As coronavirus moves in, PCC responds to move services online for spring term
Photos and Story by James Hill
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck last month, Portland Community College announced it was moving classes and business services online while closing physical campuses and centers. Stories abound of faculty working overtime to transition their classes online. After a rough start integrating remote teaching platforms, Microelectronics Technology Program Chair Dorina Cornea-Hasegan said she has developed a groove to ensure students don’t miss a beat.
“I must say how good I feel about this new experience,” she said from her home. “I only had one student missing from each class, and I feel confident that everything will go well from now on. I was impressed by how patient, punctual, polite and appreciative all of the students were.
“I can’t say enough ‘thank you’s’ to the distance learning and IT professionals that PCC is so lucky to have,” she added.
In this time of social distancing, online classes, and remote operations, PCC also had to think in creative new ways about how to serve students and support their continued academic success.
Thanks to the dedication and leadership of staff and faculty, the college created a variety of virtual spaces for students that complement online instruction. Among these are Virtual Admissions, Virtual Tutoring, and remote PCC Bookstore and Library services.
Director of Admissions & Recruitment Matt Ogawa and his staff were the ‘think tank’ behind creating Virtual Admissions. With this online system, students can schedule one-on-one online admissions appointments, take remote tours of PCC’s campuses and services, watch a recorded PCC admissions presentation with closed captioning in English or Spanish, ask questions of staff, or virtually attend group information sessions.
“The entire staff had a hand in the offerings provided and in their implementation,” Ogawa said. “The modality may have changed but the mission has not — from start to finish, we’re here to help. Admissions and Recruitment, and higher education in general, is constantly evolving, and we must adapt to the needs of our students.”
Tutoring Goes Digital
The college’s Tutoring Centers haven’t stopped in light of the coronavirus and now offer remote tutoring during spring term.
In addition to eTutoring, Virtual Tutoring is available to all PCC registered students using remote meeting platforms for “drop in” tutoring appointments. Services are staffed with tutors and part-time faculty trained to provide personalized virtual tutoring sessions.
To maintain services that support equitable student success during this time, Virtual Tutoring centers across the college are providing more tools, resources and options to students. This enables students to see and connect with familiar faces they know from their respective campuses, and it allows for real-time, culturally responsive tutoring options.
“Our goal is to provide PCC students as many resources as possible during this unprecedented move to virtual/remote classes and online learning,” said Kellin Thompson, interim manager for Academic Support. “We are here to partner with others in new and powerful ways to support our students.”
Bookstore & Library
As the college has moved to online classes and remote instruction, the bookstore staff has been fielding inquiries and answering questions. During spring term, the PCC Bookstore is offering free UPS ground shipping on all online orders.
Library staff is available for students, too. PCC librarians will be working individually with students, staff and faculty online or by phone. They’ll be teaching students skills and tools to gather credible sources for research and other projects. They will help faculty find content for online classes from several sources, including Open Educational Resources (OER) textbooks, the numerous resources being opened up by publishers, as well as the vast electronic resources available through the library website.
“We have been steadily increasing the library’s electronic collections for more than a decade,” said Torie Scott, a reference librarian at the Cascade Campus. “Everything in an e-format is accessible to the PCC community from off-campus.”