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2020-21 Academic Year Plans

To our first-time and returning students

We've created this page to give you information about academic programming in the fall and spring semesters of 2020-21. There's a lot here! Pace yourself, but read it all. It contains important facts about your classes and the learning experience for the fall. In particular, it contains:

  • Information on teaching modes: Definitions of online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes and how you can adjust your schedule.
  • Information on the academic experience during 2020-21: Helping you envision what classes will look like, reminders about the benefits of an on-campus learning experience, and resources to help you thrive in online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes.

If you have questions about other elements of the campus experience, please refer to the Restart Geneseo resource to determine the correct office to contact. The Restart Geneseo page has comprehensive information on planning for campus activities, housing, dining, and public health measures.

Will my classes be online or in the classroom?

Spring 2021 courses are offered in four modalities: asynchronous online, synchronous online, hybrid, and face-to-face. The modality for each class is indicated in Knightweb and our master schedule, linked below. The chosen modality reflects a variety of factors including available space, the size of the class, faculty needs regarding health concerns, and the most effective teaching mode in different subjects. This means that most student schedules will include a mix of online, hybrid, and fully face-to-face courses. Regardless of the mode of delivery, you will be participating in a high-quality learning experience that reflects Geneseo’s many strengths.

Key things to note:

  • You can find information on what type of courses (online, hybrid, or face-to-face) you are enrolled in for the fall by checking your schedule in Knightweb (accessible through Modality for all courses is also listed in the master schedule at
  • If you would like to adjust your spring schedule based on the mode of delivery, you may do so through open registration (November 16-January 4, January 25-31)  or during drop/add period (February 1-7). The Registrar’s Office webpage has a help sheet that explains how you can adjust your schedule.
  • The Office of the Dean for Academic Planning and Advising can assist students who have extraordinary needs for schedule adjustments. When possible, we can also assist you with adjusting your schedule to include a good balance of online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes. You can make an appointment by phoning (585) 245-5541 or following these directions.
What's the difference between online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes?
  • Online: All course materials are accessible in Canvas, our campus learning management system. You’ll be interacting with your faculty and other students virtually. This may include a combination of self-paced work that you do on your own, live sessions through Zoom or another platform, collaborative online discussions, and group or individual projects.
  • Some courses will be “asynchronous.” This means that you can move through the course materials independently, with engagement primarily happening in discussion boards or other formats that you can access at any time.
  • Other courses will have a “synchronous” component. This means that if you can, you will be expected to join a live class session, which may include discussion or other interactive class activities. Although this mode of teaching is different from a traditional college classroom, Geneseo faculty have done extraordinary work in ensuring that our online courses are accessible, engaging, and reflect the best components of our student-centered approach to learning.
  • Hybrid: The hybrid class experience mixes in-person activities on campus with online work. In a traditional course your in-person experiences might include lectures, group discussions, or hands-on work; in a hybrid course, some elements — such as lectures or demonstrations — will be accessible online, and your in-person experience will include in-class discussions, experiments, problem sets, performances, or other types of work that is enhanced by opportunities to be in the classroom with your faculty and peers. You should expect that some of your hybrid classes may be divided into cohorts for in-person meetings in response to physical distancing requirements. As with online courses, our faculty have been working hard to ensure that learning experiences in hybrid classes are engaging and accessible.
  • Face-to-face classes: Face-to-face classes will be conducted in-person on campus. Courses have been scheduled in rooms large enough to accommodate physical distancing requirements.
What will my on-campus experience be like?

Even if the majority of your classes are taught entirely online, there are good reasons for students to be on campus. Joining us on campus will provide you with easy access to a variety of offices and resources that can support your academic success and engagement. The college has excellent internet access and technology, which means that you’ll have unbroken and dependable access to your online coursework. Our library services will be available. Campus study spaces will be open, and you can use them as places to connect with other students and quietly complete your coursework. We also have a team of on-campus academic support resources including tutors, peer mentors, faculty and professional staff here to help support you. Additionally, our colleagues in Student and Campus Life are working to ensure that on-campus students will have access to a wide range of engagement opportunities that meet guidelines for public health and physical distancing. Although we expect that all students will have an impactful and engaging academic year, students on campus will be well-served with opportunities to interact in person with other students, faculty, and campus programming.

