LOGAN – Utah State University officials report that the institution is now offering nearly 75 percent of its previously-scheduled spring semester catalog via online or other remote teaching methods.
In the wake of USU President Noelle Cockett’s cancellation of all classroom instruction in early March, the university’s faculty and staff were faced with the daunting challenge of transitioning the content of 6,011 classroom courses to delivery by distance learning technologies. The university’s ambitious goal to salvage spring semester instruction despite the Coronavirus outbreak was to achieve that transition by Mar. 18.
USU spokesperson Emilie Wheeler said Friday that 4,131 of those face-to-face courses have now been moved to online delivery. Instruction has also continued without interruption in 298 USU courses that are broadcast statewide and another 497 courses that were originally slated as online courses, for a total of 4,926 courses that are now continuing.
Wheeler explained that university officials recognized from the outset that some academic subjects just don’t readily lend themselves to delivery via available distance learning technologies. Some of those courses were reluctantly cancelled, including hands-on practicums and internships that could not be completed due to closed public schools and businesses. The remainder of the 1,880 spring semester courses that have not yet moved online are still being jointly studied by their professors and technology experts from the university’s Center for Innovative Design & Instruction in the hope of finding alternative delivery methods.
When the suspension of USU face-to-face classes was announced on Mar. 12, it was originally intended to be a temporary measure through the end of March. USU students in residential housing were encouraged to remain on campus and university employees were directed to proceed with business as usual while maintaining social distancing.
In the face of the escalating threat of the spread of the Coronavirus, the suspension of classroom courses has now been extended through the end of spring semester and students who can do so have been advised to leave the Logan campus.
While encouraging students to make an effort to adjust to the new online formats of their courses, the university has also extended the deadline to withdraw from those courses or to change grading options from a letter grade to pass/fail until April 15.
The university has announced, however, that tuition or course fee refunds will not be allowed as courses, grades and credit are still being offered. Student fees will also not be refunded.