Academics

Updated 7.9.2020

This fall semester will look and feel different from the past. As these are unprecedented times, the plan for delivery of instruction and the academic calendar will have off-ramps, and we will modify our strategy if conditions change and the situation warrants.

Academic calendar

The safety, health and well-being of our campus community will always be paramount, which is why we will plan to start and finish the fall semester early in an effort to avoid a potential second wave of the virus in late fall or early winter. There will also be strategies to monitor changing health care issues and disease patterns, which would determine if or when a change in campus activities may be required. Decisions about pre-November “off-ramps” will be made in consultation with our infectious disease and public health experts.

The first day of classes will be Aug. 10 (professional schools may vary), final exams will be completed by Nov. 24 and students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving. Spring semester will begin in January, as usual. We will announce plans for New Student Convocation and Winter Commencement at a later date. The University will observe Labor Day (Sept. 7) and University Day (Oct. 12), but will eliminate the fall break (Oct. 15-16) this year. The complete academic calendar can be found on the Registrar’s website.

Student Schedule View in ConnectCarolina will be unavailable from Wednesday, June 24 to Tuesday, June 30. Updated modes of instruction for most graduate and undergraduate courses will be uploaded into ConnectCarolina during this time and most undergraduate and graduate courses will be realigned within the new extended day schedule. The schedule view will be made available for students from July 1 forward.

Registration for continuing students will be closed from Wednesday, June 24 to Monday, July 20 to allow schools, departments, and the Office of the University Registrar to update and make changes to ConnectCarolina. Classrooms will be assigned during the downtime and course information will continue to be updated including modes of instruction and course times. On July 21, registration will open for all continuing students. Incoming first-year and transfer students are exempt from this change and will continue to register at their assigned time reflected in ConnectCarolina.

Class Day/New Meeting Times

Classes will begin at 8am, Monday – Friday. The time between classes has been extended to 30 minutes to provide extra time for exiting and entering classrooms and buildings, thus reducing high-traffic areas. This extra time will extend the class day beyond 5 p.m. The instructional day will end at 6:10 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

New Standard Meeting Pattern – Fall 2020

 

Periods meeting on MWF

Current Meeting Pattern (15 minutes between classes) Fall 2020 Meeting Pattern (30 minutes between classes)
Period 1 MWF 8:00 am- 8:50 am same
Period 2 MWF 9:05 am- 9:55 am 9:20 – 10:10
Period 3 MWF 10:10 am-11:00 am 10:40 – 11:30
Period 4 MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm 12 – 12:50
Period 5 MWF 12:20 pm- 1:10 pm 1:20 – 2:10
Period 6 MWF 1:25 pm- 2:15 pm 2:40 – 3:30
Period 7 MWF 2:30 pm- 3:20 pm 4:00 – 4:50
Period 8 MWF 3:35 pm- 4:25 pm 5:20 – 6:10
*Period 9 MWF 4:40 pm – 5:30 pm
*Period 10 MWF 5:45pm – 6:35pm

*As needed, classes typically scheduled in Period 9 and 10 on MWF will be provided assistance in scheduling

 

Periods meeting on TuTh

Current Meeting Pattern (15 minutes between classes) Fall 2020 Meeting Pattern (30 minutes between classes)
Period 1 TR 8:00 am- 9:15 am same
Period 2 TR 9:30 am-10:45 am 9:45 – 11:00
Period 3 TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm 11:30 – 12:45
Period 4 TR 12:30 pm- 1:45 pm 1:15 – 2:30
Period 5 TR 2:00 pm- 3:15 pm 3:00 – 4:15
Period 6 TR 3:30 pm- 4:45 pm 4:45 – 6:00
Period 7 TR 5:00 pm- 6:15 pm 6:30 – 7:45

 

Delivery Methods 

The University will offer multiple instructional delivery options this fall to maximize flexibility for students and faculty and to provide both on-campus and off-campus (remote) learning opportunities. We are focusing on four options based on national models of instructional delivery, recognizing that taking an off-ramp and pivoting to remote instruction later in the semester may be necessary.

We recognize that some students and faculty may not be able to be on campus in the fall for various reasons, such as issues with health, travel, and visas. We believe these instructional delivery options will encourage excellence, while providing flexibility for those who need it, including students who would not otherwise be able to enroll and make timely progress towards their degree.

Continuing students will be able to see the instructional delivery options for their scheduled courses in ConnectCarolina. Students are not required to take all of their courses in the same instructional delivery model depending on if during fall they are (1) a residential or commuter student or (2) a student who will not be able to be on campus in the fall semester. Depending on the courses students select, their fall course schedule may include different instructional delivery options. Students who are registered with Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) and those with documented disabilities or medical conditions are encouraged to contact ARS; other students can contact their academic advisor with questions.

Face-to-Face/Hybrid. This is a course that incorporates in-person sessions in the classroom with the instructor and is specifically designed for on-campus learners only (students who are residential and commuter). This type of course is not available to students who are not coming to campus during fall. In addition to scheduled in-person sessions, face-to-face/hybrid courses may have remote components (not in the classroom). For flexibility and to best meet student learning outcomes, the instructor may rotate who is in the classroom on a given day or hold full class meetings remotely.

