Success During the Pandemic

Success During the Pandemic

Posted on July 7, 2020

The UNCG Department of Biology has a plan to support your success during the pandemic.


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Whether you are a continuing student, a new student, a visiting student, or a transfer student, the UNCG Department of Biology has a plan to support you. We plan to offer many hybrid courses this fall that will incorporate face-to-face time in the classroom or laboratory. We will offer all our students the option to participate remotely in all our lecture courses and many of our lab courses. We will also provide some courses in an entirely online format. For more details about which courses and sections are available online, click here.

We recognize that during this challenging time, you may have health concerns or need to work, parent, or take care of family members. Our mission is to avoid or minimize any instructional-related challenges as much as possible, so everyone can learn and excel in biology.


In responding to the pandemic, the faculty of the UNCG Department of Biology will follow three guiding principles to support your continued learning, whether online or in person:

  • Equity– striving to provide all our students equal opportunities to succeed and thrive when taking our courses
  • Community-building – providing opportunities for real-time interactions with your instructor and classmates (both in person and online)
  • Flexibility – providing different options for methods of instruction so that you can successfully complete your coursework while balancing the other demands of your life.


Consistent with our goal of flexibility, we will offer courses in three different formats:


While many of you are very familiar with what face-to-face courses look like, you might be wondering about the format for the online courses we are offering. Our faculty are engaged in extensive professional development to help them design effective online courses and prepare them to teach online. Our online and hybrid courses include both synchronous learning (where you log-in to receive instruction at a specific time) and asynchronous learning (where material is available to you off-line for you to review at your own pace).

By combining synchronous and asynchronous learning in our online and hybrid courses, we are offering you an educational experience that is just as effective as traditional face-to-face learning. For more details about individual courses, see this link, which includes contact information for your instructors should you need to reach out to them directly. Having trouble reaching your instructor? Not sure who to reach out to? Several of our faculty have committed to being available by email to answer your questions over the summer.

CASA (College of Arts and Science Advising Center)
Dr. Malcolm Schug (
Dr. Mark Hens (
Dr. John Lepri (
Dr. David Remington (
Ms. Robin Maxwell (

Besides contacting the department for support, don’t forget about other available university resources:


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to take an online or in person course at UNCG?

Here are a couple of examples for Fall 2020 enrollment costs:

  1. A three-credit On-Campus undergraduate course will cost approximately $900 for an in-state UNCG student and $2,800 for an out-of-state UNCG student.
  2. A three-credit Online undergraduate course will cost approximately $600 for an in-state UNCG student and $1,050 when the distance education is received outside North Carolina. For details see here.

Incoming Freshman or Transfer students pay an additional one-time New Student Fee of $254 or $112, respectively. Payment is due by July 30, 2020 for the fall 2020 semester. Late registrations will take place from July 9 to August 3, and the payment will be due by August 18, 2020. You can find Fall 2020 Payment Instructions here. For more information on payments, financial aid applications, and a summary of estimated annual tuition and fees, see the links:, and

You can learn about North Carolina residency classifications and how to receive a Residency Classification Number (RCN) here.


What if I’m not a UNCG student and just want to take one or two classes at UNCG?

Non-UNCG students can enroll for academic credits and may earn up to 21 credits as a visiting student. See here for more details. Visiting students must apply at least one week before the first day of classes each semester. See here for details. 

  • You can find the Biology course catalog here. 
  • Once you select the course of your interest, you can learn about the available class schedules and formats (online, hybrid, and/or on-campus) here. Note: Only search for the word “Biology” and scroll to find your course of interest. Do not use the course numbers for the search.
  • Create an account here and complete the visiting student application.
  • The visiting student application fee is $25.
  • After processing your application, admissions will notify you of your status for participating in the course.


How do I transfer to UNCG?

Transfer Students are students with 24 or more college credit hours from a regionally accredited institution and are eligible to return to the last institution you attended. You can apply here. The transfer deadline for Fall is March 1 for regular enrollment and July 15 for rolling enrollment. You can learn more about transfer application requirements and deadlines here. Information about transferring credits can be found here.

Questions? Contact us at or follow up with the Undergraduate Admissions office at (336) 334 5243 or You can also find contact information for The Dean of Students Office here.

For questions regarding tuition and fees or the payment process, please contact the Cashiers and Student Accounts Office (336) 334-5831.


I’m not a UNCG student.  Will the biology courses at UNCG transfer to my home university?

Our biology courses are generally transferable to other institutions. Your home university may have specific content requirements to approve a given course for your degree. To find out more about the content of our courses, please see this list of content by course.


Which biology courses are offered at UNCG?

  • You can find the biology course catalog here. 
  • For a list of courses, instructors, and format for Fall of 2020, please see this link.
  • For information about course content, click here.


Which courses will be offered in an online format?

We are also offering several courses in an entirely online format, and others hybrid with optional online attendance.  For more details about which courses and sections are available online, click here.


What if I can’t come to campus this fall but still want to progress towards my degree?

A number of our courses (some lectures and some laboratories) will be offered online (see link).  We have also committed to offering all our lecture courses with the option to participate remotely.


I don’t like online courses. Is there an option for me?

