Fall 2020 FAQ
What is the difference between "online" and "blended" courses?
Here’s a nice comparison of the different formats that classes may take:
Usually, most of King’s courses are delivered in-person. This is how the vast majority of students normally experience university (in non-pandemic times, that is!). In-person courses have all class sessions (such as lectures and tutorials) held in-person on campus at scheduled dates and times (e.g., Tuesdays 1.30 to 3.30 pm).
This year, due to the pandemic, King’s is offering all of its courses in two alternative formats: Online or Blended.
Online courses have two key features:
- The course is delivered remotely
Online courses have been offered at King’s and Western for many years. The course is delivered remotely using Western’s online teaching platform, OWL. All course materials, assignments, and activities are completed online. For example, instructors may post videos, or readings, or lead forum-discussions online. Assessment (e.g., exams, tests, or quizzes) would be completed online, and students would submit any assignments using OWL as well.
- Presentation of the course material is asynchronous.
Asynchronous delivery means that students do not need to be online at a specific date or time to complete the course requirements. Note that exams, tests, or quizzes may be synchronous, however.
Understandably, online courses require a fair amount of discipline and good time management to ensure that you’re keeping on track.
Blended courses are essentially a hybrid of in-person and online courses because:
- The course is delivered remotely
Blended courses are delivered remotely using Western’s online teaching platform, OWL. All course materials, assignments, and activities are completed online. For example, instructors may post videos, or readings, or lead forum-discussions online. Assessment (like tests or quizzes) would be completed online, and students would submit any assignments using OWL as well.
But, unlike online courses,
- Some course components involve synchronous presentation
This means that some of the material is presented “live” — the instructor may require students to “attend” sessions online at a specific date and time, just like you would in a traditional in-person class. This may be to participate in discussions, for analyzing cases (for some BMOS courses), lectures, lessons, presentations, etc.
Importantly, these synchronous components may all be completed online: in all of our blended courses, there is the option for a solely virtual, online environment (e.g., joining in using Zoom) or in-person (face-to-face, in small groups on campus using appropriate physical distancing measures as directed by the Middlesex-London Health Unit).
The timing of these synchronous components will be the same as the date/time provided in the timetable. Exams, tests, or quizzes may be synchronous.
Instructors will clearly spell out the expectations for attendance and participation in their course outlines.
Blended courses provide additional structure to the remote-learning experience because of these live interactive components. Just like an in-person class, the expectation for attendance and participation should help students to keep on track!
Will students be forced to come to campus if there is an in-person component to the class?
All of King’s courses may be completed remotely this year.
But courses at Western, Huron, and/or Brescia may require students to attend some on-campus components; this of course is contingent on information provided by the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
Should I cancel my lease, since I can take the courses remotely?
It's up to you. All of King’s courses may all be completed remotely this year.
All courses at Huron may also be completed remotely, but some courses at Western and Brescia may require students to attend some on-campus components. (Any in-person components are contingent on information provided by the Middlesex-London Health Unit.)
Students should consult with off-campus housing prior to breaking any lease to understand ramifications and penalties: https://offcampus.uwo.ca/
How will my ACSD accommodations work for online and blended learning classes?
Students registered with Accessibility Services at King’s have already submitted medical documentation and consulted with an Accessibility Counsellor to determine an Accessible Education plan.
For the foreseeable future, we have encouraged students to follow up directly with their professors/instructors about facilitation of accommodations (i.e., extensions, make-up exams, etc.). We are asking professors (and students) to remain flexible and extend goodwill and fairness. Consultation with Accessibility Services at King’s (and Accessible Education) is welcomed but not necessary. Please contact email@example.com.
How will short-term academic considerations work for online and blended courses?
Leadership at Western and affiliates are still working out these policy-related details; we'll update when we have this information.
Will I need to come in person for exams?
No. All courses components may be completed remotely
Will I be graded unfairly or marked down, if I am in a blended course which also has face-to-face learning and I cannot do the face-to-face component?
No. Even in our blended courses, in which professors may offer some face-to-face components, students who aren’t comfortable coming to campus or who aren’t able to attend campus, will be able to “attend” required synchronous components via Zoom.
What kind of technology do I need to complete my courses this year?
- Personal computer: A laptop or desktop would be ideal as other devices such as tablets or smartphones may not provide the user with enough flexibility/ability to seamlessly toggle through various programs and documents.
- Internet connection: It would be ideal to have network speeds greater than 10 Mbps down/2 Mbps up per individual on a network. You will still be able to perform what is necessary with lower speeds but you may encounter slow download speeds, poor audio/video quality or lagging. Start.ca and teksavvy.com both offer competitive rates without a contract that are ideal for any budget.
- Internet Browser: Recommended browsers are Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari
- Software: All King’s students have access to Microsoft Office 365 software (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), Zoom for video conferencing. You can login to with you Western username and password to download the software.
- Audio-Visual Input/Output Devices: Speakers or headphones, a microphone and a webcam will be required in order to participate in live meetings or webinars. Most new laptops come with built-in cameras, microphones, and speakers.