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COVID 19: Information on Course Formats

During the current pandemic, BSU is utilizing several different course delivery options. Rest assured, each of these options provide the same standards, level of content and instruction, and faculty-student engagement as in a traditional in-person class. The difference is that classes are offered in three distinct modes — (1) Asynchronous online, (2) Synchronous online and (3) Hybrid with a “Hyflex” option — rather than one. Faculty members select which mode best fits the nature of the class, the course content and learning objectives. Whatever the mode, our professors are there to work with and support our students. All students who complete a course will have successfully met the pre-established learning outcomes the same as in an in-person class.

We have briefly described each of the three modes that are being offered at BSU this fall. Each operate differently but they all provide the same high-level instruction and educational experience that Bridgewater State is known for.

Asynchronous Online Classes have components that students can complete on their own schedule. They do not have the required group meetings, but they use a wide variety of online learning tools including streaming multimedia lectures, virtual labs and simulations, and case studies to cover the course material. Instructor and student interaction is fostered through discussion forums, video or audio presentations, journal and writing critique, group projects and, often, one-on-one virtual meetings. Despite the flexible format, faculty and students interact regularly in these courses. The advantage in an asynchronous course is that it provides students the flexibility to complete the work on their own schedule. Most asynchronous online course do have weekly deadlines for work that must be completed. They are great option for students with busy lives and complex schedules.

Synchronous Online Classes have regularly scheduled group meetings using an online meeting platform such as Zoom. These courses often incorporate other online learning tools as well. These courses are ideal for students who want to interact with the instructor and the other students in a group setting. The do require a willingness to logon at specific times and be present virtually using a webcam, microphone, and speakers.

Hybrid Classes with a “Hyflex” Option meet partly on campus and partly online. The “Hyflex” Option means that faculty will also livestream their class meetings online for students who cannot or choose not to meet in person. Some faculty will also record their sessions and post them online for students to review later. These classes will also have other online components to help round out the learning. This is the smallest group of courses at BSU as this option is only being used for courses that have some aspect that cannot easily be recreated online, such as a science lab. During the in-person portion of the class the instructor and the students will follow all CDC and MDPH guidance on physical distancing and personal protective equipment to help keep everyone as safe as possible.