Instruction

Overview

Montclair State University students come from a broad spectrum of social and economic backgrounds, and they see the university experience as opening for them the possibilities of career and lifetime prosperity in all its essential forms. The faculty are highly qualified, understand their students, and challenge them with rich and rigorous academic studies in state-of-the-art facilities. The diversity of the student population is a core institutional value. It functions to bring students from across New Jersey’s many communities together in educational and social experiences which form the basis of a lifetime of shared communal and civic values.

Montclair State promotes and recognizes the hard work our students do in support of each other on campus and in support of communities beyond the campus. The University intends to work hard to maintain those values and deliver those experiences to the maximum degree possible, recognizing that historically we have offered, and must continue to offer, a very important and high value proposition in higher education to the people of New Jersey. Doing so in the current COVID-19 imposed circumstances creates a significant challenge to the University, as we function in ways that are fully in compliance with state, federal, and other appropriate guidance and regulation and as we accomplish our work in ways that are different from those to which we are accustomed.

To this end, the University will accommodate the many and varied instructional needs of our students by offering an academic program that has maximal flexibility and that is carefully and responsibly combined with policies and procedures designed to mitigate the risks for faculty, staff, and students of COVID-19 transmission. A very significant portion of the University’s instructional program for the fall must remain online, while we also provide on-campus opportunities for students who need the physical connection to the institution and for instruction in fields that require the facilities, equipment, and instructional activities and methodologies that can only be provided on campus.

During Stage 1 of the public health emergency, the University moved all instruction online for the remainder of the spring semester. Instruction remained 100% online for the entire summer session.

Under Executive Order 175 higher education institutions are allowed to resume offering in-person instruction. Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, the University’s instructional program will include remote, hybrid, and in-person instruction. All learning activities will comply with the General Safeguards described in described in Section I of the Restart Plan.

The following instructional plan has been designed to:

  1. Comply with all relevant New Jersey regulations for universities
  2. Foster a strong culture of mutual regard for the safety of all community members through adherence to all University COVID-19 related policies and procedures
  3. Engage students, faculty and staff in the core mission of the institution, to educate and prepare students with credentials for careers and for life-long learning and to generate new knowledge
  4. Operate effectively and efficiently across all colleges, schools, and programs; and
  5. Allow for reasonable accommodations for remote participation for persons who are immunocompromised or in a high risk category for COVID-19
Course Delivery Strategies

In the fall semester, Montclair State will offer courses in five modalities collectively referred to as HAWKFlex. Three of these have on campus, face to face components, and two are fully online.

All five are supported by technologies that enhance teaching and learning. Canvas, the University’s learning management system (LMS), is used in every modality. Montclair State has employed Canvas to support its hybrid and online course delivery for many years. Most faculty teaching face-to-face courses also use it to complement their teaching. Faculty have access to extensive Canvas training, and students are also provided with Canvas orientation and support. The ubiquity of Canvas makes possible a quick and relatively painless pivot from one modality to another should the public health situation, state mandates, or other related circumstances so require at any time. In addition, many faculty and staff are already adept at using Zoom and other synchronous meeting tools. Since March, 2020, when all coursework was forced to move to online delivery for the remainder of the spring semester, the University has greatly increased its support for these technologies, and the faculty and staff have embraced the many opportunities provided by the University for training in their use.

The following instructional protocols will be in place for Fall 2020 (assuming that the State has entered Stage 3):

  1. Faculty and students will observe the health and safety protocols and policies issued by the University and the State of NJ in all modalities that require campus instruction.
  2. HAWKFlex represents the range of instructional delivery options available for Montclair State courses (https://www.montclair.edu/faculty-advancement/hawk-flex-teaching/) in Fall 2020, and includes:
    1. Hawk2Hawk: Traditional face-to-face delivery of on-campus instruction with social distancing protocols.
    2. HawkLIVE: A new delivery modality where classes meet face-to-face with socially distanced groups of students and simultaneously stream content online to classmates attending remotely.
    3. HawkMIX: A new delivery modality where students receive online instruction, and come to campus for specific class activities that require or significantly benefit from face-to-face instruction.
    4. HawkSYNC Online: A traditional fully online delivery with synchronous class sessions.
    5. HawkASYNC Online: A traditional fully online delivery without class sessions and where students pursue their work independently.
  1. The instructional modalities available in HAWKFlex will enable faculty and students to be flexible, prepared, and supported in various teaching and learning situations and, while developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are intended to be enduring and available post-COVID-19.
  2. Three of the modalities — Hawk2Hawk, HawkSYNC Online, and HawkASYNC Online — have been offered at Montclair State for many years. HawkLIVE and HawkMIX are modalities that draw on and combine the techniques of the other more familiar modalities.
  3. Departments and Schools will ensure that a range of appropriate instructional modalities are available across their programs to meet the educational needs of students and that instructional and modality assignments and selections are sensitive to the expertise and special needs of their faculty.
  4. All faculty will use the Canvas learning management system for all courses; for specific expectations, see the Canvas Universal Guidelines (https://www.montclair.edu/faculty-advancement/teaching-support/Canvas-universal-guidelines/).
  5. All faculty will take responsibility for ensuring that they have availed themselves of any University-provided training or support services necessary to teach effectively in the

