Arkansas Tech University's academic leadership on the Russellville campus has developed answers for frequently asked questions as the institution prepares to return to on-campus instruction for the fall 2020 semester.
The information was gathered by the ATU academic contingency planning group and vetted by leadership from the ATU Faculty Senate and the ATU Office of Academic Affairs.
"We want our students and their families to be as informed as possible in advance of the upcoming term," said Dr. Jeff Aulgur, interim associate vice president for academic affairs at ATU. "The question and answer document we developed under the leadership of Dr. Judy Cezeaux, dean of the ATU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is one aspect of our university plan to fulfill that goal. The responses we have developed are representative of the significant efforts and expertise that have been applied to overcoming the challenges we face. We believe the results will be a learning environment that simultaneously maintains our commitment to quality and provides for the safety of our students, faculty and staff."
Below are the frequently asked questions and corresponding answers developed by academic leadership at ATU.
Prospective students seeking information about applying for admission to ATU may learn more at www.atu.edu/admissions.
Current students seeking more information about the fall 2020 semester may contact their faculty advisor or visit the online home of the Roy and Christine Sturgis Academic Advising Center at www.atu.edu/advising.
(1) How do I know if my fall schedule has changed?
Individual course schedules are available on OneTech. Visit https://onetech.atu.edu to log in to OneTech. Students who do not remember their password or need to change it may go to https://webapps.atu.edu/ams/.
After logging in to OneTech, click "Academics" on the left side panel. This will bring students to a page where they can click a link to view/print their schedule (under "My Courses"). Students will need to select "Fall 2020" in the dropdown menu to see their fall schedule. Click on the envelope next to the instructor’s name while viewing the schedule to contact that instructor.
(2) How do I find out the name of my advisor?
Log in to OneTech as described above. Click on "Academics" on the left side panel. Select the "Fall 2020" term. The advisor’s name will be listed at the bottom of the screen. Click on the envelope to contact the advisor.
(3) How do I know what textbooks and materials are needed for my classes?
To determine what materials are required for classes, go to http://bookstore.atu.edu, click "Textbooks" in the top menu and select "Find Textbooks." Select the appropriate campus (ATU or ATU Ozark) from the dropdown menu and then enter course information (department, course number and section). Students may enter all of the courses on their schedule at one time. When finished entering courses, click on the yellow bar to display course materials.
(4) How do I know if my class is face-to-face, mixed technology (hybrid) or online?
Determining if a particular class is face-to-face, mixed technology (hybrid) or online may be achieved by looking at the section number for the course on the course schedule or by doing a search for the course on the schedule of courses (https://ssbprod.atu.edu/pls/PROD/bwlkffcs.p_disp_dyn_sched).
A section number of 001, 002, etc. means the class is a face-to-face class. A section number of M01, M02, etc. denotes a mixed technology class; i.e., a class that has both face-to-face and online components and is often referred to as a hybrid course. These mixed technology courses fall into two categories: those that have less that 49 percent online content and those that have between 50 and 99 percent online content. A section number of TC1, TC2, etc. means the course is entirely online. Note that online courses will show TBA under "where the class is located" since there will not be any face-to-face meetings.
(5) My course is listed as a face-to-face course. What will the classroom be like?
The classroom may look different upon arrival. Chairs have been removed (or marked if they cannot be removed) to maintain six feet of distance between class participants. Students and the instructor must wear a mask at all times while inside the classroom. The instructor may also wear a face shield. Students will be asked to sanitize their seating area before class with materials provided in the classroom. Hand sanitizer dispensers in the hallways should be utilized when entering and leaving the classroom.
(6) Do I need to go to class every day for a mixed technology course?
As described above, a mixed technology course, also called a hybrid course, will have both face-to-face and online components. Instructors will inform students when they will need to go to the face-to-face class in a mixed technology course. The class environment will look like that described for face-to-face classes. Students and the instructor will wear masks and the seating will be arranged to allow for appropriate distancing. Instructors may also wear a face shield. Students will be asked to sanitize their seating area before class with materials provided in the classroom. Hand sanitizer dispensers in the hallways should be utilized when entering and leaving the classroom.
There may be small groups within the class who attend the face-to-face portion of the course on the same days. Other students in the class may attend on different days. Instructors will provide communication, possibly utilizing the course’s Blackboard module, to inform students if they will attend face-to-face on the first day of class.
Also, the course lectures may be delivered synchronously (at the same time as the scheduled class time) or asynchronously (for students to view at a time different than the scheduled course time). Instructors may or may not record lectures that are delivered synchronously. Please check the course syllabus for details. Please refer to the document entitled “Helpful Tips for Students Transitioning to Hybrid Course Format or Online Format” to see tips for success in online courses. The Students Transitioning to Online Learning (STOL-ATU) self-study guide located in Blackboard may also prove to be a helpful resource.
Students may access Blackboard by logging in with their OneTech username and password at https://bblearn.atu.edu/.
(7) I’ve never taken an online course before. What should I expect?
At first, online courses may seem completely different than face-to-face courses. They can be asynchronous, meaning students do not have a fixed class time, or synchronous, where the lecture is delivered at a specific class time. Instructors may or may not record the synchronous lectures. In the Blackboard module for the course, the instructor will give students a schedule of when they should review the course content (recorded lectures, videos, etc.) as well as when they will be tested on them.
