Missouri State University fall semester begins today; what differences students can expect to see this semester

COVID-19: Back To School
putting the ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Missouri State faculty and staff spent most of the summer preparing for the fall semester. Their main goal was to ensure their students’ learning experiences continue to remain number one – no matter what that might look like moving forward.

“I feel excited because we’re prepared,” Helena Medzker said. “So we have our back up plan to our back up plan.”

Helena Medzker is a senior instructor at Missouri State University.

Medzker says she and her colleagues have been working hard to prepare ways to offer classes in a variety of formats.

“We have taken measusrements to where we’ve reduced the class size. We’re spreading students out, giving them more space.” 

Instructors are also incorporating things they learned earlier this year when courses were first shifted online.

“Why go back to having students sit through a whole lecture when you already have content available broken down by topics?” 

She says the online material offers added student enrichment, and also gave professors an opportunity to support students that may have to go into quarantine. 

Instructor-flexibility is also key.

“This fall is going to feel like our classes our intentionally-designed as opposed to in the spring when it was a really fast change,” clinical assistant professor at MSU Natalie Curry said. 

Curry says it’s important to create effective ways for all students to engage.

“Especially in our online classes. It doesn’t work to have an hour of a professor talking that feels like you are watching class instead of actually participating in it, so they’ll feel very similar to a seated class because they’re face-to-face. You’ve got an instructor in real-time in that moment. ” 

She says students may experience video lectures paired with activities as well as opportunities for discussions with their peers. 

Curry says she believes instructors are fully-prepared to pivot to online-only classes should that happen at some point this semester.

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