specific modality of their courses.

  1. Whenever possible, faculty will video or audio record and post their live class sessions for students who are unable to attend.
  2. Faculty will be prepared to pivot to HawkSYNC Online or HawkASYNC Online for the end of the fall semester after Thanksgiving, and, should it become necessary, at any time during the semester if so required by University or State policy.
  3. Faculty and students will be matched, so far as possible, with delivery modalities that fit student needs, faculty pedagogical preferences, and academic disciplinary standards.
  4. In all cases, faculty presenting symptoms or a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 must not participate in on-campus instruction. Those faculty, as well as those who have received accommodations because they are immunocompromised or at high-risk for COVID-19, and who are able to work remotely, may request to teach remotely, and they shall have the opportunity to teach courses in their area of expertise that are appropriate for remote instruction.
  5. In all cases, students presenting symptoms or a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 must not participate in on-campus instruction. Those students, as well as those who have received accommodations because they are immunocompromised or at high-risk for COVID-19, and who are able to study remotely, may request to study remotely. If a particular course they have selected is not available in a remote modality, they should be advised in regard to the best available alternatives.
Instructional Spaces

Locations used to deliver the University’s instructional program vary widely. They include traditional lecture halls and classrooms of differing sizes with differing degrees of technology, laboratories with specialized equipment or machinery, computer labs with specialized software and hardware, and studio and performance spaces equipped in different ways. In a normal fall semester Montclair State delivers a total of approximately 6,300 on-campus courses in more than 300 different instructional spaces on six days and five evenings of the week.

To accommodate to social distancing requirements for on-campus instruction, the following protocols will pertain:

  1. Approximately 40% or less of the University’s instruction will occur in on-campus modalities.
  2. The priority for on-campus instruction will be: (1) for those academic disciplines which require the types of instruction or specialized facilities or equipment that can only be provided effectively on-campus; (2) for freshman instruction; (3) to accommodate faculty preferences for on-campus modalities; (4) to provide opportunities for on-campus instruction to residential students; and (5) to provide a mix of instructional opportunities for all students.
  3. The priority for remote instruction will be: (1) existing fully remote graduate programs; (2) all other graduate programs, except those disciplines which require the types of instruction or specialized facilities or equipment that can only be provided effectively on campus; (3) undergraduate programs that already have a significant portion of remote instruction as part of their offerings; (4) to accommodate faculty preferences for, and expertise in, remote modalities; and (5) to provide a mix of instructional opportunities for all students.
  4. Room capacities will be adjusted to accommodate social distancing requirements, which, in most cases will enable approximately one-third of the usual capacity.
  5. Where necessary and appropriate, given the instructional material and activity and the nature of the instructional space, partitions will be installed.
  6. Lecture halls and classrooms will all be marked for socially distanced seating.
  7. Classroom assignments will be optimized to assure that courses with on-campus components have the most appropriate spaces for their educational purpose.
  8. Classroom cleaning protocols will follow University guidelines. For more information, please see the section on Cleaning and Sanitization.
  9. Classrooms will be scheduled to distribute people across buildings and over time periods to reduce density.
  10. Socially distanced common spaces will be provided on campus where students can study or take an online class.
Technology

Delivering an academic program in Fall 2020 will require substantial technology within rooms, for example, to teach in one location while simultaneously broadcasting to students who are participating in the course remotely.

