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Academics

Updated 6/16/2020

School-Specific Questions and Resources

In addition to the broader academic questions listed below, many of Northwestern's schools have developed specific ​resources for their communities. Please visit the School and Unit Websites resource page for more information. 

Teaching Remotely

1. Where can I find teaching resources, and advice on designing class assignments and assessments for remote learning?

The Remote Teaching and Learning Guidance website consolidates information about all aspects of remote teaching and learning, including guidance for faculty on course planning for Pass/No Pass classes and teaching in a remote environment. Throughout Spring Quarter, the Keep Teaching website will advertise workshops and trainings from across the University. Campus units, including the schoolsNorthwestern IT, Northwestern University LibrariesThe Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and The Center for Leadership, have created specific resource pages that provide information and guidance on effective and engaging teaching. As always, faculty can also find support at the department and school level.

For in-depth information on Canvas, please refer to the Canvas Learning Center, or contact your dean’s office for guidance on school-based support.

(Updated 6/16/20)

2. What is “Zoombombing,” and how can I protect my Zoom sessions?

“Zoombombing” is when unwelcome intruders attend a Zoom session for nefarious reasons. Such intrusions are disruptive and could even result in the unintentional sharing of sensitive information. Northwestern Information Technology strongly encourages faculty, staff and students to increase the security of their Zoom sessions to reduce the chance of unwanted attendees. Learn more at Best Practices in Case of "Zoombombing.". For further guidance on Zoom, please visit the “Technology Tools and Resources” section of the University’s Keep Teaching website. (Updated 5/6/20)

3. How do I respond to a disturbance in my Zoom event or meeting and regain control?

While the risk of “Zoombombing” is significantly minimized by following the NUIT guidelines, it is critical that you have a plan and know how to respond and regain control of your meeting if it is disrupted. Here are some key things to do, and you may find a more extensive list in Best Practices in Case of "Zoombombing":

  • Report the offending participant—If someone is disturbing the meeting, report the offender using the “Report” feature under the “Security” shield.
  • Remove a participant or put on hold—If someone is disturbing a meeting, remove them from the session. If the session is locked, they will not be able to return. Another option is to put them on hold, during which time the attendee cannot see, hear, or share anything. Both of these actions are done by clicking Manage Participants at the bottom of a Zoom meeting window.
  • Implement controls—If unable to remove the offending participant, mute all participants, and restrict screen sharing and chat.

(Added 5/15/20)

4. How can I make online exams and coursework accessible for those students requiring accommodations from AccessibleNU?

The Keep Teaching website contains information about the move to remote classes, including guidance on Accessibility considerations. The University’s Accessibility website offers additional resources to assist faculty members in ensuring the content available through Canvas meets digital accessibility standards. Faculty members will also find helpful resources for making video, audio and other electronic content digitally accessible.

Learning Remotely

1. Where can I go to learn more about remote classes and learning remotely?

A number of resources are available to support students taking remote classes. The Keep Learning website provides information on how to prepare and where to find support if you need it.

2. What kind of technology or equipment do students need to learn remotely?

Students have been given guidance regarding the hardware (e.g., computer, microphone and camera) and software (e.g., Canvas, Zoom) requirements they must meet for their remote classes, as well as suggestions for learning effectively in a remote context. Faculty are expected to also communicate any specialized course software or other requirements they will be implementing. (Added 5/11/20)

3. How can I get my textbooks and course materials when I am off campus?

There are various ways to secure course materials, including ordering textbooks online through the Northwestern bookstore and shipping them to your home.

For more information about this and other options for securing course materials, see FAQs on the Keep Learning website. (Updated 5/6/20)

4. How will Northwestern maintain its commitment to academic rigor and standards when classes are taught remotely?

The University maintains its high academic expectations and commitment to rigor, whether courses are taught in person or remotely. Recognizing the complicated nature of this moment and the challenges Northwestern students and faculty may continue to face in the coming weeks, Northwestern faculty—with support from their departments, programs, schools and centralized units and services—have made tremendous efforts to transform their classes remote delivery with these high expectations in mind. (Added 5/11/20)

5. Will peer tutoring or The Writing Place be available remotely?

While courses are delivered remotely, all Writing Place consultations will be online, using a combination of Zoom and Google Docs. Peer-guided study groups will run remotely through the Academic Support and Learning Advancement Office. Students are also encouraged to set up their own study groups. (Added 5/11/20)

Student Attendance and Participation

1. What should I do if I have flu symptoms and don’t think I can complete coursework?

Call NU Health Service at 847-491-8100, then contact your professor to alert them of your situation. Ask for instructions on how to catch up with the material you might have missed.

2. What should I do if I don’t think I can finish a course due to illness?

Students should check the policies of their program to understand their options for dropping, withdrawing or requesting incomplete grades; contact your academic advisor with any questions about your options.

3. Will my grade be affected if I can’t participate in classes due to illness or self-isolation?

The outcome will vary depending upon when in the course of the term you are unable to participate, how much class time and coursework is missed and the nature of the course. Contact your professor and academic advisor with questions.

Academic Issues for Faculty

1. Whom should I contact with questions about academic flexibility requests from students?

If a student has an existing accommodation through AccessibleNU related to academic flexibility, please contact AccessibleNU for any needed clarification on the accommodation’s parameters. Existing accommodations for students approved through AccessibleNU must continue to be honored, even as classes move to remote delivery. If there are any questions about an accommodation’s parameters, contact AccessibleNU for clarification. If you need additional guidance on how to manage a students’ requests for flexibility with the parameters of your school, please also work with your dean’s office.

2. What should I do if one of my students seems ill and is still attending class?

Privately check in with the student and suggest that, if they haven’t done so already, they should contact NU Health Service at 847-491-8100.

Research

1. How can I access library resources while teaching or learning remotely?

Information on library resources available can be found on the COVID-19 Library Updates webpage. (Added 5/11/20)

2. Will there be any interruptions to research funding and proposals?

While the situation is rapidly evolving, federal funding agencies including NIH and NSF have issued guidance on their websites.

3. Where can I find guidance about conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For guidance and latest updates on conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit Northwestern's Office for Research COVID page. (Added 4/30/20)