Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) is coupling robust on-site precautions with moving classes online in order to launch its spring 2020 term undaunted. Per new statewide rules for this spring, all classes will be delivered via remote instruction, excepting some healthcare programming. The Central Campus and North County center will be open to students only throughout the term for walk-in support and assistance.
OCCC welcomes new students each term; those in pursuit of new career opportunities, a transfer degree or some other academic goal need not wait until fall to enroll. Spring term begins Monday, April 6, but there is still time for students considering starting out to apply and meet with an academic advisor. Links to get started are available at oregoncoastcc.org/start-here.
“Some students are a little wary of online instruction,” said OCCC President Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge. “And we completely understand. Our greatest strength is our talented faculty, and we leverage that strength to our students’ benefit, by putting them together in small, interactive classroom environments. This term, there may be a digital screen between our faculty and their students, but we know the connections between them will still be close and personal. Our faculty aren’t going to let physical distance come between getting to know each of our students and making the most of their time at college.”
To help students get comfortable with online tools, the college has rolled out a number of resources.
“One of our own students, Jason Miranda, will be hosting Zoom Labs online, helping fellow students get familiar with the powerful videoconferencing application that many instructors will be using throughout the term,” said Dan Lara, OCCC’s Chief Academic Officer.
Miranda’s Zoom labs started on March 30 and April 1, and will continue throughout the first week of classes. Details are available on the college website, oregoncoastcc.org. The college has also published a series of webpages filled with local resources.
For students who have no reliable internet access at home, or who lack a suitable workspace, the college will offer safe, social-distance-appropriate workspaces at its Central Campus in Newport and its North County Center in Lincoln City. There are also Chromebooks and other resources available to check out for use from home. Students interested in these resources should contact Student Services at 541-867-8501 to learn more.
“Like students at every other community college and university in the state, OCCC students will be in unfamiliar territory this Spring,” Lara said. “We’ll be rolling out a number of resources to help them get comfortable.”
Among these resources are academic advising services delivered live via Zoom, at the students’ request. Appointments can be booked online at oregoncoastcc.org/advising. The college will also offer live virtual meetings with the OCCC financial aid staff to answer questions about paying for college. These services will be available from inside the Central County Campus in Newport, or from the North County Center, via Zoom workstations.
“Our students have been through a lot, in a short time,” Ryslinge said. “They’ve had small children sent home from school, demanding round-the-clock care. They’ve faced layoffs and financial hardship. They are deeply concerned about their most vulnerable family members. It’s not been easy.”
In response, she said, the college is looking for creative ways to help students cope with these changes.
“For example, longtime OCCC Community Education meditation instructor Joe Armenio is offering a free service to students,” Ryslinge said. “They can call upon his free meditation hotline, exclusively available to OCCC students, throughout the term, when they need just a moment to relax and step away from the challenges they’re facing 24 hours a day.”
OCCC salutes the commitment of its students to pursue their academic goals in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the changes that came so rapidly to Oregon’s central coast. To learn more or apply visit oregoncoastcc.org/start-here.