Signum University Coronavirus and COVID-19 Response
Signum University is fortunate to be one of the few organizations that has been largely unaffected by the increasing interruption in daily life for many individuals, companies, and governments. Given that all of our classes and regular activities are online, our students, staff, and faculty are able to operate, for the most part, in a business-as-usual manner.
That said, we recognize that some members of the Signum community may be facing various pressures due to illness, self-isolation, loss of income, or other factors related to coronavirus or its resultant disease, COVID-19. As such, we wanted to lay out some of the options available for those who may be struggling academically, financially, or elsewise.
As we only have one more week of classes in the Spring semester, we hope that most students are in a place where they can finish out the semester without interruption.
For those who may be struggling at the end of this semester:
- Please discuss any difficulties you are having with your preceptor, especially if you think you may miss a discussion section. Students are allowed two absences from weekly discussion groups per course, but preceptors may at their discretion allow additional absences for extraordinary circumstances. (See the Student Handbook, p. 13-14 for attendance details).
- Also talk to your preceptor if you think you may need additional time to work on final papers/projects, or if you need to reschedule a final exam.
- Your Signum Advisor is also a great resource who can help you navigate any personal issues that may affect your education. If you’re not sure who your Signum Advisor is, please email [email protected] or use our contact form, and we will make sure you are connected with your advisor.
For students who are looking ahead to the Summer semester and beyond, please reach out to your Signum Advisor. Students may withdraw up to the third week of classes without penalty, but you should discuss your intent to withdraw with your Signum Advisor first, to see if other options are available. (See the Student Handbook, p. 15 for withdrawal and refund details).
Students who want to continue their studies but are struggling financially due to recent events may have the option to participate in our work-study program, which offers tuition remission in return for task-based jobs. If you would like to learn more and see if work-study is an option for you, please email [email protected].
Mythmoot VII: Defying and Defining Darkness
As of now, Mythmoot – our annual academic conference in Virginia – is still scheduled as planned for late June. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and we are in regular contact with the National Conference Center to receive updates about the venue and local government response to the coronavirus.
For those who have already registered for Mythmoot, you can cancel your registration for any reason and receive a full refund (minus a $10 processing fee) at any time up to 72 hours before the start of the event. Email [email protected] or use our contact form for questions about refunds.
For those who are concerned about either contracting or spreading coronavirus or other illness, our Mootcast option is a great alternative to attending the event live. We introduced Mootcast last year, and it was very well received by many people.
We want to note that we are taking into consideration the health and well-being of our honored guests, as well. As a result, we are looking at alternative arrangements for special guests who may not be able to attend in-person.
As many of you know, we have had to postpone two of our regional moots this spring, Sunshine Moot and Magnolia Moot, due to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local response to the coronavirus. The decisions to postpone these events were made by local organizers, in consultation with the Signum Events Team.
Due to these postponements, registrants received the option to apply their registration fee to a later moot or to receive a refund. Dates for these moots have not yet been rescheduled, but the event pages (linked above) will be updated once those dates are determined. Watch Signum social media accounts for updates.
At this time, we are planning for additional regional moots in the fall, in the hope that the coronavirus situation will largely be behind us by then. However, as of now, no dates have been finalized for any of our fall moots. We will announce regional moot dates, CFPs, and other details as they become available.
Assistance to Educators
Given Signum’s experience with online learning, we want to share the things we have learned with those educators who have little or no prior experience with online instruction. As such, we have put together a number of free and low-cost resources for teachers at all levels:
- 11 Tips for Teaching Online – These tips come directly from Signum faculty who have been teaching online for many years.
- Teaching Engaging Classes Online: A Tutorial and Discussion – Signum Founder Dr. Corey Olsen held a live session explaining and demonstrating platform-agnostic techniques for teaching online.
- Signum Teacher Mentorship Program – Groups or individuals can hire Signum at cost to get personalized help and advice on how best to set up their online classes.
We are also working on additional ways to help educational institutions and instructional organizations set up long-term, effective online learning solutions.
Additional Activities for Self-Isolation
For anyone who has found themselves needing a distraction from their daily surroundings, we are offering more ways than ever to stay engaged with the Signum community:
- Community Hearth Forum (free registration required) – The Community Hearth is a place where Signumites can gather by the virtual fire and discuss anything and everything that comes to mind.
- WriterSpace at Mythgard – The WriterSpace is a new program being offered via the Signum Twitch channel that provides a virtual writer’s room for those looking for encouragement, prompts, and sprints to finish any writing project. Normally held the last Saturday of each month, we’ve bumped up the frequency to help those in isolation feel a little more connected!
- Signum Academy – The recently relaunched Signum Academy is held the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:30pm to discuss speculative literature for younger readers. In April, we’re going to be discussing Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
- LOTRO 101 – Signum Twitch Director Jean “Druidsfire” Prior has been offering introductory sessions on Lord of the Rings Online on the Signum Twitch channel. For anyone who is curious or who wants to start playing (LOTRO is completely free through April 30th), this is a great way to dip your toes into the game.
- Anytime Audit Quarantine Special – Our Anytime Audit program lets people study language and literature at a self-directed pace. We’re currently offering a discount on Anytime Audit gift certificates, which can be redeemed now or later for any of our Anytime Audit-eligible classes.
These are all in addition to our ongoing programs, including Mythgard Academy, the Silmarillion Film Project, Mythgard in Middle-earth, and Exploring The Lord of the Rings, as well as our Signum Symposia sessions.
To stay in touch with us and get reminders about the above, follow Signum on social media and elsewhere!