Flex In-Person (with Rotation): Asynchronous + Small Group

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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. All of the course content is presented online, and students access it asynchronously, by watching Panopto or other recordings, reading the text or other course materials, participating in D2L discussion forums, or taking quizzes in D2L, as some of many options. 
The instructor divides the students into appropriately sized groups, based on physical distancing requirements and room size. They meet with each of those groups once a week; these meetings focus on answering questions, application activities for the content, and maintaining a sense of class community. Students should be advised that they should not attend small-group sessions if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19. When they do attend these 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 centrally scheduled classrooms, revised classroom capacities have been identified. 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. Active and collaborative learning activities will need to be adjusted to accommodate distancing and mask requirements. Some suggestions are available in the Other Resources tab, Active Learning in Physically Distanced Classrooms. Finally, you may find these attendance guidelines helpful.

   Gabriel teaches a General Education Sociology class that is scheduled to meet MWF for fifty-minute sessions. The course enrollment is 150 students; Gabriel divides those students into three groups of 50 each and meets with each group on one of the regularly scheduled class days each week, in the assigned classroom, ILC 150. This classroom has tiered seating with movable chairs. One door has been designated for entering students, and the other for exiting students. Gabriel 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. Gabriel has included language in their syllabus about these procedures, and has noted that students are required to wear face coverings during class.

Each of the in-person meetings starts with a check-in to ask how students are doing and what concerns they have. Gabriel then asks for questions about the most recent content and assignments. The remainder of the sessions are devoted to activities where students are asked to apply content; e.g., identify the sociological principles illustrated in a given reading. The students work on collaborative activities in Google docs, to avoid sharing physical documents. Teaching Assistants attend the class meetings to help facilitate the activities. Because of the requirements for physical distancing on campus, instructors have been asked to dismiss classes a few minutes early. Gabriel decides that they will end their class sessions five minutes early so students have time to get to their next classes. They add short post-class assignments to the D2L course site to replace the wrap-up activities that they would usually do in person.

In this video, Michelle Berry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender & Women's Studies, shares her thoughts about using the Asynchronous + Small Group model for the fall semester.


  • Asynchronous delivery of course content increases flexibility and accessibility as students balance competing demands. 
  • The activities during the synchronous meetings address aspects of the course students may need help with. They also can promote higher-order reasoning, connecting topics, application, analysis, evaluation, synthesis.
  • The instructor and students have opportunities to engage in face-to-face and synchronous interaction, which promotes a sense of class community.
  • Collaboration in small-group activities promote students’ learning.
  • Small-group activities can guide the instructor in assessing students’ learning of the course content.
  • This model is flexible in design—if the instructor needs to work from home or we need to pivot to fully online, only the weekly meetings are affected, and they can easily be moved to Zoom. 


  • This model is challenging for instructors whose primary mode of instruction is 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. 

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.