We’re all in a very fluid situation as we’re doing our best to take the necessary precautions to protect our community and reduce disruptions to our learning due to COVID. It’s important that we all do our part to not only take care of ourselves but also proactively seek out the information and resources we need to be successful. The following activities can set you up for success:
Check your student email. The primary way in which both the university and your professors will be contacting you is emailing you at your NIU student email address. It’s critical that you check your email daily so you don’t miss any important messages. Your student email is where you’ll be receiving all official university messages. If you’ve not yet setup your phone to be able to receive your student email, now is good time to do so.
Seek out the expectations of your professors. You can look up your class schedule in MyNIU to see who is assigned to teach each of your courses and be on the lookout for communications from each. Faculty are encouraged to email their students at their student email address prior to the start of the semester. If you don’t hear from your professor by the weekend prior to the start of classes beginning, you can email them. See tips for emailing your professor.
Ask your professors how you are meeting the first week. Some of your classes may still be meeting synchronously online at a scheduled time in a video conferencing tool like Blackboard Collaborate, Teams or Zoom, while others might have activities that you’ll be expected to complete virtually, most likely in Blackboard. As you find out from your professors what their expectations are for the first week and how you are meeting remotely, jot down those details and mark those dates on your calendar so you don’t miss attending.
Login to Blackboard. Your professors are working prior to the start of the semester to prepare their Blackboard course for you and many will be opening their courses before the semester begins. Once your professor opens your Blackboard course, you’ll be able to see it in your list of Spring 2022 courses and you can then access the syllabus and other introductory course information. Be checking Blackboard regularly for your courses to be open to you. You can find many great tips for getting started with Blackboard on NIU’s Teaching and Learning with Blackboard website.
Download NIU apps to your phone. Here are some essential apps that it would be a good idea to install on your phone so that you can participate virtually in classes while on the go:
Get required course materials. Note in the syllabus or other course information you receive any required course textbooks or other materials and make sure you get the materials you need. You can also check with the bookstore to see if there are required texts for your course and acquire them. If it’s not clear to you what materials are required, email your professor and ask.
Contact the Division of IT Service Desk early if you need assistance. If you have any technical issues while preparing for the semester, (for example, you can't log in to Blackboard or are having issues with your student email), contact the Division of IT Service Desk as soon as possible using either their Self-Service Portal, by phone 815-753-8100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There will a large increase in support needs the first week of classes, so you will get a quicker response if you contact them sooner instead of waiting.