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Student Information

Adult Learners

Students are often motivated to enroll in UC Merced Extension classes for two primary reasons: professional development and personal enrichment. In an increasingly competitive continuing education marketplace, our students go out of their way to attend UC Merced Extension courses. Many of our students have committed themselves to study a particular subject in depth and have registered for one of our professional certificates or specialized programs. Upon completion, these programs provide evidence that our students have mastered a set of specific professional skills. Some courses may also be used as credit toward degrees at other institutions based on their requirements.

What does this tell us about the type of students likely to be enrolled in classes? Many hold undergraduate degrees and some hold masters and doctoral degrees.

Six characteristics of adult learners that describe what will best help them to learn include:

  1. Adult students are mature people and prefer to be treated as such.
    1. They learn best in a democratic, participatory and collaborative environment.
    2. They need to be actively involved in determining how and what they will learn, and they need active rather than passive learning experiences.
    3. They are self-reliant learners and prefer to work at their own pace.
  2. Adult students have needs that are concrete and immediate.
    1. They tend to be impatient with long discourses on theory, but prefer to see theory applied to practical problems. This doesn’t mean they are not interested in theory, but they also must see the practical application of the theory.
    2. They are task- or problem-centered rather than subject-centered.
    3. Their learning is not complete until it is expressed inappropriate action.
  3. Adult students are more impatient in the pursuit of learning objectives.
    1. They are less tolerant of “busy work” that does not have immediate and direct application to their objectives or needs.
  4. Adult students have useful past experience.
    1. They are more realistic and have insights into what is likely to work and what is not.
    2. They are more readily able to relate new facts to past experiences.
  5. Adult students enjoy having their talents and information incorporated into a teaching situation.
    1. They bring their own experiences and knowledge into the classroom, which they like to use as a resource for learning.
    2. Give them practical learning activities to build on their prior skills and knowledge.
  6. Adult students are sometimes fatigued when they attend classes.
    1. They appreciate any teaching devices that add interest and a sense of liveliness, such as a variety of methods, audio/visual aids, change of pace and sense of humor.

Please contact your Program Coordinator (contact info can be found here: extension.ucmerced.edu ) if you would like more information.

Communicating with Students

  1. To reach students while keeping their contact information secure and confidential, it is recommended that you communicate with your students via UC Merced or Canvas email accounts.
    1. If you use your UC Merced email, you should list the individual email addresses in the blind copy field so that the addresses are not accessible to others.
    2. Only send emails to the student email under which they registered and is listed on your class roster.
    3. Not all Extension students will have a UC Merced email; however, the email with which they registered is considered official (and legal) communication.
    4. If teaching an academic course, you can securely and confidentially communicate with students using the Coursemail feature in Canvas.
  2. Students and Group Projects
    1. For group project work, it is best practice for students to exchange their contact information with others students directly.
    2. Canvas will also allow you to set up online discussions for your students that are secure.
  3. Staying in Contact with Students after Your Course Section Ends
    1. Under FERPA, it is not recommended to initiate contact with students unless it is for a Legitimate Educational Interest, and then it is recommended you use your UC Merced email.
    2. At the conclusion of the course, you may offer students your personal contact information so that students can voluntarily choose to make or maintain contact with you after the course has concluded; however, do not solicit or demand student contact information for this purpose.
    3. Staying in touch after the section ends for other non-academic purposes needs to be voluntary for the student. If you use LinkedIn for professional networking purposes, you can inform students that you are available on LinkedIn, but it is not recommended for instructors to initiate the “link.”
    4. For more information regarding FERPA, please see http://registrar.ucmerced.edu/policies/ferpa .

Please contact your Program Coordinator (contact info can be found here: extension.ucmerced.edu ) for more information.

Students with Disabilities

The federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended and other federal and state laws, as well as the University of California Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability require that persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to enjoy campus programs, activities, and benefits.

Extension requires you to review the Faculty Resources page on the UC Merced Disability Services website for all information regarding students with disabilities.

Please contact your Program Coordinator (contact info can be found here: extension.ucmerced.edu ) for more information and/or assistance in accommodating your students.

Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct

At UC Merced, the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) oversees the student disciplinary system for reports of suspected student misconduct, both academic (e.g., cheating, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration) and nonacademic (e.g., computer misuse, alcohol and other residence hall violations, theft, and conduct that threatens health and safety).

