On June 2, William Jewell College announced changes to the fall 2020 schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these changes, the College is shifting potential modes of delivery for classes to account for more variability between in-person, online and hybrid courses.
The faculty ultimately made the decision to make all classes after Thanksgiving virtual. Dr. Ian Coleman, professor of music and Faculty Council chairman, described the decision-making process on the part of the faculty and explained that there was overwhelming support for the changes to the schedule – in order for both faculty and students to plan for the semester ahead.
“Faculty are being asked to consider some additional formal classifications for class instruction… This means that from the beginning, students will know what to expect in terms of their classroom environment. Some of these class formats require more in-class experience and others less, but whatever format is chosen, students will know ahead, and be able to plan their semester accordingly. Temporarily, and I stress that this is temporary, until we overcome this virus, life on The Hill will be different,” Coleman said.
“As much as we can plan knowing that fact, and communicate expectations to Students and Faculty, the better for all,” Coleman continued. “Once we have selected our modes of delivery [where each faculty member will be able to pick the appropriate mode for each class], we will all receive training in best practices for crafting classes that are effective in that particular format.”
On June 15, faculty confirmed five potential modes of delivery. The five modes of delivery are: face to face, hybrid asynchronous, hybrid synchronous, online asynchronous and online synchronous. Dr. Anne Dema, provost of the College, recommended to the faculty the changes in modes of delivery after consultation with academic department chairs and signature program leaders. The five modes of delivery will replace current categories of Web-Enhanced, Hybrid, and Online. These changes will be permanent – not just for the 2020-2021 school year.
The mode of delivery of each class will be determined before the start of classes so students will be aware of the course plans. Syllabi templates will also be updated to include modes of delivery. Every class will be required to have a presence on Moodle with syllabi posted. The mode of delivery will determine how much course material will be required to be available on Moodle.
- Face to face (FtF) courses will meet physically in person for 76-100 percent of contact hours prescribed by the course type and units. The syllabus and some course materials and activities will be made available on Moodle
- Hybrid asynchronous (HA) courses will have both face to face and asynchronous instructional modes. Between 25-75 percent of contact hours will be physically face-to-face. Syllabi and many course materials and activities will be made available on Moodle
- Hybrid synchronous (HS) courses will have both face to face and synchronous instructional modes. Between 25-75 percent of contact hours will be physically face-to-face. Syllabi and many course materials and activities will be made available on Moodle
- Online asynchronous (OA) courses will be 100 percent online with asynchronous instruction modes. When feasible, instructors may schedule physical face-to-face meetings for orientation and student evaluation. Syllabi and all course materials and activities will be made available on Moodle. Grades must be posted to Moodle
- Online synchronous (OS) courses will be 100 percent online with synchronous instruction modes. When feasible, instructors may schedule physical face-to-face meetings for orientation and student evaluation. Syllabi and all course materials and activities will be made available on Moodle. Grades must be posted to Moodle
“The idea is to allow faculty to construct the best learning environment possible, as opposed to asking them to react to a particular campus incident like in spring. That said, we are also developing protocols for Operation Safe Campus that define how each mode of delivery will adapt should the threat levels change, so that we can keep the campus safe,” said Dema.
The College is also discussing placing an iPad in all classrooms to allow students unable to attend face-to-face classes due to illness to participate via Zoom.
Further fall semester plans are not yet finalized, but the potential decisions are being considered with the safety and health of the community in mind. Once faculty individually decide the format with which each class will take place, other protocols regarding classes will be determined.
These protocols could include, but are not limited to: keeping a distance in the classroom, deciding when and where to wear masks, being creative in how ensembles are offered, considering ways to offer laboratory courses effectively and developing cleaning routines before and after each class. This could lead to using larger spaces on campus for larger classes and using outdoor spaces, weather permitting.
Coleman stressed that further plans for how classes may look in the fall cannot be finalized until faculty choose modes of delivery. The following infographic includes drafted – not final or definitive – measures for various modes of delivery associated with different Operation Safe Campus threat levels.