list to enhance the quality of online courses. 

The types of classes that are affected by this include all face-to-face and hybrid courses. 

Online courses have been conducted exclusively in an online modality, without any in-person sessions, since the first day of the semester, and are listed as such in the course schedule.  

Face-to-face and hybrid courses have conducted some or all class sessions in a face-to-face modality since the first day of the semester, and are listed as such on the course schedule.

“Fully online courses” can be very engaging for students and lead to achievement of learning outcomes at par with face-to-face courses, provided the instructors have appropriate lead time for planning, and have developed the pedagogical and technical expertise required to develop and facilitate a quality fully online course. The SF State Quality Learning and Teaching Rubric provides a list of criteria to enhance the quality of online courses. 

The call to “transition courses to remote modalities” mid-semester acknowledges the unusual and extenuating circumstances that instructors and students are facing. Alternative remote modalities for remote instruction include virtual modalities (e.g. Zoom, iLearn), pedagogically appropriate alternative assignments, self-paced work from home, and take-home exams and quizzes. Instructors should exercise professional judgement, flexibility, and discretion in determining the best way to provide instruction given the circumstances, and reach out to the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) for support and guidance at any time during this transition and beyond.

Certain classes require the use of specialized equipment and spaces and arrangements for these will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Departments, in consultation with college leadership, will provide guidance to instructors and students on how best to help students meet the course learning outcomes. Please consult the office of the dean of the college in which the course is housed.

Lab courses can move some activities online, or utilize virtual experiments. Review this  University of Indiana Guide on Teaching Lab Courses.

Undergraduate research-focused courses can move onto iLearn (fill out the collaborative site request form to request the creation of an iLearn course shell) and communication can be maintained asynchronously via email or both synchronously and asynchronously via Zoom. Consult a CEETL Instructional Designer by or by calling 415-555-5550. 

Many service-learning faculty are suspending their community service-learning (CSL) component because many activities take place in and with the community. We recommend that faculty/departments should adhere to as much flexibility and accommodation as allowed to support students without penalty, in regards to alternative assignment/”practice”/and/or professional development or ways to make up the hours, reduce the number of hours, etc. Please check for updates on the ICCE Announcements page, and please contact the ICCE office if you have any questions.  

Internships will have solutions on a case-by-case basis. Please consult with the office of the dean of the college in which the course is housed.

Synchronous activities take place at the same time; for example, when classes meet in a Zoom session at the same time and are able to respond to each other in real time.

Asynchronous activities take place at different times; for example, when instructors post a recorded lecture or Zoom session on iLearn and students can respond to prompts at a time when they are able.

CEETL recommends a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities and especially making opportunities to demonstrate learning (assessment) asynchronous when possible.

Please consult this list of open buildings and who to contact to ensure you will have access to the services you require. 

Remote instruction will continue through the end of the spring semester and will be the mode of instruction for the summer semester. Please continue to check campus updates for news about the fall semester. 

In addition:

  • Faculty are expected to contact their students immediately with details specific to their classes.

  • Instructors are encouraged to use flexible formats and schedules in order to meet essential student learning outcomes through remote modalities.

Please check the SFState Covid-19 web page frequently for updates. 

Online exams and presentations may be viable options, depending on your situation. Please consult CEETL for support as needed to determine what works best for your course. Academic Technology has created a guide to help get you started on building exams or quizzes in iLearn. 

Some pedagogical concerns are raised in the section on Best Practices, including how to mitigate academic dishonesty. Additionally, it is suggested to reduce the stakes and the pressure by making the quiz or exam worth under 30% of the course, keeping it open and available for more than 24 hours (or much longer, in consideration of challenges students may face with access), allowing multiple “attempts,” shuffling questions from a question bank, and giving students a practice quiz or exam so that they can learn the new format before being assessed in it. 

Please consult this list of additional external resources:

Timing and considerations will be determined by revisions to Academic Senate policy and will be communicated to instructors. 

