Frequently Asked Questions

Browse All FAQs

Access to ebooks and Library Resources

The Penn State Libraries is committed to supporting teaching, learning, and research during this time of remote and online instruction. Explore the Remote Resources for Penn State Library Users to see what is available to you.

Advising

Your instructors will let you know how best to contact them, how quickly you can expect to hear back from them on correspondence, and when and where they will be holding office hours, whether in-person or virtual. This information will be on your course syllabus, but if you are unsure, please ask until you have the information you need. Penn State Learning resources may also be provided at the department or college level, and every campus has a learning center.

No. The optional alternative grading system was put into place for the spring 2020 semester to help students minimize the impact of suddenly moving to a remote learning environment in the middle of a semester, on top of many having to move back to their permanent residence. With the University announcing plans for the fall semester well in advance of classes beginning, it is appropriate to revert to traditional grading methodology.

You are expected to attend all scheduled classes for each of your courses, regardless of instructional mode. In the event of occasional and/or temporary absence, students will follow the attendance policy of the University with some flexibility. If students must quarantine or isolate, courses delivered face-to-face will include elements of remote delivery to allow them to continue to engage in class.

Students must continue to meet the academic requirements set by the college or major.

There are many resources available to help students enrolled in remote courses. You can also access more general student support resources that are being offered in flexible ways at this time. Talk with your adviser regarding specific academic concerns you may have.

Please contact your academic adviser to discuss your current schedule and options for adjustments.

Please contact your academic adviser to discuss your current schedule and options for adjustments.

Academic advisers will be available to meet with students during the first week of classes. Given the need to ensure broad access to academic advising, it is likely that advising appointments will be held via Zoom, especially during periods of high demand.

Access to academic advisers will be maintained throughout the fall semester. Please check with your academic adviser to learn more about how they will conduct advising appointments.

Advising and Course Concerns

If you are finding it difficult to cope or are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to reach out to your campus resources:

  • University Park students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 814-863-0395 to make an appointment and speak with a clinician. CAPS is currently offering clinical consultations and short-term tele-mental health therapy.
  • Students at other Penn State campuses should contact their campus counseling staff.
  • Penn State World Campus students should contact their Mental Health Case Manager.

If you are experiencing high distress or are in crisis and are located in the United States, please call the Penn State Crisis Line at 1-877-229-6400 or call 911. You may also receive immediate support from the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘LIONS’ to 741741. Contact local emergency services if you are outside the United States.

If you are located in Pennsylvania, you can also access the COVID-19 Support & Referral Helpline.

Refer to the FAQ on this page and on the Penn State Coronavirus Information website. If you cannot find an answer to your question, complete our online form. You may also contact your adviser with questions.

Your assigned adviser is an excellent resource. They can help triage situations and connect you with appropriate resources.

If you have already tried to resolve the issue by communication with your instructor and are still experiencing problems, please contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course. You can also complete our Academic Concern form to get your issues addressed.

Contact your course instructor first. If you need further assistance, contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course.

Everyone’s lives have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is normal that you are experiencing stress, uncertainty, and disruption during this time. Penn State Health Promotion and Wellness has provided a variety of resources to give you positive coping strategies, including a guide to maintain your health and wellness (pdf) during COVID-19. It is also a good idea to stay connected with others, whether that’s with family and friends or through campus-related activities.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides resources including You@PSU, a wellness portal that provides personalized resources. CAPS also hosts virtual Life Hacks sessions twice daily for all Penn State students. These are free, drop-in gatherings focused on improving quality of life.

You are also encouraged to take advantage of Campus Recreation’s virtual fitness programs to promote your wellness. These include free internal virtual fitness classes as well as access to thousands of other live fitness experiences through the 2020 Recreation Movement program. By logging in with your PSU email, you can gain access to prerecorded and live fitness and wellness content from over 40 other universities around the country.

It is our extreme hope that very few Penn State students become infected by the coronavirus, which is why so many of our actions are designed to allow you to protect yourself. However, if you do contract the virus (or believe you have, even if not confirmed by testing) or face other challenges related to the virus (e.g., ill family members), we urge you to communicate with your instructor and academic adviser (for undergraduate students) or your adviser and graduate program head (for graduate students) to determine how you can best keep up with the course material and achieve the required learning objectives. 

