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Teaching and Learning

With excellence in student learning as our fundamental goal, Santa Clara University has devoted extensive time and resources to build upon the lessons, technologies, and experiences gained when we shifted suddenly to 100% remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look to a phased reopening of campus this fall, we are excited to be developing innovative, flexible, inclusive, and adaptive methods for educating our students. Dedicated faculty will maximize students' in-person experiences while augmenting the learning environment with new technologies and modes of teaching, learning, and interacting. And we will do so while keeping the health, safety and well-being of our entire campus as our top priority, and preparing to shift back to remote learning in the event that health precautions on campus or in our region require us to change course.

Update: In response to changing COVID-19 health and safety conditions and guidance, fall classes will be held primarily online. Plans to bring students back to campus have been suspended. Read the latest campus messages from the President and SCU’s leadership team.


Blended and Virtual Courses

SCU students can expect a variety of learning environments when they return to campus in the fall. We will be adapting all courses in ways that will provide our students with a healthy and safe learning environment, maximum flexibility, and more options than previously available to engage with instructors and peers through different learning modalities.

Some courses will have content delivered online, with a blend of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) content, and opportunities for synchronous virtual engagement with faculty. Any student may choose to take some or all classes fully online. Many course offerings will include a blend of in-person and online instruction. Instruction in blended courses might consist of any or a combination of the following:

  • Hy-Flex (fully synchronous model): Faculty teach courses in-person with some students joining in person and others joining remotely
  • Flipped Classroom (asynchronous/synchronous mix): Lectures or other learning materials are shared with students for independent learning, followed by in-person and synchronous online class meetings
  • Dual Classroom (asynchronous/synchronous mix): Students take turns attending class in-person; the instructor teaches the same synchronous lesson twice, while the other half of the class works independently or in groups on asynchronous material
  • Labs and Specialty Courses: Science and engineering labs, studio art, music, theatre and dance, and other areas that often require high-touch, close-contact interactions will be restructured to meet rigorous safety standards. Many will be offered in person with modifications designed to meet the challenges associated with in-person instruction in each of these disciplines.


Teaching Effectiveness

Jesuit education has always adapted to changing world circumstances; next academic year will be no different. Our faculty will provide dynamic learning environments that will work best for the content they teach and for their students. Over the summer, the Faculty Collaborative for Teaching Innovation is working with our faculty to provide strategies for success in the blended learning environment, addressing what evidence-based practices for online teaching exist and how to implement these practices using SCU’s suite of technology tools. The immersive “Creating Optimal Online Learning” (COOL) program, delivered in collaboration with the Association of University and College Educators (ACUE), prepares faculty to implement evidence-based teaching practices shown to improve student achievement and close equity gaps. In addition, many units on campus are setting up alternative ways for SCU students to connect with one another and with faculty and staff over virtual or other social media. In the Jesuit tradition of humanistic education, students will pursue new forms of learning and engagement, deepen their connections with one another, and apply their knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.

Class Schedules and Registration

We are exploring a number of strategies to provide in-person learning environments that are healthy, safe and optimal for learning. We are implementing enhanced safety measures in buildings and classrooms, including the appropriate flow of pedestrian traffic. We are considering best practices for social distancing in order to achieve the appropriate capacity and density level in each instructional space. Given the impact these factors will have on our classroom availability and capacity, we are also looking into expanding class times and identifying all potential instructional spaces on campus. A detailed update on class schedules and registration will be sent in August.

Fall Undergraduate Calendar

Provost Kloppenberg emailed to campus that the Sept. 21-Dec. 4 dates for the 2020-21 undergraduate academic calendar are unchanged. Students will complete the first nine weeks of the quarter on campus, with students not returning to campus after Thanksgiving, but instead taking Week 10 classes and finals remotely. This will help to reduce both the risks associated with travel during flu season as well as exposure of our community to the virus. 

Graduate and Professional schools

We have announced that graduate programs will be largely online, and will operate on calendars specific to their needs. Students will be notified about the schedules and specifics directly by their schools and programs.