• Announcements

Undergraduate Learn from Anywhere Update for Fall 2020

August 1, 2020

From Frederic Brunel, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

Dear Questrom Undergraduate Community:

Your Questrom faculty and staff teams have been hard at work developing and testing our multifaceted plans for Fall 2020. This email is to give you specific information for the fall semester.

At Questrom, we know that many of you are anxious for more details about the Fall semester. As you have heard, Boston University will be implementing extensive procedures to ensure the safety of the students, faculty, and staff on campus this fall, including operations in the Hariri Building.  For details, please refer to the Back2BU website as well as the recent letter from Provosts Elmore and Kennedy on quarantine, isolation, and testing protocols, summarized in this BU Today article.  While these are obviously important parts of our return to campus, these are not the main focus of my communication today.

What I want to share with you today are our plans for Learn from Anywhere (LfA) for this fall. The LfA model accommodates you whether you choose to return to Boston and participate in person, or you decide to learn remotely from Boston or anywhere in the world.  Irrespective of the learning modality you select for Fall 2020, your Questrom faculty and the members of all our Questrom student services are committed to delivering a fulfilling experience and a supportive learning environment for all students. We understand that many of you are in the process of finalizing travel plans and decisions on where you will learn from during the Fall. We also know you have a BU housing decision deadline on August 1 that may impact your learning decision. Thus, we hope the following information can provide additional and valuable details.

  • Due to social distancing guidelines, most Hariri classroom capacities are limited to about 12-18 students. Therefore, Boston-based students in the in-person LfA format will attend class on a rotation.  Depending on the size of the class, the proportion of you who decide to engage 100% remote, and the classroom adjusted capacity, you will most likely attend every 2nd or 3rd class session.  Some small classes might even be able to accommodate most or all students for each session (without rotations). In addition, some Questrom courses have added additional in-person elements in order to maximize the residential experience.
  • The faculty will be determining the rotation schedule for their classes.  You will hear from them prior to the start of class.  We have developed an app that will allow you to check your rotation, indicate your preference for attendance, and sign up for available seats.
  • You can move back and forth between modes—that is, you might decide to attend in-person and then switch to the remote format during the semester. You will receive additional information from the University on how to switch between modes.
  • Instructors will be in the classroom and will be assisted by a TA or a moderator in order to fully include the remote and in-person learners into one single learning community in each session.
  • We have added monitors to the front of every classroom in the Hariri building so that students in the class can see those participating remotely.  In addition, we have added cameras so that the students participating remotely have views of the in-person students and instructor.
  • In-person students will need to bring a laptop and headphones/mic headsets to class in order to participate in break-out groups with the remote students.
  • Instructors, staff, and students will all be complying with BU guidelines on social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (please see Back2BU website).  Because everyone must wear a mask while in the Hariri building, no eating will be permitted in the classroom.  Please plan accordingly.
  • Faculty teams will have availability for in-person meetings by appointment and will hold regular office hours via Zoom.
  • Likewise, the advising and career teams will have availability to meet in-person or remotely via Zoom. Further details on the operations of the UDC will be provided.
  • Because of density and social distancing concerns, most project presentation days will be done live but remotely, and exams will also be administered remotely.
  • Team rooms will be limited to the capacity of one or two people.
  • We expect the Pardee Management Library to be open, with limited space for studying and meeting.
  • Throughout our building, you will see increased signage on how to safely navigate: directional signs to maintain stairway traffic, capacity limitations on elevators, and areas to queue for student service appointments.

Some courses will be offered in a 100% remote format with no in-person component.  The remote access for remote courses and in-person LfA courses will be via Zoom, similar to the format used during the second half of the Spring semester and During summer.

The decision to designate 100% remote courses relied on judicious selection processed that balanced the need for increased learning flexibility while preserving the residential character of our program offerings. All Questrom career courses, all non-credit bearing Questrom courses, and most Questrom courses with 1- or 2-credits have been moved to this 100% remote format. Also, some full-credit academic Questrom courses have been designated 100% remote in order to increase our teaching flexibility. In particular, we have added several sections of 100% remote and in-person LfA courses early and late in the day in order to accommodate our students who will be learning from distant time zones.

At this time, our plans are getting close to final, but obviously there can always be a few late adjustments coming during the month of August. With this qualifier in mind, I am very pleased to say that we are Back2Questrom in force and that we will have a fulfilling learning environment for all of you this Fall!

  • 85% (n=170) of our full-credit courses will be delivered in the in-person LfA format; 15% (n=30) will be 100% remote.
  • 75% (n=12) of our 1- or 2-credit courses and 100% of our career courses will be delivered 100% remote.
  • Overall, 81.6% of our academic credits will be delivered in the in-person LfA format.

Here is a detailed list of our Fall 2020 Questrom classes with information on the teaching modes for each one and some pending schedule changes as well.

I invite you to take a close look at the schedule and make sure that your fall selections fit well with your own constraints. You can still adjust your schedule where seats are available or be added to waitlists if need be. For that, please use the traditional channels and forms.

Our faculty and staff are working hard to prepare the final implementation details for the Fall semester.  For example, we have deployed a coaching system to guide faculty in adjusting courses and delivery to the LfA format and will be running numerous practice sessions amongst ourselves. We also plan to hold tech training sessions for students; more to come on that.  You should expect to hear from your faculty soon. We will continue to update you during August.

As always, please feel free to reach out to your advisors in the UDC for guidance or me with any questions. We look forward to your return in a few weeks and are excited to welcome you Back2Questrom and  Back2BU.