Access to physical locations is limited; masks are required. Most Fall Semester classes have been moved online. More information is available at coronavirus.tmcc.edu.

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The Silver Lining of Online Classes

Photo of a laptop and a resume.
Rebecca A. Eckland

You may have heard that TMCC has moved the majority of its classes online for Fall 2020 out of concern for your health and safety. If this news makes you more inclined to take a year off from your college career, we spoke to TMCC alumni and staff alike who provided us with a long list of reasons why you don’t want to miss out on starting or continuing your education this fall. 

In fact, it’s possible that COVID-19 has changed the workplace of tomorrow in ways that will be lasting. “We’ve been living virtually for a while now,” said TMCC Career Hub Manager Sidney Sullivan, who said that the past few months could have lasting effects on the expectations for what kind of work can be completed remotely. This also means that employers will have different expectations for what their employees are capable of doing without a direct line of supervision.

So, instead of avoiding an opportunity to develop new and valuable skills, Fall 2020 could be your opportunity to not only earn a certificate or degree but to develop skills that will help you to remain employed...even during a pandemic. 

Top Five Reasons to Take an Online Class in Fall 2020

  1. Online learning says a lot about you to potential employers. If you think that taking an online class is “less valuable than attending an in-person one,” think again. Sullivan stresses that online learning is definitely an experience students highlight to potential employers. Taking—and acing—an online class speaks volumes about your ability to remain focused, organized, and an active participant in your own learning process. 
  2. You’re learning intrinsic communication skills in virtual environments. No matter what kind of online class you’re taking, you are learning to hone your virtual communication skills. In online environments, you have to be vigilant about not only what you communicate, but how you can relay the nuance of tone. Online learning also opens the doors to those outside of your community—and even your country—to take the class, so you may also find yourself in a culturally diverse landscape when you logon to your next class. No matter if it’s through your participation on a discussion board or a Zoom conference, though, the online etiquette and attention to the nuances of what you type and say will serve you well in a world that isn’t likely to let go of conferencing technology, chat, texting or email any time soon. 
  3. You can advocate for yourself and know how to find the answers. When you’re an online learner, you become an army of one. Even though there’s an instructor and a syllabus to guide you through the class, how you access information—and how you ask for help—truly becomes your own responsibility. These skills—knowing how to self-start, how to conduct your own research, and how to advocate for yourself—are absolutely essential in workplaces in basically every industry. Getting a head start on developing these skills will make you a valuable member of an organization.
  4. Extrovert or introvert: online pushes you out of your comfort zone. If you thought the introverts had it easy in quarantine, think again! Online learning requires you to be an active participant, and that means speaking up in live classroom sessions and online discussions. Extroverts, who crave interaction with others, will struggle with the boundaries of online environments. However, even if you are a people-person, learning to interact politely through these new technologies will definitely pay off in the end, and make you a more versatile student...and potential employee.
  5. There’s never a better time to start your journey toward the career and life of your dreams. Making the choice to develop yourself professionally—even facing economic hardship—is admirable, and is often the first step toward your goal, whatever that may be. Starting this journey online will enable you to continue to work or care for family members by offering you a certain degree of flexibility, affordability, and the opportunity to develop skills that are necessary for a virtual work environment. So, what are you waiting for? Register for your fall classes and make that commitment to your future career. 

The Details of Fall 2020

If you’re convinced that you’re ready to take the next step toward your future career, we have a few tips to make sure you’ll be successful.  The following tips will help you to select the classes that best suit your learning style and schedule. 

  • How can I tell which classes are in-person versus online for Fall 2020? It’s easy, just check the class location and your “Class Notes” for each course in your MyTMCC portal! As you view your selected class section, the Class Notes will tell you the most updated information. Many classes that were originally scheduled to be taught in-person may still show the mode of instruction as ‘In-person’, however the class note will indicate that the class will be taught on the web in the fall. Please read the Class Notes carefully.
  • What are the different ways online courses are offered? TMCC is offering two modes of online learning, with many using BlueJeans, Zoom, or other conferencing software. You can tell which mode is going to be used by looking at the “Class Notes” section of your class when viewing in the MyTMCC portal, before you add the class to your shopping cart.  
    • Mode 1: Even though the class is online, the class will meet remotely using various technologies at the same time and date as listed in the class schedule
    • Mode 2: Your class will be more like a traditional Web class. This mode may be better for students whose schedules may change due to the crisis.
  • I need to learn more about online classes at TMCC. Where should I start? Get to know our Canvas online course system with the Student WebCollege Online Tutorial. If you have more questions about online learning, contact WebCollege at 775-673-7814 ext. 5.

Developing Academic and Career Skills

Starting September 2020, the TMCC Career Hub will be offering a series of webinars that will feature one local employer per session. Employers will offer insights into their respective industries, the most valuable skills they look for in potential employees and students can ask questions, too. 

“This format will enable students to ask the ‘hard questions’ in a safe environment,” said Sullivan. “It’s unlikely that we will host any job fairs in the fall, so these webinars will help to connect students with local employers.” They are also excellent opportunities for students to get insights into these industries while actively participating and using the communication skills that will be a part of the virtual customer service experience—and the virtual workspace—for years to come. 

If you’re looking for help now with developing your resume, practicing interview skills, or if you’re ready to start a new career or internship, the Career Hub is also offering live sessions through the ongoing Take Time Thursdays event. Join a Career Hub specialist on Thursdays from 2–3 p.m. for a one-on-one, free appointment on your career-oriented topic of your choice. If you’re a self-starter, you are also welcome to attend one of the many online workshops offered by the Career Hub available through the Canvas help button. As always, services offered by the Career Hub are completely free. 

As you can see, there really isn’t a better time to start your journey toward a certificate, degree, and career than right now. 

For more information about registering for Fall classes, see the class schedule or call 775-673-7111. 

For more information about the TMCC Career Hub and future webinars, virtual services, and upcoming virtual events, call 775-829-9080 or schedule your next appointment today.