Classrooms and Instruction

We look forward to welcoming our students to the fall semester, in a residential learning setting. Our already-small class sizes — together with social distancing, use of face coverings, enhanced cleaning procedures and other best practices — will help promote safety and minimize risk. 

We have taken a customized approach to adapting every class to meet safety guidelines and to deliver on the Alma Commitment: relationships with faculty, individualized attention, and customized learning opportunities. Our fall classes have been designed to preserve the significant level of personal interaction with faculty that is a hallmark of an Alma education. 

Alma continues to embrace its identity as a residential campus in a small-town, rural environment. Residency is still required for all students unless a student has a documented accommodation or otherwise meets the qualifications for a residency exemption. If you are concerned about returning to class, please contact Disability Support Services to begin the accommodation process.

To learn more, click on the arrows in the table below.

How Will My Classes Look?
  • Social distancing guidelines require significantly reduced classroom capacities. Because of this, college faculty are making use of a wide range of alternative teaching spaces, including the chapel, Presbyterian Hall, Strosacker Theatre, and open spaces in the library.

  • The delivery method of each of your classes will vary. We have customized our approach based on what is best for each class:
  • Most smaller classes (typically those with fewer than 20 students) will continue to meet in traditional classrooms. These classes are marked as “Lecture” or “Lab” in Student Planning.
  • Some classes will meet on an alternating schedule, with part of the class attending one day and the rest attending on another day. These classes are marked as “Hyflex” in Student Planning.
  • Some classes will meet synchronously online possibly with some supplemental in-person instruction. These classes are marked as “ONS” in Student Planning.
  • A small selection of classes will meet asynchronously online, to best meet the needs of students. These classes are marked as “ONA” in Student Planning.
  • Some departments making use of hands-on learning opportunities, such as music, dance and theater, will have additional requirements specifically tailored to ensure the safety of everyone within those departments.

  • Information regarding the location and schedule for each of your classes will be clearly communicated by the Registrar’s Office and available in Self Service.

  • Each syllabus will include a statement that further explains the individual requirements for each class.
Classroom Safety
  • Face coverings are required of all students and faculty in academic buildings and classrooms. Some classes may also require the use of face shields, depending upon the activities they involve. If face shields are required for your class, the college will provide them.

  • Please maintain distance between each other when entering and leaving classrooms. Whenever possible, one door will be used as an entrance and another as an exit.

  • We have reviewed all classroom capacities to comply with best practices for social distancing. Capacity signs are posted at each classroom door.

  • The location for each classroom chair or table is clearly marked on the floor. Please do not move furniture in and out of classrooms.

 

As pictured in SAC 109, classroom chairs and tables have been spaced six feet apart from one anot... As pictured in SAC 109, classroom chairs and tables have been spaced six feet apart from one another. Students are asked to maintain social distancing at all times in classrooms.
The location for each classroom chair or table, like this one in SAC 109, is clearly marked on th... The location for each classroom chair or table, like this one in SAC 109, is clearly marked on the floor with an Alma College decal. Please do not move furniture in and out of classrooms. 
Campus Technology Upgrades
  • We have upgraded our learning management system to Canvas, which will provide a more user-friendly, intuitive experience for students. Canvas will enable better access to course materials and improved communication between students and faculty.

  • The college has invested in Owls, which allows students who are present in the classroom to engage in discussion with those attending class virtually. Google microphones in each classroom will also facilitate better audio for students who are attending class virtually. 
Student Technology Recommendations 

In order to facilitate interactive learning while maintaining adequate social distancing in classrooms, students will find it especially helpful to have a fully-functioning laptop with a webcam and microphone and adequate battery life. Please note, because of their limited functionality, Chromebooks are not recommended. Inside the classroom, students will find it helpful to use laptops for group work, readings, and activities. Outside the classroom, students may use laptops to join some class sessions remotely, virtually meet with faculty, academic support staff, and classmates, to access Canvas, and to complete and submit assignments.

 

Students will have access to on-campus computer labs, and a limited number of laptops will be available daily for four-hour checkout periods. Students who have individual technology access concerns or who are interested in the possibility of accessing a low-cost semester-long rental laptop should contact Abby McGuire, Director of Academic Support.

Faculty Office Hours 
  • Faculty are holding office hours either in person or virtually, depending on faculty and student preferences. When visiting any office to seek assistance in person, students should wear a face covering and abide by social distancing guidelines.
Student Support Services
  • Staff in academic student support offices, including tutoring, career services and the writing center, are offering some services virtually. 
Performing Arts
  • Some performing arts events have been moved to smaller scale performances, which may be live-streamed.

  • Choir rehearsals are now staggered, with smaller groups of students attending each day.