Bryant University has developed a comprehensive plan, reviewed and approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health, for how to reopen the campus for the fall semester. The overall plan’s objective is to balance the University’s primary concern for the safety of all members of the campus community with its mission of providing a vibrant and innovative on-campus learning and living environment for students.
Many fall courses will include some remote learning to accommodate social distancing in the classrooms and faculty in medically high-risk groups from COVID-19 infection, but Bryant highly values on-campus learning, so it is expected that the large majority of students, living on campus or commuting, will attend classes with faculty on campus.
Fully remote courses will be offered as an option only to students in the following select groups, as a short-term accommodation, and at regular tuition levels. Before the start of the semester, professors will be notified of about remote students in their classes.
- Student Medical Accommodation: Students with a documented physical or mental medical condition that makes it impossible for them to safely return to in-person classes. Students should contact Assistant Vice President for Student Services and Administration John S. Denio and their request will be reviewed by Bryant’s medical staff.
- Family Medical Accommodation: Commuting students regularly living with people in medically high-risk groups from COVID-19 infection. Students should contact Assistant Vice President for Student Services and Administration John S. Denio and their request will be reviewed by Bryant’s medical staff.
- International Students with Visa Issues or Other Travel Restrictions: Students who cannot return to campus due to government restrictions. Students should contact Assistant Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars Kaoru Paganelli to review their personal situations.
- International Students Facing Travel Concerns If Bryant Has to Close Midsemester: Students should contact Assistant Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars Kaoru Paganelli to review their personal situations.
Hybrid course delivery
Bryant will use a hybrid model to deliver our campus-based student residential experience and instruction.
Learn more about the technology we've installed to deliver the hybrid experience.
As part of our hybrid model, the following features and safety protocols are designed to observe density restrictions while providing an impactful learning experience:
- Class sessions will be available through a combination of on-campus and online experiences, which may include web sessions via live streaming, and/or recorded for later viewing. Some class attendance will be split between alternating sessions.
- If there are more than 18 students in a given class, half of the class will be in person while the other half is remote, and then students will switch locations for the next class meeting, with simultaneous instruction for all.
- Some classes will be held all in person, some classes will employ the hybrid approach with synchronous remote learning, and some classes will have asynchronous-paired-with-in-person instruction. There will be online-only instruction with some courses for which this pedagogy is the most appropriate given the circumstances.
- Classroom technology and software will enable web access for learning purposes, including to some class sessions, lab support, and exam sessions, as a result of significant investment by the University, which will build on Bryant’s well-known progressive teaching practices.
- Web-conferencing cameras, ceiling mounted microphones, digital inking/annotation devices, dual instructor displays and confidence monitors are planned for use for some courses.
- Remote meetings, including with other students and faculty, will replace in-person meetings and be held via teleconference or phone, including during faculty office hours.
- For our international students who might not be able to return to campus, and for those who are ill or unable to attend a given class, we will be recording class sessions to ensure those who miss a class have the opportunity to observe exactly what took place.
HyFlex Bimodal Teaching
Colleges and accreditation agencies have long followed the idea of Carnegie contact hours where each hour of in-class contact time is accompanied by two hours of outside classwork. This definition has had to adjust to various circumstances such as directed studies, internships, online courses, and now HyFlex courses. The U.S. Department of Education notes that any out-of-seat class activity must reasonably approximate not less than one hour of in-class and two hours of out-of-class student work and be sufficient to achieve the course objectives. Examples might include recorded lectures, use of discussion boards, or group work, to name a few.
Faculty-student interaction is a hallmark of a Bryant education. Therefore, for the fall semester it is encouraged that a significant majority of both classes overall and any given individual class be held synchronously – be that in person, hybrid, or online, depending on the class. We are, however, in an unprecedented situation, so faculty may choose, for practical or pedagogical reasons, to integrate some asynchronous activity into their courses. Asynchronous activities will approximate the same time commitments and achieve the same course objectives as in person learning.