HyFlex. This is a course that welcomes both in-person learners and remote learners. Students may attend in person, remotely, or a combination of the two. HyFlex courses accommodate active participation of both on-campus students and remote students who are joining synchronously (at the same time as on-campus students).  Classes may be recorded for students joining asynchronously (outside of the scheduled time without real-time interaction). A student can decide whether to be in the classroom or participate remotely. HyFlex courses are available to all students (on-campus and remote).

Remote and recitation. This is a course that has a remote lecture as well as a small, required synchronous recitation. Depending on the course, the recitation sections may be face-to-face/hybrid, hyflex, and/or remote only.

Remote Only. This is a course in which students participate only remotely (not in the classroom). Remote only classes will have a scheduled class time. The instructor will determine whether the class will be taught synchronously, asynchronously, or a combination of the two. Remote only courses are available to all students (on-campus and remote), regardless of whether they are participating from a residence hall, off-campus residence, or elsewhere.

All decisions about the instructional delivery models for specific classes are made by deans and department chairs, with input from the respective faculty members regarding how to create the right balance of course offerings and based on guidance from public health officials. Courses with large student enrollments are likely to be delivered remote-only due to the limited number of classrooms that can accommodate larger class sizes while adhering to our physical distancing guidelines. Courses with in-person sessions or components will be assigned to rooms that will best accommodate the size of the class, physical distancing guidelines and the needs of the instructor based on the mode of instruction.

Carolina Away is a program for new first-year or transfer students who are not comfortable or are unable to join us on campus, Carolina Away will allow students to take remote courses and participate in small-group experiences with classmates, faculty, and staff. Approximately 1,000 new Tar Heels will participate this fall.

 

Classroom Utilization

The University is reimagining campus spaces and reconfiguring in-person course instruction to support compliance with the physical distancing guideline, face mask guidelines, and other health and safety measures as recommended by public health officials.

The University guideline on physical distancing asks students, staff, faculty and visitors to stay at least 6 feet away from other people whenever possible in all indoor and outdoor settings. Individual deans may petition the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost to request an exception for certain classroom spaces and pedagogical purposes to have a physical distancing standard of between 3 and 6 feet. In all classrooms across campus, there will be a minimum of 6 feet between the instructor and the first row of students.

The classroom operations team has worked with each of the schools to map out ideal classroom configurations. This process informs department chairs of the maximum capacity in each classroom to facilitate a healthier learning environment. New campus spaces that allow for physical distancing also are being considered.  These considerations mean that small classes will meet in larger spaces, and large lecture classes may be split into smaller sections, delivered face-to-face/hybrid, remotely or consist of a combination of both. Our goal is to offer as much flexibility for students and faculty as possible.

In accordance with the University guideline on face coverings and face masks, students, faculty, staff and visitors must wear a face covering or face mask in all classroom settings from the time they enter the building to the time the exit the building. Face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant will be available in classrooms for students and faculty to keep their learning and instruction areas clean.

We are confident that we will be able to provide world-class instruction in the fall. We will continue to communicate with our students, their families, the faculty and the staff of the University on a regular basis and will share decisions and rationales as the campus navigates the Roadmap.

Libraries

The University Libraries has developed a comprehensive plan to deliver collections and services, with a “digital first” emphasis that will serve faculty, students and staff regardless of location and that will prioritize health and safety in the unique library environment.

Among the key elements:

  • The Library will begin a contactless pickup service beginning July 13 and continuing through the semester. Anyone with an ONYEN or current community borrower’s card may request circulating materials through the online catalog for pickup at Davis Library or the Health Sciences Library. Learn more at this FAQ..
  • Beginning August 3, designated spaces in Davis Library (floors 1 and 2) and the Health Sciences Library (floors 1, 2 and lower level) will open for use. Stack floors will be closed to the public. Library staff will retrieve items through the pickup service,
  • Everyone in library buildings will need to wear a face mask and maintain six feet of physical distancing.
  • The Library will de-densify and spread out furniture in order to encourage physical distancing. The Library is seeking to implement a reservation system for tables.
  • Public computers, printers and other technology will not be available in library buildings.
  • Faculty and graduate students with offices and carrels will be able to make an appointment to retrieve books and belongings. However, offices and carrels will not be available for routine use.
  • Most reserve readings will be electronic. Remaining print reserves will be available in Davis Library, rather than the Undergraduate Library.
  • The Library will prioritize the purchase of electronic resources for research and teaching, and is expanding its capacity to scan, digitize and electronically deliver materials, especially from the Wilson Special Collections Library.

We are navigating this new normal alongside everyone else in the community. We are approaching reopening cautiously, so that we can learn as we go along and make adjustments going forward. We want every member of the Carolina community to be successful in this unusual semester. That begins by doing everything we can to keep people safe.

To learn more, read the University Libraries’ complete re-entry plan or send questions to libraryreopening@unc.edu.