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Tufts summer online courses are designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive courses to Tufts and visiting students. They are carefully designed to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their face-to-face counterparts offered by Tufts during the academic year.

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Most online courses at Tufts are offered 100% online and in an asynchronous format, meaning outside the restraints of place and time. Students have greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals. Some online courses at Tufts have synchronous events with their teachers.  These take the form of webinars, online office hours, live discussions, and oral exams for language courses.

While online courses provide greater flexibility, they are not self-paced. They are highly facilitated courses, and students are expected to interact with faculty and their peers nearly every day of the summer term. Students are expected to log on frequently to Canvas (the university’s learning management platform) to view course content, interact with their instructors and peers using online messaging tools, keep up with course requirements, and to submit written work. Online courses at Tufts Summer Session are subject to the same policies and procedures as summer face-to-face courses.

  • Online courses have the same academic expectations as face-to-face courses at Tufts. Policies and procedures regarding adding, dropping, withdrawal, and the pass/fail grade option are identical. Tufts students apply these courses towards graduation requirements in the same way that Tufts face-to-face courses apply.
  • Summer online courses will be graded according to standards used by Tufts University. Every course instructor will have expectations for the quantity and quality of the work you do to complete the course and will affect the evaluation of your work for the course and grade.
  • The recording of an administrative “Incomplete” grade is not permitted, except in documented cases of student illness, family emergency, or similar hardship. A reasonable time frame must be agreed to by the student and instructor, with the knowledge that if work is not submitted to complete the course by the agreed upon deadline, a predetermined grade (based on the assessment of academic work completed prior to the recording of the Incomplete grade.
  • A grade will be submitted to SIS no later than one week following the close of the academic term.
  • Tufts University will designate online courses on the academic transcript.

Special Note to Tufts students: by vote of the Faculty of the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering, up to five courses designated as online can count toward graduation. For more information, contact your advisor or consult the Tufts University Bulletin.

Technical Requirements

Students who wish to take online courses must have regular access to a computer with a reliable, high-speed internet connection. Students are expected to log into Canvas and check email daily and need regular and reliable access to the internet using a laptop or desktop computer manufactured in the past five years. For hardware and software requirement minimums, please see the computer specifications for Canvas. Individual courses may require students to have additional software. These requirements will be listed on the course syllabus and the Canvas course site.

Proctor Policies

Some online courses require proctored exams. Students within fifty miles of the Medford campus must come to campus to take these exams at a specific date and time. Students taking an online course from more than fifty miles away will need to identify an acceptable proctor and go through Summer Session's strict proctor verification process. Some courses that require an online exam may have the opportunity to use an online proctoring service. This service requires a webcam, a microphone, and either a desktop or laptop computer (no phones or netbooks). It is the student’s responsibility to obtain access to these items. It is also the student’s responsibility to verify exam dates and exam modality with each instructor for each online class.

Local Students (residing within 50 miles of Tufts)

Tufts will schedule a time and place on the Medford campus to take each Summer Session Online proctored exam. These exams are generally held from 4-8 pm on a weekday on the Tufts Medford campus, which is accessible by public transportation (MBTA). Please contact your course instructor or course site to find out the exact dates for your course’s' on-campus exams.

Non-local Students (residing more than 50 miles from Tufts)

Students who are taking a course that requires a paper exam must make their own proctoring arrangements. It is the student’s responsibility to find an acceptable proctor, submit the proctor's information to the Summer Session office for verification, and schedule a time to take the exam directly with your proctor. Please contact your instructor or your course website to view the scheduling windows for your exams and for more detailed information. We recommend submitting this proctor information as soon as a student has access to the course website.

Acceptable proctors include:

  1. An official testing center at a college or university - including, but not limited to, those listed on the NCTA website, although this is not an exhaustive list.
  2. Librarians at a public library, college, or university
  3. College or university instructors, staff, or administrators
  4. High school teachers, principals, or administrators

People in the following categories are unacceptable proctors:

  1. Family and/or friends
  2. Co-workers, including supervisors
  3. Tutors and teaching assistants
  4. Athletic coaches

Written Exams

If your course requires a paper exam, your proctor will be responsible for submitting the exam to us digitally within 24 hours of the exam’s completion and mail in the paper exam. US-based students are asked to provide their proctor with a stamped envelope addressed to the Summer Session Office.

Please contact the proctor coordinator at summer-exams@tufts.edu with any questions.