In order to provide adaptability and best serve our students during the current health crisis, Academic Affairs, with the support of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, has developed course delivery definitions for the Fall 2020 Term.
Each learning experience at WOU is unique: different teaching approaches, learning styles, and course objectives may be better served by a specific course delivery format. These definitions seek to create space for that uniqueness, while also recognizing the need to set clear expectations for students and acknowledge the unknown impact COVID-19 may have during Fall Term.
Please review these definitions and determine the delivery method most appropriate for your courses. Keep in mind that if we are allowed to have in-person instruction at the beginning of Fall Term, we could be required by state or county directive to stop in-person meetings until the public health situation improves. Faculty choosing a delivery method with in-person meetings will need to be prepared to shift instruction to an alternative format on short notice.
A hybrid course utilizes some online delivery methods, but it is expected that students and the faculty member will occupy the same physical space for a portion of the instructional time.
An online course takes place entirely in a virtual learning environment. At no time are students and the faculty member expected to be in the same physical space. There are two types of online courses:
|Synchronous online courses require students to be engaged with the course during some or all of the same periods of time that an in-person course would require. Examples of synchronous activities might include a lecture, class discussions, student presentations, dedicated group project work time, or a time-bound assessment.||An asynchronous course is designed so as not to conflict with a student’s synchronous courses and other obligations, such as work or family. As such, it provides flexibility in completing assignments, assessments, and working through course materials. These activities will still follow a schedule and have deadlines, but those deadlines should not create a barrier to a student taking a synchronous course, either online, hybrid or in-person.
“My online course has weekly scheduled meeting times, but for fewer hours than the in-person version of the course, and it replaces that time with asynchronous work that students complete on their own (in addition to the normal time required for study/homework). How can I make sure students are aware of this additional component at the point of registration?”
Yes: this is an Online Synchronous course. When submitting the change, indicate that the course is an Online Synchronous course, and list the scheduled dates/times.
Asynchronous courses may have occasional scheduled activities. The schedule for any such activities must be based upon the availability of the students enrolled in the section. Many students choose online asynchronous courses because they have inflexible or unpredictable work, school, or child care schedules, so we encourage faculty to avoid planning synchronous or scheduled activities in these courses.
The date and time of any synchronous activities must not conflict with any scheduled courses.
No. Offering a course in-person does not mandate instructors offer a synchronous course if they have to move the course to remote/online teaching due to public health concerns.
The in-person and hybrid definitions say: “if health concerns prevent in-person instruction, synchronous meetings or activities that are mandatory occur during the section’s officially scheduled times.”
That statement is saying that if a faculty member wishes to have “synchronous meetings or activities that are mandatory,” those meetings need to occur within the bounds of the section’s “officially scheduled times.” It does not require the faculty member to have synchronous meetings.
Although faculty are not required to have synchronous class meetings in this situation, they are encouraged to offer some form of synchronous sessions, as many students indicated that synchronous sessions offered during Spring 2020 courses have been critical to both their engagement with the course and to understanding the material.
Faculty are prohibited from holding mandatory synchronous meetings that don’t align with the originally scheduled times, as this would likely cause problems for students.