Academics & Research

To support excellence in the student experience while maintaining safety, we have realigned our course schedule to include a variety of modalities for course delivery: in-person, hyflex and online offerings. Our facilities staff have worked tirelessly to adapt our classroom spaces to allow social distancing and stay within occupancy requirements, and our IT staff have led initiatives to secure state-of-the art equipment and to provide training in enhanced AV supports for inclusive and hyflex teaching. We have decommissioned classrooms that cannot safely accommodate a minimal class size of eight students, as well as decommissioned classroom seats, bathroom fixtures and other physical structures to support appropriate social distancing. These adaptations are not permanent and can be reversed when greater opening is possible. We will use signage to support appropriate distancing and accommodations in elevators, indicate smooth traffic flow to reduce contact and identify materials to support individual responsibility for personal space disinfection (e.g. wipes, disinfecting spray) and prevention (e.g. hand-washing, face coverings, social distancing).

The University has invested in technological, students and faculty supports to deliver our exceptional student experience across modalities, and our Office of Teaching & Learning has broadened their extensive offerings to support instructors. New supports for student success are described below.

Research, scholarship and creative work, and clinical services are integral to both our public good mission and our experiential training model. To promote safely continuing these core functions, each research team and clinic have approved protocols and overarching guidance for in-person activities on campus. For example, waiting rooms have been decommissioned, participants are met in the parking lot and escorted in, and research participants and clients complete the visitor questionnaire so that we act quickly to limit exposure should a visitor either become ill or should we learn they were exposed while on campus. Similarly, protocols for disinfection of shared equipment and space are both governed by broad university policies and developed specifically for each clinic or research team.

Academic Calendar and Year-Long Final Assessments

Fall Term

Law School Fall semester August 17
Law School last day of class November 23
Law School Online finals  December 2-16


DU Move-in residential students September 7 – 13
DU First day of fall quarter classes September 14
DU Last day of fall quarter classes  November 20
DU Online final exams  December 1 – 4

Winter Term

Law School Spring Semester January 14
Law School Last Day of Class  April 26
Law School Online Finals  May 5 – 20


DU Move-in residential students  January 2-8 (Saturday – Friday)
DU First day of winter classes  January 13 (Wednesday)
DU Last day of classes   March 19*
Finals No scheduled finals week
Spring Break** March 20-30 (Saturday – Tuesday, 11 days)

** This accommodates the beginning of Passover (i.e., the first two nights of Passover are the Saturday and Sunday of Spring Break).

Spring Term (excluding Law)***

First day of class  March 31 (Wednesday)
Last day of class  June 8 (Tuesday)
Finals  No scheduled finals week

Commencement Dates

Law Commencement  May 22
DU Graduate Commencement  June 11
DU Undergraduate Commencement June 12

All assessments for the 2020-2021 academic year will be delivered online and DU will be paperless for the 2020-2021 academic year. Instructors will distribute and receive all assignments and class material electronically. Online final assessments may be synchronous or asynchronous, but if a final assessment for the fall 2020 quarter is scheduled to be synchronous it should conform to the time allotted to the final in the schedule of classes. Instructors should not require synchronous finals during the last week of instruction or during the time between the end of instruction and the beginning of finals

Course Schedules & Modalities

Four modalities will be used for 2020/2021 academic year:

Online — A class designed from the ground up so all students can engage with the class experience online. These courses may be synchronous (will have days/times published in the schedule of classes) or asynchronous (will not have days/times published in the schedule of classes). None of these classes will be assigned a classroom. 

Hybrid — A class that has both in-person and remote learning elements, with the frequency of in-person learning based on instructional needs. Hybrid courses will require students to be on campus and face-to-face for a portion of their coursework and engage with the remainder remotely. Specific frequency of in-person class meetings will vary by course, but generally the course will meet in person at least one day per week. The other days the course may meet online synchronously (the other day(s) of the week will be published in the schedule of classes) or asynchronously (the other days of the week will not be published in the schedule of classes).

Hyflex – A class that is taught as in person and online simultaneously and is considered multi-modal, such that each student can either choose their mode of engagement in the course for the day, or will be assigned a mode of engagement for that day by their instructor. That is, in some cases, students can choose to attend face-to-face meetings or participate fully online, and they may be able to choose to go back-and-forth between these different modes of participation throughout the duration of the course. In other cases, students will be assigned a day to participate in person. Classes are conducted with high interactivity for both in-person and online students simultaneously, where cameras and microphones are set up in the room with students to promote seamless interaction.

In-Person — A class for which there is at least some essential material that can be acquired only through in-person attendance. All in-person face-to-face classes and the in-person portions of hybrid classes will be streamed and/or recorded to allow students who become ill, or who need to self-isolate temporarily, or who cannot attend for some other short-term reason to keep up and continue to make progress. Instructors, however, will not be expected to engage online students as if the course were a hyflex course.  Video recordings are in place to help students who need a temporary adjustment to attending their face-to-face classes. 

The current schedule of classes provides the class modality so that continuing students may review this information and determine whether they wish to adjust their schedules, and incoming first-year students may create their schedule with the knowledge of each course modality.

In-person classes are scheduled in rooms and meeting spaces that can accommodate the class size with social distancing following state public health orders and guidelines from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE). Under current requirements, classes in regular-sized rooms are capped at 50 students. Classes held in “extra-large” spaces may be capped at 100. DU has very few spaces that qualify as “extra-large.” Students and faculty must wear face coverings in the classroom, and classrooms will be altered so that students may remain physically distanced (six feet apart) from other individuals in the room.

Additional information on courses, pedagogy, and other teaching-related content can be found in the Teaching Support and Course Guidelines sections.

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