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Valley College prepares faculty for the ongoing fight against coronavirus

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

A city wide shut down has caused the  LACCD to lengthen its closures to provide more training as instructors gear up for taking their classes online.

By Solomon Smith, Political News Editor

On an uninhabited campus, Valley College instructors migrate through rain and cold weather to the Library, where classes designed to help instructors move the bulk of Valley’s courses online are part of the district wide plan to slow the coronavirus.

The training schedule for instructors began Monday at the Writing Center with in-person classes on Canvas basics. The two-hour blocks, taught by Valley faculty, ran all day. An update to the LACCD coronavirus webpage, however, moved the remaining weeks’ in-person training to virtual meetings.

“The District is actively adjusting how instruction and services are delivered into an online platform in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus,” reads the LACCD website.

In addition to the online change, the website lists a detailed description of the upcoming walk-throughs for Zoom and Canvas including setting up class discussions, homework, quizzes and Zoom conference.

The schedule is proving challenging for some professors who were surprised by the fast reaction time and are not as familiar with online instruction. Nancy Ramsey, a professor in the child development and ESL department, is learning to adjust her classes to the online system.

“It’s just a matter of learning to do it and practicing,” said Ramsey, “but they were very helpful.”

Adjusting many of the classes to online has been a matter of thinking outside of the box for many professors. Christian Nova, chair of the music department, has a lot of classes that require some contact and immediate feedback like voice coaching. Nova, who has done some online work with hybrid classes, was working on making classes like singing, which requires direct feedback, more online friendly. There were also other concerns from the students’ perspective he had to take into account when developing these classes into online-only formats.

“We talked about doing synchronous video, … I want you to login from your computer at home and be there in class with me in a live video class,” said Nova. “Well some parents have their kids at home with them now and they can’t do that. It’s a hard thing with lab classes where it’s actually in the room doing something together that’s important.”

Many labs and hands-on classes were excepted from the online move at the end of the month but it is early in the process and colleges are still preparing to get the classes ready. Valley President Barry Gribbons understands the difficulty of moving classes online so abruptly, but made it clear what the main focus and concern is for students in his care.

“We apologize for this disruption,” said Gribbons in his update post on the college’s website, “but your health and safety is our primary concern at this time of emergency.”


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