Fall’s Return to Learn offers students options

In addition to a campus-wide COVID-19 preparadness plan, the University has developed a flexible approach to attending classes, one designed to reduce transmission of the virus while giving students who want to be in the classroom the opportunity to do so.

FlexSync is the Maverick path to flexible learning and teaching using new technology. The term HyFlex is used by the Minnesota State system to describe flexible classes in general—but FlexSync is Minnesota State Mankato’s more comprehensive learning solution designed to support students.

Most general classrooms are equipped with cameras and screens to allow interaction with students learning remotely.

“The main thing is we wanted to emphasize student choice – to give students a choice of how they want to attend a synchronous class,” Interim Provost Matt Cecil said. “We’ve focused on making these the best possible experiences and not just getting by.”

With the FlexSync approach, classes will be taught in classrooms that are set up with Zoom technology. Some students may attend in-person, based on the limited capacity in each classroom, while others will participate in class remotely. (Watch a video on FlexSync here.)

To implement FlexSync, the University’s IT Solutions team has bought and installed in most general-use classrooms equipment including video cameras, microphones and large screen TVs. These will link with Zoom and provide students the opportunity to attend class remotely.

While appealing to students by providing them a choice, it also allows the University the flexibility to move one way or the other, as social distancing guidelines and other directives change.

The University’s Return to Learn website has the details of the plan for fall return. The site will be updated as more information is finalized throughout the summer.

Some University classes will be completely online, with no in-person interaction. On the other end, some courses require the majority of time to be in a classroom, lab or field experience. In these in-person classes, some time may be spent in alternate methods, including FlexSync, with faculty and student safety the foremost concern.