As we return to campus in the Fall, course delivery and schedules will be modified in order to reduce classroom density and increase the safety of our community. While a number of flexible models are being evaluated, the majority of our classes will blend face-to-face instruction with remote options in new and innovative ways. For more information about implementing a hybrid course as a response to COVID-19, view the below FAQ.
What is the hybrid-online model of instruction?
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board defines a hybrid/blended course as:
A course in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent), of the planned instruction occurs when the students and instructor(s) are not in the same place.
- a TTh course that meets in person on Tuesday and remotely via Bb Collaborate on Thursday (50% remote);
- a MWF course that meets all three days using student rotations: one third of the class rotates attending in-person one day of the week, while the rest attend via Zoom (67% remote); and
- a large MW section with 125 students meets every Monday in an auditorium that seats 275. Students complete assignments remotely the rest of the week (50% remote).
Must I adopt this mode of instruction? Why?
To reduce density on campus, the majority of fall courses originally scheduled as face-to-face will be delivered instead in a hybrid or blended modality.
There are two primary reasons for this shift, all directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- If all courses use the hybrid model of delivery – with coordination within and across departments – the density of students on campus any given day will be reduced by more than 50%, helping to minimize contact among the campus community
- In the event of a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the campus is ordered to shut down as it was in March, it will be much easier to make the transition to 100% remote course delivery from the hybrid model.
What if I am a faculty member in a documentable high-risk category for COVID-19?
Faculty assigned to teach face to face, but who seek to work remotely due to an underlying disability that the CDC has determined places the individual at an increased risk should review section 3(d) of F&O HR policy ER-5. Requests for remote work accommodations must be in writing and include a medical certification as detailed in the policy. Faculty may use the ADA forms for employees and for medical providers and submit to Jessica Smith or Patti Zavala.
Will students be charged an online, distance learning fee?
No. Because less than 85% of instruction takes place remotely, courses designated as hybrid are not designated as online courses and will therefore not be assessed the online course fee.
What options are available for the hybrid model?
There are several nationally used models for hybrid courses. Strictly speaking, a course is considered hybrid/blended if between 50% and 85% of instruction is occurs remotely. However, in order to maintain student engagement, we prefer models that ensure regular, sustained contact throughout the semester.
- Split week
- Student Rotations
- 7 ½ week courses
There is considerable flexibility within each of these models and we are confident that with very few exceptions every course taught be at SHSU using at least one of them effectively.
Thorough descriptions – along with some examples – of these models can be found at the PACE website.
How do I communicate my preference?
Please communicate your preference of hybrid model to your department chair and dean.
In order to collaborate across and within departments, sharing information on the days of the week (and number of weeks through the semester) that all or part of the class will meet in the classroom will allow us to:
- estimate the extent to which the student density is decreased on a given day (a goal of at least 50%);
- ensure a consistent approach across courses with multiple sections;
- move into much larger classrooms some courses that do not wish to split the class into smaller groups; and
- ensure the student population is distributed evenly across the days of the week.
This information help us coordinate efforts to reduce the density of students on a given day throughout the Fall semester.
Will this do anything to help the spread of the novel coronavirus? What about true social distancing?
The practice of social distancing as recommended by the CDC includes but is not limited to avoiding close contact with people who are sick, wearing face coverings, avoiding mass gatherings, and staying 6 feet away from other people. There are many actions we can take at this point to follow this advice and mitigate the spread of this virus:
- Decrease the number of students on campus on a given day by at least half the amount in a “normal” fall semester.
- Adopt teaching schedules and methods that allow no more than half of enrolled students in a classroom at a given time
- Have faculty, staff, and students get into the habit of wearing a facial covering when it is not possible stay 6 feet from each other (walking to/from cars, to/from offices, between building).
- Holding staff and department meetings remotely, even if most participants are on campus.
- Dramatically limiting attendance at sporting events and performances.
- Establishing one-way pedestrian routes in hallways, stairwells, and doorways.
- Encouraging, promoting, and modeling to students the use of best hygiene practices.
Are there larger classrooms I can use to help mitigate the spread of the virus in my courses?
Yes. Instructors should communicate with their chair and dean to request a section to be considered to move into a larger room. Based on availability, the hybrid model chosen, and the days and frequency of planned face-to-face instruction, instructors will be contacted about moving to larger rooms.