Requesting constructive feedback on SETEs can include sharing with students that university administrators consider SETEs in the retention, tenure, and promotion process. Providing  some examples of useful feedback you have received in the past, and how the course or your teaching has benefited in response can help students see the impact of SETEs for students like them. Modeling constructive feedback can also help (eg.: “These are things that the instructor could do that would support learning in this class,” and “These are things that the instructor is doing that do support learning in this class.”

Student early access to grades, which normally is provided as an incentive for completing SETEs, may not be possible. For more Frequently Asked Questions about SETEs, please see the FAQ page hosted by Academic Technology.

Inclusion of SETEs in faculty personnel files will be at the discretion of the instructor per negotiation with the CFA. For individual questions, please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs.

SF State’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs continues to operate remotely. The ORSP team will continue to support proposal submissions, assist with post-award transactions, as well as process human/animal subjects protocols. If you have any questions, please feel free to email

First, learn about the experiences of those belonging to groups that are being profiled and stigmatized; this news report features a study done by the SFState Asian American Studies department on instances of racialized violence related to COVID-19: “Coronavirus impact: Asian community fighting racism, xenophobia, bigotry as world fights COVID-19.”

The California Faculty Association (CFA) Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus has prepared a statement regarding the overt anti-Asian bias being displayed in reference to COVID-19.

Refer those who have experienced hate crimes to this website, where they can fill out reports in English, Korean, and Chinese:

Refer to CEETL’s website on Equity and Resilience for suggestions on how to promote justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and resilience during crises.

Instructional Support

  • Universal Design for Learning  considers differential learning styles and preparation in a learner-centered approach.
  • SFSU’s Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) provides these resources for instructors:
  • Resources to help instructors support students, including an FAQ with a Disability Access Statement for syllabi:
  • General information regarding common reasonable student accommodations available through DPRC:
  • Support for instructor accommodations (if you do not currently have a diagnosed disability, please consult your healthcare provider as disabilities must be documented): 

External resources for designing accessible course materials: 

Academic Technology (AT) provides numerous guides, including one on how to choose the right iLearn tools for your course and your students. Faculty can contact AT for support via email to, phone call to (415)405-5555, or chat within any iLearn course.

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) provides a variety of resources to support instructors who are transitioning their courses to remote modalities. Instructors can participate in Keep Teaching webinars, schedule a virtual consultation with an instructional designer, faculty peer-mentor, or Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) ambassador, and access a range of support documentation on the CEETL and QLT websites. Email to learn more or schedule an appointment.

External Resources:

In-person, instructors use a number of cues to assess student engagement. In remote modalities, instructors must rely on other sources of information to assess student engagement:

  • Campus email uses Microsoft Exchange. For best results, use the Microsoft Outlook email program or the Outlook Web App. When you compose an email using Outlook, you can request a “read receipt.” 
  • CEETL advises the use of iLearn’s Quickmail system, as it makes a record of all emails sent and allows you to email individuals, groups, or entire classes of students.
  • In iLearn, you can view your participants (i.e. students) and you can see when was the last time they logged in. Best pedagogical practice suggests using this feature to support students who may be having difficulty with access, rather than punitively, particularly during a time when students may be facing many challenges with access. Keep in mind that students who did not sign up for an online course may simply not have the means to access materials or assessments (i.e. assignments and exams) online.

Lab-based courses may use virtual labs, lab simulations, and videos of experiments. For resources, see Keep Teaching: Tips for Lab Courses

Many service-learning instructors are suspending their community service-learning (CSL) component or finding remote options. For example, some instructors are having students complete some type of Internet-based research for a partner organization. ICCE recommends providing as much flexibility and accommodation as possible to support students. Please check for updates on the ICCE Covid-19 information page for students and faculty. Please contact the ICCE office professional staff for advice as needed for your specific course.  

