The University of Pittsburgh’s instructional model during the pandemic, Flex@Pitt, will not be used beyond the summer.
In a memo sent to students on March 20, Joe McCarthy, the vice provost for undergraduate studies, said the University is “looking forward to a ‘new normal’ for the fall 2021 semester” as it plans to transition back to a primarily in-person experience.
During the April 19 Educational Policies committee, McCarthy said it’s been challenging for faculty, especially in discussion-based classes, to provide students asynchronous programming.
“It was an extra burden on faculty that I don’t think that we need to do moving forward,” McCarthy said. “So asynchronous engagement options will be the exception rather than the rule.”
However, some remote options will remain available, especially for those students, such as international students, who may not be able return to the University for whatever reason.
“That’s going to be a much (more) limited menu of courses that won’t be across the board like Flex@Pitt was, and we’re still working out the details as to what those are going to be,” McCarthy said.
These remote offerings won’t offer the same flexibility as Flex@Pitt either, McCarthy said. For example, Flex@Pitt allowed students and faculty to choose whether they would be in person or remote for scheduled classes.
In the fall, this option won’t be available since the University will take more of an all-or-nothing approach, McCarthy said, where remote engagement options will remain remote and in-person options will take place consistently on campus.
— Donovan Harrell
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