Fall Course FAQ's for Students

 

VU’s instructional delivery methods for the 2020-2021 Academic year must be flexible in order to meet the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 virus.  As previously announced, a decision was made to alter the 2020-2021 academic calendar out of an abundance of caution.  All classes will move to online delivery through Blackboard for the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester. This shift inherently changed the mode of instruction (what does "mode of instruction" mean?) for our traditional courses to two basic formats: virtual(online) and hybrid  (which mixes both face-to-face and online delivery methods). This document is intended to address some of the questions that may arise with this transition.

Why aren’t all classes face-to-face?

VU is committed to maintaining a high-quality educational experience for our students and that includes face-to-face instruction, wherever and whenever that delivery mode is essential to learning.  The conditions we are facing this coming school year, however, require us to do all we can to balance quality instruction with the health and safety concerns of everyone in the VU community. Face-to-face instruction will be an important part of course delivery in the Fall, and many of VU's fall course offerings will be a combination of face-to-face and virtual instruction with some being virtual only. This mode of instruction (what does "mode of instruction" mean?) will allow for less crowding in our classroom spaces and buildings.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is the online earning management system (LMS) that Vincennes University uses.  Blackboard allows faculty to add resources (syllabus, readings, links) for students to access online.  It also provides a platform for Powerpoint, video, audio, and other applications to be shared to enhance both teaching and learning efforts.  Students can submit course assignments, check grades, and meet with their instructor during office hours through Blackboard.  We’ve created a Blackboard video overview and resources that can be found in your MyVU under Academic > Blackboard Video & Tutorials.

What does “mode of instruction” mean?

“Mode of instruction” is the manner in which a class component (lecture, discussion, lab) is delivered in a given semester. Fall 2020 modes of instruction will include both hybrid and virtual (online).

How can I determine the mode of instruction for my Fall courses?

Log into your MyVU account > under “Quick Links”, click on “Your Class Schedule”> Select the term (Fall, Spring, Summer) from the drop-down menu > Click submit.  Your schedule should appear with the selected term listed in the top right corner.  All courses, by default,  are Hybrid courses.  If one of your courses has been changed to a virtual format, you will see “Virtual Instruction” listed under Location.  

Where will my courses meet?

Hybrid: All hybrid course sections have been assigned a physical location.  Hybrid courses will meet in-person at the physical location.  Class location can be found on your student schedule listed in MyVU.

Virtual:  All virtual (online) courses will be loaded into your Blackboard course list, and you should access them prior to the scheduled class meeting time for information from your instructor.

What if a class was originally designated as face-to-face and was changed to virtual (online)?  Can I change my schedule?  

You should meet with your advisor to see what options exist.  Some courses were changed to virtual format in order to accommodate our faculty members who are most susceptible to COVID-19.  Where we were able to offer options for delivery, we have done so. 

What does “hybrid” mean?

"Hybrid" means that classes will combine face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based learning. In a hybrid class, a portion of the course learning will be online. The hybrid approach to course delivery will allow VU to follow the safety protocols of de-densifying classrooms and buildings while also providing face-to-face instruction to students.  

Can hybrid course credits be applied towards my degree/certificate just like an on-campus course?  

Yes, hybrid class credits apply towards your degree/certification just like any other class. Your transcripts will not reflect any differences for taking the hybrid classes.

Can virtual course credits be applied towards my degree/certificate just like an on-campus course? 

Yes, virtual class credits apply towards your degree/certification just as any other class. Your transcripts will not reflect any differences for taking the virtual classes.

What is the difference between a hybrid course and an online course?

A hybrid course meets face-to-face onsite for a significant part of the course, whereas an online course has no face-to-face component.

What are the benefits of hybrid courses?

Hybrid learning uses elements from both face-to-face and online learning formats.  Hybrid courses reduce face-to-face time, using learning for elements of the course that deliver well in an online space and reserving seat time for lesson objectives that benefit from hands-on experience, real-time discussion, feedback, or group activity.  This approach will allow us to provide quality instruction while also reducing crowding in our classroom spaces and buildings. 

 
What will it take for me to be successful in a hybrid course?

First, just as with all classes, attendance and participation are primary factors that produce success. Second, if you can use a web browser, download documents from the web and open them in another program, and use email then you are ready for the virtual portions of a hybrid course!  However, if you are still concerned, we have your back!  Stop by the Library, or Student Success Center, schedule a conversation with your advisor or reach out to a tutor.  You will find that both our faculty and staff are eager to help and ensure your success.

What will it take for me to be successful in an online course?

If you can use a web browser, download documents from the web and open them in another program, and use email then you have the technological skills needed to participate successfully in an online course.   If you run into difficulty you can schedule a conversation with your advisor or even your instructor.  You will find that our faculty are eager to help and ensure your success.  If you are on campus, you can stop by the Library, or Student Success Center for assistance. 


