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Grainger Engineering Fall 2020 Update Webinar

June 30th we held a webinar for incoming freshmen to share our plans for Fall 2020. Our goal is to help you start Grainger College of Engineering as prepared and comfortable as possible.

What We Covered:

  • Instructional plans for Fall 2020. These plans are being developed prioritizing safety and well-being, with advice from experts in science and medicine. We will follow state and local health directives.
  • The mix of remote delivery, online materials, and in-person activities.
  • Information about ENG 100, the course that will help you transition to the learning environment, find your place in our community, and thrive in the fall semester.
  • Introductions of college leadership: Dean Rashid Bashir; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Jonathan Makela; and Assistant Director of Grainger Engineering First-year Experience Gretchen Forman.
  • Answers to common questions. With your webinar registration, submit your question. The most popular ones will be addressed. If it's more specific to you, we'll be able to follow up via email.

The entire Grainger Engineering team has been working very hard to prepare and we will be ready for you in August.

View Webinar on Media Space


How do I set up an advising meeting? I have questions, e.g., about changing my major, doing a dual degree, and what classes I'm required to take.

Visit Grainger Engineering undergraduate advising

How will advising work for remote learners?

It will be the same as for on-campus students.

How will academic integrity be upheld for remote learners?

We will uphold all academic integrity matters with the same care for in-person and remote students. Particular attention will be made in choosing assessment methods. The University will continue to meet the responsibility for maintaining academic integrity so as to protect the quality of education and research on our campus and to protect those who depend upon our integrity.

How will research and RSO's be different this year? Can remote learners participate?

Grainger Engineering is working with our RSOs to develop virtual programing so that all students have opportunities to participate. For example, this year there will be a virtual E-Night that showcases all of the RSOs for prospective new members. RSOs will be expected to follow safe practices that the campus has outlined, such as practicing social distancing and wearing masks while indoors, for all on-campus activities.

As far as undergraduate research goes, principal investigators/faculty members decide on research projects and tasks to assign to undergraduate researchers in their respective labs. With the reopening of some research labs, undergraduate researchers may be given access to the research labs on a limited basis or as needed. Researchers are required to continue being vigilant in self-checking for COVID-19 symptoms, in using face coverings and social distancing, handwashing, and careful cleaning of high-touch areas. This year, there may be a shift in undergraduate research projects that can be done remotely. Students (remote learners included) interested in doing research are encouraged to contact faculty members/team members to inquire about research opportunities. 

More information on getting involved in undergraduate research

What are the differences between the Campus Honors Program and the James Scholar program? What are the requirements for each?

Campus Honors is administered by the University and a select group of students are invited to this program. James Scholars is administered by the college of your major and you can be invited or apply to this program.

What are the main acronyms a student should know; e.g., CARE, ELA, RSO?

There are so many! It's almost like a new language but don't worry, a few weeks as a new student and you'll have them down. We'll start with a few primary ones.

The Center for Academic Resources in Engineering (CARE) enhances the learning experience for all undergraduate engineering students through academic support, enhancing collaborative learning opportunities, and providing positive influence through peer mentoring. 

Engineering Learning Assistants (ELAs) are part of the ENG 100 course and assist in fostering a network of support; providing consistent, reliable sources of support, information and inspiration; aid in the academic, emotional, and social adjustment; and help develop positive student relationships with peers, staff, and faculty. 

RSO stands for Registered Student Organization. RSOs are the student clubs in which many of our students participate. Here's a more concentrated engineering-specific list. 

What technology do your recommend for in-person or remote learners? Laptops? Printers? What if I have poor internet or need other technical resources?

Please see the list of "Essential Technology". This page also includes information about the technology loan program.

Can I switch back and forth from being an in-person and a remote learner during the semester: for example, if I get sick or have to quarantine or just want to switch?

Yes. We are expecting that most classes will have an option for remote learning. If a student studying from campus must quarantine, they would have access to classes remotely.

If I'm on campus, will I be able to take all my classes in-person?

It is highly unlikely that an engineering student will have a schedule in Fall 2020 consisting entirely of in-person courses. All students should expect some remote learning, regardless of where you are physically.

ENG 100 is an example of a course that has smaller enrollments. We are working to ensure that as a first-year student, you'll have access to ENG 100 in a face-to-face setting. The final determination, though, will not be known until campus has completed the new course schedule on Aug 1.

What are the advantages of being on campus, if all my classes end up being remote?

This is a personal decision. Some students may find being on campus to be more conducive to learning than doing so from their home. Others may feel safer and more comfortable learning from home during this time.

Will transcripts indicate whether we took a class remotely or in-person?

Transcripts only list the name of the classes and the grades. The section name of each class is indicated transcripts, but not the delivery mode.

How will remote learners do the following:

  • Get textbooks – The UIUC bookstore will ship online orders. Many class materials will be available as electronic texts.
  • Take tests – Each class instructor will communicate their syllabus, including testing information, on the first day of classes. Tests for remote learners will be taken or submitted online, depending on the class structure.
  • Get graded – Grading for remote and in-person learners will the the same.
  • Know which courses will be offered online – It will be indicated in the course catalog that the university is currently adjusting. During the first week of August, check online
  • Manage classes with labs and require project-based learning – We are working on remote options for courses that, like ME 170, have a significant hands-on component. Remote learners will be able to access course lectures remotely. We're building options for remote learners for the hands-on components to keep the learning and quality high.
  • Take courses, interact on projects, or access office hours when based in a different time zone – We are encouraging classes to offer enough options across the day for synchronous, online course components, like TA and professor office hours and CARE tutoring sessions, so that students can interact with course staff at reasonable times for the students, even across many time zones. We suggest that synchronous components be recorded so that students may access the recordings later.
  • Continue making academic progress  with remote learning – We've learned a great deal about best practices for remote teaching and learning, especially for promoting interaction during classes. We've been offering continuing education this summer for professors to learn how to incorporate these techniques in their remote-learning classrooms.


