Face-to-face teaching is a core part of Oglethorpe University’s identity, a modality in which our faculty excel, and what many of our students prefer. It is assumed that most Oglethorpe courses will be taught face to face. However, there are instances when hybrid or online classes make sense. Here we lay out the procedure for approval of course sections taught remote or in a hybrid of face-to-face and remote (hybrid) fashion. Note that, unlike many other applications, this application is by section, not by course.
6.30.1. Restriction of Student Program of Study
No Oglethorpe student shall graduate with more than 50% of their total Oglethorpe credits from remote and hybrid sections of courses combined.
6.30.2. Application to Create a Remote or Hybrid Section of a Course
The Academic Program Committee (APC) shall design and maintain a form for approving remote and hybrid sections of courses. If the section is of a course that is already a faculty-approved in-person course, only this form needs to be completed and approved. If the section is of a course that is entirely new, applicants should include their answers to this form for their section of the class as part of their application for APC approval of the course.
When submitted, a copy of the form shall be sent to the Provost, relevant Program Coordinator, relevant Division Chair, and the chair of APC. This application must be submitted deadlines set by APC as part of the form. The Provost, Program Coordinator, Division Chair, or APC may reject an application for a remote or hybrid section but must do so within two months of the traditional academic year of their notification concerning the submission of the form. Else the form will be assumed to be accepted by all parties.
Once a section is approved for remote or hybrid instruction, that section can be taught again in future semesters using the form completed the first time it was taught without re-approval. APC expects that sections approved for remote or hybrid instruction will use the methods given in the application to teach this section. If substantive changes are made to how learning objectives are accomplished, a new form must be submitted as above.
The Academic Program Committee (APC) is specifically charged with reviewing the following facets of the section proposed:
- Is the instructor of this section prepared to teach the section remotely or in a hybrid modality? For example, consultation with the instructional technologist, through formal training, use of a learning management system, or previous hybrid or remote teaching experience.
- Does the direct instruction meet the quality and rigor standards of the program it is a part of?
- Are the learning objectives of the course achieved, either in the same way as an in-person course or in a new approach?
Once approved, the remote or hybrid version of the section shall be listed with other courses being offered but clearly marked in two ways:
- The modality of the section shall indicate clearly when a section is remote or hybrid.
- The section number of the course shall indicate clearly when a section is remote or hybrid.
Once registration for the section has started, a section approved and marked for remote or hybrid instruction cannot change modality to in-person that semester (except when reverting from remote or hybrid modality after moving to that modality due to an emergency, see 6.30.3). This is also true for changes of modality from remote to hybrid.
6.30.3. Emergency Approval of Remote or Hybrid Section of a Course
This section applies to an instructor who has had a sudden and unexpected change in circumstances requiring a change in modality from in-person to remote or hybrid sections (utilizing the percentages that define remote or hybrid in Section 1.4.23) during the semester. The relevant Program Coordinator and Division Chair must agree to this modality change and set a date during the current semester to return to the former modality – if either of these do not approve the needed modality change, then the application is rejected. Approval of a course due to this emergency approval policy shall not be considered a permanent modality approval – if the instructor finds that teaching remotely or hybrid works well for them, then they should apply via the form mentioned in 6.30.2 for the section to be permanently approved for offering.
Being able to move a class quickly to a different modality would allow for continuity of instruction when unanticipated events occur and the instructor is able and willing to continue teaching. However, this option should be useful sparingly and not repeatedly across many semesters.
6.30.4. Consistency Between Remote and In-Person Course Sections
Teaching remote or hybrid sections requires specialized pedagogical approaches. To that end, class sizes should remain at the same level as in-person classes. This encourages the kind of personal attention students expect from Oglethorpe faculty. We also believe that face-to-face interaction opportunities are valuable – while many remote courses can be taught totally asynchronously, we expect the instructor to create time to meet with students if they have questions (via office hours, time set aside for appointments, or similar).