Academic-Related Questions Regarding Fall 2020 | Webster University

Student Academic-Related FAQs for Fall 2020

Common academic questions for Fall 2020 

In Fall 2020 Webster University will offer classes in a variety of formats (modalities). The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) primarily addresses questions about Fall 2020 classes on the main campus in Webster Groves. Students at Webster's international and extended campuses should contact local campus staff and refer to their local campus communications. These FAQs will be updated (with dates marked in the question) as additional frequent questions arise and as any additional changes are made for Fall 2020. 

How will courses be offered this Fall for students on the main campus in Webster Groves? (8/4)

Webster University is returning to on-ground instruction where possible and as safety and security guidance allows. Courses will be offered in one of four formats (modalities):

  • Face-to-face or lecture classes, which are on-ground courses that will include mask/face covering requirements and social distancing. Social distancing requirements will also require other modifications in some classes; for example, some classes may use two classrooms.
  • Remote (WebNet+) classes, which are courses that will meet at the days and times scheduled (synchronously). These classes may have a section that meets on campus, but students will have the ability to be connected to the class via videoconferencing from home. Videoconferencing will take place via Zoom or WebEx for the Fall 1 2020 term.
  • Online courses, which are courses that occur completely asynchronously. Students complete the work on the days and times that work best for them to ensure they meet the due dates.
  • Hybrid classes, which are courses that will be offered with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous formats. For example, the course may meet synchronously, either face-to-face or remotely, for part of the time, and asynchronous engaged learning activities may be offered for part of the time. Synchronous class meetings would occur on the days and within the times identified in the schedule.

 

Updated: Information on Fall 2020 course modalities now available! (8/13)

We have updated the course schedules for the Fall Semester and the Fall 1 Term to show the modalities of classes. Modalities can be seen in student schedules in Connections and in the Power Search Course Schedule.

Considerations departments used when determining modalities for individual courses include: classroom size under reduced occupancy requirements, need for access to equipment and materials, equipping rooms with technology for remote or hybrid delivery, and instructor needs.

Students who review their course schedules are now likely to see changes in the modality. Modalities can be seen in student schedules in Connections and in the Power Search Course Schedule. It's important to know that not all Fall schedule changes are completed. And as always, typical start-of-year course adjustments may be made, including cancellation of courses with low enrollment.

So be sure to check your schedule the day of class in order to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information about your class.

You can find more instructions and important information in this announcement.

 

What is Webster doing to prepare to offer classes in these four modalities? (8/14)

Webster has been working all summer on several fronts to prepare for the Fall semester. For students, faculty and staff coming to campus, many safety measures have been implemented, including revised classroom occupancies to support social distancing, face mask/covering requirements, and daily health screening for all community members. These measures, and the corresponding expectations for community members to comply, are outlined in a message to the Webster community sent on July 31, 2020.

To support expansion of remote components of teaching and learning (for courses offered in a fully remote format or for hybrid courses offered partly face-to-face and partly remotely), Webster has invested in technology to improve faculty and student teaching and learning.

UPDATED Aug. 14: Faculty and staff have been hard at work over the summer implementing new technology solutions to help address pandemic-related teaching and learning challenges and opportunities. These solutions have been designed to improve remote learning, support the new hybrid course format, help with social distancing in the classroom, and address needs unique to experiential and hands-on courses.

Making Remote Learning Better

Zoom for Real-Time Conferencing: Enhances teaching and learning in virtual environments by offering breakout rooms, transcriptions for recordings, and the convenience of launching from the WorldClassRoom/Canvas page. Additionally, students will have their own Zoom accounts which further expands ways that our communities can learn and collaborate.

Kaltura for Media Rich Classes: Provides instructors with personal media galleries for instructional video content, capture tools to make new videos and screencasts directly into Canvas, and even the ability to create video quizzes with no worries of ever exceeding Canvas course file space.

Expanded Faculty Training and Support: Webster has offered 95 workshops for faculty over the Summer, and open hours for drop-in support six days weekly. Hundreds of faculty have attended workshops or support sessions to help them prepare for their Fall classes.

Tablets for Students with Needs: The University has purchased a supply of Microsoft Surface Go tablets to make available to students who need devices to meet online and remote course expectations. (Eligibility guidelines and the process for distribution of devices are in development.)

Supporting Hybrid Teaching and Learning

Deploy New Classroom Cameras: The number of classroom spaces with streaming cameras has been expanded from 11 to 30, with opportunities to add more as global supply chains for these products make them more available.

Writing Tablets for Faculty: The Office of Information Technology and the Faculty Development Center will distribute more than 100 writing devices for faculty in the coming weeks to support instructional practices such as explaining formulas and processes, teaching visual concepts, and providing feedback on student work.

Social Distancing in The Classroom

Computer Lab Instructor Software: In the coming weeks, computer labs will be set up with software that allows instructors and students to share screens in class, removing the need to approach stations to support student learning.

