A&M-San Antonio announces new block-course design to support freshmen

By University Communications

Friday, 06 05 2020

Social distancing, smaller courses will drive learning environment

SAN ANTONIO – This fall, Texas A&M University-San Antonio will launch an innovative course schedule to tackle the challenges of COVID-19 that are impacting universities across the nation. Approximately 70% of the schedule will be offered online so that students who are reluctant to come to campus can nonetheless continue to make progress toward their degrees.

The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 meant that the University needed to think differently, according to A&M-San Antonio’s Vice President and Provost Mike O’Brien. “We believe that setting the right interactions and tone from the start for these students will have a positive impact on the rest of their college experience. First and foremost, we want them to be safe, and we want to help them succeed,” O’Brien said. “We also understand that we need to be both flexible and creative in how we deliver our curriculum in light of this new environment. I’ve been impressed with the ingenuity and dedication of our faculty and the willingness of students to engage in their learning, no matter how our courses are offered.”

Incoming freshmen, many of whom will live on campus, will have the opportunity to select courses from two four-course blocks: 50-minute classes offered to freshmen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 75-minute classes offered Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students in a given block will remain together in the same classroom for all four courses, thus reducing opportunities for exposure to COVID-19. These classes, and all other on-campus course offerings, will be limited in size to accommodate appropriate social distancing student thresholds of 10 to 24 students. All classes that require face-to-face instruction will be delivered following social distancing protocols.

As faculty prepare for the new academic year, they also have the option to participate in training and workshops to leverage new technologies and student engagement.

“We have a terrific faculty dedicated to creating the best possible learning environment,” said A&M-San Antonio’s President, Cynthia Teniente-Matson. “As we adjust to unprecedented circumstances, we keep both safety and student success as our top priorities. We believe this blended learning approach helps us do just that.”

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Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Established as a stand-alone university in 2009, Texas A&M University-San Antonio is a comprehensive four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in south San Antonio, A&M-San Antonio is a Military Embracing™ institution offering 29 undergraduate degrees and 14 graduate degrees to over 6,700 students. The University is home to the Henry G. Cisneros Institute for Emerging Leaders and the Cyber Engineering Technology/Cyber Security Research Center. A&M-San Antonio holds the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation. Military Times ranks the University No. 35 in the nation for “Best for Vets: Colleges.” Visit tamusa.edu for more information. #onamission