As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, Fairfield University's mission includes a commitment to provide education “at the margins” and beyond our physical location. Offering programs online allows us to reach students around the country and the world. The Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities recognized the importance of online education with the establishment of JesuitNET (http://www.ajcunet.edu/global-collaboration/) in 1999 with a mission “to support AJCU members and affiliates as they develop, share and deliver a broad range of online academic programs and services for a national and international audience. The characteristics of Jesuit education - academic rigor, personalized instruction, service learning and ethics - form the core of the courses and programs developed and delivered through JesuitNET.” These same principles continue to form the foundation of Fairfield University's online courses and programs today.
In face-to-face courses, Fairfield has committed itself to a modern approach to teaching, and these standards are carried through to our online classes as well. The same small class sizes, deep engagement between instructor and student, innovative use of technology, and attention to Jesuit values that our on-campus students experience can be found in Fairfield's virtual environment. Our faculty begin begin with the foundational principles of a “Fairfield education” for each and every class, no matter what the delivery method.
In addition to a rotating set of online courses from a wide range of academic departments and schools, Fairfield will introduce, in the fall of 2018, a set of five online certificate programs (consisting of four courses each) and one online Master of arts degree.* Enrollment in these programs will commence in the summer of 2018:
* Pending NEASC approval, expected Spring 2018
Fairfield University strives to offer its online students engaging and interactive classes that make use of modern educational technologies. From our move to the new Blackboard Ultra learning management system (in June 2018), to our use of Quip, an extraordinary application for collaborative writing, reviewing, and content creation that works just as well on smartphones as it does on computers, Fairfield provides a unique online learning environment that no other school can match. This focus on instructor-student and student-student engagement moves online classes well beyond the realm of watching videos/posting comments/writing papers, however, and encourages students to be frequently involved in group project work, ongoing texting-like conversations, and informal collaboration throughout each class week. The mobile-friendly tools we employ also offer students a highly flexible means for checking in on their courses and the option of participating from the device they carry with them and not just the computer at home.
All students, regardless of whether they are enrolled online or in a campus-based program, will receive access to the resources and support described on our Undergraduate (https://www.fairfield.edu/undergraduate/student-life-and-services/) and Graduate (https://www.fairfield.edu/graduate/student-life-and-resources/) Student Resource pages (as appropriate). Included among these resources are:
Fairfield University has no specific computer requirement for online students, though we do recommend a reasonably new Mac or Windows computer that has the latest possible operating system updates and anti-virus protection. We actively encourage our online faculty and students to use their smartphones and other mobile devices in doing class work, and all of the standard software applications and systems we use have been chosen to be accessible on mobile devices. (The only exceptions might be specialized software that a particular class requires for its subject matter.)
Online students have full access to the University's Information Technology Services Help Desk, which is currently available Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 7 pm, Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 4 pm to 8 pm. The Help Desk can be reached by phone at 203-254-4069, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Help Desk can assist with questions in regard to obtaining or activating (“claiming”) your Fairfield NetID network account, seeking computer hardware and software advice, problems involving logging in to or using University systems, and general information regarding the My.Fairfield.edustudent portal. The Academic Computing department also maintains an email account (email@example.com) that can be used for submitting time-sensitive questions regarding access to, or functionality of, learning systems such as Blackboard and Quip.
As described fully in the Graduate Student Catalog:
All members of the Fairfield University community share responsibility for establishing and maintaining appropriate standards of academic honesty and integrity. As such, faculty members have an obligation to set high standards of honesty and integrity through personal example and the learning communities they create. Such integrity is fundamental to, and an inherent part of, a Jesuit education, in which teaching and learning are based on mutual respect. It is further expected that students will follow these standards and encourage others to do so.