The following email was sent to students on August 28 from the Provost’s Office:
We hope you’ve had a successful start to the semester. All of us in Academic Affairs are happy to have you back for another year at Saint Rose.
We have to serve many objectives this semester as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. It was important to reduce the capacity of our classrooms to allow for social distancing, but it was also important to us that we provided students with flexibility based on their needs. We appreciate your patience as we settle into this semester like no other.
We all know what to expect when it comes to our traditional, in-person classes, and we know for many of you, the experience we provide in that setting is among the reasons you chose Saint Rose. No matter how a course is delivered at Saint Rose, the small class sizes make it possible for more one-on-one attention from faculty. And that will forever be the difference between your education at Saint Rose and what you might find at a larger institution. From the transition to remote learning in March to the start of the fall semester, your faculty have also been engaged in numerous trainings to find dynamic ways to deliver our Saint Rose courses in an online or hybrid format.
But because remote learning may be new to many of you, we wanted to help you better understand the various delivery methods and how they all come with their own merits. And just like your in-person courses, all of this will vary from professor to professor, as they have their own instructional styles and approaches to pedagogy.
Online learning: Despite what many people have heard about the quality of online learning, most studies examining online versus face-to-face learning find no significant difference in student performance between students studying online or in a classroom. It’s important to note that online and face-to-face courses share many qualities. Faculty in both instances create lessons and learning activities designed to help students master the material and meet course objectives. Students are still required to be in class (either a room or learning management system) to learn the material, submit assignments and projects, and interact with the instructor and other students.
Online asynchronous: In asynchronous online classes, interaction is not in real-time, but faculty provide prompts and questions to help students better understand key topics and ideas, and students and faculty respond to each other in threaded discussions. For some students, it’s easier to engage in discussions in an online setting than it is in the classroom setting. Asynchronous does not mean an absent instructor. It means that the instructor provides the course content to the student, and then responds in email or Zoom meetings to student requests for clarification or questions. Regular remote meetings with students can provide support. Your faculty will be available to help you learn material you are struggling with or if you have questions.
Online synchronous: Online synchronous classes include real-time meetings between faculty and students. These class sessions could encompass lectures, discussions, Q&As, just like a face-to-face classroom. These classes also provide an online repository of course materials and assignments, which can’t be lost or misplaced.
Keys to success: Online classes also offer learning opportunities not available in face-to-face classes. For instance, students can go back and re-read discussions, or listen to lectures to pick up things they might’ve missed the first time. As with their face-to-face classes, it’s important for students to contact their instructors if they have questions or issues.
We’ve outlined some online learning tips and College resources on this webpage, and instructional videos on Canvas and other online learning components can be found on our Online Learning Services’ YouTube channel.
If you have a concern, the first step is to discuss that concern with your professor. Should you still have questions, you can email the dean for your school or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re confident that with strong communication between students and faculty, this can be a successful semester for all.
Dr. Steven Ralston
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Margaret McLane
Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies