Learning

Flexible Learning

RIT plans to offer students a robust educational experience this fall, with a mix of in-person, blended, and online courses. 

Academic Calendar

Classes begin August 19 for the fall semester. The adjusted fall calendar reflects that classes will be held on Labor Day, and there is no longer an October break. On-campus classwork will conclude on November 24 and students will depart campus for Thanksgiving break. All final exams will be held December 1-8 via remote methods. Spring semester is scheduled to begin January 11. Dates are subject to change.

View the academic calendar

Course Modalities for Fall Semester

RIT will offer a mix of in-person, blended, and online course offerings in the fall. This will enable us to meet the physical distancing and reduced occupancy requirements for our instructional spaces. With six-foot physical distancing and reduced occupancy requirements in place, classroom spaces will look much different. We are finalizing course modalities and course schedules, which will be listed in SIS.

RIT Instructional Modality Guide


In person
This traditional course delivery mode includes instruction delivered fully in the classroom/lab/studio with interaction between the instructor and student. Students enrolled in in-person classes must be able to access campus facilities and attend scheduled course meetings on campus in order to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes of the course.


Blended
A blended course combines online instruction and in-person meetings. Blended courses take a variety of formats. For example, the course may be offered both in person and online simultaneously or the lecture portion may be offered online while students meet in person in small groups. Your professor will select the method best suited for the course and the course meeting schedule will be available to students in SIS. Students enrolled in blended courses are expected to attend in person sessions as scheduled unless excused by the instructor.


Fully online
No in-person class meetings are required. In order to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes of a synchronous online course, enrolled students attend class online and engage in course activities at the specified days/times published in the course schedule. The use of a fully online modality will be largely limited to classes where physical distancing requirements make it the only reasonable option.

Flex Option

In an effort to accommodate and support student learning, RIT is offering a Flex option for some courses. Students can choose to complete all course requirements online either for the entire semester (Online Flex) or as needed throughout the semester (Full Flex). The Flex option is defined as a blended or in-person course in which the faculty member has determined that students can achieve the same learning outcomes via remote means.


Online Flex
A student selects this option if they are not able to attend any assigned in-person sessions of the course and will complete all course requirements fully online. The student must communicate this choice to the faculty member and the expectations for course completion will be outlined.


Full Flex
A student selects this option if they are not able to attend assigned in-person sessions of the course at any point in the semester, but may choose to return to their in-person session if their personal situation changes. While absent from the in-person sessions, the student must complete all course requirements online. If a student needs to transition to Online Flex, the student must communicate this to the instructor so that expectations for course completion can be outlined.

Related Story

August 10, 2020
RIT student schedules: A step-by-step guide
As first-year and returning students gear up for the start of classes on August 19, course schedules will look much different than in past years. This fall, schedules will include designations for RIT’s new instruction modes, including in-person, blended, split classes, and online.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

Blended models include a wide range of options that have both online and in-person instruction. Examples include holding lectures online, with smaller recitation/lab/studio sections meeting during scheduled class time, and holding class as usual with live streaming or video recording for viewing at any time to allow alternating groups of students to be in class while others attend remotely. 

The Flex option is defined as a blended or in-person course in which the faculty member has determined that students can achieve the same learning outcomes via remote means. The decision as to whether or not to offer this Flex option rests with the faculty member. This option is listed in SIS as an attribute of the class. A faculty member may choose the Flex option for several reasons, some of which include increasing the ability of students to adopt a fully online schedule that would more easily accommodate quarantine, isolation, or other personal consideration, and to support class continuity for students with Disability Services Office accommodations.

No, the class is not a fully online experience. The class should be taught in the modality that is characterized in SIS. The Online Flex is an attribute of a class that is taught in an in-person or blended modality. It enables faculty to support students who cannot be present in class by providing online access to all course activities and materials.

Faculty electing the Flex option for their course should outline their expectations for the students in their syllabus and must make all learning activities, including exams, available in some form online.

Students who wish to pursue the Flex option should contact the faculty member to discuss the expectations for their remote participation.

If a faculty member chooses to select this option for their course(s), the faculty member needs to inform their department chair and scheduling officer. The scheduling officer will work with the Registrar’s Office to appropriately code the course in SIS.

We are still working on a date when schedules will be finalized. Returning students will be able to view their courses in SIS. Courses that require alternating groups of students will be determined soon and will be reflected in SIS. Schedules for incoming first-year students will be available for viewing in SIS beginning August 8. After reviewing the schedules, students should work with their academic advisor to address questions or concerns.

RIT has conducted a thorough analysis of all instructional spaces to ensure that room capacities can accommodate necessary physical distancing requirements.

We are preparing to have all RIT laboratories, studios, computer facilities, machine shops, and other student-learning spaces open. For laboratory, studio, and capstone courses, we are adding additional sections and/or working on specialized scheduling solutions so students can take these classes in person and access facilities needed to fulfill their course learning outcomes.

RIT is making changes and enhancements to the campus’s infrastructure, cleaning, and safety procedures, and measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are being put into place.

In order for people to wear masks in the classroom, food is not allowed in classrooms when in use. Faculty members can choose to allow students to have drinks in class. Students should use a straw that goes under the face mask.

Given the requirements of physical distancing, it is possible some class sections will have to meet evenings or on weekends. This will be minimized if possible by converting some non-classroom spaces on campus to academic use.

In rare cases, a class may need to be cancelled. Should this occur, the department or college offering the class will reach out to students via email.

Fall semester classes will return to the traditional grading scheme.

Faculty will provide students who are quarantined or ill alternatives to be able to access course materials necessary to meet the course learning outcomes and continue academic progress. It is recommended that faculty record classroom lectures in order to support students who are in quarantine or isolation. Students should request access from their instructors to course materials due to COVID-related circumstances as soon as they are able. 

Academic advisors will provide a combination of in-person, remote, and online services. Students who prefer an in-person appointment will be accommodated whenever possible. Faculty will hold office hours online unless they indicate otherwise. All health and safety protocols must be followed for any in-person meetings. The college or academic department advising units will develop plans for addressing “virtual drop-ins” for at-risk populations due to health accommodations.

In the event it becomes necessary for RIT to close physical facilities, all courses and other academic activities will transition to a remote-only format.

The use of a fully online modality (synchronous or asynchronous) will be largely limited to classes where physical distancing requirements make it the only reasonable option.

Synchronous courses will be delivered entirely online. No in-person class meetings are required. In order to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes of a synchronous online course, enrolled students attend class online and engage in course activities at the specified days/times published in the course schedule.

Asynchronous courses are also delivered entirely online. No in-person class meetings are required and there are no scheduled in-person or online class meetings required. Course materials and activities are posted online for completion within a designated time frame. Asynchronous courses may have optional synchronous components.

Once the final schedule is available, returning students may elect to select classes that limit the need to be physically present on campus, and in some situations, it may be possible for students to identify a schedule that will allow them to attend all courses remotely. For students who are new to RIT, it will be important for them to work with their academic advisor to learn whether it’s possible to design a schedule that is conducive to remote learning. Not all classes will be offered online, so this may require a slight re-arrangement to the order in which classes are taken.

A fully online schedule could impact a student’s financial aid. All students should check with RIT’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships before finalizing their schedules.

There is no tuition discount whether a student selects online classes or is enrolled in online classes. RIT is committed to provide the same academic rigor and quality coursework whether the class is provided in-person, online, or in a blended model.

The Office of Graduate Education has more detailed information for graduate students.