Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, course instruction has more flexibility to remain in person, switch to hybrid instruction or move completely online.
Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost, said in order to change from in-person to online they must go through administration.
“A course may be moved entirely online or online only with the permission of the department chair, college dean and my office,” Rhodes said.
Changing a class to hybrid or online instruction could includes different reasons, but it’s ultimately aimed at several factors.
“Reasons for moving a course online for the fall semester include the size of the class and difficulty in allowing for social distancing,” Rhodes said, “as well as unique student needs or accommodations that the course being online might help address.”
While there are more routes for instructors to approach classes, a majority of them are still doing in-class instruction.
“More than 75% of our courses this fall are meeting face-to-face, and all courses are designed to address the expected learning outcomes,” Rhodes said.
However, Rhodes said that each course is given different tools to ensure the continuance of the course with professors having the discretion to determine if online instruction is necessary.
“While some face-to-face classes are not disrupted by social distancing and safety protocols, others are benefited by the use of additional tools and techniques,” Rhodes said. “Faculty are asked to consider the needs of the course and supplement face-to-face instruction with online activities as appropriate.”
ACU administration has taken time prior to the beginning of the semester to ensure multiple avenues for instruction can be taken without interruption of the course.
“We used the past several months to prepare for a variety of scenarios so that student learning and course progress isn’t disrupted,” Rhodes said. “This work has allowed us to create a robust online learning environment for each course that is nimble enough to move online temporarily, or if the situation worsens and requires a broader shift to online delivery.”
Because of this, Rhodes said that he ensures classes this year have been modified to be as flexible as possible.
“Whether face-to-face only, face-to-face with online activities, or entirely online, all classes have been carefully prepared with quality and flexibility in mind,” Rhodes said.
Although these changes take away from a complete on-campus experience, Phil Schubert, president of the university, said he wants students to look past these changes and to stay motivated.
“I would say that the mode and delivery of the curriculum is one piece of a much more significant college experience,” Schubert said. “The care and attention we have invested in ensuring the quality of what we have provided is significant. There is, in my opinion, a deterioration in the quality of experience, but I encourage [students] to look more broadly at just that one benchmark.”