Fall Courses Update from Academic Affairs

Posted Jul 21, 2020

Return To Campus Feature

Greetings Cardinals!

We wanted to take a few moments to update you on our planning for the fall semester.

The primary focus in planning for our return to campus is the safety and wellness of our campus community. We are taking extra precautions to keep our students, faculty, staff, and visitors safe. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and develop our plans in consultation with Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth (Otterbein’s campus healthcare provider), and adhere to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health.

The unusual circumstances have prompted us to make some changes to our academic calendar. Fall semester will begin as planned on Aug. 24 and the last day of classes will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Regularly scheduled classes will be held on the traditional Labor Day holiday and we will not have a fall break. While some final exams may occur in person prior to the last day of classes, finals week will be held remotely Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

As we announced earlier in the summer, we do look forward to re-opening campus this fall. Staff are returning to campus next week to begin preparing for your arrival and return. However, we do know that given the need to social distance, we will be offering courses in a variety of delivery options.

We know that many of our students prefer to participate in an on-campus experience for fall semester, while others would prefer to participate in their classes fully online. Our fall course offerings will utilize a combination of online, hybrid-flexible, and safe, socially distant, in-person, on-campus classes. Our aim is to ensure the best experience for our students, taking into account space, scheduling, pedagogical, and health concerns for all students and employees. We are optimizing class options to allow our students to tailor their fall semester experience to suit their personal preferences, comfort levels and ability to be on campus.

At this time, the university conservatively estimates that one-third of classes will be taught fully in person, one-third will be taught fully online, and one-third will be taught in a mixed format. For example, a mixed format Tuesday/Thursday class might have half of the class attend in person on Tuesday and the other half participate remotely, with the opposite groupings on Thursday. We are prioritizing in-person class experiences for first year students, experiential courses (such as labs and clinicals), and courses that simply cannot be replicated in an online format.

Details of which courses will be on campus, which will be fully online, and which will be mixed are being finalized and will be communicated in the coming weeks. It is a serious and significant undertaking, so it cannot be done quickly. Our goal is to finalize the options and share instructions on how to access your schedule and view the method of instruction the week of Aug. 10. That week, the Center for Student Success will host Advising Week for students to discuss their options and concerns and finalize their fall semester schedule.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Student Success team at studentsuccess@otterbein.edu. We also encourage you to get the latest information on other fall semester topics at www.otterbein.edu/rtc.

We look forward to finding creative solutions for your optimal academic experience this fall.

PS: Please attend a special Return to Campus Town Hall for returning students Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. or for new students Wednesday, July 22 at 2:00 p.m. The invitation and link has been sent to your Otterbein email.

Wendy Sherman Heckler, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President