  1. As of Spring 2020, 11 classrooms on campus had adequate technology to accommodate both in-person and remote students simultaneously, including recording capability. Fifty-three additional rooms will be available for the Fall 2020.
  2. Ninety-five portable kits that faculty can easily check-out on campus will be available for use in classrooms to accommodate both in-person and remote students simultaneously, with recording capability. These kits include:
    1. Twenty OWLS, a plug and play audio-video technology that tracks speakers in a room and automatically switches video views of the classroom environment for remote students. This set-up is compatible with resident computers in classrooms, as well as both PC and MAC laptop computers.
    2. Ten SWIVLs, an audio-video technology that uses a tripod and iPad (or equivalent) to track the instructor. In-person student voices are picked up by small markers that can be distributed around the room.
    3. Sixty web camera/mic pack kits of various configurations will accommodate specialty labs and other spaces.

A task force that includes the offices of the Provost, Information Technology, Faculty Advancement, and Instructional Technology and Design Services has been working to provide a variety of activities to support faculty across all instructional modalities, including:

  1. Training for faculty in the use of technologically advanced classrooms and various types of technology kits.
  2. Leveled, generalized and specialized training to address individual faculty member needs.
  3. Peer-to-peer support networks, organized by departments, schools, colleges, and the University.
  4. Demonstration of, and opportunity for experimentation with, teaching in classrooms outfitted for simultaneous delivery.
  5. Demonstration of, and opportunity for experimentation with, OWL, SWIVL, and other portable kits.
  6. Open Zoom call-in sessions to socialize teaching modalities and to answer questions about fall 2020 teaching expectations. As of July 1, more than 300 faculty have already attended at least one session; in addition, video-recordings of sessions and a detailed website have been widely viewed by faculty.
  7. Development and dissemination of Universal Canvas Guidelines that incorporate universal pedagogical practices and ensure dissemination of information related to student support opportunities and services.
  8. Scheduling of 40 faculty-led peer-to-peer support sessions focused on the five teaching modalities, with opportunities for faculty teaching F2F to experiment with classroom technologies.
  9. Over 20 specific training sessions have been developed on pedagogical practices and technology use and have been, and continue to be, offered repeatedly throughout the spring and summer. These lessons are also available online, and through daily virtual walk-in extended office hours.
  10. Empowering Online Teaching and Learning (EOTL), a comprehensive training in online teaching, will be delivered to 300 teaching faculty this summer, in addition to the 600 faculty who have already completed the program.
  11. Communications to faculty with information for support and training resources are sent several times per week.
  12. Distribution of FAQ’s regarding teaching developed through faculty solicited questions at open meetings and through anonymous surveys.
  13. Compilation of a toolkit for new adjuncts.
  14. Cleaning and sanitizing of rooms and kits are included in on-campus training sessions for faculty.

More Technology Resources:

Student Support Services

Approximately 21,000 students are expected in Fall 2020, including 4,500 graduate students and 16,500 undergraduate students, of whom 3,000 will be first time/full time freshmen and 1,000 will be transfer students. Protocols for instructional services to these students will include the following accommodations for the fall term:

  1. Classes will begin on August 25, 2020, a week earlier than originally scheduled, and will end on December 14, 2020, also a week earlier than originally scheduled. Instructional activities after Thanksgiving will move to fully remote modalities for the remainder of the term. Winter session will be fully remote instruction and offered as originally scheduled. The Spring 2021 term will be offered as originally scheduled, using the five instructional modalities in use in Fall 2020.
  2. Student support services, tutoring services, and other academic support activities will include a range of face-to-face and technologically mediated formats to allow for both on-campus and remote services.
  3. Students will need a desktop or laptop computer and internet access to participate in courses that provide some or all instruction remotely. The university will have approximately 400 laptops available for loan to students who need them.
  4. Online orientation and training events throughout the summer will be offered to prepare students for the various instructional and advising modalities and the related uses of technology.
  5. Students who are unable to attend campus for health reasons will be offered opportunities for remote-learning. These options include:
    1. enrollment in a fully remote course load
    2. where possible, substitution of an alternative remote course for a course that is only offered on-campus
    3. deferment of a specific course requirement until a later semester
    4. assistance in transitioning to a major or program that can be completed entirely through remote instruction
  6. Students who select modalities with face-to-face components but develop a need for exemption from scheduled on-campus experiences will work out reasonable accommodations with the Disability Resource Center.
  7. Registration for students in courses with on-campus instructional components will be prioritized for those students who have majors requiring on-campus study, for freshmen, for residential students, and for students who have disability accommodations that require on-campus instruction.
  8. Students who participate in off-campus learning experiences, such as internships or applied learning activities, will be instructed to follow the University’s safety protocols as well as the requirements of the host organization or site. Students will be encouraged to consider off-campus learning experiences that can be done remotely when such opportunities will meet educational requirements.

Last Modified: Monday, August 31, 2020 10:25 am