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OU Vice Provost Mark Morvant outlines possible class structures for fall semester

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Mark Morvant Teach Anywhere Discussion

Mark Morvant, vice provost for Instruction and Student Success, talks to faculty and staff members at the Teach Anywhere discussion in Bizzell Memorial Library March 12.

OU Vice Provost of Instruction and Student Success Mark Morvant outlined various class designs Monday in an email to all faculty in preparation for this fall semester. 

In the email, Morvant thanked faculty members for their flexibility in adjusting to schedule and room changes. He said the Office of Classroom Management has completed time shifts and is now working through Phase II college requests. 

Morvant said in the email he hopes the majority of schedule changes will be in place in the next few weeks. He then described the “creative formats” he said some have adopted to continue meeting students’ needs. 

Blended class formats allow students to have some in-person class time and some class time online, Morvant said in the email. He said normally, these classes are structured so students spend half of class time in person, and the other half as asynchronous online learning. 

In the email, he said, though, that other divisions are possible, as long as the course’s content and learning objectives are “equivalent to that of a three-hour in-person (course).”

Morvant said in the email several classes are shifting to a blended format in the fall, with half of the students attending in person one day, and the other half attending in person the next class period. This can be done, he said, by recording the first lecture of the week on Zoom for half of the students to watch online, and then doing the same during the next class period for the other half of the students. 

This would move “direct instruction” to the asynchronous online portion, and the in-person portion would be used for “high impact engagement activities,” Morvant said in the email. A blended format will provide class content to both groups of students and allow both to engage in person, he said, and it will also accommodate students that need to self-isolate during the semester. 

This is “one of the simplest methods” for implementing a blended format this fall, but it will require increased communication due to less in-person contact, he said in the email. 

Morvant said in the email that a flipped class model moves direct instruction online through video or readings and uses class time for “dynamic engagement and problem solving.” For disciplines with “more graphical or dynamic content,” Morvant said instruction videos prior to class can allow students to be prepared for “in class engagement and critical thinking.” 

He said a flipped format can also serve as a model for a blended class structure. 

“It may require creating or curating videos for students to watch online as well as low stakes assessments to assess if they are prepared for the in-person activities, but uses valuable in-person time for the most impact,” Morvant said in the email. “Due to the use of the in-person time on high-level engaged activities and critical problem solving, this is a recommended model for courses that have moved to a blended format. Please consider if this model is possible for your blended course in the fall.” 

Morvant said a dual-delivery structure is based on early teleconferencing courses and requires the instructor to teach students both in person and online at the same time. It also requires students to either be online or in-person at the same time and engage with the professor through either in-person or online engagement methods, he said. 

“This is a difficult format to do well,” Morvant said in the email. “Teaching students in the room in front of you and those in the virtual space takes practice, technical expertise and the ability to shift from a physical to virtual presence effortlessly. It can be done well, but is challenging to those without practice. At its worst, the students in the virtual environment feel disengaged from the course and are more than flies on the wall watching the instructor teaching to the students in-person.” 

Morvant said in the email that, due to the difficulty of teaching two audiences at once, he recommends professors consider using a blended model with recorded lectures for students attending classes remotely. 

HyFlex is a “complex pedagogy to pull off well, but gives the most flexibility to the students,” Morvant said in the email. The model’s main feature is the ability it gives students to choose to study remotely or in person, he said.  

Morvant said in the email that even though some schools have chosen to implement the HyFlex model, it’s not a structure OU is using this fall.

Ari Fife is the OU Daily summer editor-in-chief and a sophomore journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as a senior news reporter and was an SGA beat reporter.

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