HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Marshall University officials say the university will continue its combination of face-to-face, virtual and online classes for the spring semester. The university made the decision based on public health concerns surrounding the ongoing pandemic.
Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert sent an email regarding the decision to the Marshall community this afternoon, calling the fall semester “remarkable,” and saying the university community could be proud of the obstacles it has overcome in meeting challenges caused by the pandemic.
“And, we can look forward to the spring semester with high expectations,” Gilbert said. “Although the pandemic continues to make adjustments necessary, the success of the fall semester indicates we are on the right track.”
The University says Spring 2021 classes will be offered in the following formats or some combination thereof:
- Face-to-Face: A traditional classroom experience, although with reduced classroom occupancy and required face coverings
- Virtual: Cass sessions will be held live via the university’s learning management system Blackboard and peripheral software, with instructors broadcasting lectures and leading classroom discussions at the specified class meeting day and time. Sessions may be recorded so students who do not have reliable access to broadband and/or other technical difficulties can watch the class at another time.
- Online: No live/real-time class meetings. Course assignments, notes, group chats and discussions are posted on Blackboard and can be accessed at the student’s convenience.
University officials say freshmen, some graduate and most professional students can continue to expect some combination of face-to-face and virtual courses. The university says it plans to increase the number of in-person course sections, specifically for freshmen, in the spring semester.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors can still expect mostly virtual courses, according to the university. However, hands-on courses within a student’s major, including labs, clinicals and studio classes may be offered face-to-face, as determined by each academic program.
Gilbert said the decision to stay with the current instructional model will allow university officials to continue to monitor the pandemic in the region and to keep the density on Marshall’s campuses at a minimum. It also will give the university community the best chance to complete the spring semester safely, while providing a quality educational experience and flexibility for students, according to the university president.
The university says it has been successful at containing incidences of COVID-19 on its campuses, reporting “a markedly lower rate of infection” among its students and employees than is found in the region at large and across much of the country. Marshall will continue offering increased counseling, as well as tutoring and other academic support services, during the spring semester, according to university officials.