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Fall 2021 Considerations

Suggestions and Resources for Fall 2021, including Face-to-Face Classes

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.

General Suggestions

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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:

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:

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