DUNMORE, Pa. — After successfully transitioning to remote delivery for the final half of the spring semester, Penn State Scranton is well positioned through the hard work of faculty and staff to continue the practice during the summer.
Because of the ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will continue virtual delivery for its summer course offerings. With that said, University officials are monitoring the situation in the event that changing health dynamics could allow students to safely return to campuses for in-person instruction during Summer Session II.
In addition, thanks to action by Penn State President Eric J. Barron and the University's Board of Trustees, summer tuition rates have been adjusted for students at all campuses, meaning Penn State Scranton students are paying anywhere from $51 to $65 less per credit, depending on residency status and academic level.
“Given the negative impact of the pandemic on the financial situation of many families, Penn State has adjusted summer session tuition in an attempt to mitigate some of the financial hardships faced by our students and their families,” said Chancellor Marwan Wafa.
The campus began its summer courses virtually on May 11 with the four-week Maymester, followed by the six-week Summer Session I on May 18, and the six-week Summer Session II, which begins on July 1.
Courses will be delivered with two specific designations — Remote (synchronous offering through Zoom with at least one real-time meeting per week) and Web (fully online asynchronous offering allowing students to complete assignments at times most convenient for them).
“Most campus classes planned for in-person will be offered through remote synchronous delivery,” said Chief Academic Officer H. Durell Johnson.
Johnson said Elizabeth Wright in the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses has coordinated efforts to assist faculty with building summer course content for remote delivery and allocating needed instructional designer resources.
Meanwhile, campus Instructional Designer Griff Lewis continues to share his expertise with faculty as they design their summer courses, and the campus has been examining resource sharing across the Commonwealth Campuses to make sure critical support services are available to students, Johnson noted.
“In addition to instructional development support, the Instructional Technology office also has done an exceptional job at addressing faculty and student technology needs for remote delivery, and they are continuing to monitor those needs,” Johnson said.
“I am proud of our faculty, who embraced the change in order to fulfill their mission of delivering the highest quality learning experiences to our students,” Wafa added.
While continuing students will use the summer months to get ahead or catch up on their coursework, incoming campus students will be able to participate in the University’s new Summer Start option, which focuses on student success and includes courses tailored to new online learners. The program will replicate in-person learning and feature small class sizes, online tutoring and peer-mentoring to help students successfully transition to college life.
“Students participating in the Summer Start program have the opportunity to enroll in two general education courses developed around building learning communities, and the program will provide co-curricular programming and the opportunity for students to develop their math and writing skills through the Summer Math and English Academies,” Johnson said.
The campus also is continuing its participation in the Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) program, which provides students with valuable tools and resources to increase the likelihood that they’ll complete their degree on time, with the added incentive of potentially significant cost savings. PaSSS courses will be offered both synchronously and asynchronously.
Wafa said he fully appreciates the efforts of the entire campus community as it continues to navigate its current reality.
“I also know that our faculty, students and staff are eagerly looking forward to returning back to our campus for face-to-face interaction with our students, which we highly value for a campus of our size,” he said.