Section 4: Return to Academics & Student Success

The University of Arkansas will provide a flexible learning environment this fall for our campus community that maintains the university’s high quality of instruction while promoting health and safety.

The university has already decided to follow the academic calendar that has been established with any contingency planning made around that assumption with two exceptions: the university is canceling fall break to reduce the chances of virus spread by students who travel to other locations, and the campus may, if needed, go to 100% remote instruction after the Thanksgiving break again to reduce the chances of travel-related spread of the virus on campus.

Decisions regarding post-Thanksgiving instruction will be made at a later date based on the state of the virus. All instructors should design their courses to switch to 100% remote delivery at any time should circumstances surrounding the virus change.

Support staff in IT Services and Global Campus will continue to provide individual assistance to both faculty and students as needed during the fall semester.

Course Delivery Options

The fall class schedule has been adjusted to provide for social distancing and to help keep campus safe during the pandemic. Class delivery will be conducted through a variety of ways and could still be modified as necessary should health conditions change within the community.

Various modes of instruction are being implemented into the course schedule. Below are definitions of frequently used terms:

  • Online Courses: Are intentionally designed for online delivery and have been traditionally offered through a remote or distance environment. While some synchronous interaction may be involved in an online course, the bulk of instructional content is typically delivered asynchronously.

  • Remote Courses: Are intended to be a temporary shift from normal in-person teaching to the distance delivery of course content. Remote courses are delivered synchronously at a scheduled time and use technology to allow instructor-student interaction and small-group active learning strategies. Students are expected to access the class at the scheduled time and participate in any scheduled activities during that scheduled time. While some content or activities may be asynchronous in remote courses, the bulk of the course will be delivered in the synchronous and interactive environment.

  • In-person Courses: All students are expected to attend class at a designated physical location and the instructor is present, in person, to lead learning activities for the entire class following appropriate social distancing measures. During this pandemic or during any crisis situation, to the extent possible, lectures in in-person courses at the University of Arkansas will be recorded and live-streamed and made available to students who need to attend remotely. In-person courses will ensure proper social distancing and require face coverings.

  • Hybrid Courses: Are a combination of in-person instruction and remotely delivered instruction. While several models exist for hybrid delivery, at the University of Arkansas the intent is that all students will attend a in-person class, in a defined sub-group of the entire class, on an alternating and scheduled frequency. The remainder of the class attends remotely via synchronous and interactive technology. All interactive sessions in a hybrid course will be recorded and made available to you in Blackboard.

The process of updating student schedules to reflect any shifts in class designations will continue throughout the remainder of the summer, leading up to the first day of class. These changes should not affect class times, but could affect locations of classrooms. Students should continue to check their schedules in UAConnect and familiarize themselves with the location and method of delivery for each of their courses before the first day of classes.

Students will be hearing from their instructors and/or college by Wednesday, August 19 with further information regarding the expectations of each class during the semester and to clarify when and where classes will meet each day.

Some students may self-identify as having underlying health conditions that enhance the risk from COVID-19 and thus limit their ability to attend in-person classes. These students should be referred to Center for Educational Access. Regardless, and to encourage social distancing generally, all classes will be designed to enable attendance remotely or online, which includes all classes being recorded and made available through Blackboard.

For Faculty

  • Department chairs and deans may make adjustments to faculty workload distributions, and/or adjustments to faculty course assignments, including online teaching, for the benefit and effectiveness of the unit and for optimizing delivery of instruction, as well as to maximize the effectiveness of research and service activities.
  • For faculty who self-identify as having underlying health conditions that enhance risk from COVID-19 such that they do not believe they can safely perform their workload distribution or teaching assignments, department chairs and deans should refer the faculty member to OEOC for potential accommodations in research or service activities, as per existing policy. 

Academic Advising, Tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, and ASAP & 360 Monitoring

  • Academic advising and academic support programs will offer a blended approach to maximize social distancing while giving students multiple options for in-person support throughout the semester that include on-line options.
  • Virtual 1:1 academic advising and tutoring meetings will be held to ensure social distancing.
  • In-person Q&A and/or small group sessions with social distancing may be scheduled throughout the semester.
  • Supplemental Instruction will continue with remote delivery (razortrack.uark.edu); this opens up needed classrooms for general education courses.

University Perspectives (UNIV):

  • University Perspectives will continue to offer full semester or 8-week sessions, with each instructor having the option for a hybrid in-person course or remote delivery
  • For most sections that choose in-person, the instructor may have to split their class into two groups, with each group meeting on a bi-weekly basis to adhere to social distancing guidelines in classrooms.
  • The hybrid course will be supplemented with online activities and assignments.

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