For many instructors at Cosumnes River College, the prospect of taking a traditional face-to-face class and transitioning it online was a big challenge. Being forced to do so quickly when the campus was forced into remote operations back in March was even harder.
“The quickness of everything was one of the most difficult parts,” said Women’s Basketball Coach and Kinesiology Professor Coral Sage. “I had never used Zoom before that semester.”
Sage was one of the professors fortunate enough to already be teaching online when the shutdown happened. Even then, she still had some difficulties with her yoga class and needed to figure out how to instruct students on things like foot positioning remotely.
With the decision to go fully online for the fall being decided back in May, instructors had a couple of months to prepare themselves for online instruction.
“All of my courses at the time were on campus,” said Communications Professor Daniel DuBray. “I wanted students to get credit and finish the courses.”
DuBray said the most challenging part of transitioning was figuring out how to get his speech classes to work in an online format.
“It’s amazing how much time it takes to take that content and put it into an online format that works for students,” said Dubray.
For Humanities Professor Karl Zoller, one of the main concerns coming into the fall was one of accessibility.
“One of the things I’ve had to figure out is how students would access materials,” said Zoller. “A lot of students only have access through their phones, so you have to try and figure out how to make that work.”
DuBray said he spent at least five hours every day learning and training to use various online tools for his classes. One of his goals this semester will be to try and stay four to five weeks ahead of his students in terms of material that’s being put online.
Instructors have also been using various resources, such as the Online Education Initiative, to better prepare for online. This includes English Professor Heather Hutcheson.
“Our department has been using a lot of these resources for a bit now to get our teachers ready to do online courses,” said Hutcheson. “One of the resources we’ve been using is OER, the Open Educational Resources, to help provide zero cost textbooks for students.”
Hutcheson said she has taught online courses for years now, and feels confident going into the fully online semester.
“I think what you’ll hear is a lot of people don’t feel as prepared as they want,” said Hutcheson. “Time-wise, everyone’s been crunching to try and make things work.”
She advised professors who were still a bit uneasy to look at an online template that could be downloaded from Canvas. While they may not use it, being able to examine the template may help them figure out some of what they want to do, Hutcheson said.
“I feel better about the semester after having time to prepare,” said Zoller. Zoller also said he still had a lot to learn about online instruction.
With no official word out on whether spring 2021 will also be online, the instructors of CRC say they will use this fall semester to further improve their abilities to teach online.