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The guidance on this page is designed to help Lehigh faculty and instructional staff prepare for fall 2020.  It was developed by the CITL in close collaboration with college deans' offices, faculty representatives on the Senate Working Group on Online Learning and Online Curriculum, the Academic Planning Task Force, and the Provost's office.


Course development for fall 2020

Guiding Assumptions

All Lehigh instructors are advised to begin planning now with the following assumptions in mind:

  • While some students and instructors will be able to meet together in a physical classroom, others will not.
  • Over the semester, individual instructors and students might shift from the ‘able to meet in a physical classroom’ group to the ‘not able to do so’ group or vice-versa.
  • A significant increase in COVID-19 cases on campus or in the local community would lead to mid-semester changes to how much in-classroom instruction we can do.
  • Given social distancing requirements, we will not be able to use our classrooms at their normal capacity.
  • Each in-person group gathering increases individual and shared risk.

These assumptions informed the commitment we made to our students in President Simon's June 10th announcement:

The majority of our fall curriculum will be offered in a way that works both for those who are on campus and also for those who are unable to be present in our classrooms. [...] Whatever the mode of delivery, we will not compromise the high-quality education for which Lehigh is rightly known, and we will ensure students who need or want to learn remotely can participate fully in the Lehigh experience and make uninterrupted progress toward their degrees.

And this recent guidance from the Provost: 

[F]aculty should plan to have their fall courses accessible to remote students throughout the semester. This will accommodate students who cannot attend class in a live setting, as well as faculty who may also not be able to teach in-person for health or personal reasons.

Lehigh's Instructional Framework: A Blended Approach

    Given all these factors, Lehigh faculty are adopting the following blended instructional framework:

    1. All courses will have a robust asynchronous online aspect--including online lecture videos, learning activities, assessments, and forms of feedback--that will serve as the backbone of your course, independently of whether your synchronous instruction takes place in-classroom or online. "Asynchronous" means you are not necessarily online at the same time as your students; instead, you create online course sessions that the students complete during a specified time period, usually within a 24-48 hour window.
    2. All courses will have interactive synchronous class meetings that build on the work your students did in the asynchronous part and--depending on who is able to physically be in the classroom and which classrooms are available--will take one of the following forms:
      • All Zoom
      • All In-Classroom
      • Some combination of In-Classroom/On-Zoom, where the frequency and type of each class meeting is determined by student availability, classroom capacity, and instructor preference.
    3. When opting for in-person class meetings, do so only for high-impact learning experiences that truly depend on people being physically together.

    The frequency, duration, and relative weight given to each of these elements will be determined by instructors (your answer will depend on your pedagogical preferences, course type, course learning outcomes, etc.), in consultation with department chairs (who will need to develop a range of course offerings knowing that not all instruction can be online and not all instruction can be in-classroom.)

    Once this is all determined, there will be three basic course types offered in the fall:

    1. Hybrid (open to both On-campus and Remote Students)
      Description: The class meets in-classroom at least once a week during its regularly scheduled synchronous class meeting time. This in-classroom instruction is supplemented by significant asynchronous online instruction. For these courses, an equivalent option must be available for remote students--that equivalent option could be either a second section of the course that is taught fully online, a similar course that would enable remote students to progress toward their degree, or an approach that uses an in-classroom hyflex approach (when the synchronous element of instruction is simultaneously in-person and remote).  If you are considering a hyflex approach know that this approach can work, but it comes with challenges: We have a limited number of rooms that can accommodate this approach; it can be difficult for faculty, especially in larger classes, as it requires dividing attention between students who are in front of you and students who are remote; and, if not done well, remote student can have a poor experience.  If you are interested in learning more about this approach, please indicate your interest when you are asked by the Registrar or your chair for your instructional preferences for fall. We have a very limited number of rooms capable of supporting hyflex teaching so this cannot be the primary option we use for in-classroom instruction with a remote option. 
    2. On-Campus Only (open only to On-campus Students)
      Description:  Some courses will be conducted only on-campus. These courses will have at least one on-campus class meeting each week. For some of these courses, some coursework and class meetings may also be online (these courses are considered blended), but none of these courses will be open to students who cannot be present in person.
    3. Fully Remote (open to both On-campus and Remote Students)
      Description: All instruction is online, using a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning approaches.  Students can expect a combination of asynchronous online coursework and fully online synchronous meetings. Some remote courses will have designated meeting times for synchronous class meetings; other remote courses will not. No fully remote course will have required on-campus meetings. Note: All courses with more than 50 students will be fully remote in Fall 2020.

    In addition, some Fully Remote classes may offer occasional In-person meetings, at the instructor's discretion 

    Description: The majority of teaching and learning is asynchronous online, as described above; in addition, the instructor may, if they are able fo find a suitable location, arrange intermittent on-campus meetings with students in small groups, where the number of groups is based on class size, room capacity, number of students who are remote, and instructor’s preference for frequency of synchronous interaction. The groups of students who are able to meet in-person will take turns meeting in person, on a cycle that includes the group(s) of remote students.    Example: The class has 50 students (=40 on-campus + 10 remote), and is assigned to a room that can seat 20. The instructor creates three groups that meet synchronously every third class period, where every third meeting is with the remote students.  

    Phase 1: Fundamentals of Pedagogies and Technologies for Online and Blended Courses: Recommended Approaches

    Phase 1 Poster

    1. Adopt a framework for your course 
    2. Use Course Site as your core online learning platform  [video
    3. Communicate and connect with students   
    4. Post course materials   
    5. Deliver lectures    [video]
    6. Interact with students through online course activities  [video
    7. Assess student learning online  [video]
    • Look over the faculty workshop recordings/guidance videos. You may not need to watch them now, but knowing where they are and what is offered will help you when you have questions about using various online pedagogies and technologies.
    • Familiarize yourself with the range of resources in the LTS Teaching and Learning Searchable Knowledge Base. Again, you may not need them now, but by doing this, you will know where to find them as you progress in your work. The Knowledge Base is searchable so if a question comes up you can return to search for solutions.
    • In June and July, CITL will be offering a series of workshops via Zoom for Lehigh instructors that will review the key ideas presented on the pages linked above.
    Phase 2: Workshops for Faculty on Online Pedagogies, Technologies, and Recommended Practices

    Phase 2 poster

    CAS          BUS          COE          COH          RCEAS

    Phase 3: Ongoing Faculty and TA Course Development Work (late July/early August)

    Phase 3 poster

    • Use the resources above to continue work designing and developing your courses, setting up your Course Sites, designing and recording course lecture videos, creating engaging online course activities, and planning assignments.
    • CITL will help create workshops and faculty learning communities to share ideas and address ongoing challenges.
    • Instructors are encouraged to review, as needed, the Preparing to Teach a Blended or Fully Online Course guidance page for Lehigh instructors, revisit the Teaching and Learning Searchable Knowledge Base, submit LTS Help Desk tickets, and attend additional CITL workshops, as needed.
    • Instructors are encouraged to engage in peer-to-peer partnerships to discuss course materials and get feedback on lecture recordings, assignments, and strategies for engaging students.
    • Optional: Instructors will have the option of enrolling in a two-week online course to experience the approaches and tools from a student perspective.
    Phase 4: Review before Launch & Mid-Course Adjustments (mid August into fall semester)

    Phase 4 poster