Over half of fall courses to be offered completely remotely, Campus analysis finds

By Benjy Renton

When Middlebury announced its reopening plans on June 22, the college estimated that roughly a third of classes —  approximately 175 of 530 courses — would be taught remotely in the fall. Based on a Campus analysis of the most recent version of the course catalog, that figure is actually over 50%

269 of the 503 courses — or 53% — will be offered completely in either “scheduled online” or “flexible online” modalities, with no in-person components at all. 87% of classes will be taught online in some capacity. 

Courses over 35 students will be held online, with smaller in-person discussion or labs, according to the Return to Campus Guide. Professors have the option to pick the modalities that they will use to deliver their courses, according to a June 24 email to faculty

The five modalities of courses offered this fall are “in-person,” “blended,” “Hyflex,” “scheduled online” and “flexible online,” according to an email from Dean of Curriculum Suzanne Gurland and Dean of Students Derek Doucet.

An “in-person” course involves all of the instruction taking place in a campus classroom and will only be open to students studying on campus. 

The two “hybrid” modalities are “blended” and “Hyflex.” A “blended” course includes both in-person and online interactions, which could mean that students are in the classroom on some days and complete asynchronous or synchronous online activities on others. These courses are only available to students studying on campus. A “Hyflex” course consists of simultaneous interactions between in-person and remote students, which often involve using live streaming technology. Due to limitations on classroom technology, the college estimates few courses using this method. 

The two forms of online course delivery include “scheduled online” and “flexibile online.” A course that is “scheduled online” will be delivered completely remotely in a synchronous manner, while a “flexible online” course will require no meetings at a specific time.

When analyzing the “lecture” portions of courses for the fall, The Campus found that 63% of the lecture portions of courses will be offered online. However, when weighing the course catalog by the number of enrollment spots available in courses, 70% of spots in lectures are expected to be online. Out of the 10,325 spots in total, based on the data that are available, only 1,123 — 11% — will be fully in-person.

155 of the 503 courses — 31% — include a discussion, lab or drill session alongside the lecture component. Although the college claimed that online lectures would include in-person components, The Campus found that the majority of discussions, labs and drills will be offered through online methods of course delivery. Just over a third — or 33 — of the 90 discussion sections for courses will be delivered in-person. Similarly, only 12 of the 54 lab sections will be offered in-person. Drills, which accompany language courses and are the least common of supplementary sections to lectures, will be mostly online.

Many departments have chosen to offer their courses with predominantly online options. Out of the 50 departments listed in the course catalog, 17 — more than a third — will hold the lecture portions of their courses exclusively in “scheduled online” or “flexible online” modalities.

On July 28, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT, Dean of Curriculum Suzanne Gurland and Registrar Jen Thompson will host a Zoom webinar to explain the course schedule and registration process. The following day, on June 29 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT, the college will host a virtual version of its Academic Forum, typically held during the first week of orientation. Departments and programs will have open office hours for students to ask specific questions about courses; the information for this event is forthcoming.

Course registration will begin on August 3, at 10:00 am and continue through August 21 at 5:00 pm. Students can view their registration time ticket on the new Banner 9 system.