Because the impact varies greatly among individuals, you will be the appropriate judge of what you can manage and how you can make up missed work. While they must hold you accountable for the same outcomes as all students in the course, our instructors have the responsibility of assisting you in this effort. They will be able to help you determine if using the deferred grade policy is best in your situation.

Penn State is also implementing optional alternative grading scales for the spring 2020 semester.

Log in to Starfish, click on the “my network” tab, and schedule a virtual Zoom meeting with your adviser.

It’s important to recognize that you may have to change the ways you study to be successful in a remote learning environment. Here are some best practices and recommendations for you to consider when adjusting your study habits.

For 2020, orientation will take place in June, July, and August for first-year, transfer, and international students. Transfer students are defined at Penn State as someone who has attempted or completed 18 or more credits at another college or university after high school graduation.

You can read more details about participating in New Student Orientation or Transfer Student Orientation on the Student Orientation and Transition Programs website. 

The FAQs provided by the Office for Summer Session can answer your questions specific to summer 2020.

Class Format/Instructional Mode

Yes. Students may put in a request for technology using the Penn State Mobile Technology Request form.

All final exams will be administered remotely during the final exam period, which means that you will need to have access to the internet and appropriate technology to finish many of your courses.

Some lectures may be recorded. Please check with the instructor teaching the course.

Your instructor will share information regarding when class will be offered in person. In some cases, the course may include multiple in-person sessions that cover the same content during a single week. In such instances, students will be assigned to groups with a specific in-person meeting time. Your instructor will inform you of your group assignment. You should work with your instructor to adjust your meeting time if needed.

Individual units and departments will develop approaches to laboratory instruction that account for social distancing protocol. In some instances, labs may be offered remotely. Other labs will be offered in person. Check LionPATH to obtain updated information regarding your course’s instructional mode, which will be finalized by mid-July.

You may elect to remain at home and take your remotely delivered courses. However, there will be opportunities for those students that do return to campus to engage in on-campus academic and non-academic activities that will occur in addition to their courses. For some students, the additional access to libraries, internet, computer labs, and other services and facilities available on campus may help them reach their academic and personal goals.

Learn more about the technology you will need for any remote course on the Remote Learning Support page.

If the course is being offered as remote synchronous instruction, then you will have a scheduled meeting day and time. If the course is offered as remote asynchronous instruction, then course materials and assignments will be made available for you to work through on your own schedule, keeping in mind that there will be due dates for assignments and there may be common times for quizzes and exams.

You will be able to see this updated information regarding your course in LionPATH. We expect this information to be completed by approximately mid-July.

It is possible that your course may change in terms of the instructional mode, meeting time/day, and meeting location. You should check LionPATH for updated course information. Additional course details will be available after the course is published in Canvas, prior to the start of classes on August 24.

Changes to a course’s scheduled meeting time, format, or assignment classroom will be visible in LionPATH. Most decisions will be finalized by mid-July.

Classrooms

The availability of campus facilities that meet the social distancing protocols determines the limit.

Computer Labs and Software

Penn State students have access to a variety of software licenses and applications available at Penn State Software. Some software, such as Microsoft Office 365, is automatically available at no additional cost.

To obtain a license for the following applications, please visit the Software Request website:

  • Adobe CC
  • ArcGIS
  • LabView
  • MATLAB
  • Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Education
  • SPSS/AMOS

Web applications are also available via WebApps. The following applications have limited connections and are available by request only:

  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Visio

To request a connection for applications with limited connections or to see if your application can be added, submit a request to Device Management.

Penn State campus computer labs are closed. Students with unmet technology needs should contact Penn State IT at 814-865-HELP (4357) or ITservicedesk@psu.edu for individual arrangements. We are committed to helping you fulfill your responsibilities.

WebLabs allows you to access student computer lab resources via a web browser.

