April 8, 2020–
Q: During this Health Crisis in our community, what resources can the college provide for students to be successful in their classes? What virtual resources will be available to students?
A: Edmonds Community College has made many decisions and changes to accommodate students during this time. They include:
-We pushed spring quarter start back one week and provided extensive faculty support and resources to prepare them to teach online.
-Offering an online “prep course” to help students get oriented to online learning and how to use Canvas.
-Providing tech check-out in the form of Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots for students without access to computers or broadband internet.
-We’re making lab kits available for STEM courses (purchased directly from a vendor and/or made with equipment from different STEM Departments).
-Some nursing courses are providing hands-on lab kits for students to practice at home.
-All student services are available virtually–advising, library, financial aid, support for workforce programs.
-Faculty office hours will also be virtual in all departments of the college.
-Virtual STEM study room; Virtual MESA study room; continuation of student pilot mentoring program (online/virtual).
-Some courses are taught synchronously via Zoom or Google Hangouts, Recorded lab demos by lab techs and/or faculty.
-Offering online Supplemental Instruction for specific classes, Online tutor/SI training for students working as Sis.
-Offering online lab support hours by lab managers and lab TAs for key classes.
Q: For some, there is the myth that online courses are easier. Many of our students have struggled with the reality. What options will be available for students…. online learning or a hybrid modality? And then, how will your staff be able to support students in this transition?
A: Online “prep course” to help students get oriented to online learning and how to use Canvas.
All courses have moved to online delivery for the entire spring quarter. Again, faculty were given extra time and lots of support for this transition, but it will not be perfect.
Courses that offer labs in healthcare professions, ex. nursing assistant, nursing, clinical lab, and pharm tech are on schedule to provide hands on learning from mid may through mid june. Plan for smaller groups and social distancing.
Many AHE and nursing courses are already delivered in hybrid format so students are familiar with this. Many math and science courses are traditionally grounded but those departments are working to offer as much online support to students as possible.
Virtual STEM study room; Virtual MESA study room; continuation of student pilot mentoring program (online/virtual),
Online Supplemental Instruction for specific classes; Recorded lab demos by lab techs and/or faculty,
Q: In our current healthcare situation, our members as healthcare workers are often on-call and called into work for essential duties. What can students expect from the college this upcoming quarter in support of them balancing these difficult realities?
A: In our nursing program, all of our students are incumbent healthcare workers currently on the front lines. Since our program is designed for working adults, we make every effort to be flexible with any student scheduling circumstances in normal times. The Covid-19 situation is no different.
Flexibility, asynchronous learning opportunities, alternative assignments (e.g. projects, case studies), problem-based learning assignments, online office hours, responsive instructors, etc.
Online lab support hours by lab managers and lab TAs for key classes.
As a college we have had many discussions about the importance of flexibility and meeting our students where they are. We have also talked about the needs of parents who unexpectedly are at home with kids now, what their changing needs and stresses might be, and how we can serve them best.
Q: Given the recent college closures during the winter quarter, what can students expect if they didn’t perform well, had difficulty passing a course or their GPA was greatly impacted because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: Financial aid is monitoring this and working with students as appeals come in.
In our nursing program, we were able to give the students who were not able to finish the quarter provisional grades rather than incomplete grades. This way, their FA was not impacted. They can finish with work spring quarter and grades will be updated after they complete their coursework. Other departments in the college were urged to do similar things.
Instructors will be more flexible with deadlines and accommodations to better support student achievement of the respective course outcomes.
Q: What can members expect in the upcoming spring (and summer) quarters and what strategy, tools or resources would you recommend for them to be successful?
A: The Financial Aid Office can give students guidance and lift some requirements, however anything that is statutory cannot be changed without legislation.
Students must be enrolled by the 5th day of the quarter, which is April 17. Registration is trying to streamline the online signature process to help students enroll.
The Cares Act does provide flexibility for students receiving financial aid, refer them to the financial aid office for guidance.
Federal and state emergency funding is available but we are not sure when or how it will be dispersed. 50% to college and 50% directly to students. Looking into child care for nursing and AHE students as they are essential workers.
Federal and state work study money is being looked at, not definite answers yet
In closing, what I want to tell our students: The best strategy is self-care, flexibility, and patience. I quote Fauci: “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good.” Keeping in touch with friends or classmates with whatever means possible is good social support. Remember that faculty are stressed to the breaking point as well. COMMUNICATE with faculty- we can’t help if we don’t know. Be ready for this to continue into summer- clinical sites may not be available for a long time and there may be a new normal.