Instructional Update 7/7/20

This information was sent to all NDSU employees on 7/7/20


Dear Colleagues,
As President Bresciani explained in his campus update on June 25, 2020, NDSU plans to prioritize the in-person classroom experience that our faculty have traditionally preferred and our students have overwhelmingly requested. Increasing spacing in the classroom and using face coverings aid in our ability to deliver face-to-face instruction and provide our students with a campus experience. In addition, because of funding through the ND CARES award, we are able to integrate the HyFlex educational model to seamlessly and synchronously integrate in-person teaching with remote instruction.
Our goal is to provide in-person educational services in a highly-flexible format through the use of technology. A HyFlex model blends the in-person classroom with the virtual classroom and enables NDSU to maintain its traditional classes while synchronously incorporating students or faculty who are vulnerable or in quarantine.

The ND CARES Award provides funding to support faculty in adapting their courses for delivery simultaneously to differently-located students, or to teach their courses from a distance if they are unable to be in the classroom, as well as plan for students who may become ill and have to isolate for a period of time. In addition, in the event that the University must go fully virtual again because of public health guidelines, instructors should be prepared to deliver remote instruction seamlessly.

Philip Hunt, the University Registrar is working with Department Chairs/Heads to ascertain their classroom space needs based on state guidelines for occupancy during the pandemic. Departments may request larger classrooms to allow greater social distancing or add additional sections to accomplish smaller class sizes. Moreover, with the enhanced ability to deliver classes virtually to remote students, classroom density is further reduced.

Just as we want to inform students of their ability to participate remotely through the use of technology, we also need to let them know if the instructor will be teaching remotely. Students who are expecting a face-to-face experience with a faculty member need to be informed if their instructor will not be consistently present in the physical classroom (although some faculty may need to quarantine/isolate for some period of time during the semester). Students should be encouraged to meet with their advisor to rearrange their schedules if they prefer face-to-face instruction in the physical classroom to virtual instruction. Departments must communicate with students if their instructor will be teaching remotely.

Accommodating students by providing larger classrooms, additional sections, and the HyFlex option for virtual participation means that students may be present in their courses every day. However, some laboratory or experiential learning courses may not adapt well to HyFlex delivery, so in some cases, students may have to alternate the days they are present in the on-campus lab. Students who are taking their classes remotely using HyFlex technology should consult with their advisor to rearrange their schedules if physical presence in a lab or course is required. Departments must communicate these requirements to their students.

The University Registrar has asked Department Heads/Chairs to complete a request form re: classroom needs. The deadline for response has been extended to July 17. There are a number of sections that are currently over-enrolled, addressing those sections should be a priority. The options available to departments are as follows:

  • Keep your class section as is and request a larger classroom if your section is going to exceed the 75% capacity limit.
  • Request an additional classroom space for the same section in order to split the enrollment numbers into two classrooms and offer HyFlex instruction within a different classroom location.
  • Request to add an additional section for the course just as you would have done prior to COVID and whenever you anticipated a need for an additional section.
  • For laboratory or experiential learning courses that cannot be adapted to HyFlex, if students cannot all be present in the physical space at the same time, you may request to keep your section as is (without an additional classroom space) and split the enrolled students into separate groups. For instance, Group A would meet in the laboratory on Tuesday and Group B would meet in the laboratory on Thursday.

If you have questions about instructional options, please contact . For questions about classroom spaces and scheduling contact
Margaret A. Fitzgerald
Interim Provost
North Dakota State University
103 Old Main
NDSU Dept. 2000
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Pronouns: she/her/hers