Course Resources and Concerns

If you are finding it difficult to cope or are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to reach out to your campus resources:

  • University Park students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 814-863-0395 to make an appointment and speak with a clinician. CAPS is currently offering clinical consultations and short-term tele-mental health therapy.
  • Students at other Penn State campuses should contact their campus counseling staff.
  • Penn State World Campus students should contact their Mental Health Case Manager.

If you are experiencing high distress or are in crisis and are located in the United States, please call the Penn State Crisis Line at 1-877-229-6400 or call 911. You may also receive immediate support from the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘LIONS’ to 741741. Contact local emergency services if you are outside the United States.

If you are located in Pennsylvania, you can also access the COVID-19 Support & Referral Helpline.

First-year students should visit the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions site for responses to common questions.

Students who received accommodations from Student Disability Resources for the spring 2020 semester should continue to have access to their accommodations throughout remote delivery of courses. Select accommodations may no longer be necessary in the online environment; conversely, a student may recognize a new accommodation need given the temporary transition to online learning. If you have any questions about your accommodations, please contact Student Disability Resources at 814-863-1807.

Refer to the FAQ on this page and on the Penn State Coronavirus Information website. If you cannot find an answer to your question, complete our online form. You may also contact your adviser with questions.

Your assigned adviser is an excellent resource. They can help triage situations and connect you with appropriate resources.

If you have already tried to resolve the issue by communication with your instructor and are still experiencing problems, please contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course. You can also complete our Academic Concern form to get your issues addressed.

Contact your course instructor first. If you need further assistance, contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course.

All students are expected to behave respectfully in classes, no matter the format or delivery mode. Disruptions in a remote class will be handled in the same way as in a face-to-face class. Your instructor may speak to you about your behavior. If your behavior does not change, you may be asked to leave the class. If your behavior continues to be disruptive, a report may be filed with the Office of Student Conduct and an incident may be reported through the conduct process. Students involved in a serious disruption of the learning environment may not be permitted to return to class until University procedures have been completed.

Assignment deadlines will be communicated to you by your instructor. Your instructor will also communicate to you how group assignments will be handled or adjusted.

The Penn State Libraries is committed to supporting teaching, learning, and research during this time of remote and online instruction. Explore the Remote Resources for Penn State Library Users to see what is available to you.

Everyone’s lives have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is normal that you are experiencing stress, uncertainty, and disruption during this time. Penn State Health Promotion and Wellness has provided a variety of resources to give you positive coping strategies, including a guide to maintain your health and wellness (pdf) during COVID-19. It is also a good idea to stay connected with others, whether that’s with family and friends or through campus-related activities.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides resources including You@PSU, a wellness portal that provides personalized resources. CAPS also hosts virtual Life Hacks sessions twice daily for all Penn State students. These are free, drop-in gatherings focused on improving quality of life.

You are also encouraged to take advantage of Campus Recreation’s virtual fitness programs to promote your wellness. These include free internal virtual fitness classes as well as access to thousands of other live fitness experiences through the 2020 Recreation Movement program. By logging in with your PSU email, you can gain access to prerecorded and live fitness and wellness content from over 40 other universities around the country.

You can find a wide range of accessibility resources offered by Accessibility and Usability at Penn State. All questions about the accessibility of materials and technology used in courses can be sent to accessibility@psu.edu.

Disability Resources

Students who received accommodations from Student Disability Resources for the spring 2020 semester should continue to have access to their accommodations throughout remote delivery of courses. Select accommodations may no longer be necessary in the online environment; conversely, a student may recognize a new accommodation need given the temporary transition to online learning. If you have any questions about your accommodations, please contact Student Disability Resources at 814-863-1807.

You can find a wide range of accessibility resources offered by Accessibility and Usability at Penn State. All questions about the accessibility of materials and technology used in courses can be sent to accessibility@psu.edu.

Exams, Group Work, and Class Participation

All students are expected to behave respectfully in classes, no matter the format or delivery mode. Disruptions in a remote class will be handled in the same way as in a face-to-face class. Your instructor may speak to you about your behavior. If your behavior does not change, you may be asked to leave the class. If your behavior continues to be disruptive, a report may be filed with the Office of Student Conduct and an incident may be reported through the conduct process. Students involved in a serious disruption of the learning environment may not be permitted to return to class until University procedures have been completed.

