Lakeland College says they are working with other comprehensive community colleges across the province to adapt their academic plan around COVID-19.
College Campuses, including Lakeland, have been forced to close all in-person classes due to the pandemic. Most have adapted by taking learning online, which largely meant changing entire lesson plans, some very hands-on, so that students could still finish programs on time. Despite only finding out about the change in the evening of March 15th, the college says they had the first wave of newly-online classes up and running by the next day.
VP of Academics and Research Michael Crowe says that despite the in-person class cancellations presenting challenges to students and staff, they’ve maintained their dedication to learning.
“Everbody recognized the seriousness of the situation, and everybody worked together to ensure a successful outcome. We’ve been monitoring student performance very closely during this last six weeks of the semester, and if anything, I think student output has increased.”
Crowe explains that there were a number of factors led to this outcome, including scaling back programs to the aspects most critical for job success, which he believes led to the uptick of student performance at the end of the semester.
While the pandemic hit at the end of the Lakeland school year, after a lot of hands-on projects had wrapped up, the college has been in talks with their colleagues at the eleven other comprehensive community colleges around Alberta to come up with a game plan for when classes resume in September.
Crowe says that while they hope they’ll be able to welcome all students back, they have to look at a number of outcomes based on COVID-19’s current status over the next few months, as well as Alberta Health Services advice.
“There might be still some online components. We’re hoping we’ll still be able to offer the in-person, hands-on learning components that are critical to our program delivery. A lot of that is unknown right now, but our focus right now is just preparing for a high-quality experience.”
Lakeland President and CEO Dr.Alice Wainwright-Stewart says that they will be in discussion with Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr.Deena Hinshaw in the coming week.