We know that the fall will look different from a traditional semester at Geneseo. Above all, we want to ensure that we’re protecting the health of members of our campus community. That means that you’ll see some additional precautions that are in line with the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC, the New York State Department of Health, and local authorities. Some things that you’ll notice include:

  • All members of the college community will be wearing face masks in academic buildings and common areas. In some classes, faculty may wear clear face shields. Although you are strongly encouraged to bring your own face masks, the college also be provides masks for anyone who needs one. If you need your faculty to wear a transparent face covering (e.g., to enable lip reading), you can let them know directly or reach out to the Office of Accessibility at
  • Classroom density is reduced to accommodate physical distancing requirements. Seating will be arranged to guarantee six-foot distancing, and there may be some layout modifications to promote safety (for example, plexiglass shields around the faculty lectern).
  • Everyone on campus will be asked to complete a daily symptom check through an online app, at This is a very simple process where you’ll be asked to confirm that you are not experiencing any of the common symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • All students now have access to the Navigate student app, which gives you convenient access to information about campus offices, your class schedule, resources for finding study buddies in your classes, and other vital resources. You can sign up at the Geneseo Navigate Student webpage or download the app to your mobile device.
  • We’ve also adjusted the academic calendar for the academic year to ensure the health and safety of the campus and to help facilitate a transition to remote instruction if necessary. Spring semester will start late, on February 1, and the traditional spring break has been redistributed to three rejuvenation days, and the traditional study day at the end of week 14. The rejuvenation days are intended to give you a break from classes to regroup and recharge at key points during the semester. At this time we anticipate the usual final exam week schedule, in which each course is assigned a single, longer time block for an exam in week 15.

As we work through this academic year, please know that the college community is here to support students in our most important work: educating students. We want to encourage everyone to practice growth-minded approaches to the coming semester, which may require flexibility, understanding, compassion, and self-reflection. We’ll do everything possible to ensure that you have a smooth and safe year.

How can I help protect the community?

Above all, we want you to take care of yourselves and do what you can to protect others in our community. It’s essential that if you’re feeling unwell, you stay home from in-person classes to protect both yourself and others in our community.

Our commitment to community safety also means that we need everyone on campus to take guidance about public health seriously. That means practicing good hygiene and physical distancing, avoiding large public gatherings, and behaving in a way that is socially- and civically-responsible. Remember that some who are infected with COVID-19 may have no symptoms, so please be responsible by wearing a face mask and practicing physical distancing.

We also recognize that the pandemic may contribute to stress and anxiety. Taking care of yourself also means attending to these needs. If you need a break, take it, and keep in mind the college’s resources that support general health and wellbeing.

How will Geneseo support my academic success?

Geneseo has a range of academic support services that can help you stay on track and succeed in classes. We encourage you to make use of these resources as part of your normal studying routine. Early interactions with your faculty, tutoring resources, learning centers, supplemental instruction, and peer mentoring programs will set you up for success and are always more impactful when used proactively rather than after you’ve experienced setbacks or challenges. Note that for the 2020-21 academic year, while there will be some face-to-face opportunities to use academic support resources, all will be available online for students who are unable to be on campus or meet in-person. The resources available at the college include:

  • Tutoring and Learning Centers: The Writing Learning Center (link) and Math Learning Center (link) offer by-appointment and drop-in tutoring for any student who would like to work on writing or computational skills. Many departments also offer discipline-specific tutoring particularly for students in introductory courses.
  • Supplemental Instruction (SI): In courses with SI, academic peer mentors who have been successful in courses offer additional out-of-class opportunities to review and reinforce course materials. SI sessions generally meet weekly and are especially impactful if you attend regularly. Information about tutoring and SI can be found on the college’s Academic Support Services webpage and will be updated with hours early in the fall semester.
  • Academic and Career Peer Mentors are advanced students who can help you with studying, scheduling, and communication skills. In the fall you will be able to schedule virtual appointments with APMs and attend their academic success workshops.
  • Library: Our award-winning library services will continue in the renovated Fraser Library space this fall. Online resources, including journals and databases, will continue to be available. Although public health guidance will limit the circulation of some types of materials, resources that you need to be successful in your classes will continue to be available as will our Information Delivery Services. You will be able to connect with a librarian for research assistance through their online chat service and one-on-one research consultations. There will also be some study space available. Information about library services and resources is being updated regularly on the Library Services Updates webpage.
  • Faculty Office Hours: Faculty will continue to offer drop-in office hours a method to schedule appointments. Some faculty will continue to hold in-person office hours, but all will offer online options. Faculty will share their office hour plans with you on your course syllabus. Even though office hours will look different this year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to interact with your faculty outside of class times and we continue to urge you to take advantage of these opportunities.
  • KOALA: Knights’ Online Academic Learning Assistance will roll out this fall, ensuring that students always have a centralized way to ask any questions about taking online courses at Geneseo. CIT’s support modules also have many tips for navigating and succeeding when students use the Canvas Learning Management System, whether for online or in-person courses. If you are new to online learning, you may also wish to start with this Tips for Success guide provided by Geneseo’s Information Technology group.