Instructors FAQ

Does the system email me when a student does extra credit?
We try to email an extra credit report for each course after classes end and before final exams begin. You can also log in and view your course report at any time. Here's how:

Log in to SONA using your accessID (xx0000 -- not your email name). If you don't have an account, Fred Vultee ( can set one up for you. Be sure to tell him what kind of account you need – if you already have a researcher account but will also be teaching, you need an “instructor” account too. Click "Course Reports" to see a list of courses associated with your name. Click "All Participants" (the completed/not completed distinction isn’t relevant for us because we don't have an official requirement or cap). The far right column shows how many credits have been assigned to this class by each student.
What if my students have already done some extra credit?
You can tell them how much extra credit is required/allowed in your course. We have provided guidelines of no more than 3% of a course grade should be attributable to extra credit in research.

If you wish, it may be easiest for you to keep track of the extra credit that students do for other activities through the SONA system as well. Go to your instructor account in SONA and click on Course Reports. From there if you would like to grant a non-study credit grant, use the Grant Credit option that will appear next to the name of each person on the report.

Keep in mind that each 1 credit in the SONA system is worth 1 percentage point of students’ final course grade
How will my students find out about research study opportunities for extra credit?
Your students will be emailed when a study is entered into the system for which they qualify. They can also check the SONA system regularly to see if there are any listed. You can also see a list of all studies by logging into the system and clicking on the All Studies link. For privacy reasons, you may not see who has signed up for any of the studies
What information about the SONA system should be in my syllabus?
The syllabus should already explain your policy on extra credit, so you could simply add participation in department research to the sort of activities that can earn credit in your class. You may wish to give them the Participating in Research for Extra Credit document, which has a short version of instructions on how to access SONA on the second page. Also get in the habit of telling participants to log in to SONA through our department web page -- that takes them to the FAQ page first, and the more times they see that page, the better (we hope).
Do I have to offer an alternative extra credit assignment?
YES! If students wish to earn extra credit but do not wish to participate in research, you must offer an alternative extra credit assignment. If you do not wish to come up with one then one can be provided to you by emailing Fred Vultee. It requires students to complete a paper summarizing research studies from the content area of your class. Students should return the assignment to you for grading.
Why doesn't the course I'm teaching appear on my screen?
It got assigned to someone else, either by mistake or by design.
When is it safe to do my once-and-for-all course reports for the semester?
Students can reallocate and shuffle their credits as often as they'd like, up until noon on Study Day. They are locked out at that time, and so it is safe to do your last check of the course reports for the semester. Your time window begins at noon on Study Day and lasts for one week. During this time, you should save your course reports to your hard disk (they'll be in .csv format, which Excel can read). You may or may not want to print them.

Instructors are advised to do a dry-run about 2-3 weeks prior to Study Day. Errors occur every semester in nearly every class. They are easy to fix prior to Study Day, and impossible to fix later.
A student believes they should be on my course report and they're not. A student appears in my course report who is not in my course. A student doesn't understand why his/her credit total is so low
The answer to all of these questions/problems is usually the same: The student incorrectly designated the course or section assignment. You cannot fix this -- the student must do it, and (obviously) it must be before Study Day
A student has a complaint about the number of credits he/she earned last semester and thinks a mistake was made. Can you clear it up?
If it's within a week of Study Day, send an email to; otherwise, it's too late. The administrator can access how many credits a student earned in the past semester, but cannot determine how they were assigned.

Instructors Guide to SONA Systems