Fall 2021 Considerations
Preparing for Fall 2021
As of this writing, many faculty and students will be returning to campus classrooms for in-person instruction, while others will be teaching and learning fully online. We anticipate that Fall 2021 will be a time of adjustment that is likely to require flexibility and patience.
For faculty teaching fully online, the links on the left hand side of this page offer resources and suggestions.
For faculty teaching on campus, the following resources are offered in the interest of preparing for a range of eventualities.
For most of us, face-to-face teaching will be blended with online teaching; we may be meeting with our classes in person for only 1/2 to 1/3 of the course contact hours. Determining how to best use those in-class hours will therefore be a challenging part of planning for the course. Some of the following suggestions may be helpful.
- Draw from existing hybrid models. Approaches faculty adopt when teaching hybrid classes may be especially helpful in planning how to focus in-person hours with student.
- Getting Started with Designing a Hybrid Learning Course from Cornell University.
- The Nature of Hybrid Writing Courses from the University of Denver.
- Flip the class. When you flip the instruction, lectures and other activities that introduce concepts are assigned as part of asynchronous modules. In-class time then focuses on actively applying what has been learned.
- Flipping Your Classroom: An overview of the flipped model from the University of Michigan.
- Flipped Learning: Further detail and resources for the flipped classroom from University of Vermont.
- The Flip Side of Flipped Classroom: An anthropology professor's experiences with some of the pitfalls of this method.
- Focus on active learning activities. Particularly in the composition and writing classes, writing workshops, active reading and annotating, and working through drafting and revising, might be essential elements of your face-to-face class.
- Active Learning in the First Year Writing Classroom: Suggestions and a discussion of challenges from Dartmouth University.
- Experiment with the Fishbowl discussion technique. In this particular approach to discussion, the class is divided into two groups: a smaller one in the center that debates a topic and a larger group that observes. Long considered pedagogically useful, the fishbowl comes up again and again in the literature as a particularly useful strategy in Covid-era classrooms. It can be adapted to work in socially distanced classrooms and may be especially useful for juggling the present and remote groups in HyFlex classes. For example, those present in the class can be the inner circle; those attending remotely can be part of the outer, observational circle.
Teaching with Face Masks
These resources can help with some of the challenges of teaching while wearing a mask.
- Video discussing four elements to remember when speaking in a mask from Ian Anderson, a Theater Professor at Valdosta State University in Georgia.
- 7 Tips for Making Masks Work in the Classroom
An additional tip worth considering: speak a little less! The need to project and use more volume when speaking with a mask may strain your voice, so you may want to be more strategic about how much you speak. You can turn necessity into an advantage by creating more space for student participation, discussion, and active learning.
Adapting Activities for Physically Distanced Classrooms
If the need for social distancing in the classroom arises and/or if you prefer to keep some distance between students, these recommendations may help:
- How to handle physically distanced discussions, group work, etc. from Derek Bruff at Vanderbilt University's Center for Teaching and Learning. One useful suggestion is to use Google Sheets to set up a space for group work/discussion that is easily accessible even when students are sitting apart from each other.
- Active Learning while Physically Distancing: A crowd-sourced list of ways to adapt common classroom activities for different modalities, begun by Jennifer Baumgartner at Louisiana State University.
Working with Students Both in the Classroom and Remotely (HyFlex)
Truly HyFlex courses offer the student the option to take the course in any one of several modalities, including fully asynchronously. During the pandemic, however, many instructors have developed a modified version of HyFlex: A classroom in which some students are present in person while others are attending via remote conferencing. If this is a format you are interested in using, these resources may be helpful:
- York College resources for HyFlex classrooms.
- Ways to adapt to the realities of teaching a HyFlex class from Maria Bergstrom of Michigan Technological University.
- Models for actual HyFlex class sessions from Kevin Kelly at San Francisco State University.
Do note that some experts in HyFlex recommend holding separate discussion sessions--one with the in-class students, and another with the remote students--to keep the conversation manageable.
Getting a Handle on Terms
- The Landscape of Merging Modalities by Valerie Irvine: a useful discussion of the various terms being used to describe various modalities (many of them overlapping).