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JacksRBack Academic Plan

Fall Semester 2020

South Dakota State University and its Office of Academic Affairs will provide central support for its colleges and academic support units while allowing for some flexibility in decision-making at the college and academic support unit level.  Academic decision-making for Academic Year 2020-21 will be guided by the university’s commitment to high quality academic programs, and the health and safety of the university community.

Course offerings during Fall Semester 2020 will include a limited number of entirely face-to-face courses, several courses being a combination of face-to-face instruction with online/virtual components and other courses being entirely online/virtual. Classes may be scheduled into the evening and on Saturday as feasible and necessary.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar has been revised to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to and from the university community.  The academic calendar is now:

  • August 19, Wednesday: Start Date/Instruction Begins
  • September 7, Monday: Labor Day (Class Day)
  • October 12, Monday: Native American Day (Class Day)
  • November 11, Wednesday: Veterans’ Day Class day
  • November 25, Wednesday: Non-Class Day
  • November 26-29, Thursday – Sunday: Thanksgiving Recess
  • November 30-December 1, Monday-Tuesday: No classes; Final Exam Preparation
  • December 2-8, Wednesday – Tuesday: Final exams (Online/Remote)

The revised academic calendar now begins earlier (August 19) and utilizes three holidays as class days. On-campus instruction will conclude on November 24 (a total of 70 on-campus class days). Final exams will be conducted online/remote.  The final exam period is five days, resulting in a 75 class-day academic semester (fifteen full weeks).

Course Planning

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will work with the Registrar’s Office and the colleges to determine the final course schedule for Fall Semester 2020. Colleges/schools/departments will classify their courses into three groups to aid the scheduling process. The three groups are:

  • Courses that must be taught entirely face-to-face and those courses in which face-to-face instruction is critical to achieving student learning outcomes and fostering student success.
    • Courses include laboratories, studios, simulations, performances, and first-year seminars.
  • Courses for delivery in a hybrid (mixed) manner with both face-to-face and online/virtual components.
    • Can be taught on a rotating face-to-face basis, where a portion of the class meets face-to-face, with different students participating face-to-face on different days of the week, and the other students learning synchronously online.
    • Can be taught utilizing a “flipped” classroom model, where different students attend the classroom session on different days of the week.
  • Courses most appropriately taught entirely online in either a synchronous or an asynchronous manner.

Also, courses will be planned in three-week segments to enable adjustment to remote learning if public health circumstances necessitate a change in instructional method.

In addition and as feasible, faculty will work with students who are unable to attend in-person classes to find alternative arrangements. A temporary course attendance policy will be implemented.

Classroom and Instructional Laboratory Environments

Social distancing measures will be utilized in all instructional environments.  Actions to promote social distancing include:

  • Individuals are required to follow the current university and SDBOR face covering protocols.
  • Placing six feet of distance between students (desks, chairs, etc.) in classrooms (60 NSF per student).
  • Acrylic protection shields will be strategically placed in some instructional environments when it is not possible to maintain six feet social distancing.
  • A mobile acrylic shield/sneeze guard will be made available in each classroom for the instructor to stand/sit behind.
  • Placing 10 feet of distance between the faculty member podium/platform and the nearest student.
  • Controlling classroom entry and exit to minimize gathering/crowding.
  • Installation of wide-angle cameras and audio capture equipment in university classrooms to record in-class activities for uploading to the course D2L page.
Classroom with plexi glass installed

Instructional Technology

Instructional technology and software will be purchased to enhance instructional capabilities. Actions taken include:

  • Purchase and installation of 90 wide-angle cameras and audio equipment in university classrooms.
  • Purchase of 25 web cameras.
  • Addition of instructional technology software to support e-learning.

Clinical and Field Based Instruction

Academic programs will be provided schedule flexibility to balance student learning, graduation requirements, accreditation requirements and the public health situation. In addition:

  • Students will have access to and utilize PPE as appropriate.
  • Students and instructional sites will follow South Dakota State University, South Dakota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control public health guidelines.

Faculty Development and Support

Faculty development opportunities are being provided to ensure quality teaching, learning and assessment. Faculty development offerings include:

  • A Summer Course Enhancement Institute focused on course redesign with summer stipends for attendees and faculty mentors.
  • An educational program on preparing for flexible course delivery.

Faculty support will include:

  • Flexibility in faculty workload assignments and faculty evaluation.
  • High-risk faculty and those with high-risk family members in their household may request to teach online/remote per the SDSU Human Resources request process.