Will the academic calendar be the same? 

The school Academic Calendar is unchanged. Current Calendar 

Will the calendar be re-adjusted if conditions or state phases change? What about after Thanksgiving? 

We will continue to closely monitor conditions locally and regionally. A resurgence of COVID-19 at any time between now and through the fall semester may cause a change to any of these plans. 

More Information

If students return after Thanksgiving, can I decide to go online after Thanksgiving, even for finals? What about winter break and spring semester?

We are still weighing different options and approaches to maximize the health and safety of our community. No decision about in-person instruction after Thanksgiving break has been made at this time. 

Many things will change over the next few weeks and months, including our scientific understanding of the Coronavirus and how it is transmitted. We'll also know more about progress toward containing the virus, treatment, and vaccination. These variables are part of those that will be considered in planning the Spring 2021 semester.

More Information

What are the metrics or state restrictions for switching to back to online, either before or after instruction begins?

We will continue to closely monitor conditions locally and regionally. A resurgence of COVID-19 at any time between now and through the fall semester may cause a change to any of these plans. 

More Information 

What happens if a student tests positive for Covid-19?

  • Who would be quarantined? Dorm? Classmates? Contacts? Close contacts of a person testing positive will be tested and quarantined. A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. 
  • Will the quarantined students be switched to online classes? Students who are physically well enough to continue their studies during quarantine will be able to do so remotely. 
  • Could a sick student travel home? Would they have to? What if they could not easily travel? Any member of the community who tests positive for Covid-19 will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days. There is no possibility of traveling during the quarantine period. More Information  

What would quarantine look like and when would it be required?

  • Would I have to stay in a dorm room 24/7? Anyone who is quarantined will need to isolate themselves for 14 days. 
  • Will there be temporary rooms for quarantined students? University Housing is reserving space in its facilities for any student living in University Housing who needs to isolate. Students who do not live in University Housing will be expected to isolate at their place of residence. More Information
  • Are students coming from abroad required to quarantine? See the Centers for Disease Control for which travelers would need to quarantine. Additional information for UIUC students. All returning students (domestic and international) will be required to be tested as part of orientation. 
  • Can I take classes during quarantine? There are no restrictions on being able to continue coursework remotely from quarantine.

What should I know about Covid testing at UIUC?

  • Is your covid test approved by the FDA/CDC? The specific saliva test we will be using was developed by a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It builds on a strong and growing body of evidence also showing that saliva-based testing is both sensitive and accurate for COVID-19. We plan to pursue FDA approval for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s saliva-based test through the Emergency Use Authorization mechanism. This is not necessary for our lab’s utilization of this test at the discretion of our CLIA-certified Lab Director, but it will assist our efforts to enable more widespread utilization by other labs.
  • Will all on-campus students be tested? Is it mandatory? Testing will be mandatory for all on-campus students (incoming freshmen and returning students) as part of their orientation. More Information
  • How often will students be tested? The University is equipped with 20 stations and will be able to handle up to 10,000 testings each day. Students and staff will be invited to be tested as often as necessary.

If I request a delay in starting classes this fall, will it be approved? Will I still be able to pursue the major to which I was admitted?

You will still have the same major. The Office of Admissions covers this topic in more detail.

Can I come to campus late? Or start online and switch to in-person?

Coming later than the 5th day of classes is never recommended as you would have missed an entire week of classes. Switching classes and making changes on the schedule is allowed until the 10th day of classes for full semester classes (5th day for first half semester classes).

Deadlines to Add Classes 

What if I delay my admission and classes I need aren't offered in Spring '21, like ENG 100, CEE195, ENG101, AE100?

We will be offering Eng 100 in the spring for students with delayed admission. Some courses, such as CEE 195 or ENG 101, could be put off until Fall '21. Other courses, e.g., AE100, are not required for graduation and would not be necessary to take.

I have classes when I don't want them (evening, weekends). Can I do anything?

You should be able to make adjustments when your time ticket allows in August. 

I will have to drop an in-person class as a remote learner? Can I take more than one General Education class?

All freshmen are encouraged to take a balanced schedule of classes, 2 to 3 technical classes and gen eds/free electives, for a total of 14-16 credit hours.

What if one of my required classes is filled?

You will be able to work with your department advising office to get assistance on your classes. Find Your Contact 

Will work study be available given the circumstances?

Yes, you can find offices hiring students with Federal Work Study. Many other offices on campus hire students through advertising with RSOs, professors, departments, and other groups. 

Do I still need a visa if I am learning remotely?

If you are a new international student and are not able to obtain a visa and travel to the U.S. in time to begin the fall semester, you may choose to enroll in a remote study option or defer admission. Students who remain outside the U.S. will not be bound by regulatory requirements affecting F-1 students and are therefore not required to be registered full-time.

You are encouraged to contact ISSS directly via email ( or phone (217-333-1303) for individual inquiries and to make sure guidance hasn’t changed.

How do I join the ZJUI-UIUC program?

This program is designed to offer students who encounter Visa issues/travel complications an opportunity to continue with the intended plan of study in China while obtaining transferable UIUC credit. More Information