Yes, many of our lecture courses will be taught as hybrids and will have a face-to-face lecture component with appropriate social distancing.  Several of our laboratory courses will be taught face-to-face only.  See this link for more details.


What does a “hybrid course” mean?

The Department of Biology defines a hybrid course as a course with some online and some in person (face-to-face) content.  All our lecture courses in fall of 2020 will be offered either with entirely online or hybrid options. Some of our laboratory courses will also have the hybrid format.


What is synchronous learning?

Synchronous learning is the kind of learning that happens in real time. This means that you, your instructor, and your classmates will interact in a specific virtual place, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. Methods of synchronous online learning might include live-streaming of lectures, video conferencing to facilitate office hours and/or exam-review sessions, and live chatting. The advantages of synchronous learning include engaging in active learning, receiving immediate feedback, and community-building that you can only experience through real-time personal interactions. Where appropriate (and with consent), synchronous events will be recorded and made available to view later to allow flexibility.   Please note that all our instructors have committed to make our online courses available for students who can’t attend synchronous lectures.  That means you can participate in any of our online courses even if you are not available during the scheduled course time.


What is asynchronous learning?

Asynchronous learning is the kind of learning that happens on your own schedule and at your own pace. Your instructor will provide you with recorded lectures for viewing, materials for reading, and assignments to complete. You will be afforded the flexibility to access and complete these assignments at a time that is most convenient for you (while being provided with clear expectations and due dates). Our methods of asynchronous online learning might include self-guided lesson modules, pre-recorded lectures, posted lecture notes, interactions and discussion through Canvas discussion boards, and email. The advantages of asynchronous learning are the increased flexibility afforded by the anytime-anywhere mode of learning and opportunities to learn at your pace.


What if I get sick during the semester?

We are committed to accommodating students who experience personal challenges, including sickness, during the pandemic.  We will provide the option for students to switch from face-to-face instruction to online instruction in our hybrid courses as needed. Options to make up missed assignments and exams or to receive an incomplete will be provided on a case-by-case basis.  Speak with your instructor but know that we are all seeking to be maximally flexible and accommodating to support you in navigating the unknown problems that may arise this fall.


Will I have to attend lectures at a specific time if I take an online course?

Several of our online courses are offered entirely asynchronously, which means you don’t have to show up (or log in) at a specific time.  We will also offer synchronous content for some of our online courses to give you the opportunity to interact with your instructor in real time.  To provide maximum flexibility, synchronous (real time) lectures will be optional for all our online courses.  If you are not available during the scheduled time, you will have the option to access the course information in other ways (for example by viewing a recorded lecture).


What technology is necessary for me to take an online course?

You will need a computer with internet access and the ability to send emails and log on to websites.  Having a camera on your computer or phone is helpful for situations where your instructor may offer the opportunity to videoconference or give a presentation, but in most cases, it is not required. For more information on computers and hardware, see UNCG Student Laptop ProgramIT Services to Students, and UNCG Libraries Technology Checkout. For more details about the specific technology requirements of your course, contact your instructor.  Not sure who that is?  Check out this list of courses.


If I take an online course, how can I get help when I get stuck?

Our faculty will be available to answer your questions over email and with virtual office hours.  We will also have teaching assistants available to provide additional assistance.  We don’t want you to have to “teach yourself” and will be available to help you through the course material, just like we would for an in-person class. Also, the Division of Student Success offers Tutoring Services and Supplemental Instruction for many of our introductory courses.


How can a biology lab be taught online?

For BIO 105, we have a very popular online lab taught online for many years.  For other laboratories, our instructors are designing online content and using lecture capture techniques and videos that will give you experiences just as if you were in lab. In other cases, you may even have a lab partner who is in class while working with you while you are attending on a platform like Zoom.

We know that many of our students enjoy the in-person components of biology laboratories.  For that reason, we will plan to offer some of our laboratories entirely face-to-face.  We may make data-informed decisions to adjust this plan as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.  All our face-to-face lab sections will be at least ½ capacity with social distancing and appropriate cleaning and protection in labs.


What if the university changes their current plan to open for in-person classes this fall?

UNCG has announced our intention to open this fall with an adjusted academic calendar and new policies in place to respond to health concerns around transmission of COVID-19 (see details).  The Department of Biology is planning to open this fall for face-to-face classes, consistent with the recommendations of the University. However, we also recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving public health crisis and we, like the rest of the campus, will make decisions for this fall informed on the most up-to-date data. If at some point in the future the decision is made not to open for in-person classes, we are prepared to provide the best online learning experience possible for our students, consistent with our three principles of equity, community building, and flexibility.


I have questions. Who can I talk to?

The following UNCG faculty members and CASA have pledged to be available to you over the summer to answer your questions.  You may also reach out to your advisor or the specific instructor of the course you plan to take.

CASA (College of Arts and Science Advising Center)
Dr. Malcolm Schug (
Dr. Mark Hens (
Dr. John Lepri (
Dr. David Remington (
Ms. Robin Maxwell (


Online Lectures

Hybrid Lecture Courses

























Laboratory Courses for Non-Majors











Introductory Laboratory Courses

































200-Level Laboratory Courses














Core and Upper-Level Laboratory Courses