The spring semester will mark a full year since the pandemic abruptly changed the way students learn at NCC. In that time, the NCC Foundation has worked continuously to provide assistance to students. Thanks to the generosity of you, our donors, students have received laptops, food assistance, emergency support and special remote learning kits for departments such as nursing, physical therapy and respiratory care.
Jack Waters, who studies business at NCC and is both the student government and honor society president, says on behalf of his fellow students, “Although transitioning to an online learning environment presented its challenges, I believe the student body has responded well. Eligible PTK honor society memberships have quadrupled. Students have capitalized on the opportunity to have more independence and learn within their own environment. Also, student clubs have remained very active to provide student engagement.”
Lois Aime, Director of Education Technology at NCC, has been working tirelessly since the pandemic began to transition faculty and students to NCC’s online learning management system, and help them with any difficulties that arise. For many in thebeginning, the sudden change was hard to accept. Students and faculty who had never envisioned themselves learning or teaching in a virtual classroom were thrown into a completely new academic environment. Barriers to remote learning only made thesituation more complicated.
“When all of this broke, our students had multiple issues piled on them at once,” Lois explains. “They may have either lost their job or they may have had a job that added hours in some cases. They may have had family members that lost their jobs. Many students are parents and they have to take care of their children when schools are remote or childcare is unavailable.”
The college now offers three main types of classes. The first is an online, asynchronous class, where students can access lectures and assignments at any time through thecollege system and post discussions with classmates as well as homework assignments. This option offers flexibility to students whose schedules may keep changing due to unforeseen circumstances in their personal lives.
The second is a synchronous model, where students attend class in a virtual classroom and interact much the same way they used to in person classes. The third is a hybrid model, where students still come to class on campus, typically one day a week, and therest of the course is online. However, this is reserved mostly for courses that require in-person labs. The majority of classes, approximately 85%, are online.
Despite the ups and downs of the last year, NCC students remain determined. “Students have been taught a few skills during this time: adaptation and communication,” says Jack. “Students inspire each other and remain focused on their goals.”