What to expect in Spring 2021
Virginia Western is open and prepared to deliver our full slate of educational opportunities. In this time of many changes, many challenges, and many adjustments, we would like you to know that we have you covered.
How will classes be taught?
Much like the fall, this spring we will be teaching most of our classes in an online format. We will also be holding some classes face-to-face on our main campus and at remote sites. These classes are mostly laboratory, hands-on learning courses, and clinicals that don't easily go online but are important programs for our students and our community. We commit to safely delivering high-value education that help students move towards their goals. We know you're ready to move forward and we are here to help.
What will online classes be like?
Virginia Western has been delivering courses online for over 20 years. Your instructors have access to some of best instructional delivery tools available and have been preparing all summer to make your online learning experience great this fall. There are 3 main course options:
- Synchronous classes that meet on Zoom on specific days and times, giving you the opportunity to interact with your instructor and classmates. You can attend these classes from anywhere using a computer or mobile device.
- Asynchronous classes that are fully online. You will be given weekly assignments and intract on your own schedule using discussion boards and other technologies. These classes are taught in Canvas and don't have any required Zoom or face-to-face meetings.
- Hybrid courses where a portion will be online (either scheduled on Zoom or on your own time on Canvas) and a portion will be face-to-face, either on campus or at one of Virginia Western's off-campus locations.
Need an explanation of synchronous versus asynchronous? This video may help!
What will face to face classes be like?
Face-to-face classes, whether in labs or clinical settings, will look a lot like they have in the past with a few key exceptions to help ensure everyone's health and safety. Classes will be smaller to accommodate social distancing, everyone will be using personal protective equipment (PPE), and some settings will have additional physical barriers to create safe workspaces. Your instructors will be there to help ensure a safe environment, and most importantly, to lead you through a high-quality learning experience.
How do I know which classes will be in what formats?
With all these different types of classes, our class schedule is more complicated than in the past. If you're thinking about taking courses or have already registered, it's critical to understand the different formats. See how different types of classes look in the schedule here.
What technologies will I need to be a successful student?
Online courses at Virginia Western require a significant amount of interaction with Canvas, the Learning Management System, and many require real-time class sessions using the Zoom web-conferencing tool. In order to be successful in online classes, students must have substantial access to a computer with hi-speed internet connectivity.
Beginning with the fall 2020 term, access to computers and internet service on the Virginia Western campus will be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wi-Fi internet access will be available in college parking lots and in outdoor spaces, but computer labs will have limited availability and be accessible by appointment only.
Click here for more information on computer access expectations for students.
What will student services and learning support services look like?
No matter the format of your classes, all Virginia Western students have access to the same resources and support services such as advising, tutoring, library services and more. These services are offered in a variety of formats to meet students where they are and delivered in the safest manner possible. The most current information on accessing resources is here.
How can I get help?