Online etiquette will now account for 23 per cent of students’ final grades, according to new York policy

(Image courtesy of Pixabay / Edited by Mahdis Habibinia)

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After an administrative meeting on April 1, the university’s new policy amendments include a significant change in the marking scheme for students across all faculties and departments at York. Professors are now required to include and assess students’ online etiquette, which will account for 23 per cent of their final marks — a mandate called Evaluation of Etiquette (EOE).

Evaluations of students’ Zoom etiquette will encompass the entire winter semester, up to and including the first day of classes on January 11. The fall semester marks will remain unchanged. 

Peter Yuni, York’s chief mandate commissioner, outlines some of the important details in the EOE that both students and professors should be looking out for. 

“Students are expected to absorb all the information provided to them during a Zoom lecture, regardless of fatigue or letharg,” says Yuni.

He continues and explains other subsections of the mandate that outline what professors are expected to assess: showing any furry pets if you own them, with the exception of arachnids and other creepy crawlies; muting your microphone and turning off your camera before using the bathroom; refraining or using a fake background, depending on what the professor finds a nuisance versus what they find amusing; using the “Raise Hand” feature on Zoom, or, not using it and speaking up anyway.

However, what seems to displease most students is the five per cent reduction when neglecting to mute the microphone if you are doing any of the following activities: not speaking, for reasons including but not limited to boredom, daydreaming, snoring, or being distracted; if you are in a noisy environment, which could include bickering siblings, barking pets, or a TV in the background; eating crunchy items or slurping drinks; and typing loudly on a bulky gaming keyboard.

Eating or drinking with the mic on, however, will only affect students if they do not offer some to the whole class. In this case, the student in question will need to order an UberEats delivery to everybody’s door — a financial requirement that OSAP has refused to take into consideration when calculating students’ loans and grants.

The onus of the logistics for this requirement are entirely on the student who is hungry.

“The eating policy doesn’t make sense,” says Marie Appleton, third-year common sense studies student. “How the hell am I supposed to memorize everybody’s preferences, allergies, and intolerances?” 

For others, like first-year marine biology student Nimo Flounderson, they feel the need to leave the microphone unmuted in case they have a fleeting thought, which they don’t want to let escape them so a quick and easy interruption is a necessity.

“Muting and then unmuting takes a full three seconds — I could forget! That’s precious time wasted,” explains Flounderson.

According to Yuni, professors showed a level of reluctance to the new policy as well, stating that they “find it hard to navigate the online portal already, let alone focus on each student’s progress, or lack thereof, for the EOE.” 

However, psychology professor Dr. Teresa Zeuss and York’s chief of policy states that the university projects a 67 per cent increase in student productivity with the EOE in place. “We are calling it the Bentham Effect,” says Zeuss. 

“We hope that this will logically mean there should also be an increased rate of the quality of education being reported come student evaluations.”

Upon Excalibur’s interview with students after this statement, a sullen look in their eyes indicated a rough summer term anticipated ahead for the student body.

About the Author

By Mahdis Habibinia

Former Editor

Mahdis is a York University graduate with an Honours BA in Professional Writing, a Certificate in Spanish Language Proficiency, and an expected Master of Journalism '23. She is also fluent in Farsi. She began her journey with Excalibur as a contributor in 2017 then worked as executive editor from 2018-2020. For the 2020-2021 year, Mahdis served as editor-in-chief. She is curious about the world, BIPOC stories, and passionate about writing as a platform for advocacy and representation. She hopes to one day add to the diversity of Canadian media both in the content it produces and as a staff member. When Mahdis is not writing or editing or correcting people on the spelling of her name, she is likely marathon-viewing thrillers and crime shows that oddly bear no impact on her sleep.


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