What has VU done to prepare for offering hybrid and virtual courses this academic year?

We have used the time since last Spring to design resources for both students and faculty so that both can thrive in the hybrid and virtual environments.  We have developed a Blackboard video and tutorials that can be found in your MyVU login (link under Academics) and we have also increased access to online tutoring.  This summer, both adjunct and full-time faculty members completed Blackboard training of between 10 and 40 hours.  We are confident that as a whole, both VU students and faculty will be well-prepared to succeed in the virtual aspects of their courses and in the hybrid environment overall.


What do I need to participate in a virtual course or the virtual portion of a hybrid course?

To participate, you simply need access to the Internet.  Most VU buildings are equipped with both wired and wireless internet connections.  If you choose to work on campus with your own device from a picnic table, bench, or even your car, your MyVU credentials will allow you to sign into WiFi.  

Will I be working on my own in a hybrid course?

No. In addition to the face-to-face instruction, you will be working closely with the instructor and the students in your class in the virtual portion, just as you would in a classroom. Depending upon the class, you will interact using our Blackboard learning management system.  Blackboard is designed to allow for extended class participation through online discussions or forums, collaborations for group work, and working in a team for class projects. You will not be on your own.

Will I be working on my own in a virtual course?

No. You will be working closely with the instructor and the students in your class, just as you would in a classroom. You will interact using our Blackboard learning management system.  Blackboard is designed to allow for robust class participation through online discussions or forums, collaborations for group work, and working in a team for class projects. You will not be on your own.


How often will my hybrid course meet face-to-face?

Your instructor will review the course meeting schedule with you on the first day of the course and the course schedule will be outlined in the syllabus. On the days that face-to-face meetings are not being held, there will be additional activities, usually web-based, in place of the class meeting.  The instructor of each of your courses will be your primary contact and resource for questions regarding course structure and delivery.    

Where will I meet for my hybrid course?

All hybrid courses will be assigned a physical location and meeting pattern.  Look for meeting location information on your schedule, which can be accessed via MyVU.  Guidance about the meeting pattern will be provided by your instructor through the course syllabus.

 
What will we do in the face-to-face portion of my courses?

Class time will be used for a variety of activities.  You will participate in laboratory work, class discussion, group activities, and perhaps deliver presentations.  Each individual instructor will have his or her own specific requirements, which will be discussed during the first class meeting.  It is especially important that you attend the first class meeting.  


What will we do in the virtual portion of my courses?

You will use Blackboard for the online component of your course.  On the Blackboard website, there will be links to online resources to help you understand and learn the course material.  There will also be instructions for assignments and/or tests, presentations that you will be required to complete.  


Is the virtual portion of my hybrid course self-paced?

Hybrid courses are NOT self-paced courses.  All assignments will have deadlines.  While you can work from your computer for your convenience and safety, you will be expected to keep up with the class due dates which can be found in your syllabus and within Blackboard.

 
How can I get help with my course now that it is hybrid or virtual?  

For hybrid courses, remember that there will still be some face-to-face meetings of your course and you can always ask for assistance there. All faculty will hold virtual office hours which are also fantastic opportunities to meet with the instructor. Within your syllabus, your instructor will identify the best mode(s) of communicating with them. Free tutoring is also available to all VU students.  View our Tutoring Resources page.

Have changes been made to the Fall calendar?

There has been no change made to the start date, end date, or the number of days in the semester.  To reduce COVID-19 exposure that could result from Thanksgiving holiday travel, however, all in-person instruction (including final exams) will be delivered in a virtual format after Thanksgiving.  View the Academic Calendar.


Will Fall 2020 classes be offered on a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) basis?

As we start the fall semester, VU will observe traditional grading options and requirements.  Should we need to move to a purely remote learning environment as we did last spring, we would consider instituting the Emergency Grade options.


How will final exams work?

Each class has been assigned a final exam time that can be found listed in MyVU.  All final exams will be delivered remotely.  Not every class will have a final exam.  Some instructors may replace final examinations with other modes of assessment. 

 

Hybrid Class Information

Dear VU Students:

We are working hard to put plans in place for everyone to return to campus this Fall in a safe and healthy way. In addition to preparations that include masks, dividers/barriers, disinfecting/ sanitizing, and social distancing practices, VU is taking other steps to combat the spread of COVID-19 in how we structure our academic calendar and educational delivery.

VU is committed to maintaining a high-quality educational experience for our students and that includes face-to-face instruction, wherever and whenever that is the best delivery mode. The conditions we are facing this coming school year, however, require us to do all we can to balance quality instruction with the health and safety concerns of everyone in the VU community.

While face-to-face instruction will be an important part of course delivery, the majority of VU's fall course offerings will be a combination of face-to-face and virtual instruction. This hybrid delivery style will allow for the de-densifying of our classroom spaces and buildings. As previously announced, VU will cease all face-to-face instruction at Thanksgiving and the small amount of remaining course instruction will all be conducted virtually. The portion of the course that will be offered online prior to Thanksgiving will vary, depending on subject matter.