Supporting Experiential Learning and Hands-on Courses

Academic programs identified a wide range of unique solutions to support teaching in their disciplines. From projectors and cameras in performing arts spaces, or creating virtual opportunities to complete field experiences, to small solutions like new processes for reserving space to work, students will see small changes designed to help them have the hands-on experience related to their program of study. While not all these solutions have been implemented for the first day of class, implementation of technologies is underway.

 

Where can I go to access and participate in my remote classes when I’m on campus? (8/24)

Webster WiFi will work all over campus. Below are some inside locations on the Webster Groves campus that you can use to access your remote classes. Students who bring their own devices and equipment (e.g., headphones or earbuds) can access their remote classes from various locations on campus:

  • The Edward Jones Commons in the East Academic Building (EAB): Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The Library: Library hours are available at http://library.webster.edu/about/hours.html.
  • The University Center (UC): Has seating, but no tables. Review the University Center hours here.
  • Browning Hall, the Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB): In the ISB, students are welcome to use the lobby areas. In addition, there are classrooms in the ISB that students can use for remote class participation and study areas on a first-come, first-served bases. Students must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines and, in some rooms, headphones or earbuds must be worn. A sign outside of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, ISB 202, will provide more information.
  • Priest House Student Lounge

Students who need to use a computer but can bring their own headphones or earbuds can access computers in the following areas of campus:

  • East Academic Building 104 – between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • East Academic Building 212 – between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • The Library: Students looking for computers workstations set up with headphones and webcams can find six computers set up in this way in the Library. These workstations are first-come, first-served and are available on the 2nd floor in the Special Collections area.

What if I cannot attend class because of COVID-19? (e.g. If I have COVID-19 symptoms, if I don't pass the Daily Health Assessment, if I'm required to self-quarantine, etc.?) (8/10)

We have two key goals this Fall: to assist you in progressing toward your chosen degree, and to keep you – and other Webster students, faculty and staff – safe and healthy. If you do not feel well, are required to self-quarantine, etc., we want you to stay home! Active participation in class is important, and this Fall, we have increased ways for students to keep up with classes and coursework, which may include remote options in face-to-face classes.

The most important thing for you to do is keep in touch with your instructors. Notify your instructors if you must miss class, and consult with them on your options for keeping up or catching up with coursework. You can also contact the Academic Advising Center for advice (advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847).

 

If I am registered for Fall courses, what should I do now? (8/4)

If you are registered for Fall courses, you do not need to act at this time. When the Fall course information is updated in mid-August, you will be able to see the formats/modalities of the courses for which you registered. At that time, you will not need to re-register for courses or drop/add courses due to a change in modality. However, should you wish to change your course schedule, you can do so by contacting the Academic Advising Center, where staff will work with you and your faculty advisor on your schedule. Contact advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847.

 

If I am NOT registered for Fall courses yet, what should I do now? (8/4)

You should register for your desired Fall courses to ensure that you obtain a place in classes that you need and want. If you are unsure of what classes to take, please contact your assigned Advisor or the Academic Advising Center for assistance. Contact advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847. Course information will be updated in in mid-August to communicate adjustments in delivery format (modality).

 

How do I indicate that I want to take my courses online or in remote (WebNet+) formats (modalities)? (8/4)

Webster has offered classes online for several years, and there are already many fully online classes on the schedule. These online classes will not change format (modality), so you may register for those courses at any time.

In addition, when the Fall course formats (modalities) are updated in mid-August, you can review your schedule and make changes. If you need advice or assistance in making changes, you can:

  • Contact the Academic Advising Center (advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847), OR
  • “Raise Your Hand” in Starfish by selecting “Need Help Registering for Classes.”

 

How do I indicate that I want to take as many courses as possible on-ground? (8/4)

When the Fall course formats (modalities) are updated in mid-August, you can review your schedule and make changes. If you need advice or assistance in making changes, you can:

  • Contact the Academic Advising Center (advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847), OR
  • “Raise Your Hand” in Starfish by selecting “Need Help Registering for Classes.”

 

Will every course be offered in both a face-to-face and a remote or online format (modality)? (8/4)

Webster has a robust listing of fully online undergraduate courses on the Course Schedule, and more may be added based on demand. In addition, several Fall courses, currently scheduled as face-to-face (LC, or Lecture, in the schedule) will be adjusted to be offered in remote or hybrid formats (modalities). However, not every course will be offered in all formats (modalities). As noted above, when the course formats (modalities) are updated in mid-August, you can review courses and make changes. The Academic Advising Center is happy to provide advice and assistance to help you adjust your Fall schedule to meet your needs.

 

What will happen with Fall study abroad programs? (8/4)

Fall 2020 semester and Fall 1, 2020, scheduled study abroad programs have been canceled based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), worldwide travel restrictions and border closures, and other country-specific resources. However, European campus students planning to study at another European campus and students who are already physically in their study abroad host country/region may be able to continue their study abroad programs.

