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Falcon Flex Academic Model – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Falcon Flex?

Falcon Flex is Notre Dame College’s plan to provide students with a flexible, active and engaging on-campus classroom experience in the Fall 2020 semester, while following guidelines to keep everyone safe. The Falcon Flex academic model is designed to offer high-touch educational experiences, blending in-person, face-to-face classroom instruction with live remote (online) instruction. Students and faculty will engage in active participation and learning at the same time in each live classroom session. In classes with larger enrollments, students will take turns attending class in person, with half attending a class session in person while the other half of the class participates remotely (online). This approach allows students to interact with the instructor and each other in every class session regardless of the physical location of the students and faculty. All courses are being built to support this delivery method and will provide the flexibility to allow all students to attend class sessions at the same time even if increased virus activity forces a change to a fully remote (online) learning model during the semester.

Why are we doing this?

We heard student feedback about their Spring 2020 semester remote learning experience. Many students did not like the reduced contact with their instructors. Students reported that they felt that the loss of a set time to attend classes led to a lack of structure and made it difficult to learn new material. That is why the Falcon Flex plan keeps class sessions meeting at their set times during the entire semester. It is why that plan has all students in a course meeting at those set times in every class session. Falcon Flex provides contact with faculty and other students in a structure that is familiar and effective for learning.

Will students be on campus?

Yes – that is our plan pending any changes in health guidelines set by governmental and health officials. Classes will be held on campus with students and faculty in the classroom. Students will attend and participate at the same time (live and in real time, that is synchronously) in every class session during regularly scheduled times during the semester.

What does “synchronous” mean?

Synchronous is the usual way students attend classes. In Falcon Flex, synchronous means that students and faculty will all participate together at the same time for every class session during the semester even though only some of the students might be in the physical classroom on a particular day.

How will classes be taught?

We want to maintain acceptable and recommended social distancing in the classroom to keep students and faculty safe. For courses with larger enrollments, students will rotate between being physically present in the classroom and attending class in real time, remotely (online). For example, half the students might attend one day and the other half of the students attend the next day. For courses with smaller enrollments, all students may be able to meet in person for each class session, provided the classroom allows for acceptable physical distancing.

How do I attend remotely?

We are putting equipment (such as a camera, microphones, large monitors) in our classrooms to allow students to see and hear the faculty member in the classroom teaching their class. The instructor will be able to see and hear each student. Each student will be able to ask questions and interact with the other students whether they are in the classroom or attending remotely (online).

How do I know which day(s) I should be in the classroom?

This will be determined and communicated by the faculty instructor. Each faculty instructor may have slightly different approach to assigning students to attendance groups. In general, each group will be assigned a day of the week to be present in the classroom. For example, in a class that meets two days a week at 11 AM on Mondays and Wednesdays, a group could be assigned to participate in the classroom at 11 AM on Monday and to participate remotely (online) at 11 AM on Wednesday. The other group would attend remotely (online) at 11 AM on Monday and in person at 11 AM on Wednesday. In this way, both groups participate at the same time even though they are in different physical locations. For classes that meet three days a week, a more creative approach might need to be determined by the instructor to best meet the learning needs of the students in the course.

Will class attendance be taken?

Yes. Federal guidelines require that we verify each student’s class attendance. Although attendance will be recorded for each class session, it is up to the instructor to determine how class attendance factors into the course grade, if at all. We do, however, strongly encourage all students to attend all class sessions. Good attendance is associated with good course outcomes.

What equipment do I need to attend remotely?

Each student will need a computer with a microphone and camera and a stable Internet connection. A smart phone would work, but is not recommended because of the small screen size. On campus, we are upgrading equipment to provide better connectivity. In addition, we will have computer laboratories and set-locations that would permit students to borrow a laptop computer to attend a class remotely. Each student will need to provide their own wired headphones with a microphone to use on lab computers and borrowed laptop computers.

Am I prepared to attend college in this way?

We are here to make sure that each student is ready. For returning students, not much will change since we will be using Moodle and Microsoft Teams software. We are developing ways to provide training and support so that students only need to focus on succeeding in their courses.

What does “flex” mean?

The flex part of Falcon Flex academic plan refers to permitting the flexibility of allowing students to attend class sessions completely remotely (online) if necessary for health, travel, or other reasons. It further allows faculty to do the same if needed. The academic plan will also allow the College to continue to provide class sessions where everyone participates at the same time (faculty instructor and students) even if no one is in the physical classroom.

What happens if classes can’t meet in the classrooms?

That is the beauty of Falcon Flex academic model! Classes will still meet on their regularly scheduled times for the entire semester. Faculty and students will still be attending and participating in class sessions at the same time regardless of whether anyone is in the physical classroom. Each student will still be able to ask and answer questions in real time, as classes will be live (synchronous). Each student will still be able to interact with other students. Each student will still be engaged in active learning!

Will there be on-campus classes after the Thanksgiving holiday break?

The College will closely follow the progress and status of the COVID-19 pandemic and infection risk. Although we are optimistic that face-to-face, in-person classes may resume after Thanksgiving holiday break, it is likely that there may be an increased risk to students, staff, and faculty to have student fully return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday break. This risk may be enhanced when coupled with the rise of other viruses (such as influenza A or B) that traditionally begin to spread more rapidly at this time of the year. To that end, the College is fully prepared with the Falcon Flex learning model to go fully remote after the Thanksgiving Break as described above.

Will tutoring services still be available?

Yes – the usual tutoring services in the Dwyer Learning Center and the Academic Support Center (if applicable) will be available. Those services will also be Falcon Flexed to provide tutoring in a flexible manner which blends in-person and remote (online) assistance.

Will this be different than the last month Spring 2020, remote instruction?

