Instruction this fall will be designed for flexibility, inclusiveness, student-faculty engagement, and distinctive experiential learning. Academic Innovation offers robust and consistent support for faculty as they design and implement their courses, including webinars, on-demand resources and consultations.
All courses must be prepared for online instruction
The majority of courses will be offered fully online with options for asynchronous, synchronous or a hybrid of the two online options. A limited number of courses will be approved to meet face-to-face based on strict criteria. All face-to-face courses must offer a parallel online component (hyflex) for students who are not able to attend in person and must be able to transition to a fully online format on short notice. This allows maximum flexibility to accommodate the health, safety and at-home situations of all.
In-person instruction will be available, but limited
Due to classroom space constraints, courses should only be offered in-person based on specific pedagogical and/or accreditation need, and must be approved by the college dean and registrar. Examples of pedagogical need include necessarily hands-on work such as studio art, music and dance instruction, architecture and interior design studios, engineering senior design studios, student teaching and clinical observations in schools, and labs that require the use of specialized equipment, and the like.
Integrating experiential learning opportunities
We have the opportunity to create distinctive and innovative experiential learning opportunities even amidst this extraordinary time. The majority of experiential learning can be accomplished online with sufficient training, support, and time for planning. However, there are some experiential learning modalities that can only be accomplished in person.
Programs with accreditation needs in experiential learning will be given priority for learning technology investment and face-to-face scheduling in classrooms, labs, studios and non-traditional learning spaces on campus.
Illustrative examples and guidelines on operationalizing both online and face-to-face experiential learning during the Fall 2020 semester are forthcoming.
The Office of Digital Learning is the university resource for best practices for online pedagogies in experiential learning.
Create a more consistent teaching and learning experience
Blackboard Learn and the tools approved by UTSA are compliant with FERPA and UTSA policies, and support is provided. Use only UTSA site-licensed platforms such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom and WebEx to meet with students. Remember these High Five for Remote Teaching tips when designing your courses and reach out to Academic Innovation for guidance at any time.
The student-faculty connection is top priority
By and large, what students missed in the spring after transition to remote learning was the interpersonal connection. To facilitate these connections, faculty are expected to offer regular, synchronous interaction with students, whether one-on-one dialogue or small group sessions. Faculty are also encouraged to seek innovative ways to create informal, one-on-one dialogues with students.
Faculty will have access to their offices, where they may work and provide instruction. However, to the greatest extent possible, meetings and office hours should be offered virtually. When scheduling office hours, consider offering sessions at different times of day, including into the early evening hours, to accommodate students who may also be working or caring for family members.
Faculty resources and support
Academic Innovation brings together experts in teaching, technology, and virtual learning to champion innovative and transformational practices that enhance the academic experience of our students and faculty. Their Teaching Resources site has become an integral roadmap for faculty on teaching online effectively and will be continually updated with new programs and information so check back regularly.
Webinars and trainings
Academic Innovation has a slate of faculty forums and student webinars scheduled now through the beginning of the fall semester. In addition, faculty and students can access dozens of short, helpful, instructional videos on demand. Lastly, past webinar recordings from Spring 2020 and from the Summer 2020 Digital Teaching Forum Series are available for viewing.
In addition to hearing from college leadership and faculty champions, faculty will be kept informed of instruction-related updates and resources primarily through the weekly Faculty Center newsletter. Faculty may also follow Academic Innovation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with event and webinar reminders, digital tool enhancements, and more.
Academic Innovation and tech investments
Some resources will be available to support high priority courses, which include:
- Classes that impact the most students
- Classes in which the new will become a permanent element in the course as it is taught in the future
- Classes in which the development of a few online components could result in moving the entire course to fully online delivery (e.t., lab exercises)
- Classes in which accreditation concerns could be resolved
- Classes populated by students whose engagement is most important for recruitment and retention
- Classes critical to student success, such as gateway classes in majors and classes that are required of large numbers of students
UTS and Academic Innovation will work together to prioritize which classrooms must be outfitted with cameras, microphones, and similar equipment for hyflex and interactive learning. Additionally, IT hardware and software needs will be explored to determine how best to support faculty for proper instruction, for example purchasing webcams for faculty who need to utilize the technology for online learning.