By Manon Cadenaule
With remote instruction now in place for Fall 2020, City College is one step closer to a whole virtual academic year.
Although City College officials have been long pushing for a greater commitment to online instruction, that fate may be sooner than you think if state officials have their way.
California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley has declared that remote instruction will be continued through Spring 2021 given the development of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, some students are not very enthusiastic about remote instruction. As a result, some 2,900 students dropped classes for Fall 2020 because of their concern for the quality of instruction and course transferability, as reported by The Guardsman on May 15, 2020.
Jennifer Hsu, a part-time student, said in a recent Student Remote Education Survey, “I felt that the benefit I got out of it (remote instruction) would be the same as if I had simply learned on my own or through Youtube.”
On June 2, the college’s Return to Campus (R2C) Task Force alerted all instructors to get trained for remote instruction in Fall 2020.
Meanwhile, college officials continue to plan for a return to the campus while following strict health safety guidelines.
“In-person higher education should remain closed statewide, except where supporting essential workforce activities,” a California Department of Public Health official, who wished to remain anonymous, said in an email June 19 email.
California community colleges will have to follow the exact protocol given by the California Public Health Department and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.
City College’s Department Chairperson Council (DCC) President Darlene F. Alioto said in a June 16 email, “There are some plans for a few classes to return face-to-face for those where it is necessary and where the programs will lose their certification as they are not allowed to offer courses online.”
She noted that some programs like Aircraft Technology, Nursing, and some Allied Health would be allowed to have some face-to-face instruction.
“Faculty have been working extremely hard this summer with mandatory formal training on remote instruction through Canvas so that the remote experience in Fall will be much better,” Alioto said.
As for remote instruction in Spring 2021, instructor support is mixed, according to a recent Faculty Remote Spring Education Survey.
English and Women’s and Gender Studies instructor Maggie Harrison said, “The biggest challenge for me is to make the course personal and build a sense of class community. I am seeking more effective ways to build relationships with students and to help them build collaborative relationships with one another.”
English instructor Steven Mayer added, “The biggest challenge is the missing sense of connection and community that a face-to-face class offers. Canvas is an impressive program, and I am really enjoying learning about its potentials to host online discussions, Zoom meetings, group work, and peer review. I feel like, with recorded lectures, online discussion, and group work online, teaching an English class is actually possible, and it even works quite well for some students.”