Thursday, March 19, 2020: Update to Faculty regarding academic continuity during the university closure

Over the past few weeks, the University’s leadership and key stakeholders have been working to refine contingency plans in the event that the Coronavirus outbreak would necessitate a shutdown of the University.

Following the Government directive that all institutions of learning should close to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, and USIU-Africa’s compliance with the directive, we have now transitioned to online learning for all graduate and undergraduate classes, to the greatest extent possible.

We recognize that this is a significant adjustment for everyone in the University community, and as such, the university is providing support to faculty and students in the form of trainings on how to make use of the platforms identified to provide remote instruction. To ensure that we continue to fulfill our core mandate of research, teaching and learning during this period, the University resolved to put in place the following measures during a special sitting of the University Senate and Deans Committee held on March 16 and 17, respectively:

  • Teaching and learning will continue, with the Blackboard platform as the default mode of instruction. However, faculty will have the liberty to use other modes such as Skype, Zoom, BlueJeans, WhatsApp and e-mail for learning and communication with the students.
  • USIU-Africa Online team will continue with the training of faculty on the specific skills required to ensure full optimization of the online platforms.
  • All faculty will be required to document the activities they undertake in ensuring that teaching and learning took place during the period. The documentation will be submitted to the chairs of departments at the end of the semester as part of the course file.
  • The ICT Department will provide reports indicating statistics on the usage of the Blackboard platform by both students and faculty on a weekly basis. These reports will be reviewed by the Deans, who will share the findings through a virtual meeting whose date will be mutually agreed once the reports are received.
  • The supervision of students undertaking their dissertations and theses will continue through email and online communication.
  • Global trips planned for DBA and any other programs will be postponed until further notice.

Administration of final examinations

The University Senate resolved to allow faculty flexibility in conducting the end of semester assessments, with some of the options recommended to include open book examinations, projects, term papers, case studies and recorded videos for tasks that require observation. Each faculty member will be accountable for the integrity of examinations in their class.

Where open book examinations will be used as assessment method, you will be required to share the examination questions with your Chair of Department who will constitute a committee to peer review the questions on a virtual platform before the examination is administered. Scheduled oral examinations will be done virtually.

Essential Services

The ICT Department is working closely with several vendors, including Zoom and BlueJeans to ensure that these services are continuous and stable during this period of high demand from the campus community. In the event that you may require any additional support, the University will be offering support for online instruction between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. every weekday and between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through the following channels:

For more information on the university’s instructional preparedness, visit:

I wish to thank you for the commitment and energy you have all taken to ensure that we continue providing rigorous teaching and learning to our students. It is this spirit of dedication and collaboration that will ensure that we manage the coronavirus crisis effectively and emerge from the campus closure stronger than ever.

Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

Vice Chancellor

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