Spring 2021 Academic Implementation Plan Columbia College Global Locations
Columbia College has a long history of providing our Columbia College Global students access to high quality education delivered through flexible and student-centered methods. While our online course offerings continue to provide excellent asynchronous education, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a more flexible approach to in-seat education. Our solution is to implement a new Virtual Education Initiative. This initiative expands on our existing expertise in virtual teaching and provides students with access to a wider selection of synchronous instruction.
Virtual Education Model
In Spring 2021most courses at Columbia College Global (CCG) locations will be offered in-seat (with appropriate social distancing) and will include a virtual classroom option for students. Instructors will teach the cross-listed sections simultaneously. Some students will be in-seat and some students will join the class virtually.
Due to local and state regulations, some locations may not be able to offer in-seat courses. In addition, locations that are hosted by a partner institution, such as locations on community college campuses or military installations, may not be able to offer in-seat courses if the partner institution has cancelled face-to-face education for the spring semester. Students should contact their service (home) location to check on the availability of in-seat courses.
Virtual classrooms will be separate sections designated by Virtual Education (VE). Students can enroll in either the in-seat or VE section of a course based on their individual needs and how they intend to attend the course.
CCG students can enroll in any VE course section; they are not place-bound by their home location. Students need to be aware of the time zone listed for each course, as a VE course section may be listed in a time zone different from the time zone of their home location. Not all courses will have a VE section. For example, science labs will have in-seat sections only.
Locations with a high need for in-seat availability, such as those that serve international students, may utilize two classrooms for course meetings. The instructor will be present in one classroom and a virtual feed of the instructor will be displayed in the second classroom. This is like the delivery of On-site Virtual Courses (formerly called Interactive Virtual Courses (IVCs)) at CCG locations, except the teaching and learning classrooms are at the same location instead of multiple locations.
In-seat course schedules are available on the Nationwide Location course schedule website pages. The full list of VE courses is available online. Students are encouraged to register immediately so they can select their preferred option.
The educational experience will be synchronous, whether in-seat or virtual. Due to limited classroom space, students will be expected to attend courses via the delivery method they selected when they enrolled in the course. CCG students attending classes in-seat or virtually will be counted as present for purposes of attendance.
To attend virtually, a computer, webcam and microphone/headset will be required. That is, students will be required to login to the course during meeting times and have their cameras turned on. The computer must meet technical requirements for Zoom. Class recordings will not be the norm.
Students enrolled in in-seat course sections may be allowed to attend some class meetings virtually, but only on a limited basis and with instructor permission. Due to limited classroom capacities, students enrolled in VE sections will not be allowed to attend in-seat meetings. It may be possible for students to switch their enrollment between in-seat and virtual sections, but they will need to contact their location to discuss options.
Course design will accommodate in-seat and virtual options. Course syllabi will reflect details of the course such as meeting dates, assignments, exams, course policies and other necessary information.
Under the CCG Virtual Education model, it will be important to leverage technology in a way that enhances student focused learning and allows instructors to interact with both the students attending in-seat and those attending virtually. This will enhance the experience for students no matter what section of the course they select.
To achieve this, most CCG classrooms will be equipped with Meeting Owl devices, or similar hardware, which allow virtual students to see, hear, and interact with the in-seat classroom. The integrated ZOOM functions in D2L, or similar virtual meeting software, will be used for the synchronous class sessions.
Course and tech support
Technology training for faculty and students will be available prior to the start of classes. This training will be delivered thru D2L and ZOOM.
CCG locations will begin the spring semester with cross-listed in-seat and VE sections and pivot all sections (in-seat and virtual) to virtual delivery if required by ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. A benefit of the CCG Virtual Education model is that the infrastructure is already in place if a switch in delivery method is required. If a pivot to fully virtual delivery is required by local or state regulations, CCG locations not impacted by those local or state regulations may continue in-seat courses.
CCG courses will follow the previously approved academic calendar. The Early Spring session will be Monday, January 11, 2021, through Saturday, March 6, 2021. The Late Spring Session will be Monday, March 8, 2021, through Saturday, May 1, 2021. This model is, as expected, subject to official guidance, legal regulations, state and local requirements, and the pandemic situation and includes the option to go fully virtual at any time, including before the spring semester starts, if necessary.