An Update On Bringing NSS Online During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 24, 2020
John Wark

It’s been a little over a week since our first big update on how we’re responding to COVID-19 and we’re settling in to our new normal. We hope you are too! Students and instructors are feeling more comfortable with their new online tools. And they’re even finding the silver-lining in the situation as Web Development Cohort 37 student Audrey Borga shared on LinkedIn last week. If you missed last week’s post, you can catch up here.

Here are a few updates on things that were in-process from last week’s post:

  • All of our current classes have moved online - this includes our bootcamps, Web Development Jumpstart, and UI & UX for Digital Product Design
  • All of our operations staff is now working remotely. While these are not normal times, our operations team is focused on all the normal behind-the-scenes activities that keep NSS running strong.
  • We held our first online info session! The session went well for a first attempt and we expect both April info sessions to be offered online.
  • Hack For The Community has announced they are delaying until the fall. We’ll share the new date once it’s confirmed.

What’s new this week...

Demo Day

Demo Day for Web Development Cohort 36 is moving online! We’ve moved it to April 3rd to give our students (and us) more time to plan for this change, but we’ll still hold the event from 8 am - 11:30 am.

So what will Demo Day look like?
  • All students will be eagerly available online for conversations from 8:00am to 11:30am and our goal is get our students speaking with as many employers as possible! These conversations will focus on the applications they built and the questions you may have for them.
  • We will schedule 15-minute conversations through the students’ Zoom accounts. We can also use your corporate video platform if you prefer. 
  • Our Career Development team - Kristin McKinney or Ashley Canino - will schedule all conversations between students and employers. Watch for an email from them within 2 business days after you register for Demo Day to schedule your conversations.
  • We are enhancing the class website with additional information to help you identify students that you’d like to speak with. Their resumes will be available later today. Next week we’ll add their podcast interviews and video demonstrations of their capstones. You can visit the class website at
  • You can select the individual students you would like to speak with, particularly if there is a specific role you are looking to fill. Or, if you would prefer, you can speak with as many students as time will allow. The Career Development team can help guide you to additional students if needed.

If you’d like to meet these full stack Python developers, please RSVP on Eventbrite and we’ll be in touch!


Career Development Events Move Online

It’s not just Demo Day that has gone online, but we’re working to bring all of our career development events online - from guest speakers to mock interviews and roundtables. 

We’re looking for guests to talk to classes online, hiring managers and internal recruiters to take part in mock interviews (analytics, data science, and web development), and alumni and community members who are open to virtually networking with our current students. Since we’re all remote, we can get creative with scheduling some of these activities. If you could not join us for prior in-person events because of your schedule, now may be a good time for you to join us! If you’re interested in getting involved, please email Kristin McKinney.

Our next events:

  • April 1 - Analytics Roundtable
  • April 2 - Web Development Mock Interviews
  • April 8 - Data Science Mock Interviews

If you can’t make these dates, but are available that week, let us know. We’re committed to giving our students the best experience we can, and it’s only possible with the support of our amazing Nashville tech community.

April Bootcamps + Analytics Jumpstart

We will start these cohorts on time and online. If you are in one of these cohorts and left a question in the survey we sent, we are working through each response and will follow up regarding your questions by the end of the day on Thursday.

Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel our April Analytics Jumpstart. You can read more about that decision here.

Regulatory Updates

Behind the scenes, another set of issues we’ve had to deal with relates to the fact that our programs are approved for in-person delivery, and yet we’ve moved them online in response to the public health emergency. That’s no different than almost all traditional colleges, universities, community colleges, and professional schools, but for all of us in higher education, doing so put us in violation of the rules of one or more regulators. Thankfully, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, our principal regulator, moved quickly in this situation and rolled out a mechanism for granting waivers for residential programs moving temporarily online. We received the approval on our waivers Monday, so that’s another loose end tied up. 

A related regulatory issue for all residential higher education programs that are approved to accept the GI Bill(R) is tied to the same issue of moving programs online. Some veterans would have lost some of their benefits under the normal regulations. In this case, it took action in Washington D.C. to pass a new rule that allowed the VA to extend waivers to schools. It has been good to see in both cases that the legislative and regulatory agencies responded quickly to this emergency to protect students. 

Final thoughts...for today

Our team has worked hard to convert everything we do to an online environment while continuing to put students first and support each other through the process. The process has been made easier by our 200+ students who are making the best out of an unusual situation. And our work to provide the best NSS-style online learning environment for our students will continue every day until we can resume normal operations. 

I urge all of you to remember that this entire situation is a temporary one. It’s been very stressful for everyone given the sheer amount of change and uncertainty that we’re all dealing with in our work, our personal lives, and our communities. We have seen so much evidence of resilience and good will in accommodating what we’ve all been through and we can only hope that this continues, whatever unfolds over the next few weeks.  

Topics: News, Community