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Course Modality Choices

The intent of this decision support framework is to assist you in making decisions for your course modalities. The goal is to provide you with the greatest amount of flexibility in your course decision. As you consider which modality is the best fit for your courses, the following three foundations may offer initial guidance:

  • COVID capacity
    Each classroom has a standard calculated capacity that accounts for social distancing needs and ventilation considerations. In most rooms, this will be 20-30% of normal capacity*.
    • For your scheduled classroom, how does the COVID capacity number compare to your anticipated course enrollment?
    • Given the COVID capacity, is it possible to offer a portion of the course in-person, with students attending on alternating days of the week, or for the instructor to lecture remotely to students in the room?

    *It may be possible to move your course to a larger room across campus. You should work with your college course scheduler and associate dean to make a request through the process developed by the Office of the Registrar.

  • Technology availability
    We expect most classrooms to have the technology infrastructure that can support some of the blended modality options described in this document. Technology upgrades are being considered for all rooms at this time, including general use classrooms and departmental spaces. Additional information will be released highlighting upgrade specifics when available.
    • Will my specific teaching strategies (e.g., lecture, student discussion, class participation) be supported by the available technology?
  • Health and safety awareness
    Instructors and students have concerns regarding their own health and safety as well as that of their family members or communities.
    • To what degree do you feel prepared to teach in-person given the current state of COVID-19?
    • The university will have a requirement for wearing face coverings and will establish capacity guidelines that ensure social distancing in the classrooms.  In addition, clear face shields will be available for faculty to wear when teaching. Will these safety measures mitigate your concerns enough such that you would feel comfortable teaching the class in person?
    • Are you in a vulnerable group as outlined by the CDC?

General Considerations

The following general considerations will be required for all instructors.

Health and safety of our faculty and staff. The university will continue to encourage those individuals in the CDC high-risk categories for COVID-19 complications to work remotely. This includes people who are 65 or older and those with underlying health conditions outlined on the CDC website. All faculty are being asked to express their preference for teaching modality for their classes as part of this planning process.  

  • Faculty in the CDC high-risk categories should be encouraged to exercise their option to teach remotely.  
  • All other faculty preferences should be considered to the maximum extent possible as you finalize your course offerings for a mix of in-person, blended, and online options.

Ability to accommodate students due to COVID-19 concerns. We recognize that for a variety of reasons, our courses will continue to be disrupted for students as well as faculty and staff. Teaching modalities will need to accommodate students who are sick or who will be in a 14-day quarantine. For example, international students or those arriving to start the semester from states identified by KDHE for travel and exposure isolation/quarantine will need to quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, students who are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 exposure will need to have online options available to them or need an accommodation through the Student Access Center. Finally, we also know that some students and their families are expressing a desire to avoid in-person classes for the fall and we hope to provide online options to them as part of our course offerings, when possible.

Ability to pivot to fully remote teaching. We need to be prepared with contingency plans to move entirely to remote instruction if necessitated by COVID-19 surges at K-State or in our communities. The university is currently working to identify the circumstances that would trigger such a decision, but you and your faculty should consider such contingency planning as part of their class preparation.

If you have questions about course modality choices, contact your college course scheduler, Brian Niehoff, or Karen Pedersen. If you have pedagogical questions, contact gcid@ksu.edu, and one of the university’s instructional designers or other support personnel will follow-up.

Course ModalityRequirements or Conditions Necessary
Offer through In-Person ModalityIf you prefer to teach in-person with appropriate safety measures in place,
your anticipated enrollment is less than or equal to the classroom COVID capacity.
Offer through Blended ModalityIf you prefer to teach in-person,  
your anticipated enrollment is greater than the COVID capacity but will accommodate alternating the attendance of students across your weekly schedule,
the room is equipped with technology to record or allow simultaneous lecture capture. 
Offer Online If you are in a vulnerable group, or you do not feel safe, even with mitigation of safety measures,
the COVID capacity of the room will not accommodate alternating student attendance across a week of class.