An important aspect of an online course is student-to-student interaction as well as instructor-to-student interaction. Students may be asked to contribute to class discussions, write a blog, work with a team on a project, take an exam or any of a number of activities chosen by the instructor. Students may be asked to use a webcam and/or special software while taking an exam. Please refer to the document entitled “Helpful Tips for Students Transitioning to Hybrid Course Format or Online Format” to see tips for success in online courses. The Students Transitioning to Online Learning (STOL-ATU) self-study guide located in Blackboard may also prove to be a helpful resource.
Students may access Blackboard by logging in with their OneTech username and password at https://bblearn.atu.edu/.
(8) Can I take all of my courses online for the fall semester?
If online sections of a student's courses are available (denoted by section numbers of TC1, TC2, etc.), they can choose to take all of their courses online for the fall semester. Students who change their schedule to take only online sections are asked to work with their advisor to ensure continued progress toward the desired degree.
Students who take all online sections are required to pay the student activity fee, public safety fee and student union/recreation center fee unless they are enrolled in a degree program that is delivered 100 percent online and they do not live or work on campus.
(9) What if I (or a family member I live with) has a medical condition that makes me more vulnerable to COVID?
If a student or a family member with whom the student lives has a medical condition that makes the student or family member a part of a vulnerable population as identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the student may request accommodations through the ATU Office of Disability Services at https://www.atu.edu/pandemicrecovery/student-accomodations.php. The student must acquire and provide physician certification of the medical condition.
(10) Are there computers on campus that I can use to complete my work for online and hybrid courses?
Please refer to the ATU Office of Information Systems web page about computer labs on campus at https://ois.atu.edu/computer-labs/. Some labs listed are for particular majors or are used for teaching only. Look for labs on this web page that denote the computer labs are for “Student Use.”
(11) Is the library open? How can I get materials for my online courses?
Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center will remain open for students throughout the fall 2020 semester. Library hours are available at https://libguides.atu.edu/about/hours. Nearly all of the journal collections exist online and are accessible remotely. Additionally, most of the book collection is online as well, and it is accessible in full-text through the "Find It!" search box at https://libguides.atu.edu/research.
Students taking only online courses and living more than 25 miles away from campus are considered distance learning students. There are services that are tailored to the needs of these students. Please refer to https://libguides.atu.edu/distancelearning for more information. Reference librarians continue to be available to students when the library is open or online at https://libguides.atu.edu/research/help/askus.
(12) When will I hear from my instructor about my course and how it will run?
Instructors will contact students via their ATU e-mail address no later than Friday, Aug. 14, as to what to expect for a particular course. If a student adds a course during the late registration period and does not receive an e-mail from the course instructor, the student should contact the instructor prior to the first class day to learn what preparation is required.
(13) How are labs being run?
Lab courses may be online, face-to-face or mixed technology. For online labs, instructors may use simulations or other methods to deliver the course content. Face-to-face labs will run like face-to-face courses with the lab seating set up for distancing of at least six feet, instructors and students wearing masks and sanitization of lab stations and equipment at the beginning of the lab period.
(14) How do I get tutoring?
Virtual tutoring via WebEx will be available this fall from the APEX Tutoring Center beginning on Sunday, Aug. 30. Tutoring will be available Sundays-Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. Please make an appointment in advance using TutorTrac. For more information or to sign up for tutoring, visit https://www.atu.edu/tutoring/. The list of courses for which tutoring will be available will be posted to the APEX Tutoring Center website by Aug. 30.
(15) I read that the university will go virtual after Thanksgiving. What does that mean?
ATU has changed the fall calendar to allow students to leave for Thanksgiving break and not return to campus for the remainder of the semester. There will be no fall break this year. Those two days will be used to substitute for the two days of instruction originally scheduled for after the Thanksgiving break for 15-week courses. So, for 15-week courses, there will be no classes scheduled after Thanksgiving and final exams will be virtual. For open learning or eight-week classes, any classes after Thanksgiving will be virtual and final exams will be virtual.
(16) How do I access the software needed for my course if I am away from campus?
Many of the software packages students may need for courses are available on the university’s vDesktops or StuDesktops that are accessible from off campus. Go to https://support.atu.edu/support/solutions/articles/7000019297-how-do-i-access-vdesktops-or-studesktops- to see how to log on to get access to the required software. Information about software should also be included in the course syllabus.
(17) Who do I contact about specific questions about my degree program?
Please refer to the list below for the contact information for each department. Students who are unsure of the department where their degree program resides may refer to the undergraduate catalog (https://www.atu.edu/catalog/undergraduate/) and click on "Degree Programs" in the left menu. This will provide a list of departments as well as the degrees they offer.
Department Contact Information
Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
Department of Agriculture
Dr. Justin Killingsworth
Department of Art
Department of Behavioral Sciences
Dr. David Ward
Department of Biological Science
Dr. John Jackson
Department of Communication and Journalism
Department of Computer and Information Science
Dr. Jerry Wood
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Theresa Cullen
Department of Electrical Engineering
Dr. Carl Greco
Department of Emergency Management
Dr. Sandy Smith
Department of English and World Languages
Dr. Carl Brucker
Department of Health and Physical Education
Dr. Rockie Pederson
Department of History and Political Science
Dr. David Blanks
Department of Management and Marketing
Dr. Kevin Mason
Department of Mathematics
Dr. Jeanine Myers
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. John Krohn
Department of Music
Dr. Jeff Bright
Department of Nursing
Dr. Shelly Daily
Department of Parks, Recreation and Hospitality Administration
Dr. Cathi McMahan
Department of Physical Sciences
Dr. Jason Patton
Department of Professional Studies
Dr. Jeremy Schwehm