MCC: Continuing to go the extra mile for students, community during virus outbreak

Students and the community can count on Meridian Community College – especially now in the light of the coronavirus.

According to MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner the College has always gone the extra mile to help students and to the community. “We will continue to work hard and do our best to make decisions that are helpful and informative,” Dr. Huebner said.

“I’ve spoken with students, and they have all shared positive stories about interactions with their instructors and others here at the College,” Dr. Huebner added.

With the revamping of courses, the College is currently teaching 1,021 different classes for the 2020 spring semester. One hundred percent of all general education University Transfer Program academic courses were successfully converted to fully online courses at MCC.

But that’s not all. Additional courses, particularly among Career and Technical Education – including those health education classes, have been converted to a hybrid delivery. “This allows for online instruction and in-person skills/lab times,” said Joseph Knight, vice president for workforce solutions. These courses will follow strict sanitization protocols and social distancing recommendations while providing hands-on instruction.

Before students returned from the extended spring break, faculty and staff received additional support and training for using a myriad of computer software programs that help with communicating with students and colleagues off-campus. Faculty are using new video recording rooms that enable them to record and distribute their lectures.

Student support also reaches a 24-hour-day, seven days a week access for online library sources, online tutoring and digital textbooks and course materials. Advisors are continuing to contact students via email, phone calls and now using Zoom, a web-based video conferencing tool that allows users to meet online with or without video.

One MCC sophomore, Tucker Atkinson, 20, a business finance major from Collinsville, said his first day with his online classes was different. “But not so much that I couldn’t make it happen,” he said.

Enrolled 22 semester credit hours this semester – including the heavy-hitting math courses as differential equations and calculus IV - Atkinson and a core group of classmates have taken classes together for four semesters, and they usually study and learn together. “It’s a tight-knit group,” he said, “and now we’re going study from each of our own houses without each other.” They’ll take advantage of the College’s offering of Zoom when they virtually gather for study sessions.

Another plus? Atkinson said when he questions what’s taught on video, he can hit pause and review. “I can go at my own pace,” he added.

Deanna Smith, dean of student services, noted other areas in her division are continuing to serve students. “Admissions applications, transcripts and financial aid papers are being processed. And, Pell Grants and loans are being disbursed,” she added.

For students who don’t have internet access, College personnel installed Wireless Access Points (WAPs) in parking areas across campus. The WAPs allow students to travel to school and access the internet while staying in their vehicles.

photo: MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner talks to MCC sophomore Tucker Atkinson during a video conferencing meeting. MCC faculty, staff and students get back to classes through online sessions to complete the spring semester.


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