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Face-to-Face Implementation Guide

Description: Face-to-face (F2F) class meetings are most similar to the traditional residential classroom experience. However, social distancing requirements will reduce the number of available seats in each classroom. If classroom space cannot accommodate all enrolled students for a course, students may be asked to rotate between in-class sessions and remote learning options (hybrid format).

Pros Cons
  • Most closely resembles the traditional classroom experience
  • Serves disciplinary learning needs that cannot be addressed using remote modes
  • Fosters classroom community via F2F  interaction
  • Instructor movement and access to students is limited by social distancing guidelines.
  • Small group work, class discussion, and non-verbal communication may be less effective with distancing and masks.

Make it Work

Make clear your expectations about social distancing and CPE. Proactively communicate with your students about creating a safe learning environment. Clearly articulate your expectations about social distancing (6 ft. In general purpose classrooms) and the use of masks (required) and other Community Protective Equipment (CPE) in the classroom.
NOTE: Campus policies regarding the enforcement of distancing and CPE guidelines have not yet been finalized.
Decide who attends class on any given day. If you are in a classroom that cannot accommodate all students registered for the course, you will have to decide how to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to attend class. You may need to consider surveying and polling options to find the best schedule for rotating students into the classroom.
Model safe behavior. Personal space for instructors will be marked off in the vicinity of the classroom podium. Out of habit, you may occasionally find yourself walking beyond the designated instructor’s zone. When/if this happens, consider calling yourself out to remind students that you take the policies seriously. Be safe!
Explain the layout of the classroom to students. All classroom furniture will be configured to adhere to recommended distancing guidelines (currently six feet apart). A personal space for each student seat will be taped off. All students’ personal belongings must stay with them at all time. Students will be allowed to rotate their seats to participate in small group work, but each desk/chair must remain within its designated space. For classrooms with fixed furniture, rows and seats intended for use will be marked accordingly.
Experiment with small group dynamics. While student interaction is one of the hallmarks of the face-to-face experience, it is unclear how the quality of communication will be impacted by social distancing and mask use. Monitor your early experiences and seek regular feedback from students. Can students hear each other? Is communication more manageable in pairs or in groups of four? What is the overall level of noise in the room when students are working in groups? Sound quality varies from room to room; you will probably need to try some different configurations in order to optimize student interaction.
Use independent active learning. If small group dynamics aren’t working under your new classroom conditions, you can still use active learning techniques. Short writing prompts and polls are a great way to engage students beyond lecture. Get creative: Students can collaborate at a safe distance using a shared web document. Project the document to display student contributions in real time.
Be prepared to repeat and paraphrase. In larger classrooms, the use of shared handheld student microphones will not be an option. Even in smaller classrooms, the use of masks may make it difficult for students to hear each other across the room. Instructors may need to repeat or paraphrase student remarks more often than usual during whole class discussion.
Arrive to class early and depart promptly. While the process for “loading” and “unloading” buildings between classes is not yet finalized, instructors will be given priority to enter buildings as early as possible. Arriving early will help ensure that you have adequate time to set up the necessary technology and disinfect any shared surfaces or technologies you will be using. Interested instructors are welcome to bring their own clip-on mics to use in classrooms with microphone systems. Check with the ITS Classroom Hotline to ensure that your personal microphone is compatible with the classroom AV system. Diagrams for the revised layouts of each classroom should be available online by early July.

Learn More

Can Active Learning Co-exist with Physically Distanced Classrooms?  (Inside Higher Ed)

Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms (Vanderbilt Center for Teaching)