BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) New River Community and Technical College moved all spring 2020 classes online in March, faculty and staff worked to create a supportive interactive online learning environment for students who were new to online classes.
“We had introduced the Zoom video conferencing option to faculty and staff during the fall of 2019, allowing for online class interaction in a new way,” said Vice President of Information Technology Services Dr. David Ayersman. “So we were fortunate that some of our faculty had already received training on the program. When we moved to all online classes, my staff and I held sessions to help our faculty become more comfortable with the online options the college had available including Blackboard Learn and Zoom, along with sharing resources on best practices for online learning.”
Math Instructor Betul Kudurogianis already taught classes online, but for her students who had been attending classes on campus she wanted to provide a different type of experience.
“I used both my desktop computer and iPad to mirror the classroom aspect of writing on a white board, and would switch between talking to my students on camera and sharing my screen for videos and chatting,” Kudurogianis explained.
Taking the online class to an interactive level helped students who were apprehensive about the change.
“I am so thankful to be able to complete classes using Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said New River CTC student Traci Radcliff. “I’m a single mom with two little children between the ages of 2 and 5. I specifically chose to take my math and science classes in-person, and I was in a panic when I found out that all classes would be going online. With Zoom classes, that panic has disappeared. Using Zoom allowed me to stay in the safety and comfort of my home with my children, and I had more time to complete assignments and tests since I wasn’t traveling to campus. I am eternally grateful for Mrs. Kudurogianis and to call New River CTC my college!”
From providing biology classes with slide images to identify, instead of looking through a microscope, to recording lectures for students to watch when they had access to Internet, faculty worked to create an environment similar to the physical classroom remotely.
“It’s important for those considering classes to understand that New River CTC offers more than traditional online classes,” added College President Dr. Bonny Copenhaver. “We offer interactive classes with set meeting times where you attend class from wherever you are, and our faculty and staff are available even with our campuses being closed.”
The college is offering all summer 2020 courses online and waiving distance learning fees for all summer courses. Registration is underway for the second summer term starting June 29, 2020 and for fall classes.
New River Community and Technical College serves nine counties in southeastern West Virginia from the Greenbrier Valley Campus (Lewisburg), Mercer County Campus (Princeton), Nicholas County Campus (Summersville) and Raleigh County Campus (Beaver).