Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Course Delivery

How will I know what format my classes are in?

When you register for courses in MyNIU, the course mode will be labeled as online, hybrid, face-to-face, etc. It will be important for you to connect with your advisor to understand your options or make any necessary changes. Newly admitted students will receive more information about classes in advance of orientation, where you'll work with your advisor on selecting the best options for you. Please check your NIU email for updates.

What is a hybrid course?

Hybrid courses 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. When you register for a hybrid course, you'll see both online (100%) and a classroom listed under the "room" for the course. There will be course meeting times listed. When you click on the course detail, you'll see what days the course will meet face-to-face and what days the course will be held online. 

How did NIU decide which courses would be face-to-face?

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.

Will my online classes require me to log in at a certain time or on my own time?

It will depend on the course and the professor. Generally, in an online course, you might experience live conferencing and lectures that require you to log in at a certain time; recorded content with no required meeting; or some combination of the two. In all cases, both you and your professor will have an active presence in the virtual classroom.

What if I don’t want to take any online courses?

If you have concerns about online learning, please speak with your advisor. While there are some face-to-face offerings, it’s likely you’ll have online courses in your schedule. Unfortunately, the uncertain situation with the pandemic—and current physical distancing guidelines—have required the university to proceed in this fashion.

Advising and Registration

Who can I talk to about my course schedule or professors?

You should talk to your advisors when creating your fall schedule. If you’re unsure who your advisor is, the advising website will help you. Additionally, if you're undecided on your major, you can also contact the Academic Advising Center at 815-753-2573 or aac@niu.edu. If you currently have a major, contact your department or college office to identify your advisor. If you're a prospective student, contact the admissions office at 815-753-0446.

Is NIU continuing to offer academic advising services during this time?

Yes. Until further notice, we're offering non-face-to-face advising opportunities. Your academic advisor will reach out to you to make arrangements that work for you. You can contact your advisor as well. Options could include the following:

  • Virtual video conferences.
  • Phone calls.
  • NIU emails.
  • IM chats.

To reduce barriers to registration, all registration holds will be temporarily removed. If you’re not sure who your advisor is, check MyNIU or contact your advising office. For contact information for each advising office and any additional updates, see How to Register. 

When I’m registering for online classes in MyNIU, I see the terms “synchronous” and “asynchronous.” What do these terms mean?

Synchronous online courses occur in real time and include activities such as live lectures or live conferencing. Synchronous courses are taught 100% online, but you'll meet at a set time each week via an online platform such as Blackboard Collaborate or Microsoft Teams. We’ve recently updated the MyNIU system, so when you register for a synchronous course in MyNIU, the system will indicate the course is online (100%) synchronous where the "room" is listed. You'll also see course meeting times listed.

Asynchronous online courses occur through online channels without real-time interaction and include activities such as recorded lectures and self-guided lessons. Asynchronous courses are taught 100% online, but do not have an assigned meeting time for the course. Instead, you can view lectures or work on lessons within a flexible time period, set by your instructor. We’ve recently updated the MyNIU system, so when you register for an asynchronous course in MyNIU, it will indicate the course is online (100%) asynchronous where the "room" is listed. There will not be listed course meeting times.

Updated 9/4/20

When I’m registering for online classes in MyNIU, I notice that some courses are F2F with students meeting on staggered days. What does that mean?

In some face-to-face (F2F) courses, classrooms cannot accommodate all the students at one time because of physical distancing requirements. In those cases, you'll either attend class or watch livestreamed events on a staggered and rotating schedule. For example, half of the students in a course might be in a physical classroom on Tuesdays, with the other half watching livestream; and vice versa on Thursdays. Faculty members will determine the staggered-attendance schedules for those classes and will communicate to the students prior to the start of classes.

Academic Assistance

I learn best face-to-face and most or all of my classes are online. What should I do?

Regardless of the course delivery method, we're committed to ensuring your success. The Keep Learning website provides information on campus resources you can access at any time. For example, you’ll find online learning tips and online learning tools to help you stay engaged. Read more about assistance and remote learning resources you can turn to for support.

The Keep Learning website also includes contact information should you have technological issues. Remember, you can contact the Center for Student Assistance if you experience any issues that impact your success. If you need further assistance or want to discuss your options, please contact your academic advisor.

How do I get my textbooks, especially if I’m not on campus?

For detailed information on textbooks, see Textbooks and Course Materials Information for Students.

Textbooks can be ordered online at Huskie Books & Gear. You can shop for materials one of two ways. If you enter your student ID number, preceded by a zero, the list of materials needed for all your classes will populate. Simply add them to your shopping cart for purchase. You can also shop for materials by course.

If you have financial aid or a scholarship, you can use your OneCard ID at Huskie Books & Gear to charge the cost of your books and school supplies to your bursar account.

Support and Resources

Protective Measures

Will I have to wear a protective mask during face-to-face courses?

You're required to wear a protective face mask in class. You're expected to supply and maintain your own face masks. Bandanas and neck gaiters—made of thin, stretch tubes of fabric down the neck—aren’t effective for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and are not acceptable face coverings while on campus.  

If you can't wear a face mask because of a disability, contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) as soon as possible. The DRC will determine any reasonable accommodations. Faculty can request to view any approved accommodation documentation you receive from the DRC. Learn more about classroom safety precautions.

Student Employment

Where are emails related to my student employment sent?

Communications about your student employment are sent to your student employee email account. This is the account that was created when you became a student employee. It usually begins with a “A1” and ends with “@mail.niu.edu” (for example: A123456@mail.niu.edu). It is separate from your student Z-ID account. If you need help accessing your student employee email account, contact the Division of Information Technology at ServiceDesk@niu.edu

International Students

Can I maintain my F-1 status?

Yes, if you are enrolled as a full-time student. The types and modalities of classes you take, or your location, do not impact your status.

I am staying outside the United States this semester. How do I receive a new I-20?
  • Even if you already completed the form under the earlier guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), you must email ifso@niu.edu with your full name, your SEVIS ID, your Z-ID and confirmation that you will remain outside the United States and enroll full time.
  • New I-20s will be created as part of the normal SEVIS registration process and should be ready in late September.
  • ISSS will provide additional processes and timelines at a later date.
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