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Faculty plan for flood alternatives

Multiple boots, in preperation of the upcoming flood, line the shelves of Scheels in Moorhead. JESSICA FLEMING / The Advocate


With a predicted crest of 42 feet, a flood is likely. MSUM has a plan to keep students moving forward with their education.

In 2009, five faculty and five deans developed an emergency instruction system to help instructors and students communicate and hand in assignments if there was an H1N1 epidemic at MSUM. Tim Borchers, dean of arts and humanities, explained that the plan was also suitable for use with the 2011 flood.

“We’re still planning to have the expectation that learning will continue,” Borchers said. “It might be you’re sandbagging during the day and going home and writing a paper to send to your instructor that night. But some kind of instructional activity will happen.”

Instructors should be providing information to their students in the upcoming weeks
about how their specific class will continue. Options such as Desire to Learn, Moodle and even the Postal Service have been cited as some of the ways instructors may choose to stay in contact with students and continue the learning experience.

“The federal government has rules for how long we will teach,” Borchers said. “So if we don’t make that, for some reason, and I think the chance of this happening is minuscule, they could take all the financial aid from students. So if you get any kind of federal financial aid they could say ‘oh you didn’t learn enough this semester so we’re going to take that,’ so we need to avoid that. So that’s one reason a faculty member can’t just say ‘we’re done.’”

By not trying to find an alternative way to continue instruction, MSUM would also violate policies that have been set in place by MnSCU. Borchers also thinks it would leave students unprepared.

“For most classes, if the students just stopped learning, they’re not going to be ready to go to the next semester so they’re going to be at a real disadvantage,” Borchers said.
Borchers remains optimistic and feels that preparation will be a big advantage in this year’s flood fight.

“I think the chances are good that we’re not really going to see much break at all in our actions,” Borchers said. “Because I think the city of Moorhead has done a lot to prepare, the city of Fargo has done a lot, they’re already making sandbags. So I think it’s going to be a lot different than it was in 2009.”

To read more from this writer, view her blog at sadielizjones.blogspot.com

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  1. Sandbag, analyze Shakespeare, sandbag. Repeat. | On Campus

    […] Moorhead will be able to use its emergency plan — born of the 2009 H1N1 epidemic — to keep students working and in communication with instructors during any flooding this year, Tim Borchers, dean of arts and humanities, tells The Advocate: “We’re still planning to have […]

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