As the pandemic of COVID-19 continues to affect the world, schools across the nation have responded by transitioning from on-campus to online classrooms.
Pierce College is no exception when the decision to offer the entirety of Spring quarter via a virtual setting was made. Despite the unknown future, Pierce ensures that the well-being and education of its students will continue to be among the top priorities during this unprecedented quarter.
In an effort to highlight exactly how hard professors have worked to move from campus to computer, The Puyallup Post has interviewed individuals from any of the Pierce College campuses and will publish new interviews each week.
JBLM, Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup; we’re all Pierce College, we’re all in this together.
This week features:
Ronald Music, EMT instructor, Fort Steilacoom
Music is the Senior Emergency Medical Technician for the Military Programs.
Q – From a class that typically didn’t use any form of Canvas or other online platforms, to now restructuring the entire course for an online environment, how has making these changes been? What do your classes look like now and how has your teaching method changed?
A- Our EMT classes did and don’t use CANVAS as our platform. We’ve used JBLearning as our platform but didn’t teach online before the current stasis. The major change for our department has been moving the modality of teaching from in-person to an online platform using Zoom.
Q – What were your classes like before?
A – [They were] in person at the Lakewood campus and I only really used JBLearning for grades, attendance and presentations.
Q – How was the transition?
A – [It was] easier for some than others as we have eight different instructors. Time spent getting to know the new way of deliver[ing instruction] led a lot into the ease of transition. Some were less prepared and have struggled at times but it’s getting better the more we do it.
Q – What are your classes like now?
A – For now, totally online through Zoom as we’re governed by the Washington State Department of Health and must “live teach” to a minimum of 150 hours. Hands-on skills assessments are going to wait until the end of the quarter as we develop a schedule to be able to bring together both students and staff in a safe manner while abiding to the safe distancing standards.
Q – What’s been the biggest thing to get used to?
A – Lecturing to a computer screen instead of face to face in the classroom. I’ve actually found it helpful to have the students [who are able to] turn their cameras on so I can get facial expressions and direct feedback.
Q – What’s the biggest thing you miss?
A – The social interactions with students and staff. We [usually] become closer to our students during the course because of the close interaction. We’re doing alright via Zoom but it’s not the same.
Q – Is there a bright side to any of this and what have you enjoyed from the change?
A – I suppose not having to take a ferry boat every day to get to work is a plus. Other than that, I enjoy that, through this modality of teaching, it cuts down on the regular chat that occurs when you’re face to face. The students are asking better, more substantive questions, leading to a more focused discussion.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost