FAQ for Students: Fall 2020 Learning Options for Undergraduate and Graduate Courses 

As we prepare for the Fall 2020 semester, we are working to ensure every student receives the full St. Mary’s University academic experience, whether you live on campus or on the other side of the world.

Opportunities to help you discover, affirm and cultivate your unique talents and gifts are still at the heart of the St. Mary’s experience. Our commitment remains the same — that you receive an educational experience grounded in faith and the Marianist charism while preparing you for successful careers of leadership on behalf of the common good.

You can find examples from professors in this story about the different learning options.

Courses will be offered one of three ways:

Online (OL): Online courses are not taught in real time, but will follow course syllabi and deadlines provided by professors. These remote courses may include pre-recorded lectures, video uploads, class chats and individual meetings with professors. For example, a professor may load a week’s worth of content that a student will study and respond to within appropriate deadlines. The number of OL courses will be very limited.

Virtual (V): Students participate in Virtual courses remotely and in real-time on the scheduled class day and time. These classes neither meet in person nor on campus. Professors will teach in real-time live from the classroom, lab or an alternative location. Virtual courses may also include video recordings, class chats and one-on-one meetings with professors. For example, if a course is normally taught on Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays at 9:20 a.m. in person, students in a Virtual course will log on at 9:20 a.m. to view a live video lecture.

In-Person/Virtual (IPV): These courses are designed to be flexible (in-person or virtual). Students in these courses may opt to attend the entire semester in person or virtually. In-person classes will be much smaller than usual to practice social distancing. Students may be limited to attending in-person classes on a rotating basis, for example, every Thursday for a Tuesday-Thursday course. Students participating in person may flex to the Virtual (V) format as needed to accommodate changes in their situation. More information about how often a student may attend an in-person class will be available soon.

You can find examples from professors in this story about the different learning options.

How will classes be offered in Fall 2020?

To find out what a course is going to be offered as, please note the section letter(s) found next to the course number. In the course schedule, you can also view how the course is being offered under the Attribute portion. 

  • If the course section is OL, it will be an online course that is not taught in real time.  Students will follow the course syllabus and will need to meet the deadlines provided by the professor.
  • If the section letter is V or includes the letter V and a number, the course will be virtual.  For this type of course, students will participate remotely and in real time on the scheduled class day and time via Zoom. 
  • If the course section is not OL or does not include the letter V, the course will be in-person virtual.  For in-person virtual classes, students can decide to take the entire class virtually.  If a student prefers to attend the class in person, they will be able to do so.  As we get closer to Sept. 1, which is the first day for on—campus classes, the course schedule will reflect the day the student will attend.  For example, you may be asked to attend the class on Tuesdays for a class scheduled on Tuesday-Thursday.  On Thursdays, you would attend the class virtually.
How do I know the format of each of the courses I’m registered for Fall 2020?

It is not necessary for a student to make any changes to their course schedule to take courses online. All courses will be available in an online format (normally via Zoom meetings). However, a limited number of courses will be available on campus. These are labeled IPV on the course schedule, which stands for In-Person/Virtual, meaning the course will be available in both formats.

How do I opt in to participate in all my classes remotely?

No. Only courses labeled as Online (OL) are intended to be taken asynchronously. Professors will normally make asynchronous material available when a student misses class due to an excused absence, such as an illness or quarantine period, but may do so for pedagogical reasons on a limited basis.

If the class I have registered to take has been converted to a virtual (V) or in-person virtual (IPV) course, can I choose to change the course to asynchronous?

Students may use the add/drop procedure to transfer to a course that has an In-Person/Virtual (IPV) option. Courses will still be limited based on their capacity and the waitlist option will be available for some classes. New students should contact their academic adviser or the Director of Academic Advising at academic.advising@stmarytx.edu for assistance with possible schedule changes.

If I prefer to take classes in person and my course has been converted to an online course, what are my options?

Registration access will be available at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, via Gateway.

Registration access is currently closed. When can I make changes to my schedule?

Students can make these changes only within the normal add/drop period which is through Monday, Aug. 17.

If I take an online (OL) course and begin to experience difficulty in the course, can I change it to virtual (V) or in-person virtual (IPV)?

Students experiencing continuous internet limitations are asked to contact the Office of Student Retention at retention@stmarytx.edu for assistance. Students will be able to use Wi-Fi access from a variety of locations on campus.

If I have limited internet availability, can I take all my courses online asynchronously?

No. While many institutions across the country temporarily adopted the Pass/No Pass option in the spring, very few are doing so in the fall. Continuing to use the Pass/No Pass policy would have serious consequences for students intending to enroll in graduate and professional programs as well as those whose potential employers closely evaluate transcripts.

Will the Pass/No Pass grade option be available since some courses will be online, virtual and in-person virtual?

Yes. These fees are still being used by the University to provide the materials and services needed for activities, laboratories and technology even though students may experience them virtually or online.

Will there be fees (course fees, student services fee, etc.) charged if I take all my courses online?

Yes. We are making the necessary plans and precautions to allow students to live on campus. Contact the Office of Residence Life at reslife@stmarytx.edu for more information

If I take all my classes online, can I still live on campus?

Yes. All students may take their courses virtually or online.

If I live outside of San Antonio, can I stay at home and take classes at St. Mary’s?

Yes. All students may take their courses virtually or online. Please contact the International Student and Scholar Services Office at isss@stmarytx.edu for questions about requirements for international students.

If I am an international student, can I take all my classes online?

The University is working diligently to ensure that each graduating senior is scheduled for every course needed for graduation. Please contact the Registrar’s Office at registrar@stmarytx.edu for questions about your graduation requirements.

What if one of the courses I need to take to fulfill my requirement for graduation is only offered in-person virtual (IPV) and I do not plan to be on campus?

Visit the Keep Learning Remotely page on Gateway for more information about technical requirements and recommendations.

What are the recommended technical recommendations and requirements for accessing online courses?

For questions regarding your schedule, contact Academic Advising at academic.advising@stmarytx.edu.

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