Assignment deadlines will be communicated to you by your instructor. Your instructor will also communicate to you how group assignments will be handled or adjusted.

We will use discussion boards and online engagement tools to ensure you can continue working with peers and faculty. Tools like CanvasZoomOffice 365 (including Teams), and Kaltura will allow you to collaborate, discuss course work, and complete assignments. Your instructor will provide you with additional information.

Your instructor will communicate expectations for how your course will continue and be graded.

We will use discussion boards and online engagement tools to replicate in-class discussions. In addition, your instructor may change expectations for engagement.

The University will ensure that students can complete assessments, quizzes, and exams remotely. Your instructor will communicate additional information.

Graduation and Academic Progress

Spring 2020 students were given the option of replacing one or more letter grades with alternative grades that would not be included in their GPA calculation. These alternative grading options applied to all undergraduate students taking spring 2020 courses, including Penn State World Campus students and those returning from study abroad. Graduate students followed alternative grading standards established by The Graduate School. Students had until May 29 to select alternative grading. Review the details about the alternative grading, and if you want to discuss your individual circumstances, contact your academic adviser.

For laboratory courses, the University is working with instructors to ensure that learning objectives are met with flexibility. For example, an instructor could livestream demonstrations of experiments then provide data to students to analyze. Innovations are emerging daily. Please contact your instructor directly if you’re unclear about the expectations for your lab requirements.

The University is working with accreditors and state and federal agencies to provide appropriate guidance on requirements related to internships as part of the educational curriculum. Additionally, academic leadership of all units at Penn State is carefully evaluating how internships, or other practicum or requirements, can be achieved for students in a timely manner. Cases will vary depending on circumstances, like different accreditation requirements, and we will continue to work with students individually to address needs.

Our priority is to maintain the integrity of our course work while delivering that course work remotely. We do not anticipate this will affect your academic progress or graduation if you meet the expectations of the course and your instructor.

During remote learning delivery periods, experiential education (including credit-bearing internships, clinical assignment​s, or noncredit experiences that are required for degree completion​) must be virtual. This includes any internship experiences offered through Penn State that you may wish or need to take advantage of. In addition, internal Penn State internships must follow Penn State guidelines regarding hiring and funding. This decision reinforces the University’s primary goal to maintain health and safety for all involved and to recognize that different and rapidly changing situations are emerging across the nation and world.

If an internship is required for you to graduate, your college and academic program should communicate an alternative plan to you. Learn more about your options related to experiential education during remote learning delivery. 

Health and Safety

To help create a safer learning, living, and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff, new classroom policies will be in effect this fall across Penn State’s campuses in alignment with public health recommendations and Gov. Tom Wolf’s requirements for higher education institutions. Specific policy guidance is expected to be posted soon to the Office of Student Conduct website.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required for all students and employees in classrooms, labs, offices, and campus buildings. Students and employees also should practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wear face masks while on campus, as well as within their local communities in line with local and state requirements.

If you fail to meet masking and social distancing guidelines in a way that puts others at risk, you may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and required to participate in the University’s conduct process. Employee violations of these requirements should be directed to the appropriate academic department and/or Office of Human Resources.

No. All students must wear masks; wearing a clear face shield does not satisfy the requirement.

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between people, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees, and visitors are required to practice social distancing and wear face masks/coverings when inside campus buildings, including in classrooms, labs, offices, and other public spaces, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

To aid in this effort, the University purchased 500,000 masks to be distributed across all campuses for people who need them. In addition, distance markers, directional arrows, signs, and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces, and other shared locations, which also will be reconfigured with social-distancing principles in mind. Tables, chairs, and lounge furniture will be rearranged and/or blocked for use in some locations, and posting of maximum occupancy and do-not-congregate signs for most areas will become the norm, in accordance with the governor’s higher education guidance.

If you are quarantined, you will be able to attend class remotely. Once you know you need to be quarantined, you should contact your instructors and your academic adviser.

