If you’re thinking: “Wow, that was a strange semester,” you’re in good company. As we take a collective big breath that we made it through the spring semester despite considerable challenges for our students, faculty, and staff, we thought it might be cathartic and interesting to take a glance back at how our lives were changed at TMCC since March 16.
When the decision was made to move to remote instruction, 1,211 classes that were once taught in-person were moved to an online format. This impressive feat took no small effort from the several hundred faculty who diligently transformed their lessons, designed to be delivered in a classroom, into something that could be digested online.
This required the creation of additional PowerPoint presentations, recording demonstrations, learning how to conduct “synchronous” instruction (which means real-time interaction using video conferencing technology), or recording lecture material in advance. The list undoubtedly continues—with greater nuances of difficulty specific to each discipline and class. Instructors were given one week to come up with a mid-semester solution that would enable their classes to continue seamlessly after everyone (most importantly, our 5,000 students who had been enrolled in in-person classes) “returned” from Spring Break.
In all, 1,211 classes that had once occupied physical classroom spaces were translated into digital spaces. No small task, surely, and one that also required the expertise of not only instructors but of TMCC’s Web College department, which offered several supports to faculty as well as to students.
These resources were put to good use: since March 22, 2,945 videos have been uploaded to Kaltura, which is a module in WebCollege used for uploading pre-recorded videos. WebCollege has its own module for hosting live conferencing sessions called “Big Blue Button” which also saw a marked increase in use: since the transition to remote learning occurred, 1,325 group collaboration sessions and 1,689 classes have been held. And if you think that the challenge of remote learning kept students from doing traditional classroom activities like assignments and taking exams, think again: since remote learning was instituted, 44,067 assignments have been turned in and 4,664 exams have been taken thanks to the testing security software Respondus Lockdown and Monitor.
The switch to remote learning also—understandably—invited questions from students, parents, faculty, staff, and community members. TMCC departments responded by fielding a considerable increase in “traffic” through their remote offices. For the month of April alone, the Academic Advising program completed over 1,200 online advising appointments, and the Tutoring and Learning Center completed 900 tutoring appointments.
The Information Technology Department has also been busy, keeping students, faculty, and staff connected. IT reports that it loaned a total of 140 laptops to students and faculty. Additionally, this TMCC department organized 9,173 BlueJeans and Zoom sessions from March 16 to May 4.
Moving to remote learning also required an increased number of communications to not only keep students, faculty, and staff connected to the TMCC community but also to keep you informed of ongoing changes, which included how to access support services online, communications regarding commencement, to name a few.
From January 1 to May 7, our Marketing and Communications and Web Services team have created, coded and successfully sent over 91 e-newsletters—that is nearly one per business day this year. This division has also taken charge of internal communications as well, curating a daily newsletter that was sent to faculty and staff every business day as well as emergency communications, weekly video notes, and social media posts. Additionally, this division created a COVID-19 webpage that was updated weekly with information targeted for students, faculty, and staff.
A COVID-19 Response Team, which included TMCC’s Leadership team (Dr. Karin Hilgersom, Elena Bubnova, Estella Levario Gutierrez, Jim New and Marie Murgolo), Professors Anne Flescher and Mark Maynard, and Administration Staff Ben Davis, Jackie Draper, Julie Bledsoe, Kim Studebaker, YeVonne Allen, Dana Ryan, Lisa Farmer, and Valerie Kelly, have put in countless hours making important decisions. Most importantly, they have begun the process of planning for our return to campus in phases over the next few months.
We’re so proud of all the hard work that everyone at TMCC has done—students, faculty, and staff. Please continue to follow TMCC’s COVID-19 website for updates as the situation continues to unfold.