CCC Comes Together, Goes Remote During COVID-19 Crisis

Shelter in place orders for Contra Costa County and the state of California haven’t stopped Contra Costa College from delivering quality instruction or student services.

As stay-at-home orders quickly became inevitable, a distance education task force sprang into action, preparing instructors–many of whom had never taught a remote course–to go fully remote in a matter of days. At breakneck speed, the college’s IT team equipped instructors and other employees with the equipment and software they needed to do their work from home.

Instructors have since delivered courses through a variety of means. While most lectures take place via video conferencing platforms, activity and lab classes present unique challenges. Medical assisting professor Jessica Le, for example, shipped kits to her students that will allow them to complete their competencies via video call.

The college has made similar efforts to equip students with the technology they need to access remote courses. A laptop loan program was established through the library, using computers borrowed from the English department and donated by the CCC Foundation. Loaner programs were also launched for scientific calculators and webcams. And, the CCC Foundation reached a deal with Comcast to provide six months of free internet access to students who qualify.

Technical support has also been offered whenever possible. The college’s HSI-STEM team deployed a system of student success coaches to help students navigate the process. And, Academic Senate President Katie Krolikowski created a number of tech support how-to’s for student reference.

More flexible grading and withdrawal options have also been offered, for students who face more significant challenges in the move to remote learning.

Regular student services continue to operate through the remote instruction period. Departments like counseling, financial aid and disability services are able to answer regular phone lines from home. Many have also established regular video chat drop-in hours.

Unfortunately, social distancing guidelines have made the college unable to continue operation of its food pantry. To help mitigate that impact, an outdoor drop-in event was held. CCC’s Student Life department also reached out to every food bank in the area, to verify service hours and other details students might find helpful.

The college has also been busy reaching out to students. Over 7,000 people have already been personally called by college employees in a phone banking operation that aims to reach every current student. The goal is to make sure students have and know everything they need to successfully complete the semester.

And, after some adjustments, Contra Costa College is already looking forward to the launch of its summer courses. The session is currently planned to be fully remote, as well, but some lab and activity courses might be activated if restrictions ease. Priority registration is already in progress, and new students who have not completed their orientation, placement and educational plans can apply now to register on May 11.