Informed by the latest science, public health guidance and ideas from our campus community, CU Boulder is implementing a flexible, in-person fall 2020 experience designed to keep our community safe, ensure access and quality for our students, and move our community forward.
Creating a COVID-19-ready campus
Scale our testing, tracing, prevention and mitigation capabilities, beginning with a phased return to research and creative work this summer
Enable physical (social) distancing to limit population density on campus and in classrooms
Train students, faculty and staff and commit to follow all public health and safety guidelines
Maintain awareness of local conditions, supported by a public health awareness campaign
Be ready to adapt as needed to COVID-19 circumstances
Delivering flexible academic instruction
Begin classes on August 24, 2020
Conduct a 16-week semester, with some courses offered in 8-week sessions
Provide a mixture of in-person and remote coursework and an expanded daily class schedule to limit population density on campus
Offer first-year academic experiences for all incoming first-year students through resident and commuter cohorts
Offer remote flexibility for people at risk of COVID-19 and members of vulnerable populations
Shorten fall break and complete the semester remotely after Thanksgiving
Aligning resources for student success
Zero percent tuition increases for all students, with a 4-year undergraduate guarantee for new students; no RAP fees for residential students
Pool campus resources to provide for health and safety supplies, sanitation stations, testing, and physical distancing needs
Prioritize resources for academic support and IT needs to help faculty develop technology-enabled instruction
Offer COVID-19-compliant access to facilities and resources like the UMC, Rec Center, libraries and other activities, services, events and support on campus
The Academic Instruction Implementation Team is working with Housing and Dining Services on the best approach to first-year cohorts; more information will be available later this summer. Cohort design will be variable depending on the academic experience and living environment. Our goal is to have students with common academic interests and common courses share living spaces, such as the floor of a residence hall.
We anticipate that smaller academic cohorts may vary from 25 to 150 students dependent on academic interests and the courses in which students are enrolled. Smaller cohorts will exist within a larger cohort that, in most cases, will represent the residence hall.
Breaking large student networks, in which students take classes across multiple student groups, into smaller student networks taking the same group of courses can reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Academic cohorting will also help create for our first-year students the natural cohorts that tend to emerge for upperclassmen as they move into upper-division courses specific to their majors.
The courses first-year students will take will focus on courses that promote their academic progress, including general education requirements and major requirements. They will also have an opportunity to schedule elective courses, primarily as online options, outside of their cohort.
The cohort model provides a smaller, residential college experience within a larger university setting and will allow first-year students to start off strong, complete required courses and work toward earning their degrees while staying safe on campus.
Yes. The campus is committed to equitable remote options for vulnerable/at-risk populations and meeting the needs of students whose health or personal circumstances require them to learn remotely. A foundational principle of our Academic Implementation Team is ensuring the campus will offer enough fully remote and/or online options that students who cannot attend courses in person can make progress toward their degrees. However, not every course will be offering remote instruction, and this may require a fully remote student to choose different classes.
Yes. Fall break will be shortened to Thursday and Friday only, with classes continuing through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After fall break, all classes will be remote (synchronous) or online (asynchronous) through the end of the semester.
The blend of in-person, hybrid, remote and online courses that will be offered in fall 2020 will not diminish the quality and value of a degree from CU Boulder.
The main criteria for our courses remain the same whether they are taught in person, online or remotely: our courses must involve regular and substantive instructor interaction with students. With remote and online teaching, faculty and instructors are still able to:
Provide regular instruction and interact regularly with their students.
Provide full and substantive assessments and regular feedback on students’ coursework.
Be proactive and available in providing information or responding to students’ questions about the content of the course.
Faculty across campus continue to incorporate best practices for teaching and learning in various teaching modalities into the design of their courses.
In addition, the Center for Teaching & Learning has partnered with Continuing Education, the Office of Information Technology and the Office of Academic Innovation to offer workshops and provide resources and individual consultations for faculty on effective, evidence-based practices for remote and online teaching.
We are also prioritizing classes for in-person delivery whose academic outcomes are difficult to achieve virtually (e.g., computer labs, performance classes, studios).
Finally, the Boulder campus is going to great lengths to modify our campus operations in a way that will allow us to safely provide on-campus experiences for our students. The Boulder campus continues to make significant investments in our COVID-19 health and safety infrastructure in order to provide a safe learning and working environment for our students, staff and faculty.
Degree-seeking students have the opportunity to add, drop or swap classes during the schedule adjustment period (Aug. 3–9), with access available for all students during open enrollment (starts Aug. 10).
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) are continuing their intensive work to expand technology supports for all teaching modalities. OIT is creating a website to overview what technologies are available now, and what will be available this fall, along with descriptions of the support available.