BELOIT — After Beloit College’s plans to address COVID-19 garnered nationwide attention, Provost and Dean of Students at Beloit College Eric Boynton along with colleagues from Bates and Macalester colleges hosted a virtual conference on Friday, Jan. 8 with 80 participants from 18 higher education institutions to discuss how Beloit’s processes benefited students this past semester.

While many college administrations spent the summer holding out hope of resuming on-campus operations in the fall, Beloit College launched a student-centric plan in April 2020 in case the COVID-19 pandemic continued and to address the challenges students faced with online learning, according to Boynton.

The plan, called Mods, split the semester in half, with students taking two courses in the first half and two more in the second. Since Beloit students were on-campus all year, the approach ensured seamless migration from in-person to online, if needed, while making online learning more adaptable for full-time college students. It also helped mitigate the risk of potential COVID outbreaks on campus.

“Beloit College created the Mods schedule in March. No one else was thinking about the fall in March. They were thinking about next week,” Boynton said.

Boynton said the story on the Mods was featured in the campus newspaper and then started making the rounds in higher education publications

“Word got out, and we were inundated with calls from povoists across the nation,” Boynton said.

After the plan garnered national attention, numerous colleges across the country also adopted Beloit’s plan for the fall.

Boynton said the conference was a great way for Beloit College to share its information on how to do scheduling but also get some ideas from other colleges Beloit could potentially implement.

The conference had four breakout sessions covering the following: institutional research and assessment; fall 2021 planning; supporting student success in a modularized system; and registrar systems, scheduling, and classroom management.