EUGENE, Ore. -- As colleges across the state scramble to comply with Gov. Kate Brown's executive order that higher learning institutions transition to online classes through April 28, Lane Community College is making sure students and staff are prepared.
According to officials, LCC will continue requiring online classes until May 8. Staff will utilize video conferences and other digital tools to make remote learning as effective as possible.
The University of Oregon and Oregon State University have also decided to hold classes remotely for the entirety of spring term.
Faculty at LCC who had planned their curriculum for in-person classes are getting assistance transitioning to online classes from additional technical staff and faculty with experience designing activities suitable for a digital environment.
Student Faith James is concerned that not all staff are fully prepared for online learning.
"I didn't want to do online classes because it's not an environment I learn well in. I have no other choice, which is nobody's fault. But I have teachers that built a curriculum in a face-to-face setting who are scrambling to put it in an online setting," she said.
LCC Provost and Executive Vice President Paul Jarrell said that staff are focusing on making sure classes accomplish their learning goals and meet accreditation requirements.
"Our main goal is to do this in a way that keeps students on track and supports students and faculty through this transition, realizing that this is not ideal, and being delivered in a way that both the faculty and the students couldn't have imagined two weeks ago," he said.
For many classes, staying accredited means maintaining a certain amount of hands-on learning time. For some classes like art or dance, those requirements can be accomplished via video chat. According to Jarrell, some science classes are even investigating at-home labs.
However, some classes have proven more complicated. Courses for health care students like nursing, emergency medicine, paramedicine and CNA programs are exempt from the online learning declaration. LCC will continue some hours of in-person training for those courses while observing social distancing and using personal protective equipment.
Jarrell said that classes for trade and technical students may be the most impacted. Faculty are planning to delay hands-on learning until the end of the semester. If Gov. Brown's declaration is extended or students are otherwise unable to meet requirements, the hands-on lessons may need to be delayed until the summer.
If an in-person course included additional materials fees, those fees will be refunded if in-person learning becomes impossible at any time in the semester.
"We haven't gotten that far yet because we don't really know to what extent the instruction is going to be compromised at the tail end. So we will certainly be looking at ways to minimize the fiscal impact on students if they are not getting something they felt they paid for," Jarrell said.
According to Jarrell, faculty will be identifying which courses will be possible with remote instruction, and which ones may face cancellation in the next week.