July 27, 2020
The decision has been reached that most, if not all, MSSA and MNO classes will be delivered remotely.
Last week there was a vigorous evaluation of the dual-delivery model in our remodeled classrooms. It was found that in the Zoom enhanced rooms with ceiling microphones that lectures and class discussions can be conducted very well. Participants in the classroom and on Zoom could hear the instructor and each other very well. So, it was concluded for classes that are lecture oriented with whole group discussions, the rooms will work well.
However, for courses that rely on the classes breaking into small discussion groups, the rooms did not work well. The 6-9 ft distance separating people wearing masks in a small group required their voices to be raised. With two or more groups in a room, there was a distracting cacophony. So, it was concluded that the use of huddle groups in the "distanced" classrooms does not work.
In contrast, the Zoom groups formed remotely had good small group discussions.
As you know, the use of huddle groups is predominant in the MSSA curriculum. The use of this teaching tool has been promoted and supported over the last 10 years and now is a common tool for our flipped classrooms. Given the experience last week with huddle groups in the classroom, the decision has been reached that most, if not all, of the MSSA courses will be conducted remotely. This means that the students will participate via Zoom in their courses.
At this point, we are reserving the classrooms for instructors to use the space to teach during their scheduled time periods. The excellent internet connection and bandwidth in the classrooms combined with high fidelity microphones and document cameras make the rooms a desirable place to deliver our courses. Instructors using the classrooms will be by themselves in the room.
Sharon and the team in Academic Affairs are evaluating all of our courses to determine if there are any that do not use small group discussions and have a small enrollment that can be accommodated in an on-campus classroom. Courses will be coded in SIS as being on-campus or remote delivery.
Grover C. Gilmore, PhD
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel
Dean in Applied Social Sciences