Using NS During COVID-19March 18, 2020
Updated 2/13/21 with updated proctoring methods and best-practices documentation for remote proctoring.
Testing locations: as the COVID-19 situation progresses, we are aware that the ways in which testing locations use Northstar may well change. We hope you feel free to be creative and try new ways of helping people master digital literacy skills - which are even more crucial as so much of daily life moves online.
Here is some information that may help:
Northstar is providing free curricula for our new assessment, Supporting K12 Distance Learning. This includes eight classroom lessons, which can be taught remotely or in-person.
We have updated the ways to proctor assessments: by Proctor PIN (for in-person proctoring) or by test-taker request (for remote proctoring or larger in-person groups). See our videos demonstrating how to proctor assessments, or reference our manual. Along with those updates, Northstar has developed an updated Best Practices for Remote Proctoring document to review the technical requirements and guidelines to ensure remote testing validity. Also see our editable Remote Test Taker Checklist that you can provide to your test takers, in order to communicate the timing, video conference URL, and contact information for the proctored experience; this document also provides test takers with an overview of technical requirements for their system and a code of conduct.
Given widespread organization shutdowns, you may want to transition your learners to Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) if you have not already done so. We have released a bulk-import feature which will allow you to upload and create accounts for many students simultaneously, rather than one at a time. You can access this feature via Admin Portal > Learners where there is an Import button on the upper right hand side. Accounts allow individuals to access Northstar Online Learning practice and instruction, track their progress, and include the results of all assessments completed.
We are actively developing other topics for NSOL and will provide more information as they become available.
We are also making NSOL’s Basic Computer Skills, Email, Microsoft Word, and Career Search Skills available publicly for the time being, to help more people - please feel free to share or post https://nsdiglit.org/nsol-public which has more information and a link to the learning exercises. Note that if accessed publicly, NSOL will not save users’ progress.
We have developed 1:1 Digital Literacy Skills Volunteer Tutor Plans, resources to support volunteer tutors working virtually with learners one-on-one. These resources guide tutors who are accessing the external resources curated by Northstar. The plans help tutors follow best practice in instruction while targeting specific digital literacy skills learners need to work on.
We have many resources to help you use Northstar effectively, including
- our Quick Start Guide - brief videos on many subjects, including NSOL
- our Manual - step-by-step instructions on using NS
- our FAQs - info in response to our most frequently asked questions
- external resources list - resources curated by Northstar that may be useful for your learners
- Typing.com is another external resource that may be helpful
If you expand usage of NSOL, you may want to explore ways to communicate with students at a distance in groups, via Google Groups, Zoom, Facebook, or other means.
Many lower income individuals have poor internet access. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is releasing later today a list of free and low-cost internet resources, at https://www.digitalinclusion.org/free-low-cost-internet-plans/
Please let us know the challenges you are facing, and we will help as best we can. Share also your successes. We will share both challenges and successes on our Facebook page, helping to strengthen our virtual community and foster practices that are working well in these unusual times.