UAFS COVID-19 Support & Resources

In light of the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith has put together this resource and support guide for the students, faculty, and staff of our institution as we move to online instruction.
 

Adapting to online classes can be difficult even in optimal circumstances, and we know that the move to all online courses amidst a global pandemic is an even bigger challenge. We are working hard to meet your needs, assist with your education, keep you on track to graduate, and create programming that keeps you engaged and healthy.

 

 

Tips for taking online courses:

Communicate with your faculty regularly.

  • The move to online classes due to COVID-19 presents challenges for faculty and students alike. Keeping in contact with your professors will not only help you develop a rapport with your instructors but will pave the way for any questions you have down the line. Your faculty are navigating classes in a new way alongside you – they will be understanding if you communicate your problems early.
  • In addition to directly contacting your professors, log in to Blackboard daily to read the newest updates, assignments, and discussion boards. Professors will be posting expectations, updated syllabi, and important deadlines, as well as online assignments as courses begin.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your faculty, staff, or university. Whether you need help with a specific assignment, a process or program, or you have technology needs, we can help.

 

Practice time management.

  • Create a study schedule that works for you. From time to complete classwork to time to study, you should assign time to your online class just like you would an on-campus class. Keeping a calendar or setting alerts on your phone can be helpful in keeping your schedule on track.
  • Create to-do lists so you can easily focus on one assignment at a time. Make your lists at the beginning of each week. For big projects break work up into manageable parts.
  • Embrace time management tools such as myHomework or Trello. Gmail integrations such as Sortd and Zapier work with your student account and can help bring emails, assignments, and priorities together in a more manageable and centralized way.
  • Identify time wasters. Set no-distraction times of 30-45 minutes during which you focus solely on assignments. Applications like Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.

 

Dedicate space to your studies.

  • Having a dedicated space will help you focus when you sit down to complete your schoolwork or plan your schedule.
  • Decorate your space with pictures, inspirational messages, or a mood board to inspire you and remind you what you’re working toward.
  • Be sure your study area has an adequate light to avoid eye strain and fatigue, a comfortable chair and workspace, and the right ambiance for you. Do you need music playing in the background or do you work better in silence?

 

Practice self-care.

  • Affirmation is critical during this time of change. Applauding your progress toward new goals will help you stay focused and improve your confidence.
  • Remember why you started this journey. Whatever your future holds, this time is brief in relation to your ultimate goals. Your ability to adapt to high-stress and changing situations will make you a competitive employee who is sought after by employers.
  • Take time for yourself. Feeling tired or frustrated while studying is normal in a new environment. Integrate some personal time into your study routine, and when you take breaks, get away from your space. Take a walk, listen to a podcast, or make some art to help you energize, balance, and relax.
  • Listen to your emotional needs and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • The UAFS Counseling Center is open and available at 479-788-7398. The Counseling Center staff will provide you with an appointment time or detailed instructions on how to access the online care Doxyme platform.
  • Find ways to destress. Be it exercising, practicing deep breathing or yoga, or embracing mindfulness tactics, there are digital resources to help you.
  • Use mindfulness apps that can help you calm down, breathe, and clear your mind, including Headspace on iOS and Android; Smiling Mind on iOS and Android; and Stop Breathe and Think on iOS and Android.
  • Eat well, stay hydrated, and get plenty of sleep to keep your physical health in check.
  • The Powell Student Health Clinic on campus is open and available at 479-788-7444 or studenthealth@UAFS.edu. Appointments can be made for in-person or remote care. 

Stay engaged with your communities.

  • Even though it can feel isolating to be removed from your campus community, we are all in this together. Connect with the university on social media, join groups for your favorite clubs, or chat with your classmates in online portals and discussion boards.
  • Participate in the digital engagement opportunities hosted by the Student Life Office on NumaLink.
  • Find clubs hosting online events, chats, meetings, and more on NumaLink.
  • Team up for group assessments, stay in touch and help each other with proofreading, tips, and exchange of resources.
  • Create an online study team of two to four friends - maybe more - and have regular discussions through WhatsApp, Messenger, Zoom, etc.
  • Collaborate and communicate as a group in:
    • Zoom (https://zoom.us/)
    • Blackboard Collaborate (https://blackboard.uafs.edu/):  To access: Point to Tools and click Blackboard Collaborate to access the Blackboard Collaborate Scheduler Page. Access the Room Details page and click Join Room.
    • Google Hangouts Meet (https://meet.google.com/): Your g.uafs.edu account enables you to use this service for free with your student login.
    • Brainfuse MEET:  Log in to Brainfuse through Blackboard, and you’ll see MEET.  You can collaborate, record discussions, and more.

 

 

Resources:

We know there are challenging times ahead, but the entire higher education community is undertaking this challenge together, and our partners across the River Valley are offering support to students, faculty, and staff alike. Whether you are concerned about your academic success, how you'll stay connected digitally while we are off-campus, or how you'll be able to support your family, we have resources available.

 

Digital Learning and Engagement

Academic Resources

 

Health and Wellness

  • The UAFS Counseling Center is available by calling 479-788-7398. The Counseling Center staff will provide detailed instructions on how to access the Doxyme telehealth platform.
     

  • The Powell Student Health Clinic on campus will provide services by appointment by contacting the clinic at 479-788-7444 or studenthealth@UAFS.edu. The Health Clinic is also able to provide essential wellness services over the phone.
     

  • This guide will help you recognize and understand feelings of stress and anxiety and learn how to manage them so that they don’t become overwhelming.
     

  • This document provides free online resources to stay physically and mentally healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, including dance, exercise, yoga, wellness, and mental health guides and tutorials.
     
  • Access to COVID-19 testing is available from Baptist and Mercy hospitals of Fort Smith who have established a joint hotline at 479-289-6508.

 

Building Connections

  • The Student Life Office at UAFS is compiling a Student Organization Virtual Engagement Guide with virtual programming ideas, tips for how to host a virtual event or meeting, upcoming RSO virtual training, how to host a virtual election through NUMALink, and end-of-the-year processes such as budgeting, officer transitions, and end-of-the-year awards.
     
  • All of your favorite on-campus clubs are gearing up to offer you opportunities to connect, grow and support each other - even while we are learning remotely!
     
  • NumaLink is your one-stop source for digital activities with your UAFS peers. Read our NumaLink Guide here to learn how to use this platform.
     

Community Support

Tech Resources
 

Computer Basics

Learning Styles Characteristics and Suggestions 
 

Blackboard

Blackboard Overview

Taking a Test in Blackboard

Submitting Assignments

Interactive Discussions

 

Internet Access

The Federal Communications Commission has released an agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cut off service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots. Check with your local internet providers for how they are honoring this agreement.

 

The 24 Hour Computer Labs remain open for student use on the UAFS campus. These labs, located in the Boreham Library and the Smith Pendergraft Campus Center are sanitized regularly and work stations are 6-feet apart to maintain social distancing.

 

Financial Relief

 

Even with these resources, we know students may face unexpected financial burdens. The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation's Student Emergency Fund allows us to provide immediate support to address critical student needs through funds that do not have to be repaid, thanks to generous donors to the UAFS Foundation.