Find answers to frequently asked questions about the summer 2020 semester.

Browse All Summer 2020 FAQs

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 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.

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