Additional resources: 


In performance-based classes, students can present in Zoom sessions. Students can share their screens in Zoom, when the instructor gives permission. Sharing your screen in Zoom (scroll down to see “To allow other participants to share their screens”). Students may also upload videos in iLearn Forums, which allows classmates to post comments in response. Students can also discuss presentations in a grouped Forum (in other words, a Forum that only other members of their group can see). 

To prepare collaborative performances, students can meet with each other using Zoom; they already have Pro Zoom accounts just like instructors. Here’s a support guide to get students started that includes a brief video: Getting started with Zoom

Resources for Moving Dance-Based Pedagogy Online has an extensive list of resources.

Instructors can use a number of remote modalities to share content, including 

  • recording lectures and presentations in CourseStream, Zoom, or Camtasia
  • facilitating live lectures and class sessions with Zoom web conferencing
  • directing students to streaming video subscriptions available through the Library
  • by linking directly to SF State Library eBooks and journal articles or 
  • directing students to the public library resources.

Students can also locate sources of content that support the learning outcome and share these with the class by posting links to iLearn forums.

Academic Technology’s Labspace provides students and faculty anytime, anywhere access to software applications. The software includes campus site-licensed software (SPSS, SAS, Mathematica, and others) and specially-licensed software available to departments or discipline-specific groups. 

There are multiple types of software available to support teaching and learning through institutional licenses.

  • CEETL recommends using iLearn and its integrations to support all engagement in remote modalities when possible. Students find it easier to have one place to find all their materials for each of their courses; iLearn is also configured for accessibility.
  • The accessible online syllabus tool ensures that syllabi are in an accessible format.
  • iLearn basics help faculty get started with iLearn.
  • iLearn can be accessed in mobile formats for both faculty and student use.
  • Adding videos in iLearn provides alternative modes to support different learning styles.
  • iLearn Forums can be used for asynchronous discussions and can be used for assignments in a workshop format, where students can see and comment on each other’s posts.
  • Zoom provides multiple tools for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning.
  • Camtasia can be used to record presentations and create lecture videos or other course or training videos. It is a full video-editing suite. Make a request for this service (instructors must log into the SFSU Single Sign-On (SSO) before gaining access to the ticket. )
  • SnagIt can be used to create enhanced screenshots and simple desktop videos.
  • Quizzes and exams can be set up to encourage academic honesty and still allow for accessibility by keeping them individually low stakes, keeping them “open” for at least 24 hours, allowing students to practice before taking the quiz that counts, and shuffling questions and choices. 
  • Polls are a good way to get a quick response from students. 
  • Peer Review through Eli review is plugged in to iLearn and we have an institutional contract, so it is free for students.
  • Assignments in iLearn can be turned in through assignments, Turnitin, and forums.
  • Grading in iLearn can be automated.

Zoom can be launched from within iLearn and can be set up as a recurring meeting at the same time on the same day weekly or even daily. The Zoom link can be placed in the first general information box on iLearn so students will always know where to access it. 

  • The Zoom Help Center has guides and videos for every aspect of Zoom use.
  • When scheduling a meeting using Outlook, Zoom can be launched from within Outlook so a separate email need not be sent with the link. 
  • SFSU has guidelines and recommendations for securing your Zoom sessions in this guide
  • Zoom meetings can be accessed via traditional phone by dialing (669)900-6833. You will be prompted for the Meeting ID and password.

Graduating seniors in 2020 are facing uncertainties beyond those normally experienced by those about to leave their undergraduate education for the next stage in their lives. They will not be enjoying the collective graduation ceremony they were expecting, and some may not be certain that they will be able to finish the semester. Ask how you can help them achieve their goals and graduate, and guide them towards Academic Advising, which is providing support remotely.

Student conduct in regards to academic integrity is guided by the Student Code of Conduct, section 1. A. Students who are accused of academic dishonesty by an instructor may also face further disciplinary measures by the university.

