CF’s expectations for classes in 2021

How students are adapting to different class formats

As we approach the one-year mark since COVID-19 began, CF continues to adapt to the demands of the past year. The following are some changes students can expect for the 2021 summer semester. 

CF has been utilizing online, hybrid and limited in-person classes for the past few months, and plans to continue doing so for the upcoming summer semesters. 

The continuation of classes being primarily online in the following months will allow CF to continue maximizing the health and safety of students and faculty. This continuation was predicted, as mentioned here:

CF Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Paugh, said that while there are few classes being taught in an in-person setting, most of them are those that require hands-on activity.

Current in-person classes include welding, or health sciences such as dental assisting and nursing, and those involved are continuing to follow proper CDC guidelines. 

As for how CF teachers and administration have been handling the changes that followed COVID-19 restrictions, they remain flexible and optimistic. The President of CF, Dr. Henningsen, complimented CF faculty and staff, saying that they have “moved mountains” to maintain services for students. 

CF’s changes in class format has also allowed some staff members to become efficient in new teaching styles – something teachers might look forward to continuing in the future.

Many students across the country may have faced difficulty when in-person classes became sparse or came to a halt, forcing many to either switch up their routines.

 Paugh backed up the previous statement, saying that CF saw a decline in enrollment the past few months, something that is happening across the nation as well. 

Last year, students accustomed to fully in-person classes had to switch to either online or hybrid classes in order to follow college cooperation with CDC guidelines. 

Online classes have always been offered at CF, but never at this capacity, with instructors and students having no choice but to transition from traditional classroom settings to virtual ones. 

The move from in-person to virtual classrooms was rocky initially as students and instructors alike found themselves in unfamiliar territory. This move was announced to students on The Patriot Press back in March of 2021:

“I felt completely unprepared,” Jean Scheppers, faculty, said. “Effective teaching is the result of cautious design and careful planning. Significant changes take years to develop. We had 14 days.”

The time between 2020’s Spring Break and the week following it was all the time that teachers had to plan out how they’d transition the entirety of their classes to an online platform. 

To bring some certainty to the largely uncertain situation, CF offered training over the summer so that teachers unfamiliar with Zoom and other virtual teaching programs could get their bearings. 

The college also provided students in need with the resources to attend their new virtual classes.

“It is difficult to get a lot of feedback from students on Zoom,” said Roger Jardine, adjunct-faculty. “I hope my fall semester classes are all done with students in my classroom. I believe that students learn better in a group setting.”

Select students may now find themselves beginning to take in-person classes like they used to, just a little differently now due to Covid-19 precautions.

One such in-person class is a First Year Seminar, FYS, course. This class meets once a week every Friday, and most of the work is completed by students online.

FYS does however provide students with a small taste of what returning to class during the pandemic is like.

Keith Bracey, adjunct-faculty, feels that it is important for students to have the in-person experience, especially for the FYS class he teaches. 

Bracey feels it’s important for his students to develop connections with other students, as well as have engagement with the instructor.

“They can see their classmates, not through a computer monitor, but face to face,” Bracey said. “If they need assistance, they won’t be so apprehensive to reach out to another student for assistance.”

Patricia Durden, a student in Bracey’s FYS class, said it’s important for students to be able to collaborate with each other.

Durden also said that while she was cautious, she was not overly concerned with safety when enrolling in an in-person class, and would take another next semester.

Neither was Bracey, who felt confident in the abilities of students who wanted to be there to protect themselves.

Bracey felt positively about the initiative taken by the 23 students in his FYS class to physically distance themselves, even when assigned to collaborate in groups. 

Durden also felt positively about the measures taken by her classmates to stay safe.

“I feel like everybody’s respectful of each other’s space. I feel like everybody’s taking the precautions that they need,” said Durden

Bracey praised the efforts of the CF administration for their role in keeping students safe while still providing opportunities for the student body.

Classes such as Bracey’s First Year Seminar provide a look into what it is like taking in-person classes. 

Students and professors do their part in order to overcome the challenges and produce the best learning experience in both online and in-person environments.