The second year of fall CORE100 classes at Hastings College came with a variety of changes and adjustments, both as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and experience from last year.
HC reconstructed the introductory courses to be functional with distant classroom arrangements and incoming international students in mandatory isolation and quarantine. The most challenging adjustment was making courses accessible through Google Meet according to the hyflex model.
During the reconstruction of the CORE100 class, the process of hiring facilitators shifted online instead of occuring face-to-face. Instead, an experienced facilitator was paired with new facilitators and the complicated topics that would have required training were taught through video lectures by Dr. Lisa Smith, dean of student engagement, and other instructors.
“The extra guidelines that had to be followed as a result of COVID-19, and the lack of iPads (in a course designed in part to get students familiar with technology in the college environment) certainly required us to think on our feet,” said Avery Muff, an engagement coach. “With the challenges presented to us, I think our facilitators did a great job of being flexible and just going with the flow from day-to-day.”
Class sections were broken up into smaller groups with 64 facilitators in total. In each section, three lead facilitators were required to have an equal responsibility to make class groups more manageable in case in-person classes didn’t resume.
In addition to coronavirus-related changes, topics were added and changed to further educate students. A financial literacy module was added to give students an introduction to the billing and financial aid processes and the “Strengths Finder” module was modified to give students more opportunity to reflect on their Clifton strengths.
HC has seen a greater impact in students connecting with the business and financial aid offices to further understand the billing and financial aid processes.
“The financial aid office reported a steady stream of first-year students contacting them within the first two-week block,” Smith said.
In the final days of CORE100, students were invited to an advising session with their academic advisor. Compared to the large group sessions last year, students got an opportunity to meet them in-person to discuss their classes and go further in depth with their academic schedule.
“The faculty were really a positive influence, and we really appreciated their support,” Smith said.