Due to COVID-19, Lebanon Valley College (LVC) has assembled changes to make it possible to offer continuous support to its students and faculty remotely.
March 18 was the start of LVC’s transfer to 100% remote learning. Remote learning will continue for all courses through the end of the spring semester in May.
Read More: LVC goes online only for rest of semester
LVC’s Academic Affairs Division is offering many services to help students succeed in their academics online. Academic support services such as peer, organizational, and writing tutoring, group study sessions, final exam reviews, and one-on-one virtual academic coaching are all included.
“Everyone on campus is all-hands-in when it comes to supporting students through this transition,” Beth Julian, Assistant Dean of Student Success and Retention and an Adjunct Instructor of English, told LebTown.
“Most of our teams meet every day or several times a week to brainstorm ideas and resolve any issues,” Julian said. “We have a network of support for students, with the focus being on communicating any and all issues to the appropriate parties. We all want students to know that we are 100 percent dedicated to their success and that everything will be okay if we practice patience and empathy.”
Paige Bryson, a senior English and business administration major, reflected on her experience thus far with remote learning.
“My professors have been phenomenal,” Bryson said. “They are all being flexible and very accessible. They answer emails as quickly as they can, make adjustments to classes as requested or needed and are willing to be lenient with things given the situation.
“Knowing that pretty much everybody on campus has made themselves accessible in some capacity has made me feel tremendously better,” Bryson continued. “Even though I can’t access them physically, I know they are only a click away.”
Bryson believes that all students are helping each other in some way too, even if they don’t realize it.
“Being in classes, helping to troubleshoot, helping to maintain some sense of normalcy in this new reality—we’re all doing it for ourselves, but we’re doing it for each other, too,” Bryson said.
Other students, such as health science majors, find it harder to transition and adapt to the online learning due to the nature of their classes. Two fourth-year athletic training majors shared their unique experience of transitioning to online and the struggles that come with this new, challenging experience.
“Taking [practical exams] are definitely more of a challenge now because my major is based on hands-on learning, but with the right practice and guidance from my professors, it’s possible,” Matt Weck, a fourth-year athletic training major, told LebTown.
“I think a positive of this situation is that it really makes me have to research and look up a lot of the material, which results in a high understanding of the concepts,” Weck said.
“Our practicals are now tougher to evaluate because we can’t be hands-on,” fourth-year athletic training major Sam Grillo said. “We don’t have a standardized patient, so it’s hard to assess all skills. We also can’t be with our professors physically for them to see if we’re performing the skills correctly.”
Dr. Robert Machado, Chair of Humanities and Director and Associate Professor of English, shared the ways in which he has responded to the elimination of face-to-face learning to help maintain community among all LVC students and faculty.
The Humanities faculty meets weekly to learn and discuss any shared challenges that students might be facing so they can be addressed quickly and effectively.
In the courses Machado is teaching, he has made virtual office hours available through a variety of flexible means of communication. Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Zoom, Canvas discussion boards, and phone calls are a few examples.
Students are also given increased flexibility due to the differences they may be facing in their home environments at this time. Not all students have equal access to high-speed internet, private workspaces and computers.
“I’ve been trying to limit ‘synchronous’ meeting requirements or live remote video interactions,” Machado told LebTown. “Direct, individual emails are sent to students to check-in and see how they are doing and to see if there’s anything they might need.”
Machado has also been making it a priority to connect with students on LinkedIn to share internship possibilities and opportunities to connect with alumni who may be doing work in their areas of interest.
“Let’s hope that from this crisis, we can reconnect to values, recognize what’s possible, make lasting social changes, and develop routines of thought and action that help maintain new awareness after ‘normal’ returns,” Machado said. “Let’s, from this, be better.”
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