Education

Student Navigators Aid in Online Learning Transition

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When many schools were forced to quickly pivot to online learning in early March, McHenry County College (MCC) knew it had to do more than just serve up regular classes via livestream.

While online learning can come with its share of challenges, including connectivity issues, access to resources, or simply feeling disconnected from instructors and peers, MCC saw something different. College leadership and faculty looked at online learning as a way to reimagine the way in which students are experiencing college.

It was important to us that we preserve the entire student experience—not just the classes themselves,” said Dr. Clint Gabbard, president of MCC. We needed to figure out how to provide the same quality of education while ensuring that students felt supported and engaged during this uneasy time.”

The College responded to the online transition by creating student navigators, a role that would serve as the point of contact for students as they transition to this unfamiliar, online-only format. College employees assigned as navigators log in to their assigned classes daily to connect students to MCC support services and community resources, monitor student performance, and provide guidance with online learning technology.

MCC has been creating and optimizing other virtual resources as well, offering live Q&A sessions for students via Zoom, capturing and sharing common FAQs, and developing a resource guide detailing how specific student resources—such as the Office of Access and Disability Services, Advising, and the IT Help Desk—would continue to provide support.

The College will be utilizing student navigators in its summer class offerings, which will be delivered in two online formats to best suit students’ individual learning styles.

Fully online classes provide more flexibility for students to complete classwork on their own schedule (while still meeting assignment deadlines). Students who prefer a more structured environment can choose remote learning classes with scheduled class times where theyll meet up with instructors and classmates virtually via Zoom, Canvas, or chat during scheduled times.

MCC’s summer semester begins May 18, 2020. Students can register for classes now at www.mchenry.edu/summer.

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