UMass Boston

BeaconFlex Teaching Model

The University provides a flexible learning modality named BeaconFlex. This model allows a limited number of courses to benefit from meetings on campus while allowing students to choose between attending the class in person in a designated room, or remotely via web conferencing.

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Purpose and Benefits

This flexibility in student engagement with their coursework yields necessary near-term benefits for students, providing them with the option for in-person interaction with faculty and peers. Beyond the current circumstances, BeaconFlex will help our campus serve an increasingly diverse student body who may benefit from an increased likelihood to stay on track with their coursework and path to graduation.

Selection Process

Faculty are asked to check with their department for the current application and approval process.

Faculty Training and Support

Faculty who are selected to participate in the BeaconFlex modality will receive training and support in available classroom and remote-learning technologies, as well as instructional design guidance for applying best practices for course design to ensure effective and equitable learning and student engagement. Faculty are encouraged to schedule a course design consult prior to their first BeaconFlex session, in addition to classroom technology and web conferencing training, as needed. To learn more about the BeaconFlex pilot, associated support, and pedagogical principles, please visit the BeaconFlex Teaching Guide.

Technology Available

Technology Online (asynchronous and synchronous)

The BeaconFlex modality requires the use of the Blackboard Learning Management System. Additional tools are available to help faculty create content, assess student learning and facilitate interaction and participation. Echo 360 and VoiceThread are available for recorded content (mini-lectures, screencasts, student presentations etc.). Web conferencing tools (Zoom recommended) are available for live meetings. Google Workspace tools are available to facilitate interaction and collaboration.

Technology On Campus

The following classrooms are equipped with technology to facilitate interaction and inclusion of both in-person and remote participants: 

  • M-2-423: 30-seat classroom with single projector. Integrated tracking camera, lavalier microphone, and overhead student microphone allowing students to be heard remotely. Integrated USB Document for whiteboarding.
  • Y-1-1100: 500-seat classroom with dual projectors. Integrated camera, lavalier microphone, and 1 portable Handheld for student Q&A.
  • Y-2-2300: 200-seat classroom with a single projector. Integrated camera and lavalier microphone for Zoom. Equipped with PC and Document camera. 
  • Y-2-2310: 200-seat classroom with dual projectors. Integrated camera and lavalier or desktop microphone for Zoom. Equipped with PC and Document Camera.
  • Y-4-4100: 30-seat classroom with dual projectors and resident PC, portable document camera for 2nd video input into Zoom. 

On-site training is provided for these spaces, week-of or day-of classes, depending on availability.  Classroom Technology support staff are available to provide on-site support as needed.

Safety Protocols

Faculty and students are expected to follow the established guidelines and policies for accessing the campus.

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