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UK releases statement clarifying plan for fall classes

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky has released a lengthy statement in order to clarify the university’s plan for moving forward with both online and in-person classes this fall amid coronavirus concerns. The additional details largely deal with the school’s terminology surrounding which classes will be offered in person, online or using some combination of the two this fall.

UK published the following statement in a series of tweets, linked here.

Here’s a full transcription:

We want to respond to some of the concerns being raised and offer some clarification around some terminology that, understandably, creates confusion at times. About two-thirds of all class sections involve in-class, in-person instruction. More specifically, almost every first-year students will have at least some in-person instruction. They will have a mix of courses – both in-person and online – as part of our effort to ensure health and safety and maximize the residential experience.

Many classes will necessarily involve a mixture of in-person instruction and some online, video or remote learning. In part, that is because we have a reduced capacity for classrooms to enforce physical distancing and keep our students and faculty safe. So, the result is that a lecture hall, for example, will have significantly reduced capacity to accommodate physical distancing. And, it’s important to note that for a number of years we have had online components that complement in-person instruction – streaming of videos, chat rooms, flipped classes and other tools that help enhance learning.

Throughout the week, a student in that class may have a lecture or a study group in person, followed by a lecture or work that takes place in an online context. Also, there may be some confusion – understandably – around terminology. When a student goes into the portal and sees that a class is “distance learning,” it’s important not to assume that necessarily means completely online. It often means a class has a hybrid approach, where some portions are in-class instruction and some may occur online. In fact, within the portal, you will see the terms: traditional, distance learning-hybrid; distance learning-internet. Both traditional and distance learning-hybird have in-class instruction. Only the third category – internet – is completely online or in a remote context. That flexibility is how we are going to keep people – our students, our faculty and our staff – safe and healthy.

We promise we are making these moves with the health and safety of everyone as our top priority. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these complex issues and apologize for any inconvenience or confusion. Students with questions about their schedule of classes can contact their academic advisor or email [email protected]

Important note: If a course says distance, click on the course heading (it should be a link) and then you will see if it is hybrid or fully online. If hybrid, then there will be some face-to-face interaction.

The school originally released its plan for the fall semester in June, which detailed how students are scheduled to begin in-person classes on August 17 and conclude in-person instruction at Thanksgiving, with final examinations administered remotely after Thanksgiving break.

UK President Eli Capilouto also released a plan to cap tuition and fees for students earlier this month. The maximum tuition bill will now be $6,242 for full-time undergraduate resident students and $15,647 for nonresident students this fall, irrespective of how many courses a student takes in-person, online or in the aforementioned hybrid format.

In reality, the tuition cap simply means students won’t be as overrun by the school’s “online learning rate,” which was applied per credit hour (not per course) for online classes in previous semesters. The additional fee was charged to the student in addition to his or her “regular” tuition. Here’s an example and explanation of last year’s rates, also available on the UK registrar’s website, linked here:

Now that more students will either have to or choose to receive more of their instruction online due to the coronavirus, it’s nice to see Capilouto and the university limiting these additional expenses. It shouldn’t have to cost students more to take a course online rather than in person anyway, especially when some majors, minors or other programs have required courses that were only offered in the online format, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Having full-time students pay an additional $1,710 or $1,803 (depending on whether or not the student also had at least one in-person course on campus) for a typical three credit hour (virtual) class in addition to full-time tuition and a slew of mandatory fees was over the top.

However, UK’s current plan to cap tuition and fees in 2020 is just that – a plan to cap tuition and fees for the coming semester. It’s unclear whether or not the “online learning rate” will return in Spring 2021.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

1 Comment for UK releases statement clarifying plan for fall classes

  1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    11:33 am July 20, 2020 Permalink

    From someone who works with 2 fully online programs, but who in the past has worked with fully on-ground programs and also hybrid programs, that terminology should be revised. “Distance” should not apply to fully online and also hybrid. It should be:

    *Traditional (I prefer “On-ground”)
    *Hybrid (mix of online and on-ground)
    *Online (meaning fully online with NO on-ground instruction)

    The one problem we did have is with programs that give students the option of coming to physical classes completely and/or viewing live interactive lectures online completely, or watching a recording of the lecture if they are sick. I’m not sure what they decided to call that since it didn’t fit the definition that we had already given “hybrid”. “Hybrid” needed to be only the above or it would be confusing, so in all fairness, that may be part of UK’s dilemma here as well.