Western Washington University has completed the planning process for its Fall 2020 mix of in-person and online classes, and Phase I of Fall Registration will officially begin on Wednesday, June 17.
“This has been a process involving almost every system on campus,” said Western’s Provost, Brent Carbajal. “Understanding how the university was going to teach about 2,900 classes across more than 175 academic programs while keeping students safe was a colossal undertaking. We are all much indebted to those who guided the university through this process.”
Western has completed a Fall 2020 course structure which incorporates a variety of delivery methods to provide flexible options for students:
- Face-to-Face: Small classes will be held in medium-sized lecture areas to allow for social distancing, and medium-sized classes will be held in the university’s largest lecture halls for that same reason.
- Remote instruction: Courses originally approved to be offered face-to-face, but which will be offered remotely during the pandemic.
- Hybrid: Courses offering a combination of face-to-face and remote instruction.
- Online: Courses originally approved and historically taught online and developed specifically for that learning environment.
Western has made enhancements to its online registration tool, Classfinder, to allow for searching for individual classes by delivery method, and will be adding attributes and locations to clearly define how and where a course is offered as well as if that course has specific meeting days and times. A key will be available on the Classfinder homepage to clearly define delivery methods and new terminology, as well as links to an instructional video and FAQs.
More than 600 class sections (about 20 percent of the total number of class offerings), including more than 250 classes for first-year students, have been approved for face-to-face instruction for Fall, and each section had to pass a rigorous screening process about number of students, space size, and more. In addition, every lecture area will be cleaned and disinfected after each class is finished.
“At the end of each class session, the lab or classroom will be taken out of service for one hour, and all flat surfaces and touch points will be disinfected with products specifically approved by the EPA for use against coronavirus. All public areas in academic buildings will receive the same level of disinfection three times per day,” said Chris Brueske, assistant director of Facilities Management at Western.
“All spaces will be configured to assure 6-foot spacing between students, and where possible, all spaces will have a designated entry door and exit door to ensure that 6-foot spacing is maintained as students enter and leave the space," he said.
The “hybrid” course modality will be the most unique offering in the fall curriculum.
For example, in this historic election year, Political Science students will have the opportunity to take “PLSC 450: Parties, Campaigns, and Elections” with Professor Todd Donovan using a hybrid face-to-face and synchronous remote format. Half of the class will meet on Mondays and half on Wednesdays, and it also includes a synchronous 30-minute remote component on Fridays for meetings and discussion.
The History Department will also be offering a mix of in-person, hybrid and remote classes in the fall.
“The History Department recognizes that the heart of a good college education is the classroom community — the interaction between professors and students as they learn together,” said History Chair Johann Neem. “To emulate that experience, we scheduled classes where possible so that students would meet online synchronously in small discussion sections with their professors.”
Every effort has been made to return to as normal a classroom experience as possible – given the protective safety structure placed over all of Western’s classes and the university as a whole.
Students should seek out academic departmental advising as soon as possible, or if they have not yet declared a major, the Academic Advising Center is available to assist with course planning. For questions about courses, course restrictions, and prerequisites, the department offering the course will have the best information. For questions about Classfinder or other registration questions, contact the Registrar’s Office at (360) 650-3432 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.