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COLUMBUS, Miss.--Dr. Andrew Luccasen III promises he won’t let students fend for themselves.


Even though it means more work, Luccasen, a professor of economics and finance at Mississippi University for Women, said he always has tried to make his online classes as similar to classroom sections as possible. The experiences might not be identical, but Luccasen hopes students who watched those videos had similar experiences as those in the classroom.

Earlier this year, Luccasen’s preparation paid off when the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), which oversees the state of Mississippi’s eight public colleges and universities, extended spring break for another week and pushed the start of classes back to March 23 in an effort to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. The IHL also announced universities would transition to alternate methods of instruction, which included online classes and remote access.
In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, The W will use online instruction as a key component of its plan for the fall 2020 semester. Classes will be offered in-person, online (mainly asynchronous, but some synchronous) and in hybrid formats to allow flexibility for remote learning when needed, including the possibility of fully online semester if it is necessary. Synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens in real time, while asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction.

Luccasen plans to incorporate a synchronous component to some of his classes, which he feels should give an online class that “classroom feel.” He also will go over material during a Zoom conference and he will be available to answer any questions.

“The major challenge is properly instructing students, so they do not have to learn the material on their own,” said Luccasen, who has taught online classes at The W for more than 10 years. “Another challenge is setting the proper pace for students to work. I used to require online students to keep the same due dates for assignments as classroom students. However, many students in online classes need a more flexible schedule due to work and/or family obligations. I expect online students this fall to need flexibility due to the pandemic because many students may not have reliable access to resources.”

The W’s Campus Renewal Plan extended the period of time for students to move into on-campus housing. The process will begin Wednesday, Aug. 12 and will end Sunday, Aug. 16. Classes will begin Monday, Aug. 17, so instruction and final examinations can end before the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, there will be no Fall Break.

“I expect online students this fall to need flexibility due to the pandemic because many students may not have reliable access to resources,” Luccasen said. “I do not have a rigid day-to-day or week-to-week schedule, nor do I post all material for the semester at the start and allow students to work all semester at their pace. To ensure students do not fall too far behind, nor try to work through difficult material too fast, I divide classes into parts corresponding to each test. I make materials for each part available and allow them to work each part at their pace. After a test, the next part opens for the students.”

August 1, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
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