Remote Learning

If you are finding it difficult to cope or are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to reach out to your campus resources:

  • University Park students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 814-863-0395 to make an appointment and speak with a clinician. CAPS is currently offering clinical consultations and short-term tele-mental health therapy.
  • Students at other Penn State campuses should contact their campus counseling staff.
  • Penn State World Campus students should contact their Mental Health Case Manager.

If you are experiencing high distress or are in crisis and are located in the United States, please call the Penn State Crisis Line at 1-877-229-6400 or call 911. You may also receive immediate support from the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘LIONS’ to 741741. Contact local emergency services if you are outside the United States.

If you are located in Pennsylvania, you can also access the COVID-19 Support & Referral Helpline.

Penn State IT has done a preliminary review of residence halls and classrooms and has determined that nearly every location has adequate wireless capacity for anticipated usage levels, including large increases in the use of Zoom. Any issues that have been identified, such as wireless in newly configured buildings, will be addressed over the summer.

Penn State computer labs will be reopening for the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place in accordance with CDC recommendations. It may be necessary to reduce computer availability and adjust hours of operation to accommodate social distancing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting procedures. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

You may also access University computer lab software remotely via WebLabs.

If you lack reliable broadband and have sufficient cell coverage in your area, you can use your phone as a hotspot. Penn State IT has provided instructions on how to set up hotspots on Samsung, Pixel, and iPhones.  

In order to use a personal hotspot on your device, you may also secure additional data from your wireless carrier. The following providers have information readily available on how to upgrade data: AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Find more providers and information on the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected page.  

If you do not have access to a computer and/or reliable broadband from your location and you have exhausted all other resources, please log in to the IT service portal and fill out the Penn State Mobile Technology Request Form to formalize your computer/access request. University IT is continually working on the availability and distribution of equipment  

Information about your request will be relayed via the phone number you provide in the request form. Once you receive your equipment, contact the IT Service Desk for 24/7 support. 

First-year students should visit the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions site for responses to common questions.

The Zoom at Penn State website offers students, faculty, and staff detailed information about Zoom, including training resources, frequently asked questions, and support.

Students who received accommodations from Student Disability Resources for the spring 2020 semester should continue to have access to their accommodations throughout remote delivery of courses. Select accommodations may no longer be necessary in the online environment; conversely, a student may recognize a new accommodation need given the temporary transition to online learning. If you have any questions about your accommodations, please contact Student Disability Resources at 814-863-1807.

Refer to the FAQ on this page and on the Penn State Coronavirus Information website. If you cannot find an answer to your question, complete our online form. You may also contact your adviser with questions.

Your assigned adviser is an excellent resource. They can help triage situations and connect you with appropriate resources.

If you have already tried to resolve the issue by communication with your instructor and are still experiencing problems, please contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course. You can also complete our Academic Concern form to get your issues addressed.

Contact your course instructor first. If you need further assistance, contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course.

All students are expected to behave respectfully in classes, no matter the format or delivery mode. Disruptions in a remote class will be handled in the same way as in a face-to-face class. Your instructor may speak to you about your behavior. If your behavior does not change, you may be asked to leave the class. If your behavior continues to be disruptive, a report may be filed with the Office of Student Conduct and an incident may be reported through the conduct process. Students involved in a serious disruption of the learning environment may not be permitted to return to class until University procedures have been completed.

Assignment deadlines will be communicated to you by your instructor. Your instructor will also communicate to you how group assignments will be handled or adjusted.

The Penn State Libraries is committed to supporting teaching, learning, and research during this time of remote and online instruction. Explore the Remote Resources for Penn State Library Users to see what is available to you.

Everyone’s lives have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is normal that you are experiencing stress, uncertainty, and disruption during this time. Penn State Health Promotion and Wellness has provided a variety of resources to give you positive coping strategies, including a guide to maintain your health and wellness (pdf) during COVID-19. It is also a good idea to stay connected with others, whether that’s with family and friends or through campus-related activities.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides resources including You@PSU, a wellness portal that provides personalized resources. CAPS also hosts virtual Life Hacks sessions twice daily for all Penn State students. These are free, drop-in gatherings focused on improving quality of life.