Learning Support

  • Focus on achieving learning outcomes rather than on reproducing face to face courses online or in remote modalities. 
  • Establish a schedule and routine and communicate with your students routinely and about the routine for the course, and how they can create their own for studying.
  • Use effective time management strategies for yourself, and teach them to your students.
  • Establish virtual study groups for students in your course. You can create standing Zoom sessions for them to use, create Forums for them in iLearn, and help them organize into groups.
  • Teach your students to proactively communicate with their other instructors and classmates, especially those with whom they are doing group projects or holding study groups.
  • Access campus support resources yourself (Employee Assistance Program, Benefits, wellness) and teach your students (health, wellness, basic needs) how to do this for themselves.

Students, like instructors, are having to work on laptops at improvised workstations. Please encourage your students to use basic ergonomic principles and take frequent breaks to stretch.

  • The Tutoring and Academic Support Center (TASC) offers scheduled tutoring on SFSU’s Zoom video conferencing platform.  Ask your students to make an appointment by following these steps:

    1. Email TASC at
    2. Requests should include the following
      • Student’s name and student ID number
      • The course number, name, and instructor
      • The days and times student is available
  • Supplemental Instruction is offered for STEM major courses.
  • Peer Mentoring is available for particular courses through Asian American and Pacific Islander Retention and Education (ASPIRE) and First Year Experience (FYE).
  • Students can create Study Groups through Zoom meetings.

Advising Services are available online. Please direct students to the advising hub, where they can make appointments for general education advising and can also find links to college-based advising centers and university-wide advising programs, as well as many other useful resources.

Spring 2020 Grading Options

Students will have three options for courses in which they are currently set for “Letter Grades"

Grading Options

Grades Recorded on Transcript

Option 1:

Letter Grades*

Graded (A, B, C, D, No Credit)

Note: No Credit (NC) will appear on the transcript in lieu of an F grade; NC grades do not negatively impact your GPA

Option 2:

Letter Grades* / No Credit

A, B, C, No Credit

Note: NC is earned for grade of D or below

Option 3:

Credit/No Credit

Credit, No Credit

Note: Credit (CR) is earned for grades of C- or higher

*This includes any plus or minus grades.

 For any courses where the current grading option is “Letter Grades/No Credit” there is the choice to continue with this grading option or switch to the “Credit/No Credit” option. If the current grading option is “Credit/No Credit,” there are no other grading options offered. 


How to Change Your Grading Options:

  • The Registrar’s Office will be sending a follow up communication to students’ SF State email. 
  • The deadline to submit changes will be May 26.
  • If students do not want to change the current grading option for any of their classes, they do not need to take any action.
  • Before Deciding on a Grading Option

Students can view their current grading option for each of their courses in the Class Schedule section of their Student Center.

All CR grades earned this semester will count toward graduation requirements (general education, major, and minor) and towards prerequisites for future courses. In addition, any CR grades earned this semester will not count against the current limits on the number of units that can be earned with a CR grade.

Students in one of the groups below should click on the appropriate links for more information:

There is also an FAQs regarding grading options for more information.


Withdrawing from Courses:

Students considering withdrawing should see the FAQs on withdrawing for more information. Any course withdrawals in spring 2020 will not count towards the maximum number of withdrawals permitted.

Technology Resources & Support

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) provides an Instructional Continuity website, Keep Teaching webinars and videos, individual or group consultations with instructional designers (Email: with 2-3 days/times that work for you to meet) or the CEETL Faculty Director (Email: or invite through Outlook Calendar), and CEETL Circles, a newsletter.

Academic Technology (AT) provides a robust suite of support documents through AT’s Help Center, and  through direct support

Information Technology Services (ITS) provides the infrastructure for services such as office phones and Outlook. They also provide security for campus information technologies. 

