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Due to its large OL student population, Penn State’s School of Public Affairs had (unintended) applicable crisis contingency protocols in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the support of our college’s Center for Teaching Excellence, many traditional F2F residential courses had already been set up on our learning management system (LMS), Canvas. As a result, many of our school’s traditional students and faculty had a handle on using Canvas and remote learning technology. The center enhanced and focused its services to faculty as COVID-19 evolved (Center for Teaching Excellence, 2020). As the COVID-19 crisis hit Penn State during the Spring 2020 semester, most residential F2F classes were moved to a synchronous-OL modality using Zoom, a videoconferencing platform. For statutory and university policy reasons, as they apply to Penn State as a public land-grant university, we had strict limitations regarding asynchronous teaching during the Spring semester since residential students had enrolled with a reasonable expectation of being taught F2F, or if circumstances should require, synchronously OL. In addition, students on internships were able to continue with their respective real-life internship experiences, moving to home-office settings with classes held via Zoom. While the PhD program had some flexibility, the school could not deliver the program fully asynchronous OL due to Penn State Graduate Council rules and especially its residency requirement. Consequently, the doctoral program was delivered OL synchronously, enabling students to fulfill their residency preferences and requirements. In its newly added homeland security/emergency specialization, the PhD program had previously planned to use existing research-focused courses from the Intercollege Master in Professional Studies in Homeland Security Program. This plan was fast tracked, and our program will see its first homeland security-specializing PhD students in asynchronous OL classes in the Spring 2021 semester as policy allows for some PhD classes to be taken in this mode.

Publication Title

Journal of Security, Intelligence, and Resilience Education


Department of Criminal Justice, Monmouth University

Additional Information

Dr. Siedschlag was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.