Spring 2021 Academic Implementation Plan Columbia Campus
Students who attend the day campus are attracted to an educational experience that emphasizes relationships with faculty, small classes, and a tight-knit academic and social community. This experience has traditionally been accessed through in-seat and residential experiences. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a flexible approach to in-seat experiences. Our vision for the spring is to prioritize and offer an in-seat experience (with appropriate social distancing) to students, but to simultaneously provide a virtual option that students can take advantage of based on their individual needs. We have taken this approach because we believe student’s needs may fluctuate from day to day and empowering them to choose how they want to learn, will best support their educational journey.
High Flex Model
The High-Flex model is Columbia College’s innovative educational model that allows students to choose how they attend class. Students can either attend in-seat or virtually, depending on specific circumstances. With the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, Columbia College believes that empowering students to choose will help them successfully continue their education under challenging circumstances. The High-Flex model prioritizes in-seat experiences, but also provides a high quality virtual option at the same time.
Students are encouraged to register immediately, if they have not already done so. Registering in a course which is offered in-seat and with virtual synchronous option will automatically permit a student to attend in the way the students chooses and no pre-selection is required. Students should note time zone differences if applicable, class times are listed as Central Standard Time (CST). Waitlists are established for courses that are full, and students should get on the waitlist. Students can also discuss options with a Day Campus advisor by sending an email to DayCampusAdvising@CCIS.edu.
Most classrooms have been assigned so that all students who are registered can attend in-seat if they choose (with appropriate social distancing). Students can make the decision how to attend based on their individual needs at that time. There will be times that faculty may request an in-seat presence for pedagogical reasons (labs, exams, group work).
Day campus students attending classes in-seat or virtually will be counted as present for purposes of attendance. The educational experience will be synchronous, whether online or virtual. That is, students will be required to attend during meeting times and have cameras turned on. Class recording or asynchronous options will not be the norm and will occur only in special cases as determined by faculty. To attend virtually, a computer, web cam and microphone/headset will be required. The computer must meet technical requirements for Zoom.
We have reassigned classrooms based on social distancing guidelines and anticipated enrollments including the use of adaptable spaces. These decisions were based on new physical capacities identified by the Return Task Force (RTF). The RTF also recommends assigned seating. We are also using some innovative methods to provide in-seat classes – in some cases we are offering classes in larger spaces that haven’t been used as classrooms before. In other cases, we may utilize two classrooms for course meetings and the instructor will be present in one classroom and be visible through zoom in the other classroom. The instructor may rotate between the classrooms in a given class period or alternating class periods.
Courses will be designed to integrate in-seat and virtual instruction. Course syllabi will reflect details of the course such as attendance, assignments, exams, course policies and other necessary information.
Under the high flex model, it is important to leverage technology in a way that enhances student focused learning and allows faculty to interact with both the students physically in-seat and those attending virtually. In order to achieve this, Columbia College has made significant investments in technology and most classes are equipped with tracking cameras, in-built classroom microphones and speakers. There will be video conference devices available for some small class settings where the full tracking camera set up is not feasible. Due to social distancing we have lost some capacity in our computer labs and in order to accommodate, some classrooms will be converted to dual purpose.
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. Faculty will also receive support on the pedagogical implications of the High-Flex model. Information and Technology services will provide mobile technical support staff for the first 2 weeks to assist with new technology etc. Technical support will continue to be available through normal channels on an ongoing basis.
The Columbia College Day Program will begin the Spring 16-week semester in-seat with a virtual synchronous option for most classes (under the High-Flex model) and shift to fully virtual after Spring Break. Our contingency plan includes transitioning to fully virtual at any time.
- The 16-week Spring semester would start on January 11th and end on April 29th.
- The last day of in-seat classes would be March 26th. All classes, and course deliverables due after March 26, including final exams would be completed virtually.
- Finals week will still be April 26th-29th.