Academics & 2020-2021 Calendar
Based on public health expertise, we will be modifying the fall semester to reduce waves of travel to and from campus. Classes will start on August 19th as originally planned. However, there will be no October break, and classes will conclude on November 24th, before Thanksgiving. Most students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving, and all final papers and assessments will be designed so they can be done from home. (Students with special needs who must stay on campus through Thanksgiving and beyond will be able to do so.)
It is possible that we will make changes to the spring semester calendar as well. However, that will depend on the public health situation. Because that situation is evolving, we will make spring semester plans in early fall, when we will have better information to do so.
The faculty are building flexibility into their courses from the beginning, to support evolving student needs and public health guidance. The ways they will do that will depend on the specifics of the course size, content, and approach to teaching. In all classes, students will be at least 6 feet from one another and from the instructor at all times, and wearing masks will be required.
Students will likely see a variety of approaches across their four courses. Some courses will be taught in larger rooms, to increase space between students. Others may break down a larger course into two sections, or work in hybrid models, with students rotating into the classroom, laboratory or studio in smaller groups and using technology in new ways.
Faculty are also designing their courses so that students who may need to be away from the classroom, for example in the case of quarantine, will be able to continue to participate from a distance. These approaches will also be helpful in cases where faculty health needs require that they work with students remotely.
As a residential liberal arts college, The College of Wooster values personalized instruction where students work closely with their faculty, engage in active learning, and interact in meaningful ways with their peers. Regardless of how a course is taught, the faculty are designing their courses to ensure this kind of personal high-impact learning.
More Academic FAQ's
What will classrooms look like?
We are working to modify classroom arrangements and in some cases locations to ensure we are able to maintain six feet distancing. Depending on the pedagogical approach of the course, faculty will be attempting to reproduce the spaces that best support that approach. In the case of courses with larger enrollments, faculty may design the course with dedensification of the space in mind, such that some of the work will be done remotely, some in the classroom, or even with students divided across two physical classrooms at any one time. There are many different ways to do this, and faculty are making those choices to best suit the learning goals of their courses.
How will class schedules be impacted? And how soon will we be notified?
During July we are altering class meeting times to allow for more time in between classes, which helps to reduce density in academic buildings. This will be done in a way to avoid as much as possible any scheduling conflicts for students’ current schedules. However, as student needs and course design needs evolve, there may be some changes in students’ schedules that need to be made. This is why we have added an early add/drop period in August to allow students to adjust their schedules.
What will active learning and group work look like?
Whether a course is designed to be delivered mostly in the classroom or mostly remotely, faculty are prioritizing active student engagement. In addition to developing creative approaches to the new design of physical classrooms, they will also integrate technology tools that promote active learning.
Will there be a way to ensure all my classes are NOT delivered remotely?
Because of the needs of both faculty and students, a number of courses across the college will be offered remotely, and it is likely that a student studying on campus will be enrolled in at least one remotely offered course, and many courses will incorporate elements to connect remote and on-campus students synchronously and asynchronously. We are gathering information from faculty on their plans for course delivery. During the drop/add period, students can change courses. However, faculty designing their courses for remote instruction have engaged extensively in training over the summer to ensure that the learning experiences in these courses offer the same kind of personalized attention and engagement between faculty and students as courses taught in the classroom.
International students studying on campus will be encouraged to take hybrid courses and limit their remote classes to as few as possible due to student immigration requirements.
Will there be a change in Wooster’s Pass / Fail Policy?
- The College is continuing to broaden the policies on electing a pass-fail grading structure (for courses other than Independent Study). For Fall Semester 2020:
- Students may elect a Pass-Fail grading option for any course (including those in a major/minor)
- Special note on transcript noting unique policy changes specific to Fall Semester 2020 regarding pass-fail counting toward the major.
- Students may elect as many courses as they wish on a Pass-Fail grading structure. Courses elected as Pass-Fail for Fall Semester 2020 will not count toward the maximum number of Pass-Fail courses that a student may take at Wooster.
- The deadline for electing a Pass-Fail grading option is Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 @ 4 p.m.
- Independent Study (-45100, -45200) will remain in the standard I.S. grading system.
Will I be able to use the libraries?
T he libraries will be open and occupancy will be based on the 6-ft distancing rule. Plans are underway for helping seniors to manage access to assigned carrels. We will have more information about those assignments later this summer.
Will music therapy majors be able to travel twice per week to Baldwin Wallace? What will that look like?
We want to maintain the integrity of your academic experience as much as we can. We do not yet know what that will look like. We have been in touch with the Baldwin Wallace president and know they are working on strategies to make people safe, as we are here at Wooster.