You are also encouraged to take advantage of Campus Recreation’s virtual fitness programs to promote your wellness. These include free internal virtual fitness classes as well as access to thousands of other live fitness experiences through the 2020 Recreation Movement program. By logging in with your PSU email, you can gain access to prerecorded and live fitness and wellness content from over 40 other universities around the country.

You can find a wide range of accessibility resources offered by Accessibility and Usability at Penn State. All questions about the accessibility of materials and technology used in courses can be sent to accessibility@psu.edu.

Penn State students have access to a variety of software licenses and applications available at Penn State Software. Some software, such as Microsoft Office 365, is automatically available at no additional cost.

To obtain a license for the following applications, please visit the Software Request website:

  • Adobe CC
  • ArcGIS
  • LabView
  • MATLAB
  • Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Education
  • SPSS/AMOS

Web applications are also available via WebApps. The following applications have limited connections and are available by request only:

  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Visio

To request a connection for applications with limited connections or to see if your application can be added, submit a request to Device Management.

Research, Graduate Student, and International Student Concerns

If you are doing research for credit, you may not continue to work in a lab or other such area to complete your research. Your faculty supervisor will work with you to identify alternative ways of achieving the learning outcomes for the experience. If you are completing a research thesis, your faculty supervisor will work with you to determine the best way for you to complete your thesis. If you are an employee in the lab who is performing essential work, please contact your direct supervisor for instructions on how to proceed and how to adjust your work during building closures.

Funding of teaching and research assistantships will not be affected by the University moving to remote delivery of courses.

Graduate students serving as instructors and/or supporting courses offered by other instructors should contact the department/instructor responsible for the respective courses for guidance on how to adapt to a remote format for delivery/support appropriate for the course.

Graduate students conducting research for their dissertation or as part of a research assistantship are expected to continue their research activities. Please contact your research supervisor for further guidance or if you have additional questions.

More information for graduate students can be found on the Graduate School’s COVID-19 Updates page.

Summer 2020

We will use discussion boards and online engagement tools to ensure you can continue working with peers and faculty. Tools like CanvasZoomOffice 365 (including Teams), and Kaltura will allow you to collaborate, discuss course work, and complete assignments. Your instructor will provide you with additional information.

If you are doing research for credit, you may not continue to work in a lab or other such area to complete your research. Your faculty supervisor will work with you to identify alternative ways of achieving the learning outcomes for the experience. If you are completing a research thesis, your faculty supervisor will work with you to determine the best way for you to complete your thesis. If you are an employee in the lab who is performing essential work, please contact your direct supervisor for instructions on how to proceed and how to adjust your work during building closures.

Funding of teaching and research assistantships will not be affected by the University moving to remote delivery of courses.

Graduate students serving as instructors and/or supporting courses offered by other instructors should contact the department/instructor responsible for the respective courses for guidance on how to adapt to a remote format for delivery/support appropriate for the course.

Graduate students conducting research for their dissertation or as part of a research assistantship are expected to continue their research activities. Please contact your research supervisor for further guidance or if you have additional questions.

More information for graduate students can be found on the Graduate School’s COVID-19 Updates page.

For laboratory courses, the University is working with instructors to ensure that learning objectives are met with flexibility. For example, an instructor could livestream demonstrations of experiments then provide data to students to analyze. Innovations are emerging daily. Please contact your instructor directly if you’re unclear about the expectations for your lab requirements.

The University is working with accreditors and state and federal agencies to provide appropriate guidance on requirements related to internships as part of the educational curriculum. Additionally, academic leadership of all units at Penn State is carefully evaluating how internships, or other practicum or requirements, can be achieved for students in a timely manner. Cases will vary depending on circumstances, like different accreditation requirements, and we will continue to work with students individually to address needs.

Our priority is to maintain the integrity of our course work while delivering that course work remotely. We do not anticipate this will affect your academic progress or graduation if you meet the expectations of the course and your instructor.

During remote learning delivery periods, experiential education (including credit-bearing internships, clinical assignment​s, or noncredit experiences that are required for degree completion​) must be virtual. This includes any internship experiences offered through Penn State that you may wish or need to take advantage of. In addition, internal Penn State internships must follow Penn State guidelines regarding hiring and funding. This decision reinforces the University’s primary goal to maintain health and safety for all involved and to recognize that different and rapidly changing situations are emerging across the nation and world.

