Penn State Launching Optional Remote Learning Programs For Fall 2020

Although Penn State will bring students back to campus for in-person instruction this fall, it will provide remote learning options for those who can’t, the university announced Thursday.

The first of the two programs, dubbed “Start At Home,” is solely available for incoming freshmen who aren’t able to come to campus this fall. The option will provide “a dedicated first-semester experienced provided by [a student’s] campus or academic college.”

“Penn State is committed to offering you opportunities to connect with fellow students, faculty, and the larger Penn State pride,” the university wrote. “Our goal is to help you get a strong academic start, build relationships with other first-year students, learn about the opportunities and resources available to you at Penn State, and engage with staff and faculty until you can come to campus.”

Through this option, first-year students will take part in remote learning taught by the same faculty members residing on campus. The online programming will accommodate different time zones and locations for students whose circumstances make it impossible to begin their Penn State career on campus.

The second program, “Continue At Home,” will be available for returning and transfer students unable to come to campus this fall. The option will provide students with “virtual engagement opportunities” with other students, online resources, and technology to facilitate remote learning.

“No matter the mode of instruction, we’ll continue to maintain the high standards of teaching and learning you expect of Penn State while also protecting the health of our students and campus community,” the university wrote.

These options were specifically created to help international students and those with medical conditions that would prevent them from returning to campus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Students will be taking the same courses, from the same professors, with the same learning outcomes,” Penn State spokesman Wyatt DuBois said. “While the modality of delivery may vary, Penn State is committed to delivering the same high-quality educational experience.”

Penn State will provide additional information regarding these two programs “in the coming days.” For now, the university encourages students to check on its dedicated website for updates and reach out to their respective Admissions Office to speak with advisers about the options.

Earlier this spring, Penn State announced it would provide a “Flex-Start” program for incoming freshmen. The admissions option gave students the option to spend their first year at a Commonwealth Campus closer to home before moving up to University Park. The program aimed to ease potential financial burdens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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