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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Zooming to online

Pierce College faculty came together in an emergency professional-development period, preparing for the challenges of converting the spring 2020 semester online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The training sessions March 16-17, led by Pierce faculty members, focused on Canvas and Zoom Web-Conferencing in a series of lectures throughout the day.

Department Chair of Communication Studies Yeprem Davoodian wrote in an email
that although these are challenging times, the campus must come together for a greater outcome.

“These are struggles for all of us but I can’t imagine what our students are experiencing regarding these abrupt changes and the anxiety our students are feeling,” Davoodian said. “However, as faculty, we need to adapt to these changes just like our students are. As an institution of higher education, we have to keep an open mind and work together to be successful.”

Communications professor Robert Loy, who had hosted the Japanese international students for the recent “Japan Day” on campus right before the district shutdown, is trying to look for the positives in this seemingly dim situation.

“I see this online transition as an opportunity for us to adapt our classroom,” Loy said. “Although I understand it’s difficult for students, faculty, and staff all around, we have this opportunity to transform the classroom and for students to transform their learning.”

Adjunct Instructor of Political Science Ybonne Torres said that although she has taught online classes before, she wanted to get a better grip on Zoom so that she can have a more authentic lecture experience.

“I’ve never done Zoom before, so I’m still trying to figure out how it works so I can incorporate it into my online course,” Torres said. “They’re doing the best they can with it, I’m just not a hundred percent confident on how to use it, so I have to play around with it.”
Professors who are parents are also facing challenges with the Los Angeles Unified School District closing.

“My kids are nine and twelve, and can work independently,” said communications professor Jennifer Rosenberg. “I can’t imagine how folks with young children will manage. After today, I realized that developing a schedule will be key to our emotional health.”

Counselors like Joseph Roberson have been forced to find alternative ways to continue student success while they await the launching of Cranium Cafe, a meeting and collaboration platform designed specifically for student support, which is supposed to assist with online counseling.

“I am responsible for staying focused on the desired outcome and encouraging, motivating and inspiring those around me who would listen to do the same,” Roberson said.

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