Ohio Wesleyan University will return to on-campus instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Faculty are working hard to prepare for all contingencies this fall, including participation in summer development to improve their ability to offer remote instruction. OWU's plan is to deliver most instruction in-person on campus, while remote instruction will be provided for students who meet the criteria. At this point, about 20% of our courses will be fully online, while most other courses will be presented as a hybrid mix of face-to-face and online instruction.
Academic Calendar Changes
The University has adjusted the fall 2020 semester calendar with the following objectives in mind:
- Eliminate longer breaks when students are likely to leave central Ohio and return again to campus, thereby reducing the potential for larger numbers of individuals to bring the virus back to campus with them.
- End in-person instruction at Thanksgiving Break, thereby giving students the opportunity to remain at home for a longer period of time when public health officials warn there may be a resurgence of the pandemic.
- Encourage the redesign of academic courses to incorporate remote learning methods, thereby allowing students who need to study remotely for all of part of the semester the opportunity to do so with pedagogical intentionality in mind.
- Provide students with three “Bishop Breaks” during the semester, which are one-day mid-week “wellness” days when no classes meet.
Fall Semester: In Person and Online
In Fall 2020 OWU will offer classes that are fully in-person and fully online, but most will be hybrid courses that include a combination of the two.
We’re reviewing classroom spaces and making modifications to ensure appropriate physical distancing, and faculty are developing learning plans for each of their courses. Classes that are fully online are identified as such in Self-Service.
The format for fully online courses will vary by discipline and with the nature of the course material. Many instructors are prerecording lectures that they will post in an online learning management system (typically Blackboard). Last spring, students told us they value opportunities to interact with the instructor and with their fellow students. As a result, many of the online courses this fall will include scheduled course activities in which students and the instructor will be online at the same time (synchronous activities).
Hybrid courses will move some traditional course elements online (e.g., videos of lectures) while in-class activities will focus on providing more depth of understanding for the material. Some instructors will divide classes into smaller groups that meet fewer times per week for in-class activities. As a result, even our in-person classes will incorporate a higher proportion of digital materials this fall.
Approval for Remote Learning
OWU believes strongly that an ideal liberal arts learning environment is one where those in the campus community are together, engaged in dialogue, research, mentorship, and enriching co-curricular experiences. The university also recognizes that some individuals have medical concerns that place them in a high-risk category should they contract the virus. Others may have deep concerns about being physically present on campus this fall. We also recognize that some international students may experience significant challenges in returning to the U.S. this fall.
If you wish to take all of your classes remotely during fall semester, you must complete this form by July 17, 2020. The university will strive to notify you by July 25 if you are approved for remote learning. (If you are approved as a fully remote learner, you will be charged tuition but not room and board.)
Below are criteria OWU will consider for approving requests for remote learning.
- International students who are unable to acquire a visa due to consulate delays or are facing verifiable border-crossing prohibitions.
- Any student who has a verified underlying medical condition that places them in a high-risk category for serious complications as defined by the Centers for Disease Control should they contract the virus. Documentation must be provided from an appropriate healthcare professional and will be evaluated by the Accessibility Services Office.
- Students with other compelling nonmedical reasons preventing them from learning on campus.
Travel & University-Supported Activity Restrictions
The university prohibits international travel for students for the fall 2020 semester. Domestic travel should only occur when necessary. All members of the community are encouraged to carefully monitor available public health information to determine the level of risk in contracting coronavirus during travels. See IOCP's Safe Campus Opening Information.
All study abroad activities for fall semester have been canceled, and spring semester activities are still under evaluation.
Options for domestic study-away or internship programs, such as Wesleyan in Washington, are being decided case by case. Many internships have already been transformed into remote opportunities. Contact Darrel Albon or Lisa Ho to learn more about specific programs.
International & Global Nomad Students
We know that some international students will not be able to attend this semester in person. We are developing a set of online courses specifically designed to meet the needs of those international students who are unable to be in the United States this fall.
Online courses will have the same learning goals and will require the same time investment from students as our face-to-face courses. They will be taught by our faculty members, who will uphold our standards for a quality educational experience. As a result, students will be able to earn the same credit for courses regardless of whether the delivery mode is fully online, fully face-to-face, or a hybrid mix of the two. Please watch for further communication sent to your OWU email address about course options for international students.