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Fall 2021 Course Modalities

Fall 2021 Course Modality Options

This page is built to help as you plan to deliver your courses for the 2021-22 academic year. Below, you will find a short description of each modality, along with course design considerations and examples of what it might look like in a class time. If you have any questions, or want to discuss these options in more detail, please join us on Thursday, March 18, at 11am to reflect on this past year and prepare for next (please RSVP).

  • Face-to-Face (F2F)

    Format: This is the traditional method of on-campus course delivery, with instructors and students present in the classroom. Classroom capacities will be reduced as necessary to comply with safety guidelines. Please note that given the ever changing nature of safety guidelines there will likely be uncertainty and fluidity in the ability plan for this modality.

    Course design considerations:

    • Social distancing and other safety measures may impact the way you normally teach in the classroom. These may include classroom capacity, distancing, and mask-requirements.
    • If you require students to come to campus during these difficult times, be mindful to utilize pedagogy that takes advantage of face-to-face. In other words, are you doing something that would have been equally effective if delivered virtually? 
    • Be flexible in your planning given the challenges our students are facing and the previously mentioned safety guidelines. This may mean creating backup activities or plans for the class or individual students.

    What it might look like:

    This class would resemble the traditional pedagogy associated with face-to-face along with whatever additional safety protocols in force at the beginning of the semester. 

    Course options
    On-Campus, In-Person Examples Virtual
    In-person for every class and every student Standard use of Cougar Courses for course materials
  • Hybrid (Hyb)

    Hybrid Options

    Format: A blend of face-to-face on-campus portions of the class with a virtual component, either synchronous and asynchronous (specific examples and differences will be discussed below). Students and faculty will meet face-to-face on scheduled days and engage in virtual learning on non-campus days. All synchronous components must be built into the schedule, whether on-campus or virtual, even if only a single session is scheduled on-campus (e.g. a midterm or final exam). Please note that given the ever changing nature of safety guidelines there will likely be uncertainty and fluidity in the ability plan for this modality.

    Course design considerations:

    • If you require students to come to campus during these difficult times, be mindful to utilize pedagogy that takes advantage of face-to-face modalities. For example, reconsider using face-to-face sessions solely to deliver a lecture, when lectures could be recorded and watched asynchronously giving students increased access and flexibility. 
    • Hybrid modalities based on flipped classroom approaches which emphasize active learning during face-to-face time have been highly successful. It is highly encouraged that faculty explore the literature/training around flipped classroom technique.
    • Social distancing and other safety measures may impact the way you normally teach in the classroom. These may include classroom capacity, distancing, and mask-requirements.

    What it might look like:

    As discussed above, hybrid classes combine face-to-face instruction with online instruction. In this section we will provide examples of the various forms that might take.

    Typically in a hybrid model a faculty member could choose to meet with their entire class for a portion of the class and the remainder of the course online. However, given the social distance guidelines that will likely be in place, this is not going to be a realistic option. Therefore, it is probable that faculty will need to split their students into smaller groups\ to conduct the face-to-face portion of the course. For example, a class that meets Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00, could split into two groups (that meet classroom capacity guidelines). They would meet with the first group on Tuesday at 1:00pm and then the second group on Thursday at 1:00pm. Those sessions will contain the same activities, just for different students. The group of students not engaging in the face-to-face session will be completing work in a virtual environment. That could be synchronously (see also: Live and Online, below) or asynchronously.

    Alternatively, faculty may opt for a few meetings on campus for engagement activities or exams, in which case, the location would be determined by the course enrollment to meet social distancing guidelines.

    Example hybrid formats
  • Online (OnL)

    Format: Includes options where students can complete all of their work virtually and are not [cannot be ] required to come to campus. This can be done asynchronously, synchronously, or a combination of the two.  

    Course Design Considerations:

    • Still the most flexible option given the uncertainty for our students
    • This mode is least likely to be impacted by any changes in COVID guidelines
    • An opportunity to carry forward material and improve on work done over the last year
    • It is unknown whether there will be improved engagement as students become more familiar with the format or whether there will be decreased engagement due to long-term fatigue with virtual learning.

    What it might look like:

    The options remain unchanged from spring 2021. For a review of those formats

  • Live and Online (L&O)

    Format: This is a face-to-face course with one group of students in the classroom and the other group streaming the class sessions live. The distinguishing feature of Live and Online classes is that all students are ‘attending’ class at the same time. The size of the on-campus group will depend on room capacity as set per safety guidelines and could change if safety guidelines change. Instructors have some flexibility as to which group of students is on campus on any given day and must decide how to divide them up.. Please note that given the ever changing nature of safety guidelines there will likely be uncertainty and fluidity in the ability plan for this modality.

    Course design considerations:

    • This is a new format that has been shown to work in very specific contexts; there is not a large amount of literature about the utility of this modality more broadly.
    • Given that faculty will have two audiences to engage, (face-to-face and online) this represents unique challenges in both focus (answering questions from both), familiarity with technology (camera, microphone, zoom settings), and resources (student/graduate assistant to help monitor). [Note: summer training will be provided.]
    • Given this is a relatively new approach, faculty should allow for an initial learning curve. It is important that faculty have identified a clear pedagogical need that this methodology will address before adopting this modality. 
    • Determining which students can, will, or are required to engage in the face-to face portion must be considered. While this method allows for flexibility it may also raise g issues of equity (e.g. if some students are allowed not to engage in the face-to-face portion).  Safety guidelines are also subject to change.   
    • Social distancing and other safety measures may impact the way you normally teach in the classroom. These may include classroom capacity, distancing, and mask-requirements.
    • Faculty should be mindful of additional efforts associated with this technique. As with the hybrid model, there is the potential for new approaches and techniques to become cumbersome when thinking through the logistics of engaging the different audiences.

    Live and online format options