Flex In-Person (with Rotation): Synchronous + Zoom

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Important Note: Only Essential In-Person classes will be allowed to meet on campus at the start of the spring 2021 semester. All other classes will start with remote instruction. The most important steps you can take to prepare for an upcoming semester are to build a robust D2L Course Site AND communicate with your students about how you will handle the classes until they can meet on campus. Consult Planning for Remote Teaching for steps to accomplish these tasks.

In this Flex In-Person model, the instructor and students are on campus. The instructor divides the students into appropriately sized groups, based on physical distancing requirements and room size. They meet with each of the groups in the classroom once a week, with the rest of the students attending class sessions via Zoom. Students should be advised that they should not attend in-person class sessions if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19. When they do attend class sessions, they need to wear face coverings that cover both their nose and mouth. The UA will provide two face coverings to students and instructors at no cost. The UA Bookstore is offering online sales of UA-branded masks . (Dean of Students Face Covering Student Compliance Guidelines ) While in class, students and instructors will need to remain separated as per the most current distancing guidelines whenever possible. For classrooms that have more than one door, one will be designated for exiting students and another for incoming students. (Exit and entrance procedures for classrooms with one door are under development.) Classroom Technology Services has prepared this Quick Start Guide to disinfecting and using the classroom technologies. 

These class sessions proceed as synchronous meetings, with some students in the classroom and some students attending via Zoom, with instructors presenting content and facilitating in-class activities. Active and collaborative learning activities will need to be adjusted to accommodate distancing and mask requirements and students joining via Zoom. Some suggestions are available in the Other Resources tab, Active Learning in Physically Distanced Classrooms. Where Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Learning Assistants (LAs) are available, they monitor the Zoom meeting for questions from the students not in the classroom. Where TAs or LAs are not available, one or two students could be asked to monitor the Zoom meeting each class session and relay questions to the instructor. Finally, you may find these attendance guidelines helpful.

   Saundra teaches an Engineering class that is scheduled to meet Tuesday/Thursday for 75-minute sessions. The course enrollment is 60 students; Saundra divides those students into two groups of 30 each. On Tuesdays, she meets with one sub-group, in the assigned classroom, ILC 125, and on Thursdays, she meets with the other sub-group. This classroom has tables with movable chairs. One door has been designated for entering students, and the other for exiting students. Saundra asks students to remain well separated when entering and exiting the classroom. Students sit at the tables in the seats marked as open to maintain appropriate physical distancing. She has included language in her syllabus about these procedures, and has noted that students are required to wear face coverings during class.
   The students not in class each day log in to a Zoom meeting during the scheduled class time and participate in the class remotely. As students enter both the classroom and Zoom meeting, they are asked to respond to a polling question that gets them focused on the class content. Saundra’s TAs and LAs monitor Zoom during class, relaying questions and comments from the remote students, so they are included in the class sessions. When Saundra has students work on problem-solving exercises during class, the students in Zoom are sent to breakout rooms to work in groups of four. The in-class students work on the exercises in Google docs, since the small whiteboards have been removed from the classroom. Some of her TAs and LAs monitor the in-class activities, while Saundra and the rest of her TAs and LAs monitor the breakout rooms. Because of the requirements for physical distancing on campus, instructors have been asked to dismiss classes a few minutes early. Saundra decides that she will end her class sessions five minutes early so students have time to get to their next classes. She adds short post-class assignments to her D2L course site to replace the wrap-up activities that she would usually do in person.

   In this video, Paul Blowers, Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, shares his thoughts about using the Synchronous + Zoom model for the fall semester.


  • On-campus students have the opportunity to interact in real time, face-to-face with instructors. 
  • For instructors who are inexperienced with online or hybrid teaching, this model maintains many elements that would be present in the in-person classroom. 
  • This model is the most applicable for instructors who use class sessions primarily for content delivery through lecture. 


  • It is not clear whether we have sufficient classroom space for this model to be used with all large-enrollment classes, depending on the degree of physical distancing that will be required. A team is currently working on revising room capacities to accommodate distancing; that information will be available soon. 
  • Remote students do not have the same opportunities for engagement as on-campus students, unless care is taken to create activities that promote their engagement and interaction. 
  • Zoom discussions in very large classes are difficult to manage, even with a large group of teaching or learning assistants. And not all instructors have access to TAs/LAs.
  • There will need to be a contingency plan in case some students are unable to log in to the Zoom meeting or have difficulty with their internet connection.

Related Resources



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OIA offers webinars and mini-courses throughout the year to support instructors. Please also feel free to reach out to the OIA Faculty-Development Team  with your questions and requests for consultations regarding your teaching and student learning.

Additional support is available for D2L  and instructional technologies.