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Provost's Update for Week of October 19-23

Plans for spring 2021 semester

With the announcement of Virginia Tech’s plans for the spring 2021 semester, the following are highlights from the VT News article released on Monday.

Academic Calendar:

  • Classes will begin on January 19 and will end on May 5 as originally scheduled.
  • Instruction will be fully online from January 19-22 to allow for a gradual move-in of residential students, surveillance of COVID-19 prevalence, and mitigation of campus health safety risks.
  • In-person and hybrid instruction will begin Monday, January 25 and continue through the end of the semester per individual course delivery plans.
  • Final exams will be held May 7-12 and may be given online, hybrid, or in-person, based on public health guidelines and availability of suitable classroom space.
  • Course Request for students will take place October 27-November 10.
  • Campus residence halls and dining facilities will reopen for returning students beginning January 16.
  • Spring semester academic calendars specific to students and faculty in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine have also been posted.

Spring Break:

  • Students will have a modified spring break schedule consisting of five, one-day breaks distributed throughout the semester. Those dates are as follows:
    • Friday, February 5
    • Thursday, February 25
    • Wednesday, March 17
    • Tuesday, April 6
    • Monday, April 26
  • In accordance with the university’s academic calendar, these are non-instructional days and faculty should not hold any class or lab sessions, have assignments due, or administer exams.

Health and Safety:

  • Students returning in January will be asked to commit to and complete a 14-day period of self-quarantine immediately prior to their arrival on-campus or in-town for the spring term.
  • All residential students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival on-campus for the spring semester.
  • Random prevalence testing for students and high-contact employees will continue in Blacksburg in the spring semester beginning January 25.

Additional details on the plans for the spring 2021 semester can be found in this VT News announcement.

Campus operations following Thanksgiving break

In accordance with the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Operational Plan, Virginia Tech will continue to maintain sustained operations at all campus locations following the Thanksgiving break and the transition to all online instruction and academic activities, and through the start of the university’s winter break (December 24-January 1, 2021). This includes financial, human resources, information technology, health and safety, and other services critical to the academic, research, and engagement missions of the university.

In following the principles and procedures in place for the fall semester, the university is committed to carrying out the highest standards of cleanliness across all campus facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Also essential is the ongoing implementation of construction and renovation projects set to boost innovation, discovery, and accessibility for students and faculty at Virginia Tech.

Details on the range of campus services and operations provided for the remainder of the fall semester including building access and cleaning, mail services, parking and transportation, and dining are available through VT Ready.

Town Halls: Info, updates on experiential learning initiatives

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Academy of Experiential Learning will host a series of virtual town hall discussions to update and engage the campus community on the university’s career bridge experiential learning initiatives. Each town hall will include:

  • An overview of the objectives and opportunities for experiential learning at Virginia Tech.
  • Why career bridge experiential learning is important and beneficial to both students and faculty.
  • Updates on program design, process and progress.
  • Panel presentations of pilot departments and faculty, and their strategies to provide experiential learning access and opportunities to all students.

An open Q&A session will follow each panel presentation as well as an overview of Virginia Tech’s Academy of Experiential Learning and information on how to apply to be a pilot career bridge experiential learning department. Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment, will also offer his perspectives on how the career bridge experiential learning initiative benefits his college and the strategies used to develop and manage requirements for his academic departments.

The schedule of town hall discussions is as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 28, 12:00-1:30 p.m. (FACULTY-focused)
  • Friday, November 6, 10:00-11:30 a.m. (FACULTY-focused)
  • Thursday, November 12, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (STUDENT-focused)

Each session is open to the campus community, but registration is required. For details, please email Vicki Pitstick, Director of the Academy for Experiential Learning.

Faculty resource: Lecture capture for instructors

University Libraries has temporarily retrofitted one of its existing spaces to accommodate easy lecture capture for instructors. The space is staffed with a student worker who will setup the technology and start the recording. After instructors are finished, the student worker will help finalize the video so the instructor can either take the videos with them on a flash drive or upload them directly to Kaltura.

Instructors can select from the following lecture capture formats:

  • Screen Capture + Audio
  • Screen Capture + Audio/Video (Picture-in-Picture)
  • Screen Capture + Audio/Video (Side-by-side)
  • Video + Doc Cam
  • Audio + Doc Cam
  • Lecture or Lecture + Whiteboard
  • Learning Glass

Visuals of these options are available on the lecture capture website. If instructors don't see the option they need, they can request a custom option in the booking form online and someone will reach out to them.

Instructors can book a time to come in using the calendar at the bottom of the lecture capture page. After choosing a time, a form will appear where instructors can choose the type of recording they want to do and how they want to transport the video file(s).

For more information, please call University Libraries at 540-231-6170.

Recent resource and information updates

Please visit VT Ready and the Provost’s website frequently for new and updated university information. All members of the campus community should also read their VT Daily email for further important updates, notices, and resources.