(The following email was sent to all Missouri State University students.)
Dear Missouri State students,
Congratulations on successfully completing the spring semester under very challenging circumstances. We appreciate your determination and patience as we very quickly transitioned classes to alternative delivery formats.
We’ve missed you on campus and are excited about our return for fall semester – although there will be some changes when you return as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, we are making some major changes that will be driven by our county and state health departments and our internal testing protocols. We’ll know more details about things like convocations, athletics, and housing in the coming months as easing of restrictions are closely monitored in the city, state and the U.S.
In the meantime, we want to share with you details about your classes and the classroom environment for fall semester. After all, academics are why you are here.
Classes are being adapted for safety
First, there will be more online classes. I think it’s helpful to note that last fall we had 694 online sections, and this fall we’ll have approximately 920 online sections. We’ll still have around 3,500 seated sections this fall.
Our primary goal in preparing classes for the fall is to enhance safety for students, faculty and staff. We’re evaluating risk based on the number of students, room size and nature of the course. Basically, this means we will have fewer students in a classroom and on campus at the same time.
To accomplish that:
- Sections may be moved to larger classrooms.
- A section may be split between two classrooms with the faculty member in one classroom with students and appearing via Zoom in the second classroom.
- Blended courses may mean classroom instruction on one day and Zoom/internet instruction on the alternate day.
- Classes will now be spread more evenly across the day and evening to make better use of space and reduce the number of students in a classroom or lab.
- GEP 101 sections will now be in the first block with blended instruction.
- Larger classes will have assigned seating so that social distancing can be maintained.
We may face challenges with music and performance classes, labs and other hands-on classes. Student teaching, clinical site experiences, internships and practicums are also being extensively reviewed. We are working diligently to offer creative options.
We’re improving our ability to offer quality, online experiences
Faculty are receiving intensive training for classes that are being offered in an alternative format, so your classes will be challenging and engaging.
We are dramatically increasing the number of Zoom-capable classrooms that offer camera tracking of the speaker.
The syllabus for each of your classes will include information about the alternative delivery method that will be used for that class if we need to pivot late in the semester.
All universities across the country are facing these same challenges. We’re all working hard to provide a quality and enriching university experience during very uncertain times.
Please know we have your best interests at heart, and we are making every effort to ensure fall semester is both safe and great. Somewhat different, but great, nevertheless!
Clifton M. Smart III