NSS Is Now Permanently "Online First"

May 11, 2022
John Wark

People have been asking for two years when we would start offering classes in person again and our answer has been some variation of “we’re not sure”. Well, we now know a definitive answer to that question so we’re sharing it with everyone here. 

NSS is now online first for all of our classes. “Online first” simply means that the default assumption for any class we offer is that it will be offered via live online instruction as we have been doing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yes, you read that right, we have no plans to return to in-person instruction. Could that change someday, possibly? It could change in the sense that we might offer occasional classes in person in the future. But the default mode of class delivery at NSS is now, and will continue to be, live online (i.e. synchronous online). 

Why did we make this decision after so many years of being all in person and after frequently saying that we miss in-person classes? I guess the simple answer is that we found that live online class delivery allows us to deliver outcomes (completion rate, placement rate, etc.) for students and employers that are as good or better than we were delivering in person. Online delivery also provides greater flexibility for students and staff while opening up the possibility of attending NSS to students who would be unable to attend if they were required to commute to our facility. 

Hopefully, this decision will allow us to deliver classes at a lower cost simply because we won’t need anywhere near as large a facility if we don’t need in-person classrooms. That might not mean lower tuition rates given that all other costs, especially costs for staff and instructors, seem to be rapidly accelerating. But, it hopefully means we can absorb those cost increases while keeping our tuition rates among the lowest in the country per week of instruction. 

Does this mean that NSS will become a 100% remote/distributed organization with no facility and no opportunity for in-person connection? That’s a great question and one we are working to answer. We know that some of our cohorts already self-organize cohort meetups and study sessions outside of class, but one of our goals for the rest of this year is to experiment with ways to provide opportunities for students to gather on a voluntary basis at NSS for those within commuting distance. For example, we’re considering offering the option for student project teams to use our facility to meet in person so that they can work together. We are considering supporting our instructors if they want to offer students the opportunity to meet in person to discuss something the student is struggling with or to review progress. We’re going to continue to use our facility to allow our staff teams to meet together in person. And we definitely are going to keep offering our facility as a place for in-person community events, e.g. Hack for the Community which we hosted just recently. 

Watch our website and newsletters for updates regarding our experimentation around in-person activities and community events.

Topics: News