Since the closing of the school campus due to the Covid-19 outbreak, students and faculty have not been able to meet in person for classes. The rest of the semester will take place online and students and faculty will not be back on campus for the foreseeable future.
With the recent closing of the campus, colleges have been forced to make a switch to online only courses. Professors have been getting creative, using sites like “Zoom” to hold lectures and class meetings while using “Canvas” to update students on assignments and exams.
By switching over to online, this requires students to have access to computers, stable wifi and word processing programs such as “Word” or “Google Docs” in order to participate in online learning effectively. For some students, this is not a possibility.
A large number of students at LPC go to the library or use resources that are provided at the college in order to get their work done. While the school is shut down, these students need the technology and resources in order to participate in the classroom, and LPC’s faculty and student support are doing what they can to help students get the resources they need.
LPC is loaning laptops and wifi hotspots to students as well as offering online support for students and professors. The support team works around the clock to make sure students and professors get the support they need.
Some professors and students are still adjusting to distance education, but with the help of the support staff at LPC, the troubles of distance education can be minimized. By providing support for students and faculty, LPC has made it easier for students to learn and professors to teach.
LPC is currently lending laptops and wifi hotspots to students. By getting into contact with the LPC library or with the technical support staff, students can get a laptop or wifi hotspot for the rest of the semester. LPC students must provide identification and proof of a class schedule to receive technology from the school.
For online learning to be successful, students need the right tools to stay connected to the internet. For some students, internet access is not accessible. According to Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the California State Board of Education, about 20% of students of California students have no internet access.
Google recently committed to donating 4,000 chromebooks to students. Additionally, they announced they will be giving 100,000 households wifi for three months to students in rural areas without good internet
For professors struggling to adjust to the online format, LPC’s support staff has been in contact with professors ever since distance education has been permanently implemented for all classes. Wanda Butterly, a part-time faculty member who specializes in technical support, works overtime to make sure faculty are able to teach students effectively.
Butterly has noticed that the biggest issue with online learning is just getting adjusted to the new format, but says that Professors are adjusting well to the changes.
“I am not so surprised to find that the professors struggling with technology are those who have taught face-to-face only, their entire career,” Butterly said. “But they are stepping up to the challenge and they are seeking my support in learning new skills necessary to help their students succeed and complete the rest semester online.”
Butterly has also made sure that the courses that professors have provided are accessible to people who are using assistive technology. She helps make sure that Canvas and other online tools are used in a way that makes sure students with disabilities are learning in an effective way.
Students and faculty do miss the social aspect of education, but online learning is sustainable. With tools like “Zoom”, lectures can still take place. “Canvas” offers tools like “FlipGrid” and “Net Tutor” that allow students to reach out for more help.
“I certainly do think student success is sustainable via online classes,” Butterly said. “I know students miss the social aspect of coming to campus, we all do, but they can still have a connection via ConferZoom for live lectures with their professors and fellow classmates. Having said that, taking online classes does require a different kind of discipline and commitment from students to succeed.”
Distance education is something students and professors need to get used to. With the rest of the semester becoming online exclusively and the Summer semester being likely the same, online learning will be the norm for the coming months. With the resources LPC provides, distance education can become much easier.
Nathan Canilao is the sports editor of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.