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A group of students in an outdoor class.

ACADEMICS

Course formats

We have placed on-campus courses into three categories:

  • Fully In-Person
  • Hybrid — in-person + virtual (50% or fewer students present at once)
  • Virtual

The format and location for classes will be posted in Colleague prior to the start of classes.

Our commitment to classroom safety includes a few non-traditional spaces for classroom instruction, including the Lindquist Sanctuary and Anderson Chapel.

It remains our goal to maximize the number of fully in-person courses while providing a safe learning and teaching environment.

All decisions on course modality and location are subject to change.

Courses in our fully online programs will continue without modifications.

Class attendance

Class attendance for residential courses is required according to the NCU attendance policy as outlined in the Academic Catalog. Instructors will drop students for excessive absences in keeping with the policy. Attendance may be in-person or by Zoom. To attend by Zoom, a student must be in university-directed COVID-19 isolation or quarantine, or s/he must receive prior approval from the instructor. (Reasons for receiving approval to join virtually by Zoom include, but are not limited to the following: feelings of illness/physical symptoms, elevated concerns related to COVID-19, childcare challenges.) If joining by Zoom, students are expected to be engaged throughout the class session. Students must have video turned on except by instructor permission.

Note: this attendance policy represents a change from the fall 2020 semester.

Classroom technology

All North Central instructional environments are equipped with technology that can livestream and record class sessions.

All courses will have virtual components and are created to function seamlessly in the event a student or faculty member may need to be quarantined or isolated and/or there is a need to move to a fully virtual format.

Classrooms are equipped with Zoom “Swivl” and iPad technology:

  • Each learning space will be equipped with a Swivl + iPad for Zoom.
  • The Swivl device is a special base for a tablet that allows instructors to use Zoom to extend the learning experience beyond the traditional classroom.
  • The Swivl uses a tracking system that allows it to stay focused on the instructor as they move throughout the classroom. It includes a microphone for the instructor and additional microphones that allow for a better audio experience in a classroom/hybrid setting.

Healthy classroom guidelines

The following help provide a safe classroom environment:

  • Face Coverings: Students are required to wear face coverings at all times, with exceptions to include medical reasons and unique pedagogical considerations (e.g., ASL interpreting, music, student presentations, etc.).
  • While teaching, instructors must wear a face covering, wear a face shield, or remain behind a Plexiglass barrier (where provided). These guidelines follow the requirements and guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Class capacities are limited to 50%.
  • Instructors will assign seats the first week of classes to assist with tracing and potentially minimize quarantine impacts should a student become ill.
  • Classroom users have access to cleaning supplies to clean their areas.
  • Class dismissals take place on a staggered basis to reduce the number of students in hallways during class transition times.

Readiness to switch to virtual learning

All of the models being utilized are adaptable to a rapid transition to a virtual learning environment if the university deems it necessary in response to changing public health conditions and/or governmental directives. NCU faculty and the instructional design team have worked diligently to enable NCU to continue to provide quality academic instruction in a fluid way amidst uncertainties that are inevitable due to ongoing adjustments related to COVID-19.