UConn revamps course modalities for the Fall semester 

During COVID-19 the switch to a virtual learning platform changed the way in which students digested content from their education. Now that the pandemic has slowed, the question of the need for online learning has become a debate for educators. Photo by August de Richelieu/Pexels

UConn is changing the way some classes are taught (known as “course modalities”) beginning in the upcoming Fall semester. The changes include adjusting the names of some course modalities while also removing some course modalities altogether. Two new course modalities, In-Person Remote and Online Blended will also be introduced. 

Currently, UConn offers 8 types of course modalities: In Person, Distance Learning, Online, Service Learning, Hybrid, Hybrid/Blended Reduced, Split and By Arrangement.  

Some course modalities will not be changed. These modalities include In-Person (instruction occurring on specified days/times and in a specified physical location), Hybrid (50% in-person, 50% online either synchronously or asynchronously) and By Arrangement (classes such as independent studies, research and thesis courses where meeting time/style “is arranged” between student and instructor).  

The revamp will simply change the name of other course modalities. Distance Learning (instruction occurring remotely on specified meeting days/times) will change to Online Synchronous and Online (instruction occurring asynchronously online, with no specified meeting days/times) will change to Online Asynchronous.  

The Hybrid/Blended Reduced modality (some instruction, but less than 50% occurring on specified days/times and in a specified physical location… remainder of instruction delivered remotely, either synchronously or asynchronously) will change to Hybrid Limited. 

Some course modalities will no longer be offered starting in the Fall semester, including the Split modality. Previously, students in “split” classes would meet during a scheduled class time with groups of students in the class alternating between in-person and virtual attendance. This would ensure at least some in-person instruction, while helping decrease the amount of students physically meeting face-to-face. This was especially useful during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when worries about spreading the disease were high. 

And while Service Learning (pairing student skills with community needs for class credit) will initially remain the same, it will be “phased out as a mode of instruction once the capability exists for students and faculty to denote these classes by other means,” according to the UConn Register’s Office. 

Two new course modalities will also be offered beginning in the Fall – In-Person Remote and Online Blended. According to the UConn Register’s Office, In-Person Remote involves blending “off-campus” students with in-person classes at a specified campus. 

“All instruction occurs on specified days/times and at a specified physical location. Remote students will participate synchronously from another UConn campus or remote location as specified by the faculty member,” the Register’s Office states. 

Online Blended will serve as a mix between synchronous and asynchronous class modalities. According to the UConn Register’s Office, “all instruction occurs online but requires a mix of remote synchronous (specified days/times) and asynchronous online learning.” 

The number of classes offered in these new formats is yet to be exactly determined, but will become more clear as Fall Registration rolls out in the coming weeks.   

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