Explained: Current plans UWL is enacting for courses during fall 2020 semester

Julia Balli, Executive Editor

In an email sent out on June 19 at 12:34 p.m. by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Provost Office, it explained how UWL courses and classroom environment could look like during the fall 2020 semester.

In the email, it was announced that no single course will exceed 50 students, and six-foot physical distancing and personal protective equipment will be enforced. Many large lecture courses that exceed over 50 students will be held in a hybrid course format.

A hybrid format is when a portion of the course has virtual engagements and the other portion of the course is on-campus engagements. UWL students will have a time and place show up on their fall 2020 semester schedule, however, they should not expect to attend at that time and location every time it is scheduled.

UWL students will not know when to meet for on-campus engagements for courses until the fall semester begins and the instructor releases the schedule or instructions. Students should still leave the time period free for when their courses are scheduled.

“The hybrid model is different for every class based on the educational goals, but the types of materials you might be expected to complete online are readings, videos, individual assignments, group assignments, quizzes, exams, and discussion boards,” as stated in the email from the Provost Office.

UWL Provost Office said the university would be prioritizing courses with “hands-on components,” such as labs and the visual & performing arts courses for on-campus engagements as well as courses that first-year students are most likely to enroll in.

UWL Provost Betsy Morgan said that classrooms will be marked so students know how far apart to stand from one another, and temporary masks will be provided to students who forgot their own or who do not have one. “We think that the vast majority of students fully recognize the health benefits to themselves and others to maintain the physical distancing and wear a mask. And, it will be the norm,” said Morgan.

It was also stated in the email that “by August over 90% of our instructors will have completed intensive training in online and/or hybrid teaching development.”

The Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning (CATL) is offering instructors online-courses that will overview online, face-to-face, and blended modes of delivery to prepare instructors for the fall semester. The “COVID-19 Flex Training” is a two-week program provided for instructors through CATL to advise strategies, tools, and options for meeting course objectives while course models are changing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the important thing is that faculty will be communicating with their students much closer to the beginning of the semester about what to expect,” said Morgan. UWL Provost Office will send out the most “up-to-date” information regarding courses at UWL in early August.

For any additional questions regarding UWL’s COVID-19 response plan, fill out this form provided on the UWL website.