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COVID-19 Update: Spring 2021 Course Modality

Photo courtesy of Meredith College

Pre-registration for classes has arrived and students are beginning to prepare for final exams in a few short weeks. With the fall semester drawing to a close, many Meredith students are wondering what classes will look like in the Spring 2021 semester. As COVID-19 continues to affect the campus community as a whole, many departments and programs are currently planning to implement a mixture of online and hybrid courses.

“In the spring, as we did this semester, our departments are offering a mix of online and hybrid classes,” Dean of Arts and Humanities Sarah Roth said. “We will be using all of our Zoom board rooms again for the classes that combine both in-person and online instruction.”

Dean Roth also conveyed that professors within the School of Arts and Humanities were considering the balance between asynchronous and synchronous learning, and are making decisions with the best interests of students’ safety and education in mind.

“We are trying to provide our students with flexibility so they are not on Zoom all the time, while also meeting the need for students to have regular interaction with their instructors and with each other,” Dean Roth said. “Achieving the right balance is important as we try to help students both succeed in their classes and feel a part of the academic community.”

The Department of Psychology and Social Work is taking a similar approach, having decided that a majority of these courses will be offered in an online-hybrid format to best accommodate the needs of their students.

“Psychology will be teaching nearly all of our courses online-hybrid to provide students maximum flexibility in planning their schedules while providing some structure and opportunities for interaction in Zoom-classes,” Department of Psychology and Social Work Head Cynthia Edwards said. “Social work will be teaching most classes asynchronously online to accommodate the many students who are working and doing internships and field work during the semester.”

The primary exception to the online-hybrid format resides in the courses offered within the Meredith Autism Program (MAP), since the courses within the practicum experience will continue to be held in-person in Spring 2021. Additionally, the Department of Psychology and Social Work has created new courses, including PSY 440-A “Special Topics: Psychology in a Pandemic,” as well as SWK 350-A “Ecofeminism” and SWK 350-B “Trauma and Trauma Informed Care.” These changes will allow students involved in the psychology and social work programs to learn within their future profession as society continues to evolve.

On the other hand, the School of Math and Sciences is implementing an array of course modalities for the Spring 2021 semester, as they have done this fall.

“The departments in Natural and Mathematical Sciences will again offer a mix of modalities including face to face, hybrid, online synchronous, online hybrid and online asynchronous. Students can see the modality for all classes in WebAdvisor and they are all defined on the Registrar's website under Registration Information,” Dean of Natural and Mathematical Sciences Liz Wolfinger said.

The Department of Human Environmental Sciences has also chosen to utilize a combination of multiple modalities for the Spring 2021 semester, continuing to use technology for online classes that will complement the online experience.

“Spring 2021 will continue to be a combination of online, hybrid and in-person classroom instruction with the majority of classes being hybrid in Human Environmental Sciences,” Department of Human Environmental Sciences Head Eunyoung Yang said. “Professors are enhancing instruction and demonstrations with innovative technology like Zoom boards, TechSmith Knowmia, webcam and document cameras. In the studio classes in interior design and fashion design, professors are able to annotate drawings on the screen in real-time.”

Although the implications of COVID-19 are still evident in the way that courses at Meredith will be conducted in Spring 2021, all of Meredith’s departments and programs are committed to working together to prepare students for the world that lies ahead of them.

By Hannah Porter, Staff Writer


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