While we plan to invite all healthy students and faculty back to campus for the fall 2020 term, we know that not everyone will be able or willing to do so.
Some will be immunocompromised and not willing to take the risks inherent in the campus setting. Others may become ill at points throughout the term and need to isolate themselves from others. Some international students may be subject to travel restrictions — imposed by either the U.S. and/or their home countries — that preclude their physical presence on either our Madrid or St. Louis campuses. However, we remain committed to each and every one of those students and instructors.
Because SLU is fully committed to providing the education we have promised to all our continuing and new, first-year students — domestic and international — all instructors must prepare to both teach on-ground for those on-campus, and online for those not on campus. Additionally, because we expect to have physical distancing requirements in classrooms for in-person instruction, even if all your enrolled students are on campus, you may need to approach instruction differently.
These factors could make one or more of the following scenarios possible, depending on your course, classroom assignment, etc. This example assumes a course assigned to meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, with 30 students enrolled:
- 15 of the registered students in your 30-student class might regularly attend on-ground; the other 15 might regularly engage in virtual learning. You need to be prepared to offer an equally high quality educational experience to both groups.
- 29 of the registered students in your 30-student class might regularly attend on-ground; the other one might regularly engage in virtual learning. You need to be prepared to offer an equally high quality educational experience to both groups.
- 30 of the registered students in your 30-student class might regularly attend on-ground in a classroom that seats 60+ students. However, if any becomes ill or chooses not to risk illness at some point(s) during the term, those students will engage in virtual learning. And/or you may determine that it is safer to temporarily shift to virtual instruction for the whole class. You need to be prepared to offer an equally high quality educational experience regardless of the modality.
- 15 of the registered students in your 30-student class might attend in-person instruction on Tuesday, while the other 15 engage in virtual learning for that class meeting. Then, the opposite takes place for Thursday instruction. You need to be prepared to offer an equally high quality educational experience to both groups.
- All 30 of your registered students attend in-person instruction every Tuesday in a classroom seating 60+ students, and all 30 engage in virtual learning in place of every Thursday class session. (Note: this could be modified such that all 30 students come together in person every other week, or every third week, etc. There are many ways a hybrid course may be designed.)
There is no one-size-fits-all model for all courses. As you prepare for the fall, you must keep students’ and parents’ heightened expectations for quality distance education at the forefront. No matter how few online students you have in your courses at any one time, or how small a portion of your semester you teach virtually, you must ensure that the quality of your teaching, and their opportunities for learning, are consistent regardless of modality.