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For Fall 2020, Georgia State University will adopt a blended learning approach to optimize learning while respecting student and instructor safety within our classroom environments. Blended learning integrates traditional, face-to-face classroom instruction with online asynchronous digital learning. The online components can include different forms of media such as text, audio and video that are combined with the face-to-face method of instruction within the same course (Roseth, Akcaoglu, & Zellner, 2013).
In this plan, classroom seating will be limited to 50% of students attending on each day of a two-day-per-week class, and 33% of students on each day of a three-day-per-week class. For example, in a M/W class, half of the students (Group A) will meet in the assigned classroom on Monday and the other half of the students (Group B) will meet in the classroom on Wednesday. In a M/W/F class, 33% (Group A) will meet in the designated classroom on Monday, Group B will meet on Wednesday and Group C will meet on Friday. In classes that meet one time a week, Groups A and B will meet in the designated classroom on alternate weeks.
Forming Student Groups
The university has recommended that as a general rule, groups should be formed using the following guidelines. This plan is designed to reduce the overall number of students on campus at any given time and to provide guidance on how individual instructors will divide the students in their course sections.
- In classes that meet twice a week, students with last names beginning with letters A – LA should be assigned to Group A; those with last names beginning with letters LB – Z should be assigned to Group B.
- In classes that meet three times a week, students with last names beginning A – GRA should be assigned to Group A; those with last names beginning with letters GRB – OL should be assigned to Group B; and those with last names beginning with letters OM – Z should be assigned to Group C.
- In classes that meet one day a week, students with last names beginning with letters A – LA should be assigned to Group A; those with last names beginning with letters LB – Z should be assigned to Group B. Students assigned to Group A will attend odd numbered weeks (Week 1, Week 3, Week 5, etc) and students assigned to Group B will attend even numbered weeks (Week 2, Week 4, Week 6, etc).
- For most class sections, the above grouping will not create a perfect 50% split. Instructors will need to make some adjustments to ensure class sections are evenly distributed based on available seating in classrooms. Classrooms will have 50% of the seats marked as usable, so it is important to divide the class roster accordingly.
- We recognize that there may be other criteria that may make more sense for some types of courses; instructors may adjust their class divisions accordingly in discussion with their Chair or Dean.
- Faculty are requested to post their delivery method, and any special course groupings to their course syllabi in iCollege by August 10, which is two weeks prior to the official start of classes.
Instructions for implementing and emailing groups in iCollege and practices for fall instruction can be found in iCollege Practices.
Best Practices for Blended Learning
The blended model is designed to maximize opportunities for students to interact with instructors, classmates and course material during their reduced classroom time. The goal is to provide the richest student learning experience possible while simultaneously implementing public health guidelines.
In this design, all students will engage with primary course content online, enriched with engagement opportunities in the classroom. For example, in a M/W class, half of the students (Group A) will meet in the assigned classroom on Monday and engage in planned activities. On Wednesday, the other half of the students (Group B) will do the same. Both Groups A and B will continue to engage in the online content throughout each week. When Group A is physically present in the classroom, Group B would not be required to engage synchronously with the instructor. (This time, could be used for synchronized online group work for Group B.) The classroom experience corresponds with course material designated for that date. To support this type of learning, ideally all instructor-provided primary course materials should be available online for all students.
Most instructors have already done a substantial amount of work that can be used with the Blended Learning Model approach.
- Since April, over 1,500 instructors have been developing online course materials as part of the Mastering Online Teaching. These modules can be used to teach blended delivery courses.
- Modules developed as part of Mastering Online Teaching or in other training can also be used in the blended delivery courses.
The model allows for smooth transition to fully online learning should a resurgence of COVID-19 result in campus closure.
The Blended Learning Model is the default for the Fall semester. Exceptions for classes to be taught fully face-to-face or fully online will be made on a case by case basis as described under exceptions.