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Summer 2020 courses move online, fees reduced

Illustration by Yifei Zhang

By Rynd Morgan and Trisha Gupta     4/8/20 3:04am

All summer session courses for 2020, except for research and internships, must now be offered online and no face-to-face courses may meet, according to the Office of the Registrar. In addition, fees for summer courses have been reduced to $250 per credit hour from the typical $800 per credit hour billed for online summer classes, according to the Rice Cashier’s Office.

On Friday, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman sent this update to all students, along with information about summer activity cancellations. According to Gorman, all undergraduate summer activities such as research, Orientation-week coordinator preparation and internships, will be canceled or occur remotely. 

All face-to-face non-research and non-internship courses on the course schedule prior to April 9 have been canceled, and those students were notified of the cancellation, according to the Office of the Registrar. According to the Office of the Registrar, instructors must have their course approved by the appropriate curriculum committees and Rice Online in order for their course to now be offered online, as per Policy 846 on distance and online education.

Vice President for Global and Digital Strategy Caroline Levander said the administration will look to create affordable, accessible learning opportunities for Rice students in the event that summer session classes migrate to remote learning. 

Gorman also said that Rice has sent out a call to faculty to see what additional courses can be offered online. 

“In some ways, this decision is actually more complex than the decision to move the spring courses online, even though it entails a much smaller number of courses,“ Gorman wrote. “Some professors may decide that they do not want to offer a summer course in this delivery format, while others may now have an interest in teaching summer school because it will be online.” 

Senior Associate Registrar Justin Schilke said that the provision allowing students to take any course pass/fail was approved for only Spring 2020 courses by the Faculty Senate.

“Were this provision to be extended to the summer semester of 2020, it would need to go through the Faculty Senate for approval,” Schilke said. “At this time, we have not heard of any such proposal.”

Meanwhile, all undergraduate summer travel has been canceled, including Rice Study Abroad programs, faculty-led programs, Center for Language and Intercultural Communication in-country programs and the travel components of other academic programs, according to a university-wide email sent by Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and Interim Provost Seiichi Matsuda on April 3.

Levander said she prioritizes making sure that Rice summer sessions are maximizing their potential to enrich students’ summers in lieu of canceled internship or job opportunities.

“Our main goal is to provide Rice students with the best and most educational summer opportunities possible, and we are looking into the most effective ways to do so,” Levander said. “Within the next week or so, we are looking to begin sending memos out.”

Campus Events Manager Hollie Fulsom said that decisions about campuswide summer events will be also announced in the next few weeks.

[4/8/20 9:45 p.m.] The story was corrected to more accurately explain the lack of any current updates on summer course fees adjustments. Additionally, the story was corrected to reflect that the $800 per credit hour fee for online summer classes is not a new adjustment. 

[4/9/20 6:55 p.m.] The story was updated to state that all summer courses must be offered online and with the price adjustment from $800 per credit hour to $250 per credit hour.

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