In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UTD has given students the option of choosing between in-person, online and hybrid classes for the upcoming fall semester. Students registering for classes will be able to select the type for each of their classes through Coursebook.
To accommodate safety standards in the classroom, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jessica Murphy said physical classes would see limitations placed on class size and seating. In addition, students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks while on campus. For those found in violation of these campus safety procedures, Murphy said students would be held accountable to the code of conduct and face punishment on a case-by-case basis.
Murphy said the management of hybrid courses will depend on school department, although professors would likely provide slightly varying course materials and exams to students attending virtually. Although online exam proctoring has not been implemented across the board, she said the university is still considering the idea due to privacy concerns.
During a virtual presidential town hall in June, provost Inga Musselman said that students attending classes physically would be able to change modalities to online classes during the fall semester. In addition, all classes will have asynchronous access regardless of modality, allowing students to access class materials and lectures remotely.
Regardless of which option students choose, tuition fees will remain the same. Terry Pankratz, vice president for budget and finance, said this decision was made in part to compensate for the loss in revenue the university incurred during the spring and summer semesters.
Facilities fees, including services such as the Activity Center and Student Counseling Center, will still be charged to students, regardless of if they elect online classes or not. Upon making the decision, Pankratz said there was no available data on the distribution of students in online and physical classes.
“This continues to be a very fluid situation right now. We are meeting three to four times a week to talk about how this is going to unfold,” Pankratz said. “We’re watching COVID announcements just like everybody else. We’re trying to open the university in the safest way possible and following federal and state guidelines. So right now this is the best information we have and the goal is to open the campus to the fullest extent possible.”