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Academic Instruction

This academic year at WMU will be unlike any other. It will require flexibility, resilience and grace from the entire campus community. As Ryan explains in the video above, this year will also be characterized by a high-quality academic experience that puts health and safety at the forefront.

WMU’s strategy includes a modified academic calendar, a diverse mix of course types that includes in-person, experiential learning and physically distanced classroom environments.

 

Classes will be structured around safety protocols:

  • Classes of 70 and fewer will meet in physically distanced classrooms with proper safety precautions. 

  • Most large classes (those with more than 70 students) will be taught via distance education. 

  • Priority in-person learning will be given to experiential and hands-on learning in small-capacity classrooms. 

  • Masks are required when in classrooms on campus.

Class Delivery Methods

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Academic advising, tutoring and career services will be available to students both virtually and in-person during the fall semester.

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In-Person Learning

Courses meet physically in classrooms, laboratories or other instructional spaces in accordance with the existing meeting days and times scheduled in Banner. In-person delivery offers students hands-on or participatory learning in a physical format. 

Considerations:

  • Students will attend all scheduled in-person course meetings.

  • Students should decide whether they are comfortable sharing a classroom space with other participants, wearing a mask and interacting with social distancing measures in place.

  • Office hours will most likely be held virtually due to social distancing requirements.

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Hybrid Learning

Courses meet both in-person and through virtual delivery with 51% or more of the instruction occurring through distance ed, either asynchronously or synchronously. Asynchronous content delivery takes place virtually without any scheduled meetings, whereas synchronous content delivery takes place virtually with scheduled meetings. The hybrid format is used when some of the course delivery requires hands-on or participatory learning scenarios in a physical format. 

Three students wearing masks studying in the campus library.

Considerations:

  • Students will attend all scheduled in-person or synchronous meetings.

  • For the distance ed portion of the class, students will need access to a computer with reliable Internet connectivity.  Please visit the laptop recommendations webpage for specific information.

  • If applicable, students will need to become familiar with synchronous meeting etiquette.

  • For the in-person portion of the class, students should consider whether they are comfortable sharing a classroom space with other participants, wearing a mask and interacting with social distancing measures in place.

  • Office hours will most likely be held virtually due to social distancing requirements.

Distance Education: Asynchronous Learning

Courses meet exclusively via distance ed through the learning management system (Elearning/D2L) and require no in-person or synchronous virtual meetings. Some instructors may offer optional virtual synchronous sessions for collaborative work or other course-related activities. 

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Considerations:

  • Distance delivery offers the greatest flexibility for both students and instructors but requires a high degree of self-discipline and motivation.

  • Students need to manage their participation by checking instructor emails, course announcements, due dates and, if applicable, group assignments.

  • Students should make a point to read faculty feedback on their assignments and seek out help in a timely manner from the instructor or teaching assistants. It is easy to fall behind in a class when it does not meet in-person.

  • Exams and other assessments may also be time-limited or held on specific days and times.

  • Students will need access to a computer with reliable Internet connectivity. Please visit the laptop recommendations webpage for specific information.

  • Office hours will be held virtually.

Distance Education: Fully Synchronous Learning

Courses meet exclusively through distance education technologies according to the pre-scheduled meeting days and times as indicated in Banner. The learning management system (Elearning/D2L) and other distance and collaboration technologies are used to facilitate activities such as discussions, collaborative exercises, distribution of materials, collection of deliverables, grades, etc.

As an example, a synchronous distance ed course scheduled for TR 9:30-10:45 would stream its content and engage students in discussions via WebEx during those scheduled times. 

A student studying at a table outside Knauss Hall.

Considerations:

  • This format allows students and instructors to follow a predictable schedule of meeting times without needing to be in a classroom space.

  • Students will need to become familiar with synchronous meeting etiquette.

  • Students are required to attend all scheduled synchronous course meetings.

  • Office hours will be held virtually.

Distance Education: Partially Synchronous Learning

Courses are facilitated through the learning management system (Elearning/D2L) and require no in-person sessions, but instructors can incorporate periodic synchronous virtual sessions when the subject matter requires real-time demonstration, collaboration or interaction. The dates and times for required synchronous sessions will be made clear to students on syllabi so they can coordinate their academic, personal and work schedules.

Two students in an on-campus apartment study on their laptops.

Considerations:

  • Students will need access to a computer with reliable Internet connectivity. Please visit the laptop recommendations webpage for specific information.

  • Students need to manage their participation by checking instructor emails, course announcements, due dates and, if applicable, group assignments.

  • Students should make a point to read faculty feedback on their assignments and seek out help in a timely manner from the instructor or teaching assistants. It is easy to fall behind in a class when it does not meet in-person.

  • Students will need to become familiar with synchronous meeting etiquette.

  • Students are required to attend all scheduled synchronous course meetings.

  • Office hours will be held virtually.