UMBC’s 4, 6, 8, and 12-week summer sessions will be offered entirely online in 2020. This includes all credit-bearing undergraduate and graduate summer courses. Classes that are already scheduled online will run as planned. Hybrid and in-person classes, including lectures, labs, discussions, seminars, etc. must convert to fully online delivery to remain on the summer schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q. What is the Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Delivery?
Asynchronous: students can access the class anytime through Blackboard to learn the material on their own time and schedule. In an asynchronous course, students do not need to be online at the same time.
Synchronous: students are required to meet together online at pre-designated times based on a meeting pattern for the entire session. Synchronous courses should clearly state the required meeting pattern on the schedule of classes, so that students can plan in advance the days and times they must be available online.
UMBC’s Faculty Development Center has also developed a tipsheet on Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction.
Q. Is There a Preferred Type of Online Course Delivery?
UMBC does not have a policy on asynchronous or synchronous online delivery. Decisions regarding how to best deliver course content are made by faculty, based on academic department guidelines. The recommended best practice for most online courses is asynchronous online delivery.
Q. If students are expected to be online at specific times, should the class have a meeting pattern?
Yes. If students are expected to be online at specific times or days for the entire session, the course should have a designated meeting pattern added to the schedule of classes. If the instructor expects students to meet together for just a class or two at the beginning of the session, rather than meeting regularly throughout the term, those requirements can be added to the Course Notes, rather than setting a regular Meeting Pattern.
Q. How can I support my students effectively in the online class environment?
The Faculty Development Center has created a tipsheet on Supporting Students in their Online Learning. This tipsheet includes helpful feedback and suggestions from faculty based on their transition to remote instruction at UMBC.
Q. What Are Considered “Best Practices” for Online Delivery?
Asynchronous approaches provide the most flexibility for students. UMBC also recommends that instructors record live lectures, discussion boards, and collaborative documents, so that those with access issues can refer back to those recordings when access is available.
Information about how to record live sessions and grant students access to recordings is on the DoIT’s Academic Continuity site.
UMBC recommends that faculty administer assessments and exams in a manner that avoids requiring students to complete them exclusively during synchronous, scheduled online sessions. Consider making tests available for longer intervals and/or at different times to ensure that students are able to complete them given challenges and barriers to access that students may face.
Q. Will Faculty Training be Available?
Yes. UMBC’s Division of Instructional Technology (DoIT) is offering online faculty training. Planning Instructional Variety for Online Teaching (PIVOT) is a new professional development program for instructors who wish to take a more deliberate and holistic approach to preparing their courses for remote, synchronous and asynchronous, online instruction. Learn more here.
Q. What Resources are Available for Faculty Teaching Online?
- Faculty Development Center’s tipsheet on Supporting Students in their Online Learning
- Faculty Development Center’s tipsheet on Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction
- DoIT’s Academic Continuity website
- The Faculty Development Center (FDC)’s Keep on Teaching and Keep on Grading websites
- UMBC’s Office of Equity and Inclusion
- Join the myUMBC Instructional Technology Group to receive regular updates, resources, and training opportunities from the IT team
- Join the myUMBC Faculty Development Center Group to receive regular updates and teaching resources
- Refer to the Provost’s website and review the Remote Instruction memo posted on April 3
- Refer to the SWSupport.umbc.edu website for general information about summer session