Absolutely yes – for all the reasons discussed above! Our plan is for students to be physically on campus and have classes that meet in classrooms, in real time with faculty. Students will have more interaction with their faculty and with other students. Students will keep their usual structure of attending classes on assigned days at set times. Courses are being designed to support this method of delivery even if circumstances require us to switch to remote (online) learning. Whether we are all on campus for the entire semester or not, students will experience a high touch, active, engaging and effective learning experience in the Fall 2020 semester!

Will classrooms be cleaned between class sessions?

Hard surfaces in classrooms will be wiped down with disinfectant wipes between class sessions. To allow at least 15 minutes between all class sessions to complete this task, the starting and ending times of Monday/Wednesday/Friday (MWF) classes will be adjusted slightly. There will be no changes in the starting/ending times of Tuesday/Thursday (TR) class sessions. A further change in MWF starting/ending times will allow more time in the middle of the day. The class starting and ending times for Fall 2020 are as follows: 

MWF CurrentTime (min) MWF Fall 2020 Time (min)
9:00 – 9:5050 9:00 – 9:4545
8:30 – 9:4575 8:30 – 9:4575
9:00 – 11:40160 9:00 – 11:40160
10:00 – 10:5050 10:00 – 10:4545
11:00 – 11:5050 11:00 – 11:5050
11:00 – 12:1575 11:00 – 12:1575
12:30 – 1:2050 1:00 – 1:4545
12:30 – 1:4575 1:00 – 2:1575
12:30 – 3:10160 1:00 – 3:40160
1:50 – 2:4050 2:30 – 3:1545
3:00 – 3:5050 3:30 – 4:1545
2:45 – 4:0075 3:30 – 4:4575
     
5:30 – 6:4575 5:30 – 6:4575
7:00 – 8:1575 7:00 – 8:1575
7:00 – 9:3090 7:00 – 9:3090

 

TR CurrentTime (min) TR Fall 2020 Time (min)
9:00 – 10:1575 9:00 – 10:1575
9:00 – 11:45165 9:00 – 11:45165
10:30 – 11:4575 10:30 – 11:4575
12:00 – 1:1575 12:00 – 1:1575
12:00 – 2:45165 12:00 – 2:45165
1:30 – 2:4575 1:30 – 2:4575
3:00 – 4:1575 3:00 – 4:1575
3:00 – 5:45165 3:00 – 5:45165
     
5:30 – 6:4575 5:30 – 6:4575
7:00 – 8:1575 7:00 – 8:1575
7:00 – 9:30150 7:00 – 9:30150
7:00 – 9:45165 7:00 – 9:45165
Will the fall semester academic calendar change?

Yes. We are changing the fall semester academic calendar as shown below. Classes will be held on Labor Day and also on what had been Fall Break. These changes allow us to eliminate Final Exam week and end the semester early – on December 11th.

Revised Fall 2020 Academic Calendar
Semester TermOnline IOnline II
First Day of ClassMon., Aug. 31Mon., Aug. 31Mon., Oct. 26
Last Day to AddFri., Sept. 4Sun., Aug. 30Mon., Oct. 25
Last Day to DropFri., Sept. 4Sun., Sept. 6Sun., Nov. 1
Labor DayClasses will be held.Not ApplicableNot Applicable
Graduation Application Due (for all students planning to participate in May 2021 Commencement)Fri., Sept. 25
Spring 2021 Schedule AvailableWed., Oct. 7Wed., Oct. 7Wed., Oct. 7
Spring 2021 Advising BeginsMon., Oct. 12Mon., Oct. 12Mon., Oct. 12
Midterm Grading Open for FacultyFri., Oct. 23Fri., Sept. 25Fri., Nov. 20
Midterm Grading Closes for FacultyTues., Oct. 27Tues., Sept. 29Tues., Nov. 24
Midterm Grades Available to StudentsTues., Oct. 27Tues., Sept. 29Tues., Nov. 24
Last Day to WithdrawFri., Nov. 6Sun., Oct. 4Sun., Nov. 29
Fall BreakClasses will be held.Not ApplicableNot Applicable
Spring 2021 Priority Registration (Seniors, NONT, TEEL, RN-BSN, Honors, ASC)Wednesday, November 4, 2020 – Thursday, November 5, 2020 
Spring 2021 Priority Registration (Juniors)Friday, November 6, 2020 – Monday, November 9, 2020
Spring 2021 Priority Registration (Sophomores)Tuesday November 10, 2020 – Wednesday November 11, 2020
Spring 2021 Priority Registration (Freshmen)Thursday November 12, 2020 – Friday November 13, 2020
Thanksgiving BreakWed., Nov. 25 – Fri., Nov. 27Not ApplicableNot Applicable
Last Day of ClassFri., Dec. 11Sun., Oct. 25Sun., Dec. 20
Graduation Application Due for Students Completing Coursework in August 2021Fri., Dec. 4Fri., Dec. 4Fri., Dec. 4
Final Exam PeriodFinal exams will be incorporated into regular class sessionsWeek of Oct. 19Week of Dec. 14
Final Grading Period Opens for FacultyFri., Dec. 11Fri., Oct. 23Fri., Oct. 18
Final Grading Period Closes for Faculty (noon, 12:00 pm)Thur., Dec. 17Wed., Oct. 28Tues., Dec. 22
Final Grades Available to StudentsThur., Dec. 17Wed., Oct. 28 Tues., Dec. 22
What if I have additional questions?

Please direct questions regarding fall semester classes and academics to Sandy Grassman, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs (sgrassman@ndc.edu); fall semester residence and the student life experience, to Tera Johnson, Dean of Students (tjohnson@ndc.edu); and if you are a new or returning student-athlete or performing arts student, please contact your coach/advisor.