MCU Transitions to Online Learning This Fall
Marymount California University has announced it will shift classes online for the fall semester—reversing its original plan to bring students back to campus—as the coronavirus surges in Los Angeles, and California officials move to tighten public health measures. MCU has also suspended plans to allow students to move into The Villas, its student housing campus, in accordance with county guidelines.
“While this has been a difficult time filled with uncertainty, MCU remains committed to offering a quality, experience-rich education whether we are together in person or virtually,” MCU President Brian Marcotte said. “Faculty have been preparing over the summer for this possibility, learning new methods of delivering courses online and upping their game on ways to interact and connect with students.”
The university has increased the number of units a student can take per semester from 20 to 24 at no additional charge for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, and reduced some fees related to housing, orientation, campus services and labs. This change allows students to make more rapid progress on their degree plans and potentially shorten their time to graduation.
Classes are set to begin Aug. 24, with previously scheduled in-person courses now planned to be conducted online synchronously, meaning students will join their professor and classmates live in Zoom at a specified time.
The university has made significant investments in faculty training and improved technology to deliver online courses that inspire and motivate, utilizing everything from Zoom breakout rooms, business simulations, online interviews and networking assignments to virtual reality experiences, video, podcasts and games.
University services remain available to all students. Staff and faculty are continuing to work remotely, with the ability to serve students in most capacities through email, phone and videoconferencing.
MCU also plans to launch a new Life@MCU community this fall that encourages students with similar interests to meet one another, socialize and pursue their interests in a dedicated virtual space, and a professional mentor program to help juniors and seniors build their professional network.
Fall sports will also be deferred until the spring semester, in accordance with guidelines from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the California Pacific Conference in an abundance of caution over contact sports, competition, practice and travel for university athletes. On-campus practices and skills training will proceed when public health orders deem they can start up again.
Until this point, MCU had engaged in extraordinary measures to prepare for a reopening of campus and in-person activities as allowed. The university’s COVID-19 task force had instituted a variety of safety measures that included installing plexiglass partitions in common areas and multiple hand sanitation stations; creating protocols for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, physical distancing, daily health self-assessments and face coverings; and adding more outdoor seating and signage of new health and safety procedures.
“From the onset of the pandemic, our top priority has been the health and safety of our Mariner community,” Marcotte said. “Our goal in all our extensive planning and preparations has been to remain flexible and ready to pivot to adapt to changing conditions.”