Decisions about Fall 2, 2020, study abroad programs will be made mid-August and affected students notified. For more information, contact the Office of Study Abroad (worldview@webster.edu or 314-968-6988).

 

Will the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar change? Will there be a Spring Break? (8/24)

At this time, Webster does not plan to adjust the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar. Undergraduate classes are scheduled to start on January 11 and finish on May 7, with Spring Break occurring the week of March 8-12. Most graduate classes are scheduled to start on January 4 and end on May 14, with Spring Break the week of March 8-12. (More details are on the Academic Calendar.) Webster continues to carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation and the factors that impact communities and campuses. If an adjustment in the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar is necessary, this will be shared in November.

Will academic support services (academic counseling, ADA accommodations and support, assistive technology assistance and support, and tutoring and writing services) be available virtually in Fall 2020? (8/4)

Yes. Webster University always provides these resources and supports in a virtual manner because we serve a global community. Additionally, the physical Academic Resource Center (ARC), located on the Webster Groves (St. Louis), Missouri, campus, has been undergoing expansion and renovations during Summer 2020. We are excited about the larger, remodeled space, and we expect the ARC to reopen by mid-September, depending on the final renovations timeline. To learn more about academic support services, visit the Academic Resource Center website at http://www.webster.edu/arc.

 

Will the Library be open? (updated 8/13)

The library’s online collections are available 24/7 at http://library.webster.edu. There you will also find information about getting help with your research and services including mail delivery of materials from the library’s collection, interlibrary loan, and MOBIUS.

The physical library on the main campus is scheduled to open to the Webster community on August 17. Following campus health protocols, students will be able to browse and check out library materials, request and pick up items, and use computers and study spaces. In order to facilitate social distancing, furniture and computer seating have been rearranged, allowing more space. Additional temporary changes have been made to help keep users safe.

 

I am a military-affiliated student. Will my benefits be impacted if I take some or all of my courses online this Fall? (8/4)

While legislation (S.3503) has been passed ensuring that your benefits will not be reduced by taking online courses through January 2021, we recommend that you connect with Jason Blakemore, VetSuccess On Campus counselor (VSOC), at jason.blakemore@va.gov or 314-246-8079 to review your personal situation and details. Students are also encouraged to contact the Academic Advising Center.

 

Does Webster provide support for technology and internet access for students? (Updated 9/10)

Yes. Following our Spring 2020 transition to remote learning, we surveyed students about their experiences. We know that students may need assistance with obtaining devices to use as well as assistance with internet connections. We are building resources for student needs, including 1) purchasing a stock of devices that students can check out for the term or semester; 2) providing options for internet access for students who need it; 3) leveraging our emergency loan program and expanding it to meet emerging needs. Many of these steps are the work of a special task force of faculty and staff who are advising Webster leadership on how best to invest in technology to support the academic success of our students.

For St. Louis-area students, there is an Emergency Technology Application created to provide support for Webster University students who are experiencing a technology crisis that could adversely affect their semester. Applications will be reviewed and coordinated through the Dean of Students Office. See this Emergency Technology Application page for the application and eligibility information.

For other technology issues, contact the Information Technology Service Desk for technology-related questions and needs. Call 314-246-5995 or 866-435-7270 or email support@webster.edu. You will find other details, including hours of operation at http://www.webster.edu/technology/service-desk/.

 

This is a lot to deal with, and I am thinking of taking the semester off. What should I do? (8/4)

We know that this is a challenging time for students! Webster is committed to working with you to help you continue your academic journey during the pandemic. Like you, we hope that challenges presented by COVID-19 lessen in the coming months. In the meantime, we encourage you to keep on the path to complete your degree and graduate on time. We are here to support you in achieving your educational goals. We strongly encourage you to discuss your degree completion path and timeline with your assigned Advisor or with a staff advisor in the Academic Advising Center (advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847).

If you do need to take time off, please contact the Academic Advising Center (advising@webster.edu, 314-968-6972, or 800-982-3847) and the Financial Aid Office (financialaid@webster.edu, 314-968-6992, or 800-983-4623) to discuss details specific to your personal situation (e.g., revised degree completion dates, financial aid implications).

 

I am a student at another Webster campus (not the main campus). Where do I find information about my course offerings? (8/4)

Specific course offerings and modalities will vary by campus and according to local conditions. If you're an undergraduate student at a campus other than the main campus in Webster Groves, refer to information from your local campus.

 

I am a graduate student. Where do I find information about my course offerings and program? (8/4)

The modalities of some graduate programs at U.S. locations have been adjusted for Fall 2020. Please see the list in this announcement for affected programs

These and other course modality plans are subject to change based on evolving conditions and capacity related to the pandemic. For graduate students outside the United States, refer to information from your local campus.