Highline College

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Summer classes to be online/virtual; Fall Quarter may see live classes again

Dr. Emily Lardner
Highline Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ally Valiente and Marta Barlow Staff Reporters April 28

Highline will continue distance learning for Summer Quarter but face-to-face options may be available for Fall Quarter.

Professors will choose whether to offer summer classes via Zoom, online, or a hybrid of both. Students will be able to choose which types of classes suit them best.

Five methods of learning will be offered to students during Fall Quarter: virtual, face-to-face, online, hybrid, or hybrid/virtual.

Hybrid/virtual means that part of the class will be held online, while the other half may be face-to-face or offered in a virtual format via Zoom.

“These options provide the college flexibility in terms of providing instruction and services, depending on Governor Inslee’s directive,” said Highline President Dr. John Mosby.

Highline Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Emily Lardner says that in-person classes will still be listed in the fall schedule.

“If we are not allowed to hold classes on campus, then those classes would have to convert to virtual classes,” she said.

For example, a class that was scheduled to meet daily at 9 would meet virtually at 9 a.m.

“Because faculty are learning this quarter, classes that had to be shifted from in-person to virtual might become hybrid/virtual, where the class would still meet virtually during some of the regularly scheduled times, and some of the instruction would happen online,” Dr. Lardner said.

Dr. Lardner said that there is no indication as to how this will impact Winter Quarter next year.

“We don't know how the changes in summer and fall will affect winter. Everyone is trying their best to create supportive conditions for students while we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic is affecting all parts of students' lives, and faculty and staff too,” she said.

“It's hard to know what winter will bring, but we are optimistic that by winter, we will be gathering on campus.”

Like students, Dr. Lardner says that faculty are facing challenges at home, whether it’s home-schooling their kids, worrying about their families, or having trouble accessing the internet to teach.

“And many faculty miss the day to day interactions with students -- they never wanted to teach remotely,” she said.

Both of the face-to-face options may change to being taught virtually but “we just don't know,” Dr. Lardner said.

However, the virtual options will not change.

One of the reasons for this is “that there will still be students who may need to stay away from campus for health reasons, and the same will be true for faculty,” Dr. Lardner said.

There is a chance that Fall Quarter may be taught entirely online and virtual.

Dr. John Mosby

“Since COVID-19 is an ongoing issue, we don’t truly know what our summer and fall will look like in terms of returning to campus,” Dr. Mosby said.

Another reason the virtual option will be available in the fall is that faculty may prefer to prepare their lessons for virtual learning instead of preparing for in-person teaching and then having to change to virtual teaching at the last minute.

“We wanted to provide not only options for our students, but for our faculty who are providing instruction,” Dr. Mosby said.

Dr. Lardner says that she plans to ask faculty to help identify some of the biggest challenges they have experienced in switching to emergency remote teaching.

“We know that the Instructional Design team -- Sue Frantz, Tarisa Matsumoto-Maxfield, Avery Viehmann and Marc Lentini -- have been incredibly helpful, along with Maurea Brown and Laura Stusser-McNeill, who have been focusing on providing support to ABE/ESL teachers.”

“We also want to get feedback from students about what's working this quarter and what we need to do better,” Dr. Lardner said.

Dr. Lardner said she would like to thank the faculty, staff and students who are working together to make the best of very difficult circumstances.

“Wash your hands, wear masks, and take good care of yourselves and those you love,” she said.