You are here: American University Provost Communications July 20, 2020

American University Office of the Provost

Memorandum July 20, 2020

AU & WCL Students Fall 2020
Peter Starr, Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Wendy Boland, Dean of Graduate Studies
Jessica Waters, Dean of Undergraduate Education and Vice Provost for Academic Student Services
Information Regarding Fall 2020 Course Formats

Dear AU Students,

We hope that you are doing well. We know that the start of the semester can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, and will be particularly so this Fall. We are committed to providing you as much information as possible, and as promised, we wanted to let you know that the teaching modalities for most Fall 2020 courses have been posted online. The courses are a mix of periodic in-person opportunities and comprehensive online formats (as presented in the AU Forward plan). We hope that AU’s classes will meet our students’ varied needs, whether you are on campus, living in the wider DC metro area, or studying anywhere in the world.

This Fall’s AU courses fall into three main types:

  • Mixed synchronous online and face-to-face course (a.k.a. blended course): The course will have both in-person and online components. Some class meetings will be in-person, face-to-face sessions, and some will be online in “real-time” (synchronous) sessions. If you cannot come to campus for face-to-face meetings, alternative arrangements will be made. There are four codes for these types of classes to further explain the face-to-face portions:  1) Live Online + biwkly in-pers;  2) Live Online + periodic in-pers;  3) Live Online + in-pers/lab;  4) Live Online + in-pers/arts.
  • Live-online/synchronous course: The course will meet at its scheduled class time in online “real-time” (synchronous) sessions, with no in-person class meetings. These courses will be coded as:  Live online only.
  • Online asynchronous course: This course meets online only, does not have “real-time” sessions (is thus asynchronous) and is recommended for students who cannot meet at a set class time. These courses will be coded as:  Asynchronous online only.

Our faculty and staff have been working tirelessly to prepare engaging course content across all of these course types. We encourage you to review your schedule and consult with your academic advisor to ensure that the course types you have selected will set you up for success this Fall. Some questions to think about as you review your schedule:

  • Can I meet at a set class time?
  • Will I be able to regularly attend “live” sessions, either online or in person?
  • Is my time zone markedly different from AU’s (EDT) and, if so, can I attend the class at the scheduled time? 

Should you have questions about specific class sections, you are welcome to communicate directly with your faculty instructors.

AU’s schools and colleges have created resource pages on their websites to help you plan your Fall semester, and where you can review the formats for each of your individual courses. We have included the school pages that are live for you here: 

In the coming days and weeks, you can expect to receive additional information on what life at AU will look like this semester. Community members will depend on one another to adhere to the proper health and safety procedures, including wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and regularly washing their hands. All students will complete a training before returning to campus, and we will distribute training instructions in the near future. In the meantime, you can continue to visit the Fall 2020 FAQs (and suggest additional questions), as the FAQs are updated regularly.

We look forward to seeing you back in the classroom—virtually or in person—very soon!