WVU provost shares additional information on return to class
MORGANTOWN, W. Va.— Maryanne Reed, West Virginia University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, sent a letter Wednesday to the university’s students, faculty and staff announcing the revised course schedule for the Morgantown Campus and further information on the return to classes.
The letter is as follows:
Dear West Virginia University Campus Community:
With the shift to a phased return to campus and increased efforts to further reduce density, we have implemented a significant revision to the Fall 2020 course schedule for the Morgantown campus.
As we shared during the Return to Campus Conversation last week, the majority of courses will now be offered online or in hybrid format. The goal is to preserve as much as possible the on-campus experience for freshmen, graduate and professional students.
While we realize this may not be the semester many of you envisioned, please know that WVU administrators, faculty and staff are committed to making Fall 2020 a positive experience for all of our students.
Accessing Your Schedule
Students, faculty and instructors can now view the updated Fall 2020 course schedule.
1. Log in to the WVU Portal and select STAR.
2. Click Student Services & Housing.
3. Click Registration.
4. Click Access Registration Tools.
5. Click Look-up Schedule Details.
Faculty & Instructors:
1. Log in to the WVU Portal and select STAR.
2. Click the Faculty & Advisors tab.
3. Select your preferred schedule view from the options listed.
Overview of the Fall 2020 Changes
To date, this revised schedule now includes nearly 60 percent of our Morgantown campus courses being offered online. The other courses will be offered face-to-face or in a hybrid mode, which includes a mix of in-person and online elements.
While the majority of upper-division undergraduate courses have been transitioned to online or hybrid delivery, some hands-on courses, such as laboratory classes, clinical and studio classes, will still be offered face-to-face, as determined by individual academic programs in consultation with the Provost’s Office. We are making every effort to ensure that our graduating seniors have the courses they need to successfully complete their degree programs.
Students and instructors should pay close attention to the room assignments of their on-campus classes, as some locations may have changed due to technology requirements and classroom availability.
For the most part, course days and times were not changed as a result of this schedule update. Some courses that have moved online will keep their original meeting times to support synchronous online activities, and others moving online will have their meeting times removed as they will be completely asynchronous. Questions about a specific course’s delivery mode should be directed to the instructor or academic department.
Students are encouraged to keep checking the schedule periodically as other accommodations and changes may occur.
New Start Date
To better prepare the campus for these changes, the fall semester on the Morgantown campus will begin a week later than originally scheduled – on Wednesday, Aug. 26. This change affects most on-campus and online undergraduate degree programs and graduate on-campus degree programs. However, some professional programs may have alternate start dates. Beckley and Keyser campuses will continue to operate on the Aug. 19 start date calendar.
Even with the later Aug. 26 start date for most students, all programs will still provide the 15 instructional weeks as required for regional accreditation. For programs following the Aug. 26 start date, the week following Thanksgiving will now be considered a week of instruction rather than a review week. All instruction, regardless of start date, will end on Dec. 4, and final exams will be given exclusively online Monday, Dec. 7 through Friday, Dec. 11. Full calendar details can be found on the Provost’s website.
Ensuring Academic Quality
WVU is committed to providing a high-quality educational experience for students regardless of the method used for course delivery. Throughout the summer, faculty and instructors have been preparing their courses with the understanding that they might have to transition to online or hybrid delivery. Our Teaching and Learning Commons team has provided professional development, training, consultations and resources to instructors across the WVU system to help them develop and design courses for synchronous and asynchronous online delivery and hybrid forms of course delivery.
WVU supports a spectrum of tools to promote learner engagement (video sharing, discussion boards, web conferencing, etc.), and we have ensured courses using hybrid instruction will be offered in high-tech classrooms capable of streaming/recording video and audio. Also, the shift of eCampus to the cloud this summer will improve the performance, reliability and scalability of the system, allowing faculty to provide instructional materials, learning assessments and grades to students learning online.
Making Schedule Changes
We recognize that not all students prefer to learn online and that others have concerns about returning to campus. We have worked with each academic unit across campus to determine which courses would be best suited for online delivery and which courses required face-to-face or hybrid delivery. These decisions were not made lightly, and each change was carefully considered with the student learning outcomes in mind.
Students who desire their course schedule to be in a different modality, due to preference, should contact their academic adviser or home department. However, there is no guarantee that they will be able to be receive the schedule they desire. Some courses cannot be effectively moved online, and some will not be offered in person.
Please know that we have made every effort to ensure that first-time freshmen have at least half of their courses face-to-face. But it is possible that some freshmen have received a schedule with a larger percentage of online courses. Those students are encouraged to work with their adviser or department to make the appropriate changes.
Students who have documented disabilities should contact the Office of Accessibility Services for accommodations at https://accessibilityservices.wvu.edu/home. Students who wish to change their schedule for medical reasons should contact their academic adviser.
Students will have through Sept. 1 to make adjustments to their schedule.
We thank you again for your patience and putting your faith in us. Our goal for the fall semester is to provide you with the best academic experience possible, while doing everything we can to keep our campus and Morgantown community safe and healthy. The COVID-19 epidemic has upended our ways of doing things, but one thing has not changed. We are still Mountaineers — resilient, supportive of each other and optimistic — and we will come out of this even better than before.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns as we work through these changes together.
WVU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs