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Semester to begin with hybrid online, face-to-face model

Lamar University’s Fall 2017 semester, which was to have begun last week, will begin Tuesday, Sept. 5, using a hybrid face-to-face and online model, administrators announced.

With the Southeast Texas region still reeling from the unprecedented rainfall and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, kicking off the semester presents challenges for faculty and supporting staff also affected.

“We know it is no small feat for our faculty, or for our students, to begin to focus on resuming studies,” said Provost Jim Marquart, “but it is imperative that we begin the semester now to ensure students keep their educational goals on track.”

“I am encouraged by the dedication of our faculty, many of whom, despite tremendous hardships, are preparing to return to their classrooms or computers to engage with our students in the magic of learning,” Marquart said.

A number of classes will meet on campus as they normally do, but will also provide concurrent instruction via the University’s BlackBoard online learning system to a number of students. This hybrid model will enable students without transportation, or who have been displaced, to continue their course work. 

“We may have instances where the courses that were formerly face-to-face will be entirely online,” Marquart said.

Already a national leader in online education, the transition will be rapid and second nature to most faculty at Lamar University, he said. A large number of LU’s residential students already have experience taking classes using BlackBoard, so few problems are anticipated.

The university is notifying students with specific instructions on how to begin classes using BlackBoard if they chose that option over attendance in the classroom, Marquart said. 

“Our students’ educational well-being is our primary concern despite these challenging circumstances,” Marquart said.

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