Campus & Community

FDU Forum Prepares Students for Online Experience

By Naniyah McClain

Staff Writer 

Seventy-six students nervously watched their screens Wednesday, Aug. 19, as 12 faculty members and advisors gave instructions during the FDU Student Forum on Best Practices for Remote Learning.

Students will depend on more apps than usual this year.

The forum was hosted to guide students through the virtual learning system this fall. This includes apps like Blackboard and newer apps like CampusClear, a contact-tracing app that will be used to mandate self-screenings before students or faculty enter campus. 

Fall at Fairleigh is another virtual resource, a document on a platform called Comevo that allows everyone to contact support systems for health, counseling, academic and sports services online. 

Florham Campus Executive Brian Mauro said, “It’s not the experience we anticipated but one thing is for certain, you’re going to get the same great experience inside and outside the classroom.” 

Bonding Through Zoom

Attending classes through Zoom can feel very distant in contrast to in-person classes, which is why many professors are encouraging everyone to build a connection with each other. 

“We miss being with you all in the classroom and we miss talking to you in person, so even just seeing you on the Zoom screen, it helps a little to make it personal,” said Patricia Durso, English professor on the Metro campus and director of College Writing. 

Durso suggested making connections with classmates by using the Blackboard course tool’s email option. Forming study groups is one way to help enhance the virtual learning experience. 

It seems that the main theme of the forum is “connection,” which is why Deputy Campus Executive Craig Mourton introduced the CircleIn app. 

“CircleIn is an easy to use study app that connects you with all your classmates,” he said. 

According to Mourton, CircleIn provides many features such as flash cards, quizzes and note-sharing. Students can collect points to win prizes by using the app.

No Questions Left Unanswered

Advisors even answered a few anonymous questions from the Zoom chat:  

Q: Is there a deadline for the COVID-19 training?

A: As soon as possible. No later than the end of August.

Q: Is there a way to make the transition between the trimester basis to the semester basis? (From transfer student) 

A: Let the professors know about the current status of credits transferring to FDU and they will work with you.

Q: What should international students be aware of this semester?

A: If international students are taking classes remotely, they should inform their professors about the different time zones. International students should also make sure to contact the VPN if they are having technical difficulties.

Q: Will international students be able to participate in virtual activities this semester?

A: All virtual activities should be virtual to them. Stay tuned for Bubble, an app that will allow students to contact each other.

Q: How can we declare a minor?

A: Students can speak to a faculty member and academic advisor in their discipline and let them know about the major that they would want to pursue. Search on the school’s website for “applying for a minor” to fill out an application that can be sent to your department (according to Vice President of Enrollment Aurora Bugallo).

Q: Can students host their own Zoom meetings?

A: Yes. If students log into fdu.zoom.us students can create their own meetings that can last up to forty five minutes.

Links to Academic Resources

Several resources were discussed during the forum:

Apps/Websites

Email Addresses

For any password-related issues or system access inquiries, students can call the 24/7 help desk number: 973-443-8822.

“Don’t be alone. There are many people who are here to help you,” Provost Gillian Small said. 

This forum provided students with a lot of information for transitioning into the online world of learning. Hopefully the students who attended the forum or read this article will feel less anxious and become familiar with the new normal.

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