What is ShenFlex?
ShenFlex is what Shenandoah University is calling the plan that allows learning to occur both in-person and online, simultaneously, if needed. If it is necessary for a student or an instructor to learn or teach remotely, they can easily do so. Through ShenFlex, learning will occur, whenever, wherever, and however it needs to, as it meets the needs of students and instructors.
The ShenFlex model is adapted from the HyFlex (Hybrid-Flexible) course design developed in the mid-2000s to allow students to switch back and forth between in-person and virtual formats.
ShenFlex is designed to have controlled face-to-face components.
Courses integrate online and face-to-face learning communities where students sometimes meet in a physical space / classroom while also learning through online resources and activities. ShenFlex courses have significant face-to-face components, but also allow for students and faculty with medical or other demonstrated need to participate online. ShenFlex allows us to maintain significant face-to-face experiences for most students and faculty while adapting to space limitations, individual needs, and other constraints related to COVID-19.
Request for Modified Learning Arrangement for Spring 2021
Students who may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, live with someone at higher risk (for commuter students), or have other extenuating circumstances that do not allow them to participate in classes in person may request to take their classes fully online for Spring 2021 semester.
Four Principles of ShenFlex
- Alternatives: Providing meaningful alternative participation modes for students and enabling faculty to navigate student in-person (classroom) presence and online options for student participation.
- Equivalence: Providing equally rigorous learning activities in all participation modes, which lead to equivalent learning outcomes regardless of class format.
- Community: Providing integrated online and face-to-face components with active engagement among and within all participation modes.
- Transparency: Providing clear information so that students understand their options in terms of how the course will be structured and the content will be delivered.
Orientation to ShenFlex
What is ShenFlex? ShenFlex is Shenandoah University’s plan for supporting in-person and online learning, simultaneously, if needed. ShenFlex combines face-to-face and online options that enable us to meet on campus and offer alternatives to students who need to study remotely. Through ShenFlex, learning will occur whenever, wherever, and however it needs to, as it meets the needs of students and instructors.
- ShenFlex | Shenandoah + Flexible
- Asynchronous | This term refers to completing class activities and assignments outside of schedule class times.
- Remote | This term refers to learning away from the classroom. You are learning remotely if you are in your dorm, at home, or in another off-campus location.
- Synchronous | This term refers to class activities and assignments that take place during your scheduled class time.
ShenFlex has been fantastic so far. I have tried every form of learning in the class (in-person, synchronously over zoom, and asynchronously via recorded lecture), and every one has proven to work well for me. I also have been able to participate in discussions through the use of Discord, so I have not missed out on that portion of SU courses. Overall, it has been a positive experience.”
Caitlyn Graulau ’23 | History and Esports Media & Communication Double-Major
Attending class in person
If necessary, your instructor will assign you days to attend in person in the classroom. This is to maintain social distancing where classroom capacity may be limited. Be sure to check your Canvas announcements, emails, and syllabi. Otherwise, plan to be in class!
Attending class online
Your instructor will be notified by the Office of the Associate Provost if you have an accommodation to attend class remotely. It’s still a good idea to email your instructor or visit during their online office hours to confirm you will be attending remotely. It’s also a great way to start getting to know them!
Time management is always important in college. With ShenFlex, it’s even more important that you have a system for keeping track of due dates and reminds you when you have to be in class on campus. See this sample weekly schedule, or check in with Student Support Services to meet with a coach and create a study schedule for the semester.
This module introduces you to the three apps you will use in your ShenFlex and online classes: Canvas, Zoom, and Google Suite.
Getting Started with Canvas
Canvas is the main way that you’ll access course materials and assignments. Some instructors will require you to watch videos, post to discussion boards, and take quizzes or exams in Canvas. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Canvas navigation and features early in the semester, so you can find what you need.
- Notification Preferences
- Navigating Your Courses
- Discussion Board
- Contacting Instructors and Students
Getting Started with Zoom
Every student at Shenandoah University is provided with a Zoom account. Think of Zoom as your online classroom and study space. Follow the links below to get started with Zoom. For more tips on getting the most from Zoom, visit their video tutorials page.
Two Ways to Participate in Class:
Getting Started with Google Suite
You’ll use apps in the Google Suite for everything from sending emails, keeping track of your “To Do” lists, completing writing assignments, and creating multimedia presentations. If you are new to the G Suite of applications, take advantage of the links below, which will help you get up to speed quickly on innovative ways to use these free tools.
There are many benefits to ShenFlex. These include enhanced accessibility to course materials and learning activities and the ability to “keep up” with classes if illness or other excused reasons prevent you from attending class in person.
However, some aspects of online learning can be challenging. The good news is that you can handle these challenges!
Take control of your schedule.
Have a system for managing your time, whether you use a planner, a Google Calendar, or a To Do list. See this sample weekly schedule, or check in with Student Support Services to meet with a coach and create a study schedule.
Keep yourself organized.
Set up a folder for each class in Google Drive for assignments and class notes. Remember to bring physical books and your laptop to class.
Find places where you can study.
Try to set up a distraction-free environment for studying and completing assignments. This might be on campus, at home, or in another quiet place.
Talk with instructors, students, and staff. We learn best together!
Treat your Zoom classroom like a classroom on campus.
Just like you get dressed to go to class on campus, be sure you are “camera ready” when class time rolls around. Also be sure to minimize disruptions by muting yourself when you aren’t talking or asking questions. See this handy “Tips for Participating in Online Learning” for additional suggestions.
Everyone needs help at some point. EVERYONE. Asking for help is a sign of strength. It also reflects your commitment to being a successful student. Your instructors are available to answer questions. Just check the syllabus for their office hours and for instructions on how to contact them for help.
Sometimes, students feel more comfortable asking someone other than their instructor. And that’s okay! Just as student athletes work with coaches, there are a number of ways you can get “coaching” for your classes here at SU.
Shenandoah has a range of services to support you, all of which are available at no additional cost.
Offers tutoring in many subjects and help with study skills. Every student benefits from tutoring to help clear up questions and develop their study skills.
Offers assistance with writing assignments. Students benefit from guidance and feedback on their writing assignments at any stage in the writing process, from drafting to editing.
Offers help with math. Practicing math in a supportive environment is the best way to improve your knowledge, confidence, and skills.
For students needing accommodations, disability services staff are here to help you secure accommodations to facilitate your learning.
Learn new strategies for success. When taking a new subject, it’s common to find that you need to approach the material differently. Meet with an academic counselor to up your study skills game.
It’s normal to feel some amount of stress in college. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed, however, can interfere with your ability to succeed. The friendly and supportive counselors in the counseling center can help you address any number of concerns, from self-esteem to relationship issues, anxiety to depression.
Academic advising coordinators assist you with planning your studies and staying on track to complete your degree. Be sure to reach out with any questions you may have about making progress in your program of study.
The HelpDesk offers remote and in-person support by appointment. If you are having trouble with your devices or need assistance troubleshooting software, they are the place to turn for help.