  • Campus-supported learning management system
  • Large adoption with students and faculty
  • Integration with campus-supported systems (Single Sign On, Campus Solutions)
  • Integration with campus-supported learning Technologies (Zoom, Turn-it-in, iLearn Video, CourseStream)
  • Wide functionality (47 activities)
  • Accessible for people with disabilities

Synchronous class sessions help our teaching and learning communities stay connected. Although not all students are able to participate synchronously, those that can have reported feeling comforted by familiar faces and by interacting with classmates and instructors.

Recorded sessions, which can be accessed asynchronously, allow for greater flexibility, especially during this time when access can be challenging. Students can also review them even if they have participated synchronously, which greatly aids retention.

Zoom sessions launched in iLearn self-generate a transcript, which can also be captioned to increase accessibility.

Free licenses for functions such as BoxTurnitin, and Eli Review make iLearn affordable for students and faculty.

ILearn integration means that students can access everything they need for all their courses in one place, which limits the potential confusion of going to multiple sites or sources for information.

When instructors use the University-supported systems (Zoom, CourseStream) to record their own class sessions/lectures for the purpose of student learning, and use their iLearn course to limit access to the recording to the members of the course from which it originated, only for that semester, then FERPA does not prevent or require written consent for its usage. Students who have privacy concerns should be allowed to turn off their video and/or change their user name in the session. 

The proven benefits that class recordings can offer students in terms of student learning, academic success, and retention make a compelling case for their use. 


Syllabus Statement:

Faculty may wish to include this statement on their syllabus:

As the instructor of this course, I will be using the University-supported systems (ZoomCourseStream) to record our class sessions/lectures for the sole purpose of supporting student learning. To maintain privacy, I will use this iLearn course to limit access to the recording to the members of this course only. It is expected that students also refrain from sharing these recordings outside the context of this course. Students who have privacy concerns may turn off their video, change their user name for the duration of the session, and/or review the session after the fact. 

At the beginning of each recorded Zoom session, you will be prompted to acknowledge that the session is being recorded and that you would like to continue in the session. These recordings will be retained for one semester beyond the end of this course, to support students who may have received an incomplete grade, and will then be deleted. As always, any student who has concerns about these recordings may speak with me at any time during the semester to discuss your concerns.

Social  media sites may not comply with SFSU’s commitment to accessibility. Using sites outside the university to teach remote exposes the University to risk, especially around FERPA compliance, information security, and accessibility.

User support for faculty and students is only available for supported technologies, such as iLearn, CourseStream, and Zoom

  • The student preference is to have a single portal, iLearn, for all of their courses.
  • Costs may be associated with using other technologies.

Social Justice, Health & Wellbeing

Social justice impacts health and wellbeing both for those who are directly attacked and for those who experience microagressions or added anxiety because they belong to targeted groups. 

-During the COVID-19 crisis, social responses have included anti-Asian biases:


-While using remote modalities, like Zoom, some faculty and students have experienced targeting due to their identities or due to the subject matter of their course or research. Known as “Zoom bombing,” this disruption can be countered by using waiting rooms

To maintain physical well-being, check the CDC website for guidance on COVID-19, including frequent updates as more is learned about transmission. 

Also, please check the California Department of Public Health News Releases 2020 page

Maintaining ergonomics while working from home can be challenging, especially if many more hours of sitting at the computer are required due to the shift to remote modalites. SFSU has an ergonomics checklist and suggestions towards working ergonomically on a laptop.

  • Affirmation and validation of the stressful situation is important. Recognizing that the shared concerns we all have can help alleviate the feelings of isolation that fuel stress and anxiety. The CDC website on managing stress and anxiety may be helpful. 
  • Maintaining flexibility and creativity can help promote resiliency. 
  • Generosity and compassion are the cornerstones of the ABC’s of Equity-Minded Teaching. Start with generosity and compassion for yourself. 
  • Maintaining a growth mindset can lead to resilience by focusing on what we are going to become by working through challenging processes.