COVID briefing: online classes for students who cannot return to campus

By Connor Ciecko

Last week, the academic steering committee tasked with developing a reopening plan for campus held a virtual meeting in which they addressed questions from the public. Continuing this week, we will be breaking down some of the most important questions and exploring their answers. The full meeting can be found here.

How will students who cannot return to face-to-face instruction be able to make progress toward their degrees? What happens if international students can’t come back to campus? 

“We recognize it will be difficult for some international students to come to Urbana-Champaign to participate in the fall semester,” said Kevin Pitts, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. “We really want to make sure that those students have the opportunity to enroll, make academic progress and engage in our classes.

With uncertainties around what potential travel barriers may be in place in the fall, the university said it will be designing the curriculum of the fall semester to allow students who are unable to return, including both international and domestic students, to continue to learn the material they are required to do so.

In recognizing that taking a full load of classes entirely online can be difficult for some, one option the university is prepared to offer and will encourage remote students to consider is to take the semester part-time; taking two or three classes instead of a full load of five or six.  Students will be able to work with their academic advisor to plan this accordingly and could also take certain classes over the summer to continue their degree progress and graduate on time despite the circumstances.

All classes are expected to be making instructional content available online for students who are unable to return, and some classes will be fully online.

“We’re quite confident there will be content for our students, courses and opportunities for online instruction for students unable to come to campus to engage,” Pitts said.

Photo by Liam Dwyer