All faculty, instructors and academic advisors at Washington University in St. Louis have access to various web tools to help manage courses, students and grades.
Two of the main applications used to manage a variety of functions associated with academic records, students and courses are WebFAC and EGrades.
Faculty, instructors and academic advisors are reminded that they are given access to this information as members of the University community who have a legitimate need-to-know under the law, but they must abide by the university’s FERPA policy (additional information below).
WebFAC (short for web faculty access) is a web-based application that allows faculty, instructors, teaching assistants and advisors to perform two main functions: access course and roster information, and access advisee academic information.
WebFAC provides a platform for viewing course information, including class rosters (showing the numbers of enrolled, waitlisted and dropped students), course classroom location, and final exam dates and times. In addition, a built-in email tool allows instructors and teaching assistants to send emails to an entire class or selected students.
Academic and registration information regarding assigned advisees is also visible in WebFAC. Advisee grades, class schedules, GPAs and unofficial transcripts for each advisee are available. Advisors can see student registration worksheets and authorize students to register from within WebFAC.
WebFAC also acts as a starting point for access to other web applications, including A&S PlanIT, Blackboard, Course Evaluations, Course Listings, EGrades, Syllabi Central, WebAdvising and WebSTAC.
More information regarding WebFAC may be found at the WebFAC help site.
EGrades is a web application used by faculty and instructors, in most schools, to submit and approve mid-term and final grades. The electronic grade submission process, called EGrades, gives each instructor the ability to enter grades directly into an online roster or to import a file containing grade information. Grades entered and approved online immediately post to the students’ academic records in the university’s Student Information System (SIS) and display to students in WebSTAC (a web application for students to view and manage their academic information).
The easiest way to access EGrades is from within WebFAC. After logging in to WebFAC, select the EGrades link from the left-hand menu. The EGrades Home page will list all course sections for which instructors have been designated in WUCRSL (the course listings database) as an instructor or as a support person with EGrades approval capability, and for which the grading period is open.
Instructors should contact their departmental course administrator or dean’s office if they do not see their course sections listed in EGrades or if they don’t have the capability necessary to approve grades.
More information regarding EGrades may be found at the EGrades help site.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guarantees the privacy of student educational records, including student information accessible through Blackboard, grades, and course work with evaluative comments or grades. Only the individual student, and those university employees with a legitimate educational interest in the course or student outcome, may have access to student educational records. In accordance with FERPA, WUSTL requires the following:
- Student information accessible through WebFAC and Blackboard may not be shared, including with the other students in the class.
- If grades are posted publicly (physically or on a website), students’ names, IDs, or social security numbers (in whole or part) may not be used as an identifier, and students should not be listed in alphabetical order.
- Instructors must ensure, in the process of posting grades or returning graded material, that the students’ grades or evaluations are not visible to, or determinable by, anyone without a right of access to the information. Coursework may be returned in the following ways:
- faculty or teaching assistants personally handing work to students known to them;
- faculty/teaching assistants/administrative assistants returning work personally to students upon display of identification;
- campus mail (material placed in sealed envelope);
- using the Blackboard gradebook;
- by email to the student’s WUSTL email address; and
- through self-addressed envelopes provided by the student.
Faculty may ask students to sign a waiver, allowing their work to be returned in whatever manner specified, and acknowledging that in those circumstances other students might be able to observe their grade/evaluation. If students opt out of signing the waiver, material must be returned to them in a secure manner.
More information may be found on the university’s FERPA site.