A message from Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Ingram re: fall course-delivery methods
June 17, 2020
Dear Undergraduate and Graduate Students,
I hope you are enjoying your summer. Here at NIU, our faculty have been busy planning your courses for the fall semester, and are eager to welcome you back to campus. Because the pandemic is still ongoing, we have had to adjust course-delivery methods for the fall semester. Most of those changes have now been made, and I encourage you to look closely at your course schedule in MyNIU.
If you have questions, want to make changes to your schedule or haven’t yet registered for your fall courses, please seek guidance right away from your advisors. They’ll be able to answer your questions and help you make scheduling adjustments, if needed.
While the academic calendar for the fall is unchanged, the course-delivery modifications that we’ve made are guided by our top priority—the health and safety of our NIU community. To provide a safe and engaging learning environment that respects physical distancing, we will offer a mix of fully online, face-to-face and hybrid courses when classes begin Monday, Aug. 24.
Regardless of the way the course is offered, we’re intent on delivering the same high-quality academic experience you expect from NIU. Our faculty are committed to helping students learn, succeed and stay on target for their planned graduation dates.
So, what will your courses look like?
- Online courses – Fully online courses are being designed with careful planning to be flexible and to foster a sense of community so that students are not learning on their own. In these courses, you might experience live conferencing and lectures; recorded content with no required meeting; or some combination of the two. In all cases, students and their professors will have an active presence in the virtual classroom.
- Face-to-face courses – These courses will be like what you’ve experienced in the past. Courses selected to be face-to-face—including laboratory classes and clinicals—require personal interactions, and the class sizes are small enough, or the academic spaces large enough, to maintain proper physical distancing.
- Hybrid courses – In hybrid courses, your learning experience will include both online and face-to-face interactions. For example, a science or engineering course might have online lessons with regular hands-on laboratory experiences.
In all cases during the semester where face-to-face interactions will take place, classrooms and academic spaces on campus will be disinfected before students and professors meet. NIU will follow federal, state and local public health guidance and expect students and faculty to follow recommendations for physical distancing, hand hygiene and face covering. Our plan also allows for a smooth transition to completely online teaching and learning should the need arise during the semester.
Committed to your success
The summer months provide us with time to carefully plan for the fall. I assure you that we’re making the most of that time. The plan I’ve outlined here builds upon what we learned this past spring—and on student feedback. Since the pandemic began, many NIU faculty members have attended workshops and training sessions to sharpen their online- and hybrid-teaching skills, and training sessions continue this summer.
Their efforts speak to how deeply they care about your success. While the start of the fall semester will be different from the past, all of us are committed to making sure that it’s personalized, fun, engaging and inclusive.
Still time to register
Your time at NIU has been a wise investment—in yourself. And we’re here to help you stay on track to earn your degree and graduate on time. Again, if you have not yet registered or need to adjust your fall course schedule, I urge you to seek assistance from your advisor.
Students who might be eligible for disability-related exam or course accommodations are urged to contact the Disability Resource Center as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in need of non-academic resources, contact the Student Assistance Center at email@example.com.
Additionally, we will continue to keep you updated this summer on important information as it develops. Look for a communication next week related to on-campus housing.
Finally, I’m reminded of three words that have come to define our community spirit: Huskies. Never. Quit. During these uncertain times, I congratulate you for having pressed on. Now, more than ever, it’s important to continue your academic journey. Our NIU community is here to support you every step of the way.
Executive Vice President and Provost