Nicholls Virtual Campus
In response to COVID-19 and other issues requiring campus closure, the Nicholls Virtual Campus creates a fully functioning campus in an online environment. It enables us to toggle between a face-to-face campus and a virtual campus providing continuity of operations, while maintaining the safety of the entire Nicholls community.
The vision for the Nicholls Virtual Campus is to create a future for students, faculty, staff and the community to work, learn and collaborate in a location-independent vibrant campus engaging fully with programming and experiences. We will reach further to meet the needs of our campus, the workforce, the community and the shifting demands for the future.
The Nicholls Virtual Campus will:
Promote a seamless student experience from recruitment to alumni engagement.
Promote digital forms as a method to continue campus processes and operations from remote locations.
Coordinate virtual conferral and other ceremonies and events during a virtual time.
The committees met multiple times per week from April 16 through May 14, 2020 to develop the plan for the Nicholls Virtual Campus.
Membership of the committees included administrative, academic and student success units on campus.
Four subcommittees were formed to represent students, faculty, administrative processes and outreach.
Several processes were used to build the Nicholls Virtual campus plan. It included discussions in small and large groups. Discussions and visioning included:
Anticipating future success.
Assessing the strengths and opportunities for the future along with current weaknesses and threats, taking the point of view of the primary audiences served by Nicholls.
Discussing what did and did not work during the second half of spring semester 2020 when Nicholls was required to close campus due to the global pandemic.
Considering items that should be on the website to assist faculty, staff and students to do their jobs.
Thinking beyond the website to the daily life of living and working in quarantine.
Converging the entire process on recommendations.
STREAMLINE & SIMPLIFY
STUDENTS STAYING HOME
MERGE VARIOUS SYSTEMS
OFFER MORE SERVICES
DIDN’T LEARN THIS ROUND
LACK OF FUNDING
Current and future Nicholls students are the primary audience for the site. Additional audiences include the community, region and state, parents of summer campers, parents of current and future Nicholls students, Nicholls alumni, the Board of Regents, sister institutions, the legislative delegation and many more.
How might we serve all Nicholls students virtually from initial interest to graduation?
How might we maneuver teaching, learning, scholarship and service in a virtual environment?
How might we engage with campus administrative functions and services virtually?
How might we promote communications and outreach connecting the culture of Nicholls to the communities we serve?
Maintain virtual continuity of operations campus-wide. Although everyone with the exception of key essential employees worked from home, the creativity of the staff enabled services, support, processing, reporting, committee meetings, departmental meetings and celebratory events to continue virtually.
Promote specific technologies and software to support future remote environments. In a virtual environment, technology is the key to connecting with campus software, with staff and for teaching and learning. Unfortunately, access to technology is an issue for some staff and faculty as well as many students.
To implement recommendations, the following next steps are underway:
Launch the Nicholls Virtual Campus website late summer 2020.
Purchase software that will enable the campus to maintain digital processes for signatures, routing, storage and retrieval.
Launch virtual training, guidelines, checklists and support for faculty, staff and students.
Develop a plan to support student, faculty and staff access to technology for future campus closures.
Develop a technology plan that audits existing technologies and plans for most efficient purchases and future support.