Friday, July 10, 2020 - by Don Foley, Cleveland State Community College
As Cleveland State Community College accepts applications and registers students throughout the summer, one thing will be noticeably different this fall. The variety of options that students have to complete their courses will be noticeably different; COVID-19 has forced colleges to think and act smarter than ever before.
As colleges like Cleveland State throughout the Tennessee Board of Regents collegiate system look for the best options to properly and safely educate students in Fall 2020, the academic scene has changed greatly in just one year’s time.
You might say it has completely flipped upside down.
“We took great pains to study the best methods for instruction in a pandemic environment,” said Dr. Bill Seymour, Cleveland State Community College President. “We also surveyed our students and considered national studies on this topic. We believe we have the best plan possible. Hybrid classes provide some opportunities for engagement with faculty and other students on campus, but also takes advantage of the safety provided by online instruction.”
Colleges and universities usually plan their semester schedules more than six months before each academic term begins. Cleveland State had originally planned its Fall 2020 term before COVID-19 officially sent their college home for the remainder of the spring back in mid-March.
With approximately 1,000 courses typically available each fall in different online and face-to-face modalities, Cleveland State had a fall term planned with more than half of its courses being offered on-campus. Fifty-five percent of the Fall 2020 courses were originally set to be instructed face-to-face with 15 percent being delivered via hybrid courses. Hybrid is a style of instruction in which a portion of the course takes place online, as well as in-person.
Now, with the fall term six weeks away, the new look fall will now offer 56 percent of its classes in hybrid fashion with only 13 percent being offered completely face-to-face. 583 of the 1048 courses being offered through Cleveland State Community College this fall are being offered in hybrid fashion. Seventy-three percent of the hybrid courses will be offered during the day. The remaining 27 percent will be offered at night.
“Our percentages of on-ground and hybrid courses have been inverted,” said Dr. Barsha Pickell, Cleveland State Community College vice president of Academic Affairs. “This move allows more flexibility in how faculty meet their learning objectives. It allows us to provide social distancing by limiting the number of students in the actual classroom each day.” In a hybrid format, half of the class will meet in person on the first day of that class each week and the other half will meet in person on the second day. This hybrid option helps us adapt to the social distancing safety precautions necessitated by COVID-19.
Cleveland State is monitoring the enrollment in online classes for the fall and creating new sections of courses when the ones currently available fill up. “I believe we will see a larger percentage of online classes before the fall semester begins as we continue to add sections upon demand.”
With news involving COVID-19 continuing to evolve each day, Cleveland State has built this fall term ready for any changes that may be necessary in the near future. The current schedule and plan in place will allow the college to switch to fully online instruction if it becomes necessary again as it did this past spring.
While on-campus at Cleveland State, proper precautions have been in place for student, employee, and visitor safety since May. Social distancing, screen questions, face mask coverings, hand sanitizing stations and sneeze guards are among the many safety measures put into place on the main Cleveland State Community College campus in Cleveland, Tennessee, the Athens Center in Athens, Tennessee, and the Monroe County Center in Vonore, Tennessee.
For more information about Cleveland State Community College and how it is dealing with COVID-19, visit the college’s COVID-19 page at mycs.cc/COVID19 or call 423.473.2341 for the latest information.