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Thursday, 02 April 2020 22:56

LCCC Faculty Adapt to Online Courses, but Will Miss Teaching Students In-Person

Written by Kathryn Palmer, Wyoming Tribune Eagle


“Offers like that have made it so I’ll have more options with those students who didn’t have access to the internet before,” said Manning, whose goal is to prioritize flexibility during this semester.


Manning will be holding daily lessons via Zoom, and any student from any of her six classes is free to join, though it won’t be mandatory, because she’ll post the recordings online afterward.


She’s already been emailing with her students over the break to prepare them for the change. Some of them are indifferent to it, Manning said, while others have doubts.


“I have my ideal for how the class could work,” she said. For instance, in her public speaking classes, the ideal is for students to deliver a live speech. But if that’s not possible, a recording could suffice.


“There’s also 10 other ways a student could do it in these circumstances, and I’ll accept any one of those.”


Although Manning has taught online courses before, and was familiar with the technological aspects before COVID-19 ambushed higher education, there’s one thing a videoconference call can’t show her.


“What’s always been a struggle with online learning, it is always up to a student to tell me when they are struggling,” Manning said. “When a student is in front of me, and we develop rapport, it’s a lot easier to detect. I’m going to miss having that ability.”


For Benning, the auto body repair teacher who three weeks ago thought teaching his course online would be next to impossible, reformatting his course hasn’t been the hardest part of the past few weeks.


“The best part of teaching is having your students with you every day,” said Benning, who teaches the same cohort of students for 25 hours a week. “The main reason a lot of us teach is watching the students progress in their skillset and confidence level. Usually the spring semester is where you see students get that confidence.”


While many other colleges have already canceled spring graduation ceremonies, LCCC hasn’t made an official announcement yet.


But Benning suspects graduation, where he’s always been able to give his students a heartfelt sendoff, is “probably not going to happen” this year.


He’s not sure when---or if---he’ll see his students in person again.


“As close as we get as a group, my students usually stay in contact with me,” Benning said. “I’m hopeful this class does the same thing.”


We thank the Wyoming Tribune Eagle for reprint permission. 

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