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MICHAEL EDMONSON / Senior Staff Photographer

Columbia and Barnard and moved all course instruction online for the remainder of the semester, and many students have now evacuated campus to return home for the spring. With new updates coming in every day to a community that now spreads across multiple countries, Spectator has compiled all the vital information and news updates regarding the University’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s what you need to know about navigating academics from afar:


On March 11, Barnard and Columbia moved all courses online. The courses will continue on Zoom, a video conferencing platform, through the end of the semester. While students are encouraged to attend classes in real-time, recorded sessions of classes will be available for those in different time zones. Independent study meetings and office hours will also be conducted either over the phone or over Zoom. All proceeding midterm and final examinations will take place virtually. For students participating in lab or visual arts classes that traditionally require in-person interactions, professors will be in contact regarding alternative lab procedures.

Students who do not have access to the technology to take their classes online can contact Jennifer Rosales from the Center of Engaged Pedagogy at Barnard or the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning.

Barnard’s Erica Mann Jong ’63 Writing Center and the Columbia Writing Center have shifted to scheduling appointments on an online basis. Barnard peer tutors, who provide free individual and group tutoring for classes taught at Barnard and Columbia at a minimum of two hours per week, have commenced online sessions. Beyond Barnard will give students the option to schedule online appointments through Handshake, and has some open slots during spring break.

Columbia’s Center for Career and Education has yet to inform students about how its online scheduler will work moving forward.

As of right now, there are no announced changes to the academic calendar or deadlines, though some professors are altering course requirements to fit current needs. Students will be on track to finish this semester as they continue with online classes.

International students

Students will be able to continue this semester’s courses online domestically or abroad without jeopardizing their immigration status, according to guidance from the Department of Homeland Security. International students will still be considered full-time students and be making normal progress toward their degree.

Concerning optional practical training, which grants international students the authorization to work for 12 months in America either during or after college, and those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields an additional 24 months, students must submit their applications while physically present in the United States. The University is currently in contact with immigration counsel to inquire a temporary suspension of this policy, but students are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible. ISSO will continue to process OPT applications in the order they are received.


Olivia Treynor

A guide to Zoom

Seemingly overnight, Zoom went from a relatively unfamiliar video conferencing platform to one of the most popular tools used by universities and workplaces throughout the country. Due to the rapid progression of the coronavirus pandemic, students and professors alike were given little time to transition smoothly into a completely-online class structure; some adapted more quickly than others.

You might be wondering how your peers look like they’re sitting by the Golden Gate Bridge, how to send private messages to someone, or where that notorious “raise hand” feature is. Zoom allows features including annotations, private messages, recording lectures, and connecting to phone audio. This article clearly outlines some of the most important—and sometimes tricky—aspects of Zoom.

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