CIMS Working Remotly at the Time of COVID-19

We all in Cinema & Media Studies hope you are able to stay healthy and safe in this exceptionally difficult time for our world. We continue to work remotely to help students in this transition and hope to respond to all their inquiries. To this end, please don't hesitate to email to Prof. Peter Decherney, CIMS Director, or to Mr. Nicola M Gentili, CIMS Associate Director, with your questions. Should you wish to reach us via phone, please contact Mr. Nicola M Gentili at his cell 215 439 2881.

Since we are heading into Advance Registration and second years students need to declare their major before registering so that they will be taken off the Undeclared Major Hold as part of this process, all interested students in majoring in CIMS please be sure to email to Mr. Nicola M Gentili to have their major in CIMS officially declared.



Please note the following changes in the academic schedule:

The last day to withdraw from a course is now Monday, April 13.

Advance Registration for fall 2020 will begin on April 14 and end on April 24

You have until Wednesday, April 29 – the last day of classes – to choose to take any course pass/fail.

Summer registration opens at 7:00 AM EST on April 24th.

First-Years: Pre-major advisors will reach out to students with instructions for making an advising appointment remotely. Students must be removed from registration hold to be able to request courses in Penn InTouch.

Second-Years: Second-years must declare a major to be taken off hold and advance register. The process ncludes:

1. Students who are second-years will meet with pre-major advisors to discuss your short and long-term academic plans, including your intended major.

2. Pre-major advisors will update student academic planning worksheet in Penn InTouch and make student worksheet official. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their course plan with their academic advisor, create a mock schedule, and resolve any registration holds ahead of April 14 so that they are ready to submit their course requests for the Fall term when the advance registration begins.

3. Students will contact the department or program to declare the major. The department or programs will inform you about their declaration process.

4. Once students are a declared major, the major advisor will remove the Advising Hold and students will be able to request courses in Penn InTouch.

Juniors and Seniors: Juniors and seniors will work with major advisors to determine their schedules. Some departments place their majors on hold and will be in communication with them to discuss how to have the hold removed.



Please note that the pass/fail deadline and policies for spring semester 2020 have changed as follows:

Students may elect any course pass/fail but instructors do not see which students have made this selection.  Instructors will provide an A-F grade as appropriate for each student enrolled in their course(s).

You have until Wednesday, April 29 – the last day of classes – to choose to take any course pass/fail.

Any course may be changed to pass/fail, including courses fulfilling major, minor, and General Education requirements.

Students may take as many of your Spring 2020 courses pass/fail as they choose.

To change their grade type, students must go into Penn InTouch and take the action. To do so, students choose Registration & Planning from the left-hand menu in Penn InTouch, choose Register for Courses and click the change button for the course you want to make pass/fail.  Remember, instructors will not see who has taken their course(s) pass/fail.  All instructors must still provide a letter grade, A-F, to all enrolled in their courses.

As of March 24 2020, there may be some courses from other schools at Penn (Wharton, SEAS, Nursing and graduate schools) that cannot be changed through Penn InTouch.  Please contact those schools directly with questions about changing your grade type for those courses.

Any course taken pass/fail during Spring 2020 will not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail (for the College, that limit is 8).

You can find more answers to questions about these changes to pass/fail for spring 2020 at


The University has set-up 24/7 IT support for students.  If students have questions about remote access including questions about Canvas, BlueJeans and Zoom, they can contact Student IT Support at 855-249-3243 (Toll-free),

Student Study Groups
Students may also gather together virtually to form study groups or work on group projects.  To facilitate this, you might want to recommend the following programs to your students, including Microsoft Teams & Bluejeans.

Microsoft Teams
Among other options, all students have access to Microsoft Teams. Creating a Team, whether ‘private’ with invited members or ‘public’ for anyone at Penn, provides a centralized place to chat with text messaging, meet using video with your computer camera, use screen sharing, as well as create and edit shared files. Even without a team, students can create an instant or scheduled online video meeting in the Calendars tab of Teams, inviting fellow students and even people outside of Penn using their emails. Invitees receive a link to the online meeting, and a phone number with conference ID to join via phone as an alternative. Participants can join without downloading Teams in google Chrome by clicking the teams meeting link and selecting 'Join on the Web Instead.'  More detailed instructions can be found here at SAS Computing.

Another resource for Spring 2020 is BlueJeans, where students login using your PennKey information. Bluejeans includes video and text chat, screen sharing, and the ability to send a link to anyone at Penn or outside of the university. More detailed instructions can be found here at SAS Computing.

Canvas page devoted to remote teaching:


In the meantime, Cinema & Media Studies lends its vocal support to everyone to observe a general stay-at-home policy, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world.

Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782