As higher education institutions across the nation navigate the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, Montgomery College has met the increased demand for online summer courses. With enrollment up significantly over last summer and seats filling quickly, College administrators responded by offering several hundred more sections. Furthermore, Montgomery College is training more than 700 full- and part-time faculty this summer to teach in a “structured remote” format, meaning students and faculty will meet virtually at designated times on designated days.
“First and foremost, with distance learning/online classes, the community needs clear communication about what to expect and how to best support the students,” said Cynthia Simonson, president of Montgomery County Council of PTAs.
Dr. Michael Mills, vice president, E-Learning, Innovation and Teaching Excellence at MC, said the goal is to deliver high-quality instruction to all students, no matter how the instruction is delivered.
“The focus is on developing courses that combine video, audio and written content in an engaging format,” Mills added. “Preparation time for online instruction is immense, if it is to be done well, so ensuring there is adequate time built into the instructor’s day to conduct online instruction is important.”
The focus is on developing courses that combine video, audio and written content in an engaging format
Montgomery College has added a total of 175 sections to both summer sessions, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sanjay Rai said.
“We are monitoring enrollment and adding sections …we will not turn away students,” Rai said. He added that experienced online faculty will participate in Summer Professional Development Institute advanced workshops beginning in July in anticipation of high enrollment for the fall semester.
“We recognize that now more than ever people need computer skills,” said Karla Silvestre, Montgomery College’s director of community engagement. Her office is collaborating with Workforce Development and Continuing Education’s Information Technology Institute to pilot an online course, Microsoft for the Workplace.
“That may not sound extraordinary,” Silvestre added, “but for people with no computer experience, it can be very daunting.”