Information for faculty and students as NAU shifts to online education

As NAU transitions to a fully online learning environment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Office of the Provost wants to ensure faculty members and students have the information and tools needed to be successful.

 What faculty members need to know

The Provost website has the latest information for faculty with links to important resources (this is also linked at the NAU COVID-19 site). Please refer to it frequently throughout this time.

All classes will be delivered online, and we need to ensure that they continue to be highly interactive and of high quality. Any exceptions to course delivery from online to on-ground must be approved by individual college deans with final approval from the Office of the Provost with a clear communication plan for those students. Rare exception requests will be vetted through the Office of the Provost with awareness of student completion and accreditation criteria. If exception requests are approved, they may be rescinded if the situation changes. You will need to have a Plan B in place.

We will continue to offer instructional design support to faculty for course content and delivery, including weekend and virtual hours. While the learning outcomes will not change, your flexibility and creativity on delivering the assessments and approach may need to be modified. Please consider designing assessments that do not require proctoring fee-for-services for our students. We understand there are challenges with proctoring, and options for university-wide proctoring services remain under review.

This is a unique and fluid situation. Please carefully evaluate your syllabus to ensure class policies are reviewed and changed to align with this new reality and have regular communications with clear expectations every week with your students, or more frequently if needed.

What students need to know

For some of you, it may be your first time learning in this manner. If so, NAU has provided a helpful video about Blackboard (Bb Learn) as well as Bb Learn instructions with FAQs as a launching point. The following guidelines also will help you navigate the online and remote learning environment.

Learning outcomes and expectations for your courses should not change. The difference is that much of the discipline-specific knowledge and information will be delivered by alternative means. Be sure you are reading actively, absorbing content, and comprehending the materials for your classes in the manner that best suits your learning style. That may mean that you recreate a distraction-free environment while you read and study, take the time to summarize your readings and materials in your own words, or find supplemental materials (Cline Library resources, Google Scholar, YouTube educational videos, etc.) to provide additional support for your learning.

Check-in to your courses and NAU email often. As we all have learned from this experience, things can change from hour-to-hour and day-to-day. Log-in to your course shells a few times a day to keep up on the course and any new developments. Fully explore and engage in the features within your Bb Learn shells for your courses – be sure you read through everything. Engage in the tools and interactive features of Bb Learn by participating in chat groups (or see if you can start one on your own).

Academic support services are available. These include tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, Academic Peer Mentoring, the Math Achievement Program and Academic Workshops, which will move online through Bb Learn Collaborate Ultra.  Academic peer mentors are equipped to support your academic success, discuss Bb Learn and give tops on how to work online. The Academic Success Center will offer a number of virtual appointments after spring break if you are interested in engaging in new academic learning strategies in an online learning environment.

If you become ill and cannot participate in courses, contact your faculty member and let them know what is happening. You can also access the Faculty Notification Request Form in the Office of the Dean of Students when a necessary absence, illness or extenuating life event occurs. It is important to keep the lines of communication open and notify your instructors if your health situation changes. For the latest information on COVID-19 and health resources, please visit the NAU Coronavirus websiteCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

Faculty are working hard to translate a traditionally face-to-face learning environment to a remote and online one. Please be patient and don’t be afraid to reach out with questions. There are likely many more questions that will need to be addressed in the coming weeks. Faculty are getting frequent updates and instructions on all aspects of delivering quality remote and online instruction.

Students, staff and faculty with disabilities may reach out to Disability Resources or read the FAQs on their website.