Marshall officials provide more details on fall courses

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University officials on Wednesday provided more details about the upcoming fall semester, including how courses will be formatted.

The institution announced last week freshmen, some graduate and most professional students will take part in some face-to-face courses and other students will mostly participate in virtual classes.

The change stems from rising coronavirus case numbers and comes after other institutions, including West Virginia University, announced similar plans to scale back in-person interaction.

Jamie Taylor, the institution’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said faculty have been training to lead virtual lessons that align with typical in-person classes.

“What makes Marshall different is that we are converting most of our face-to-face courses to a virtual synchronous format that will still enable students to interact with faculty in real time,” he said. “We have talked with many other universities, and it appears that we are an outlier on this as other universities seem to be focusing their efforts on asynchronous or e-courses.”

Students, beginning Friday, will be able to see how their schedules have changed. Taylor said labs and studio courses will be in-person, while other courses will be marked as hybrid learning between face-to-face instruction for freshmen and virtual lessons for other undergraduate students or virtual for all students.

An example of a schedule for the upcoming fall semester. (Marshall University)

“Students will be able to raise their hand in the classroom, stop the instructor and ask questions,” Taylor said of virtual lessons.

Taylor also explained how the university is creating internet “learning centers” to provide students with necessary internet capabilities.

“I want to point out these learning centers are open to all of our students, not just freshmen and students in professional programs,” he said. “Even if your classes won’t be meeting in person, our campus is a great place to set up your laptop or access a desktop in one of our learning centers.”

Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday 1,000 hotspot locations across the state with internet access. Taylor said the university will inform students of those locations when they become available.

The fall semester is still scheduled to begin Aug. 24. Students will move into residence halls from Aug. 15 through Aug. 23.

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