Update from Provost Harbor

April 8, 2020

To the Campus Community,

We are just five weeks away from the start of UMSummer 2020, and I know many of you have been eager to know how UM will adapt our signature summer offerings to our current circumstances. 

All summer sessions going online or remote

All summer courses will be conducted online or remotely, not just those starting in May, as previously announced.

  • All face-to-face courses will transition to remote delivery. 
  • Exceptions for experiential learning will be considered on a case-by-case basis (as they were recently for spring semester).
  • Instructors interested in developing online courses should sign up for one of UMOnline’s summer online course development cohorts
  • Resources for students who need help with remote learning are available on the Keep on Learning website. The Math Learning Center, the Writing and Public Speaking Center, the Office for Student Success, and the Missoula College Learning Center will all offer remote tutoring for certain courses to students this summer.

What’s the difference between online and remote again?


Courses that instructors were planning to teach face-to-face will be taught at a distance, using Zoom or similar technology. Remote courses meet regularly like face-to-face courses would. Learning is synchronous, which means students “attend” class and interact with one another and the instructor in real time. Students enrolled in classes taught remotely will not pay the online course fee.


Courses that instructors have partnered with UMOnline to teach online involve extensive planning and development. They are designed to deliver course content to students in an asynchronous format, which means students can access course content and submit course assignments on their own schedules. Students enrolled in online classes will pay an online course fee of $48 per credit. This fee goes toward UMOnline’s expert development and delivery of these courses.

Why choose UMSummer?

  • Summer courses are a great option for students who wish to stay on track to graduate, get ahead, complete required classes or general education requirements, or need to repeat a course. 
  • This summer is no different in that respect, and online/remote delivery will offer our students additional flexibility as they can stay on track from home or wherever they choose to be.  
  • UMSummer will also be an attractive option for new students who want to get an early start on their UM program.
  • Summer is also a great time for non-degree seeking students to explore new programs, and for students enrolled at other universities to take courses at UM. 
  • I also encourage all UM employees to consider taking a course or exploring a new degree program for your own professional development and future career paths this summer.

Students: visit the UMSummer website for more information.

Instructors: visit the UMOnline website for both remote and online course support.

Beyond Academic Affairs

Summer camps and institutes

Summer camps and institutes for K-12 students planned in May are postponed or canceled. For June, July, and August camps, organizers of individual camps, institutes, or experiences are encouraged to decide on postponement or cancellation eight weeks before event start dates.

Other signature summer programs

Other signature programs based in experiential learning, such as field courses, are being postponed to August; are transitioning to remote delivery; or may be canceled. Organizers should decide on postponement or cancellation eight weeks before event start dates.

Prospective student outreach

Throughout these adjustments, our colleagues in Undergraduate Admissions are working hard to welcome new students to UM via daily campus visits via Zoom, virtual UMDays events, and online Bear Tracks opportunities.

Graduate program chairs and directors are working hard to enroll prospective graduate students. Many of our graduate programs offer skills and training in areas that will be essential for our society as it recovers from COVID-19.

New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation and the Big Sky Experience are moving forward as planned, to take place Aug. 24-28, 2020 on campus. Incoming first-year students will receive invitations to register for New Student Orientation in May. Organizers will decide on postponement or cancellation eight weeks before the event start date.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a Big Sky Experience, please submit a proposal. There is no deadline, but the sooner you are able to submit a proposal, the better.

In closing

I hope this gives you a better idea of what’s ahead this summer so you can start planning.

Thank you for your flexibility as we make the best decisions we can with limited information about the future. I am grateful for your hard work and commitment to UM.

As always, I welcome your input and feedback. I offer virtual office hours and receive feedback at provost@umontana.edu.


Jon Harbor, Provost


This message was sent by the Office of the Provost to all UM students, staff, faculty, administrators, and affiliates.