Keep Teaching: Overview

Woman at desk with computer. Checklist.

For the Spring 2021 semester, Georgia State will continue using a mix of online, in-person and blended learning while respecting student and faculty safety within our classroom environments. Georgia State has adopted a uniform definition of blended learning. Beginning this spring, instructors in all blended classes will either:

  • meet in-person for each scheduled class period using a cohort model that maximizes the percentage of students in the course that can attend at one time safely with social distancing; or
  • design the course to ensure that at least 25% of all instruction takes place in-person for each student. Meeting once or twice in-person during the semester, or delivering material synchronously but virtually, will not meet this requirement.

Communicating Attendance Groupings & Considering Class Time

One concern raised this fall was regarding challenges with student communication. To help students be more proactive next semester we recommend you post your blended learning student attendance grouping information for in-class sessions via iCollege or other method by Dec. 18. This will allow students to work on their weekly schedules over the winter break. As you plan how you’ll use class time in blended courses, consider: Ideas for In-Person Sessions | Active Learning Activities | Engagement Strategies

Follow This 5-Step Process to Prepare Your Spring Course

Use our five-step process to plan for spring. Don’t forget that CETLOE is here to help. We continue to offer virtual drop-in and webinar Support Sessions. The best way to get questions answered quickly is to submit a help ticket to help@gsu.edu or call the service desk at 404-413-HELP (4357).

Step 1: CONFIRM THE LEARNING MODEL FOR YOUR CLASSES.

  • Confirm modality of class is correctly listed in GoSolar/Banner.
    Learning Models: Georgia State, in accordance with guidelines from the University System of Georgia, is providing multiple learning options again for spring. The following outlines the available course delivery models:

    Course Delivery Models
    Blended Learning: Courses taught with this model will offer some class sessions face-to-face and other sessions online. By requiring students to attend face-to-face classes less often, the format reduces population density in classrooms and on our campuses. Blended learning allows students to have access to online instructional materials while experiencing the benefit of in-person interactions with their peers and instructors.
    Most courses will be delivered through blended learning.
    Face-to-Face (F): All class sessions will meet in person for these courses. For classes with required hands-on content, this is the best method of instruction. Special safety measures will be observed in face-to-face courses.
    Online (O): All coursework, content and instructional materials will be entirely online with no in-person attendance requirement for these courses. Some online coursework may still be delivered at a specific day and time – also known as synchronous requirements.
  • Send email to students if the modality has changed from original listing for registration.
  • If the modality has changed, post announcement on course site  (such as iCollege) prominently stating the modality the class has been changed to.

Step 2: DETERMINE STUDENT ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS & CLASS STRATEGY.

For Face-to-Face Classes:

For Blended Classes:
Identify cohorts of students for consistent with the definition of blended learning 25% occupancy of classrooms and communicate dates of expected attendance to students. The 25% target identified is not a magic number and can change based on the seating configuration of the classroom to which a course is assigned.  If a higher number of students can be accommodated in a classroom safely with social distancing, the corresponding percentage of in-person instruction can and should increase.  Faculty may request to be assigned to a larger classroom that will allow more frequent in-person instruction within these parameters. Examples are below.

Example 1:

You have 34 students enrolled in your M/W class and have been assigned a room that seats 80 (with 20 seats available at 25%). Assign half of your students to come on Monday, and half on Wednesday, resulting in a 50% in-person instruction model.

Pros: 1) maximizes in-person time; 2) More regular in-class meetings may lead to higher levels of attendance; 3) This may feel more familiar to faculty who prefer F2F teaching.

Example 2:

You have 36 students enrolled in your M/W/F class and have been assigned a classroom that normally seats 36 (with 9 seats available at 25%). Ask to be rescheduled to a room that seats 48+ (12 seats at 25%) so that 33% of your class will be in attendance in person at a time.

Pros: 1) Faculty only need to prepare for three in-person sessions on a rotating cycle instead of four; 2) Having more students attend at the same time (while maintaining social distancing) helps meet the critical mass needed for good class discussions and activities.

Cons: 1) Limited classroom inventory; 2) The logistics are best for class that meet 3 days a week.

Example 3:

You have 30 students enrolled in your M/W class and have been assigned a room that normally seats 30. Request a room that normally seats 120 (30 seats available at 25%). Require all students to attend on Mondays and teach synchronously online on Wednesdays. Your class will now have 50% in-person time.

Pros: 1) Less confusing for students 2) maximizes in-person time

Cons: 1) Limited classroom inventory

Consider using iCollege to help create cohorts or groups.

Determine your assessment strategy and required testing technology.

For Online Classes:

  • Determine whether your class will be synchronous or asynchronous.
  • If synchronous, specify what technologies (e.g. WebEx, etc.) will be used and how students are expected to engage with the class. Check GoSOLAR for your synchronous meeting times.
  • Determine your assessment strategy and required testing technology.
  • Synchronous sessions must match specified class times as indicated in GoSolar.
  • If GTAA are involved in the class, reach out to discuss expectations and encourage enrollment in GTAA MOT course that begins January 4, 2021.

Step 3: COMMUNICATE TO STUDENTS & UPDATE YOUR SYLLABUS, DUE DECEMBER 18.

  • Update your syllabus to reflect all changes you’ve made to your class, making sure to emphasize the modality of your class: Face-to-Face, Blended or Online.
  • Post the syllabus in iCollege.
  • Email a copy to your students.
  • Include all COVID-19 Syllabus Statements including those on Face Coverings, Assigned Seats, Attendance Policy and Student Illness.

For Face-to-Face Classes:

  • Indicate to students that the course will be held in a room large enough to accommodate social distancing.
  • Emphasize Mask Requirements, referring to syllabus statements.
  • Highlight planned engagement strategies.

For Blended Classes:

  • Clearly communicate to students the 25% plan, and their expected dates of attendance.
  • Communicate your attendance policy.
  • Emphasize Mask Requirements, referring to syllabus statements.
  • Communicate student technology requirements for the class, including testing technologies.

For Online Classes:

  • Inform your students as to whether your course is synchronous or asynchronous.
  • If synchronous, remind them of the course schedule and attendance expectations.
    Specifying the technologies that will be used for synchronous sessions and communicating this to your students early can help with any potential accommodation requests.
  • Communicate student technology requirements for the class, including testing technologies.

Step 4: Review engagement strategies.

Reflect on your Mastering Online Teaching Course and review the Keep Teaching website for proven student engagement strategies.

Identify in-person activities best suited to classroom time: Ideas for In-Person Sessions | Active Learning Activities

Step 5: Ready the course for students.

  • Make sure that all updates to your class are reflected in your syllabus and on iCollege. Ensure that your iCollege courses are available to students by December 18 at 12:01 am by setting the Start Date.
  • For Face-to-Face and Blended Classes, create a seating chart for your course once your class begins (one chart for Face to Face, one for each of the 25% groupings for Blended). Find seating chart templates and upload completed charts at: https://cetl.gsu.edu/seating-charts.
  • Prepare a contingency plan if changes in the status of the pandemic require changes in your class plan.