More in-class learning at Holland College for 2nd semester

·2 min read

Holland College will be moving almost all of its classes into a blended learning model for the second semester that starts in January, which means more face-to-face learning for students.

The amount of time back in the classroom will depend on the course and subject matter.

"The simplest definition is the theoretical learning is done online — the applied learning is done face to face," Sandy MacDonald, president of Holland College, told CBC: News Compass host Louise Martin.

"In some programs, a great deal of it is theoretical, most of that will be done online."

MacDonald said 70 per cent of the programs were using a blended model at the start of the first semester and the plan is to be around 95 per cent in January.

Delivering education

There were some technical challenges, MacDonald said, for both staff and students to overcome as the school year got underway.

"We have had to learn on the fly in some cases but we have a very robust learning management system and we have put a lot of time and effort into supporting our instructors so we have managed to deal with those problems as they have arisen," MacDonald said.

He expects there will be fewer challenges in the second semester as more students head back to campus for a portion of their classes.

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

For first-year student Cody LeBlanc from New Glasgow, N.S., doing classes online was not what he expected when he thought about starting college.

"I was hoping it would be in person, same learning as high school but sadly mistaken on that," LeBlanc said.

He said his classes have online meetings where he can get the notes and see the teacher, but none of his classmates.

"Some days I'm thinking I could have just stayed home in the comfort of my own room and had the exact same experience but like, I wanted to have a change in my environment," LeBlanc said.

"I hadn't been to P.E.I. much, considering it is so close and, I don't know, I wanted to have somewhat a college experience for my first semester."

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

MacDonald said the school will be welcoming more students in January. Any that are travelling to the Island from outside the Atlantic bubble, he said, will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

Snow days will still be possible despite many classes being online, MacDonald said, as they cannot really be planned for and may land on days students are expected back in the classroom on campus.

Working with less

Because of social distancing, MacDonald said, they have lost 43 per cent of their instructional space.

"The college has managed to pull together and provide a really strong educational program for our students," MacDonald said.

"It has not been perfect by any stretch … but given the context, I would say, we've done as well as we possibly could."

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