CROWNPOINT, NM – Navajo Technical University has extended its spring break by one week and will resume operations on April 6, 2020 as it prepares to transition its course delivery through distance education until the COVID-19 outbreak has been contained. The decision was made in response to the growing threat of the virus and stay-at-home orders from the Navajo Nation and the states of Arizona and New Mexico.
“The additional week will provide time for faculty to become more familiar with their remote learning plans and to become familiar with on-line instruction,” explained NTU President Dr. Elmer J. Guy. “Support has been sent to faculty members and is posted on the website.”
Online instruction will be at the core of NTU’s distance education plan, which will also involve instruction by telephone and traditional mail. NTU’s online capacity has grown exponentially over the past five years as a result of its participation as a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA membership requires institutions to have necessary resources in place to supplement online learning, which will prove valuable as a majority of courses at NTU will be delivered through NTU’s online learning platform Moodle.
Resources that will supplement learning in Moodle include NetTutor, a 24-hour tutoring service for online students, as well as video conferencing applications like Zoom. Faculty and staff are also being provided training on establishing online learning environments using Google web based applications, such as Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Hangouts. NTU’s Library Service’s EBSCO Discovery Service has also been made remotely available to assist students in accessing online journals, articles, and books.
Faculty will be working with students on a case-by-case basis and accommodations are being made for students without Internet. NTU was approved for supplementary emergency funds from the National Science Foundation that will provide $500,000 to support online learning. Funds will be used to purchase hot spots and laptops for students in need and broadband will be increased to accommodate WiFi access points. As part of NTU’s strategy, hotspots will be designated in parking lots at NTU’s Crownpoint and Chinle locations that will allow students and faculty to access Internet without having to leave the confinement of their vehicle.
Campus operations will be limited and only students, faculty and staff with a valid NTU ID will be allowed on campus. NTU is following guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information involving COVID-19 and NTU’s efforts in addressing the situation, visit http://www.navajotech.edu/coronavirus.