2020-07-07This email was sent out to the St. Mary’s University community on July 7, 2020, to explain the three different formats in which courses would be offered for the Fall 2020 semester. The university would offer three different formats for the then-upcoming semester. The first format offered was online courses (OL). These courses were not taught in person, but they still follow a syllabus and have course deadlines. They could include pre-recorded lectures, video uploads, class chats, and individual meetings with professors. The next course format offered was Virtual (V). These courses would meet at an appointed time and date, similar to a normal in-person class, but on the Zoom conference platform, and they would be led by a professor who could be teaching from a variety of different environments. They would not meet in person or on campus, just virtually. Similar to online courses these courses might also include class chats, video recordings, and one on one meetings with professors. The last course format offered was In-Person Virtual (IPV). These courses were designed as hybrid courses. Students would be able to attend these courses in person in a traditional classroom environment (though class size would be limited), or they could attend the class virtually through Zoom. All of the course formats described above were offered by my university in response to the COVID19 pandemic, and they demonstrate the need for adaptation and change in the era of COVID19. The author of this post has been able to attend both virtual and in-person virtual classes at St. Mary’s University this semester. Speaking from firsthand experience, I can attest to how different being in the classroom is this semester. There are not a lot of students in the class; at most maybe three students on any given day. Those of us in the classroom, students, and teachers, sit in socially distanced seats, and we all have our masks up. Regardless, I am grateful that I have had the chance to try to forge a new normal for myself during such an abnormal time for our university and our world.