If you suspect student misconduct, either academic or nonacademic please contact your Program Coordinator (contact info can be found here: extension.ucmerced.edu ) and review the policies and procedures on the OSC website ( http://studentconduct.ucmerced.edu ).

If you have concerns about student behavior and/or classroom management, please contact Program Coordinator (contact info can be found here: extension.ucmerced.edu ).

Extension recommends visiting the OSC website together in class to facilitate a conversation about academic integrity. It contains helpful resources for both students and instructors.

Finally, create an inclusive classroom. From the first day of class, set guidelines for discussion to ensure that everyone feels welcome expressing his or her ideas in class. Some instructors find it helpful to have a brain-storming session with students on the first day of class and to come to a group agreement about ground rules for respectful class interactions.

Know your own biases and hot-button issues, which can help you prepare for difficult moments.

Extension recommends you visit the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning website for instructional resources, including ideas for creating an inclusive classroom.

Student Verification Policy for Online Instruction

Student Verification Policy for Online Instruction
UC Merced Extension

November, 2018

I. Purpose

This describes the process for verifying the identity of UC Merced Extension students enrolled in online academic courses, for which there are no in-person meetings.

This policy is consistent with the WSCUC Distance Education Review Guide, which states:

“WSCUC requires institutions that offer distance education to have processes in place through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit. To meet this requirement, the institution must employ, at its option, methods to verify the student who participates, such as:

  • A secure login and pass code
  • Proctored examinations
  • New or other technologies or practices that are effective in verifying student identification.”

II. Overview

  1. UC Merced Extension requires at least one proctored/supervised exam or experience per online course for which students are required to present photo identification upon signing in or appearing for the proctored experience or test. In this way, instructors are able to verify that the individual participating in the assignment or exam is the same individual who is enrolled and receiving a grade for the course.

UC Merced Extension adheres to the UC Merced Code of Conduct and Academic Honesty Policy . It is expected and required that only the individual who is registered in a course will produce and submit assignments and take examinations for that course. Violations of this requirement will be processed according to these UC Merced policies.

To protect student privacy, instructors should perform identity checks one-on-one and not in front of other students. This is especially important in an online environment, where a student should only be required to present identification directly to the instructor and not in a setting where classmates can see private information.

  1. Proctored Exams/Experiences

Distance courses, including asynchronous courses, may require an in-person meeting, assignment or examination at a specific day and time. This information must be published in the course description of the unique section the student enrolls in so they are aware of the meeting day and time prior to registration.

  1. In person Exams

Proctor exams in a classroom setting where students show a photo ID (driver’s license, passport, or student ID card) before they take their test. UC Merced Extension distance courses that require in-person, exams on a specific day and time will state such a requirement in the course description of the unique section the student enrolls in, and will be stated on the syllabus.

  1. Online with Examity or Proctor U*

Both Examity and Proctor U offer live online proctoring for academic institutions. Webcams and other similar technology are utilized to monitor students taking exams online.

*Online proctor fees are paid by the student directly to the vendor. The current cost is $20.00 per proctored experience (price is subject to change by agreement between the University of California and the vendor). This cost must be published in the course description of the unique section the student enrolls in so they are aware of the additional fee prior to registration.

  1. Alternatives to Proctored Exams
  1. Presentations

Presentations give students the opportunity to display knowledge gained in the course and present that information to their classmates and instructor. Instructors should check student identity by verifying IDs in a one-on-one online or in person meeting prior to the presentation.

  1. Zoom: Using the online conferencing tool Zoom, instructors could require students to lead presentations and discussion sessions with their classmates. This method requires students to present information and to answer discussion questions similar to that of an in-class setting. This method may be utilized with the entire class, small groups within a class, or for an individual student and the instructor, depending on the needs and requirements of the course.
  2. Pre-recorded Video Presentations: Students create video presentations in which their voices must be heard and faces must be seen as they cover specific information from the course as assigned by the instructor.
  3. In-Person Class Meetings: To facilitate student presentations and whole-group discussions in a classroom setting.

Considerations

  • If students are required to be physically present at a certain time and location, this information must be published in the course catalog at the time of enrollment, as well as in the syllabus.
  • If special equipment is required (webcam, speakers, etc.), this information must be published in the course catalog at the time of enrollment, as well as in the syllabus.
  • If an online proctoring service is used and students are responsible for paying the testing fee out of pocket, the cost must be published in the course catalog at the time of enrollment, as well as in the syllabus.