All faculty are expected to incorporate their plans for necessary contact hours into their course syllabi, clearly outlining expectations and learning outcomes. This includes ideas for regular weeks and for Saturday make-up days. (The fall 2020 class schedule is available here as a .pdf.) Faculty who choose to assign an asynchronous activity are encouraged to consult with department chairs and Center for Teaching Excellence staff to ensure that the proposed activity complies with Carnegie contact hours requirements. As has been the practice in prior semesters, all syllabi should be submitted to department chairs for review prior to the start of the semester.
Policy regarding choosing online classes
University policy on allowing students to choose online classes, even if they have no medical condition or travel restriction that keeps them from living on campus
It’s particularly important for Bryant’s first-year freshmen, transfer students, and commuter students to forge personal connections on campus. Studies consistently show that student learning is much greater when they establish contacts and discover mentors among the faculty. We are encouraging the residential experience and expect commuters to travel to campus for classes so that they can enjoy and benefit from the University experience. Remote access is offered as an accommodation to give students who are ill or required to quarantine, or unable to travel to campus, as much flexibility as possible.
With that being said, if a student has an extenuating circumstance that they feel merits online learning only for the fall, they can petition the University for an exception. Because we are providing the lessons in class and online and have incurred very significant expenses to do so, there would be no reduction in tuition and students would be required to waive their housing option for both fall and spring.
Revised academic calendar
Bryant’s revised academic calendar ensures that requirements for instructional hours are met and personalized interaction with faculty and staff maintained, while addressing health and safety concerns. An August start will allow the semester to end before Thanksgiving break, avoiding the significant risks posed by holiday travel and associated extensive personal contacts.
In addition, the revised calendar enables first-year students to have an on-campus orientation and adjust to the added health and safety protocols of residential life.
A top priority in our planning for the fall semester is to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. Here are some of the measures planned for health and safety in the classroom:
- Face masks/coverings and social distancing are required on campus, including in the classrooms, practices which are supported by our hybrid learning model.
- Classrooms will be cleaned frequently with appropriate disinfectant, as will all residence halls and community spaces. Electrostatic sprayers will be used to clean classrooms multiple times each day. High-touch surfaces will be disinfected on a four- to six-hour rotation
- Considerations and protocols for high-risk persons will be in effect, including individuals with immune deficiencies, who are encouraged to remain off-campus and engage with campus activities remotely.
Bryant’s Laptop Central, which serves as the student technology Helpdesk, has made some operational changes in light of COVID-19. The most significant is establishing an appointment-based system for in-person services. This will reduce waiting times and enforce social distancing for those needing laptop repair or other face-to-face services. Appointments can be booked by going to https://bookme.bryant.edu/appointments/laptopcentral Email and phone support are available at any time.
Additional changes to ensure health and safety during this time include:
- Installation of Plexiglass shields at the front desk.
- Complete wipe down of the front desk after each appointment.
- Disinfecting laptops before and after repairs.
- Disinfecting repair stations after each repair.
- Use of face masks and gloves by Laptop Central personnel.
Freshmen who did not have their laptops sent to their home can book an appointment to pick up their laptop using the link above. In addition to the hours listed below, Laptop Central will be open the weekend of August 22-23.
Junior swap to new laptops is scheduled for Saturday, August 29, in the MAC. Juniors will receive a separate email with detailed information covering the process.
Our Fall schedule begins August 25. Hours of operation will be:
Monday-Thursday 10am – 7pm
Friday: 10am – 4:30pm
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm
If you have any questions or concerns about your laptop or any campus technology, please contact Laptop Central by calling 401.232.6550 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The period from Thanksgiving through January 25, between the fall and spring semesters, will allow students to take one or two courses specifically designed for effective, condensed, and remote delivery. We plan to offer two sessions during this break: December 3-22 and January 3-22. This will give students the opportunity to accelerate degree completion and even take an extra course or two to expand their learning and interests.