If an internship is required for you to graduate, your college and academic program should communicate an alternative plan to you. Learn more about your options related to experiential education during remote learning delivery. 

Your instructor will communicate expectations for how your course will continue and be graded.

We will use discussion boards and online engagement tools to replicate in-class discussions. In addition, your instructor may change expectations for engagement.

The University will ensure that students can complete assessments, quizzes, and exams remotely. Your instructor will communicate additional information.

Penn State campus computer labs are closed. Students with unmet technology needs should contact Penn State IT at 814-865-HELP (4357) or ITservicedesk@psu.edu for individual arrangements. We are committed to helping you fulfill your responsibilities.

WebLabs allows you to access student computer lab resources via a web browser.

It is our extreme hope that very few Penn State students become infected by the coronavirus, which is why so many of our actions are designed to allow you to protect yourself. However, if you do contract the virus (or believe you have, even if not confirmed by testing) or face other challenges related to the virus (e.g., ill family members), we urge you to communicate with your instructor and academic adviser (for undergraduate students) or your adviser and graduate program head (for graduate students) to determine how you can best keep up with the course material and achieve the required learning objectives. 

Because the impact varies greatly among individuals, you will be the appropriate judge of what you can manage and how you can make up missed work. While they must hold you accountable for the same outcomes as all students in the course, our instructors have the responsibility of assisting you in this effort. They will be able to help you determine if using the deferred grade policy is best in your situation.

Penn State is also implementing optional alternative grading scales for the spring 2020 semester.

Log in to Starfish, click on the “my network” tab, and schedule a virtual Zoom meeting with your adviser.

It’s important to recognize that you may have to change the ways you study to be successful in a remote learning environment. Here are some best practices and recommendations for you to consider when adjusting your study habits.

For 2020, orientation will take place in June, July, and August for first-year, transfer, and international students. Transfer students are defined at Penn State as someone who has attempted or completed 18 or more credits at another college or university after high school graduation.

You can read more details about participating in New Student Orientation or Transfer Student Orientation on the Student Orientation and Transition Programs website. 

The FAQs provided by the Office for Summer Session can answer your questions specific to summer 2020.

Technology

Penn State IT has done a preliminary review of residence halls and classrooms and has determined that nearly every location has adequate wireless capacity for anticipated usage levels, including large increases in the use of Zoom. Any issues that have been identified, such as wireless in newly configured buildings, will be addressed over the summer.

Penn State computer labs will be reopening for the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place in accordance with CDC recommendations. It may be necessary to reduce computer availability and adjust hours of operation to accommodate social distancing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting procedures. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

You may also access University computer lab software remotely via WebLabs.

If you lack reliable broadband and have sufficient cell coverage in your area, you can use your phone as a hotspot. Penn State IT has provided instructions on how to set up hotspots on Samsung, Pixel, and iPhones.  

In order to use a personal hotspot on your device, you may also secure additional data from your wireless carrier. The following providers have information readily available on how to upgrade data: AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Find more providers and information on the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected page.  

If you do not have access to a computer and/or reliable broadband from your location and you have exhausted all other resources, please log in to the IT service portal and fill out the Penn State Mobile Technology Request Form to formalize your computer/access request. University IT is continually working on the availability and distribution of equipment  

Information about your request will be relayed via the phone number you provide in the request form. Once you receive your equipment, contact the IT Service Desk for 24/7 support. 

The Zoom at Penn State website offers students, faculty, and staff detailed information about Zoom, including training resources, frequently asked questions, and support.

Penn State students have access to a variety of software licenses and applications available at Penn State Software. Some software, such as Microsoft Office 365, is automatically available at no additional cost.

To obtain a license for the following applications, please visit the Software Request website:

  • Adobe CC
  • ArcGIS
  • LabView
  • MATLAB
  • Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Education
  • SPSS/AMOS

Web applications are also available via WebApps. The following applications have limited connections and are available by request only:

  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Visio

To request a connection for applications with limited connections or to see if your application can be added, submit a request to Device Management.

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