CORONAVIRUS

72% of University of Iowa undergrad classes move online for fall

More graduate and professional students will learn face-to-face

The Old Capitol Building and Jessup Hall (left) on the Pentacrest on campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City on We
The Old Capitol Building and Jessup Hall (left) on the Pentacrest on campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — As a growing number of universities nationally cancel plans for in-person learning this semester amid reports of COVID-19 outbreaks and student partying, the University of Iowa has announced that three-fourths of its undergraduate credit hours this fall will be delivered online.

That 72 percent of undergraduate hours will be taught virtually is the result of the campus’ COVID-19 plan to move every class with 50 or more students online, plus accommodations it made for teachers and students in smaller classes who requested alternatives.

“We continued to try to prioritize at least some face-to-face instruction for first-year students to allow them to connect with classmates and faculty,” UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said.

After the accommodations and changes, the UI this fall will offer 16 percent of its undergrad credit hours in person and 12 percent in a blended format involving face-to-face and online.

In a typical fall — like 2019 — 84 percent of UI undergrad credit hours were taught in person, 13 percent were delivered online and only 2 percent had a blended approach.

A higher percentage of graduate and professional student credit hours will be delivered in person this fall — at 42 and 55 percent, respectively. About 10 percent of graduate hours will involve a blended format, with about 12 percent of professional hours taking that route.

That means 48 percent of graduate credit hours will be taught virtually this fall, with about 33 percent of professional hours going online.

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For UI employees and students “who are medical vulnerable and at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19” — or who live with someone at high risk — the campus has made hundreds of accommodations. To date, the UI reports receiving and approving 450 alternative work arrangements — for 244 faculty, 94 staff members, 102 graduate assistants and 10 fellows or student employees.

For medically vulnerable students seeking alternative learning arrangements — like remote learning, class schedule modifications or course content changes — the university has received and approved 240 requests.

That includes 193 undergraduate students and 47 graduate and professional students.

Additionally, 148 students have requested alternative arrangements not related to high-risk health conditions, “which are being handled at the collegiate level.” The same number of employees who don’t meet high-risk standards also have asked for accommodations.

“Some collegiate units continue to process requests and will be notifying individual employees as soon as possible,” the UI Office of Strategic Communication said.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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