Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

What students can expect at NAIT this fall

NAIT focused on ensuring students achieve learning outcomes safely

NAIT students can expect a blend of virtual and in-person classes this September. More on-campus activities are also possible – as health restrictions allow.

Dr. Sue Fitzsimmons, vice-president academic and provost, said the polytechnic is planning for additional in-person learning and student services, guided by provincial health restrictions.

Dr. Sue Fitzsimmons“We don’t currently know what health guidelines will be in place this fall, including gathering limitations and physical distancing requirements,” Fitzsimmons said, in an April 28 message to students.

“We’re making decisions after careful consideration of how we can safely increase on-campus attendance to manageable levels while also innovating our education and services to find a blend of virtual and in-person that meets the needs of students.”

“We’re making decisions after careful consideration of how we can safely increase on-campus attendance to manageable levels.”

Each program area will determine how learning will be offered. Those decisions will be communicated to students in May.

“Our focus is on keeping students and staff safe and delivering the outstanding polytechnic education students expect from NAIT,” she said.

Lessons from the pandemic

NAIT moved to a blended model with enhanced health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 academic year. This reduced activity on campuses and resulted in student services being offered virtually.

Fitzsimmons said NAIT is committed to building on those experiences and improving the student experience based on feedback shared during the pandemic.

A recent survey of 3,700 students found that 45% said they preferred blended learning, while 24% favoured online and 31% preferred in-person.

Fitzsimmons said NAIT will “always value hands-on learning,” recognizing in-person is still preferred for many learning outcomes. At the same time, the polytechnic recognizes the powerful ways technology can support learning and will continue to blend approaches where appropriate, she said.

“We remain true to our polytechnic roots as we continue to provide learning that meets industry needs and sets students up for success in their careers.

“As we plan for the fall and beyond at NAIT, we remain true to our polytechnic roots as we continue to provide learning that meets industry needs and sets students up for success in their careers. Learners will benefit from NAIT’s strong connections to industry, gain applied industry experience and learn from instructors who are experts in their fields.”

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