Space is limited, so not all requests will be able to be granted. But we are committed to doing all we can to accommodate increased distance among students.
How will classrooms be modified to best accommodate the hybrid mode of instruction?
Almost all classrooms currently have a projector, screen, and desktop computer terminal that serves to control input to the projector. This technology can be used within Zoom or Bb Collaborate to display Powerpoint slides or projected materials to those students attending remotely. About 50 percent of the classrooms have a digital document reader that allows for projection of written or printed material onto the projector screen.
In addition, by the start of the fall semester 90 percent of classrooms on campus will also be equipped with a webcam that will allow video recording from a fixed podium. Instructors will therefore be able to design pedagogy that allows all students to listen, learn, contribute, present and fully participate in the class whether they are physically in the classroom or attending remotely.
Visit the SHSU Room Technology site for a list of technology available in each classroom to support hybrid instruction.
IT@Sam is still working to ensure all classrooms receive the best technology for teaching hybrid courses.
What do I need to use Blackboard for?
It will be vital for faculty to follow best practices that will allow them to quickly adjust to changing conditions while maintaining course continuity. These best practices include using Blackboard, the University’s accepted Learning Management System (LMS) as the course hub for the following essential course elements:
- Posting and maintaining the course syllabus
Communication among instructor(s), students, and teaching assistants.
Posting and maintenance of the course schedule and calendar
Monitoring of attendance
Posting of course grades for all assessments
Hosting virtual office hours and/or discussion boards.
Effective the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the provost and all college deans have agreed to require all courses to use Blackboard as the course hub, with each of these elements fully utilized.
- Posting and maintaining the course syllabus
Where can I get additional training on effectively using Blackboard?
SHSU Online is hosting several training sessions and webinars that will help instructors realize the full potential of Blackboard, including
- Preparing to Teach with Blackboard Summer/Fall 2020
- Recording Voiceover PowerPoint and Uploading to Blackboard
- Recording and Posting Audio/Video/Screen Capture with Kaltura
- Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor – Assessment Protection
- Blackboard Ate My Homework
- Office Hours & Lectures in Blackboard with Zoom or with Collaborate
- Setting up A Virtual Office in Blackboard
- Engaging Students in Blackboard
- Creating Tests, Surveys & Quizzes in Blackboard
- Uploading Tests to Blackboard with Respondus Campus Wide
- Grade Center basics
For more information on and to register for these sessions, visit their site.
I’m concerned about cheating on exams that are delivered remotely. What can be done to mitigate cheating?
Courses taught online require students to use special software that helps prevent students from seeking outside sources during an exam. Effective Fall 2020, instructors of hybrid courses will be allowed to require this software as well. See a previous question for specific training sessions led by SHSU Online.
Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser (available for Windows, Mac and iOS) that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. At the start of an assessment, students are locked into the browser until it is submitted for grading. To learn more about this integration, check out the student's Respondus Lockdown Browser page.
Respondus Monitor is a companion application for the LockDown Browser that uses webcam and video technology to prevent cheating during online exams. Respondus Monitor integrates seamlessly with Blackboard and is ideal for online testing environments. To learn more about this integration, click here.
Some instructors may wish to conduct exams face-to-face, either in the room in which the course was originally scheduled (with students attending in groups) or in a larger room to enable distancing during the exam. This preference can be recorded in the June Qualtrics survey mentioned above.
I’m concerned about plagiarism. What can be done to detect and/or prevent plagiarism?
We have access in Blackboard to a feature package called SafeAssign, which can be used as both a plagiarism deterrent as well as an educational tool. Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for originality and create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.
How does it work? When an assignment is submitted by students, SafeAssign compares the text against a set of academic papers from several databases to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.
SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material. A report is then generated detailing the percentage of text in the submitted paper that matches existing sources. The report shows the suspected sources for each section of the submitted paper that returns a match. You can delete matching sources from the report and process it again if the paper is a continuation of a previously submitted work by the same student.
Will classrooms be sanitized between classes or at the end of each day?
Yes. Facilities Management staff will be cleaning and sanitizing the furniture in each classroom every evening.
In addition, a hand sanitizer dispenser has been placed at every building entrance, and a container with disposable sanitizing wipes will be available at every entrance of a classroom. This provides students, faculty, and staff entering the classroom the opportunity to disinfect their immediate area. Instructors will be encouraged to help students develop a daily habit of utilizing a sanitizing wipe on the desk or chair they will by using.