Appendix C: Executive Summary
Texas Christian University’s unique culture is rooted in a long history of serving and including others – actions that build bonds and cultivate a meaningful, diverse and inclusive connection culture within the TCU community and within the global community. This spirit of inclusive connection has inspired the TCU Connected Campus plan, our plan to maintain continuity of instruction for TCU students, regardless of how the pandemic continues to evolve.
It is important to note that this is a living plan, meant to provide structure and direction for student-centered academic delivery, as demanded by factors outside our control. The TCU Fall 2020 Campus Readiness Task Force was appointed to organize and direct formal processes and policies that focus on a safe return to campus. The Teaching & Research subcommittee has primary focus on keeping employees and students safe as we carry out our academic mission. Outcomes from this task force will become integral to the TCU Connected Campus plan described herein.
The following plan will follow and be influenced by TCU’s master campus readiness strategies, which dictate operational and personnel decisions for the University. Regular updates will be posted and noted.
Our vision goes beyond continuing instruction online, and moves toward extending broader TCU Connected Campus experiences across multiple domains of learning and engagement – including on-campus and virtual domains. These connected experiences include high-quality, personalized instruction, academic progression, advising and other student services, as well as opportunities for extra-curricular engagement across programs and campus-wide. A goal of this plan is to respond to students’ immediate needs during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and related scenarios in the years ahead, while also addressing future needs of students and academic programs.
We realize this vision with the TCU Connected Campus plan. Two key tenets of the plan are:
- Horned Frogs will continue to experience high-quality, personalized learning, academic progression and personal growth during their time at TCU, even when a pandemic or other disruption compromises access to campus.
- TCU’s high-quality, personalized curricular experiences are largely facilitated by face-to-face instructor to student interaction as well as active learning pedagogy that facilitates student engagement within the classroom.
Beginning with start of the fall 2020 semester…
- If the COVID-19 pandemic mandates that course delivery move between the four delivery modes of On Campus, Modified On Campus, Online and Dual, students enrolled in credit-bearing courses and experiences will experience minimal disruptions or surprises. They will know how movement between modes will modify:
- their interactions with instructors, access to course materials and expectations for course completion;
- their ability to complete required internships, clinicals, performances, lab projects, community engagement, research and other course or program requirements that cannot be continued in the typical way at the typical time;
- their access to advising, student success, and health and wellness services;
- their opportunities for social, extra-curricular and other connected-campus experiences;
- their need for technology or supplies to continue their course progression.
- Instructors should experience minimal disruptions or surprises if the pandemic mandates that course delivery transition between the four delivery modes. Instructors will have:
- completed Koehler Center 12-hour Hybrid Course online training
- redesigned their courses to maintain high-quality, personalized learning across delivery modes with minimal disruption.
- Employees will experience minimal disruptions or surprises if the pandemic mandates that course delivery transition between the four delivery modes. Employees will know how movement between modes will modify their work responsibilities, work location and technology needs.
- Formative assessment at the course and program level will inform continuous improvements needed to support students and employees, particularly if the pandemic mandates transitions between course delivery modes.
During the first three weeks of the fall 2020 semester…
- Students and instructors will become proficient learning within a virtual environment that includes synchronous and asynchronous tools. For example, synchronous tools such as Zoom to deliver lectures and asynchronous tools such as threaded discussion groups will be selectively used. Student feedback will inform continuous improvement.
The near-term outcomes of the TCU Connected Campus plan are two-fold. The TCU Summer Course Schedule is being delivered online and continues to provide distinctive high-quality, personalized learning experiences – in part, by leveraging synchronous tools that enable live virtual learning online (e.g., Zoom).
The TCU Fall Course Schedule and other extra-curricular aspects of the TCU Connected Campus will be delivered in the modalities demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that we will be prepared to continue learning and engagement within the following modalities as well as movement between these modalities.
- On Campus: traditional course delivery with all students on campus.
- Modified On Campus: all/most students attend classes on campus, but medium or large gatherings are prohibited.
- Dual: flexibility of delivering and transitioning between both on campus and online coursework. Students attend classes on campus, but online class is also delivered to students who are not able to be on campus.
- Online: online learning delivery if health guidance does not permit students to return to campus.
Implementation at the College Level
Planning at the college level aims to uphold the first key tenet of the TCU Connected Campus Plan: Horned Frogs will continue to experience high-quality, personalized learning, academic progression and personal growth, despite disruptions to campus.
To uphold this promise across the four delivery modalities, deans will lead their colleges in developing College Connect Plans that articulate the following:
- College Connect Teams that include people skilled with educational pedagogies, assessment, technologies, student success and campus connection experiences to assist in implementing the College Connect Plan.
- College eTrainers who will assist the Koehler Center in delivering professional development to instructors and assist colleges in creating course design models and assisting instructors with course redesign.
- College-approved Course Design Models that support the four delivery modes of On Campus, Modified On Campus, Dual and Online.
- Academic Program Progression variances identifying replacement experiences for course or program requirements that cannot be continued in the typical way at the typical time.
- TCU Connected Campus Experiences to enhance student access to advising, student success, wellness services, social engagement and other connected-campus experiences.
- Equipment and facility preparations needed to support the College Connect Plan (e.g., technology, larger classrooms, non-typical course scheduling.)
- An assessment plan that ensures compliance and ongoing formative assessment.
- A plan to support instructors as they complete Koehler Center training and course redesign during summer 2020 and during delivery of their first TCU Connected Campus courses during fall 2020.
Implementation at the Instructor and Course Level
Instructors will uphold this second tenet as follows:
- Facilitate courses using TCU Online (D2L), the university’s learning management system.
- Be verified by the Koehler Center as having completed the Hybrid Course training or as having demonstrated skills to opt out of all or portions of the training by August 1, 2020.
- Integrate synchronous interaction as much as possible (e.g., Zoom) to maintain face-to-face interaction (albeit virtual) within classes delivered online.
- Redesign fall 2020 courses to incorporate college-approved course designs that enable seamless transition between the four modalities described.
- Include course design models in fall course syllabi, posted on TCU Online, to inform students of expectations and possible modifications to the course if delivery modality changes.
- Given the plan for a return to campus for the fall 2020 semester, during the first three weeks of the semester, interject online components into the course so that students can become comfortable with experiences such as virtual lectures, virtual group work, virtual tests.
- Continue to seek student feedback for changes that can enhance their learning experiences.