This data brief examines the changes in instructional environments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the Spring 2020 term, nearly all academic departments shifted to online instruction. Throughout the summer, departments offering courses were able to gradually re-incorporate in-person instructional formats with safety measures such as social distancing and limited class sizes, and also providing hybrid formats such as flipped/blended courses that provide scheduled times for in-person and online instruction, and HyFlex formats where students can choose to attend either in-person or online class sessions.
During the Spring 2020 term, 93% of departments converted lab sections into virtual or at-home activities, and one-third converted lab sections to computational approaches. Only 4% of departments reported terminating lab sections with the then-current grade or a pass/fail grade, and 5% of departments reported no change to the Spring 2020 lab sections.
Throughout the summer, an increasing percentage of departments offering lab sections and classes used in-person formats. By August, 60% of departments were offering in-person labs and half or more of departments were using virtual formats and at-home activities (64% and 50% respectively).
During the Spring 2020 term most departments converted field courses into virtual experiences (63%), and just over one-third cancelled their field courses (34%) with students either needing credit later or with a waiver of credit requirement.
Throughout the summer, field instruction and activities moved from predominantly virtual field experiences to an increasing percentage of local field activities. Some respondents commented that local field experiences included self-guided local investigations and local in-person instruction with a small number of students per instructional cohort.
We will continue to provide current snapshots on the impacts of COVID-19 on the geoscience enterprise throughout the year. For more information, and to participate in the study, please visit: www.americangeosciences.org/workforce/covid19
Funding for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation (Award #2029570). The results and interpretation of the survey are the views of the American Geosciences Institute and not those of the National Science Foundation.