July 17: Message from the Provost: What to Expect for Fall 2020

Dear Patriots:

As final preparations for the school year are being made, I look forward to welcoming you back to Mason for the first day of fall semester classes on Monday, August 24.

Fall 2020 will look different at Mason, with decreased density on campus and more online learning. Students will have the opportunity to have a course schedule consisting of a mixture of in-person, hybrid and fully online classes. Students will receive a high-quality education regardless of the delivery mode or course format. Mason will support your learning and development consistent with our mission to provide you with a rich learning experience that is innovative and inclusive.

We will widely communicate if it becomes necessary for Mason to pivot to a fully remote and online format for our courses. Please pay close attention to messaging from the administration, your college and professors throughout the semester. The health and safety of students, faculty and staff remains, and always will be, our priority.

Fall schedules are available to view in PatriotWeb, including changes that may have been required because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the next two weeks, students will receive personal emails from the Registrar’s Office with their class schedules. Students also may receive messages from their college/school, or academic program, with added information relevant for the fall semester.

If you have questions or concerns about your class schedule, please contact your academic advisor.

Another change you should be aware of for this fall is that the bookstore will sell textbooks and course materials online only prior to the start of the fall semester and recommends that you order your materials to be delivered at home in advance of the semester. In addition, the bookstore does not plan to sell textbooks/course materials in-store the first two weeks of the semester to comply with social distancing requirements. After you receive your course syllabi, please order the needed materials immediately to ensure they arrive to you on time.

If you will be returning to Mason’s campus, remember that all faculty, staff, and students must complete the university’s online Safe Return to Campus Training. This training is available now for faculty and staff in MasonLEAPS and will be available in Blackboard to students on Monday, July 27. This training is an important step for the health and safety of our community and represents a shared commitment to keeping our campuses as healthy as possible.

I wish you well and look forward to seeing many of you soon. All the best.

Mark R. Ginsberg, Ph.D.

Interim Provost and Executive Vice President

Six Options for Learning in the Fall

Fall 2020 will look different at Mason, with decreased density on campus and more online learning.

There will be opportunities for in-person learning for students who want to return to the Mason campus, and many other choices for learning online.

In all cases, we are prepared to fully pivot to online learning, if public health factors make that necessary.

Ways to Learn in the Fall
On Campus In Person
  • Classes meet on campuses, on the days, time and locations listed on your class schedule.
  • Physical distancing per university guidelines; masks are required in the classroom to ensure everyone’s safety.
Hybrid: On Campus In Person and Online
  • Fifty percent of the class meets in person on campus, with all students expected to attend class on the days, time and locations listed on your schedule.
  • Physical distancing will be observed based on university guidelines. Masks are required in the classroom.
  • Fifty percent  of the class work is completed online, on your own time. Keep in mind course instructions and deadlines for completing assignments.
Hybrid: On Campus In-Person and Live-Streamed
  • In this flex model, you will alternate between in-person learning and live-streaming lectures. Your instructor will provide information on what days to come to campus. Physical distancing will be observed per university guidelines; masks are required in the classroom.
  • All students are expected to attend class either in-person or via live streaming on the days and times listed on your schedule.
Online On Your Own Time
  • These courses will be 100 percent online, in an asynchronous format. You do not need to be on your computer or device on a specific day or at an exact time.
  • Be sure to pay close attention to the syllabus assignments and specific deadlines. 
Online Live-Streamed Classes will meet in real time via Zoom or WebEx on the days and times listed in the class schedule. The instructor will facilitate live, online lectures and discussions. 
Hybrid: Online Live-Streamed and On Your Own Time
  • This remote format is 50 percent live-streamed on the days and times listed on your class schedule.
  • The remainder of classwork is completed online, independently, on your own time. Be sure to pay close attention to instructions and deadlines listed in the course syllabus.