A small subset of our fall courses will be offered in a completely virtual fashion (100% online). Courses that will be offered completely virtually will be identified by their location, which will read “Virtual Instruction.” All other campus classes will by default be a mix of face-to-face with some online portions.

Please check your fall semester schedule through MyVU to see the delivery method for your classes. Every effort is being made to maintain the original dates and times of courses. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the status of your classes, please don’t hesitate to contact your advisor or the Student Success Center at 812.888.4451 or ssc@vinu.edu. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we take steps to continue providing you with a high-quality educational experience while protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and communities.


What does “hybrid” mean?

"Hybrid" means that classes will combine face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based learning. In a hybrid class, a portion of the course learning will be online. The hybrid approach to course delivery will allow VU to follow the safety protocols of de-densifying classrooms and buildings while also providing face-to-face instruction to students.  

 

Can hybrid course credits be applied towards my degree/certificate just like an on-campus course?  

Yes, hybrid class credits apply towards your degree/certification just like any other class. Your transcripts will not reflect any differences for taking the hybrid classes.

 

What is the difference between a hybrid course and an online course?

A hybrid course meets face-to-face onsite for a significant part of the course, whereas an online course has no face-to-face component.

 

What are the benefits of hybrid courses?

Hybrid learning uses elements from both face-to-face and online learning formats.  Hybrid courses reduce face-to-face time, using learning for elements of the course that deliver well in an online space and reserving seat time for lesson objectives that benefit from hands-on experience, real-time discussion, feedback, or group activity.  This approach will allow us to provide quality instruction while also reducing crowding in our classroom spaces and buildings. 


What will it take for me to be successful in a hybrid course?

First, just as with all classes, attendance and participation are primary factors that produce success. Second, if you can use a web browser, download documents from the web and open them in another program, and use email then you are ready for the virtual portions of a hybrid course!  However, if you are still concerned, we have your back!  Stop by the Library, or Student Success Center, schedule a conversation with your advisor or reach out to a tutor.  You will find that both our faculty and staff are eager to help and ensure your success.


What has VU done to prepare for offering hybrid and virtual courses this academic year?

We have used the time since last Spring to design resources for both students and faculty so that both can thrive in the hybrid and virtual environments.  We have developed a Blackboard video and tutorials that can be found in your MyVU login (link under Academics) and we have also increased access to online tutoring.  This summer, both adjunct and full-time faculty members completed Blackboard training of between 10 and 40 hours.  We are confident that as a whole, both VU students and faculty will be well-prepared to succeed in the virtual aspects of their courses and in the hybrid environment overall.


What do I need to participate in a virtual course or the virtual portion of a hybrid course?

To participate, you simply need access to the Internet.  Most VU buildings are equipped with both wired and wireless internet connections.  If you choose to work on campus with your own device from a picnic table, bench, or even your car, your MyVU credentials will allow you to sign into WiFi.

 

Will I be working on my own in a hybrid course?

No. In addition to the face-to-face instruction, you will be working closely with the instructor and the students in your class in the virtual portion, just as you would in a classroom. Depending upon the class, you will interact using our Blackboard learning management system.  Blackboard is designed to allow for extended class participation through online discussions or forums, collaborations for group work, and working in a team for class projects. You will not be on your own.


How often will my hybrid course meet face-to-face?

Your instructor will review the course meeting schedule with you on the first day of the course and the course schedule will be outlined in the syllabus. On the days that face-to-face meetings are not being held, there will be additional activities, usually web-based, in place of the class meeting.  The instructor of each of your courses will be your primary contact and resource for questions regarding course structure and delivery.    


Where will I meet for my hybrid course?

All hybrid courses will be assigned a physical location and meeting pattern.  Look for meeting location information on your schedule, which can be accessed via MyVU.  Guidance about the meeting pattern will be provided by your instructor through the course syllabus.

 
What will we do in the face-to-face portion of my courses?

Class time will be used for a variety of activities.  You will participate in laboratory work, class discussion, group activities, and perhaps deliver presentations.  Each individual instructor will have his or her own specific requirements, which will be discussed during the first class meeting.  It is especially important that you attend the first class meeting.  


Is the virtual portion of my hybrid course self-paced?

Hybrid courses are NOT self-paced courses.  All assignments will have deadlines.  While you can work from your computer for your convenience and safety, you will be expected to keep up with the class due dates which can be found in your syllabus and within Blackboard.

 
How can I get help with my course now that it is hybrid or virtual?  

For hybrid courses, remember that there will still be some face-to-face meetings of your course and you can always ask for assistance there. All faculty will hold virtual office hours which are also fantastic opportunities to meet with the instructor. Within your syllabus, your instructor will identify the best mode(s) of communicating with them. Free tutoring is also available to all VU students.  View our Tutoring Resources page.