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Taste and See

I believe that God prepares and equips us to meet challenges that we will face today or in the future. Much as He taught David how to face the bear, lion, and a giant, God has been preparing Central Baptist College to meet the challenges of this pandemic. As I look back down the road we have traveled over the last twenty years, I can clearly see why certain things have occurred. Through our daily experiences, God has been preparing us for this moment. What I thought were minor stops on the road of life — were actually mile markers to taste and see God on the way to a grand destination.

The Online Journey

The journey began with the addition of a learning management system and a few online classes.

Around the same time, we started PACE, a nontraditional degree completion program for working adults. As PACE grew, we offered more degrees and realized the need for online degree options, so with approval from the Higher Learning Commission, we began offering all PACE programs online.

This provided greater flexibility for our students, but more was needed; therefore, we upgraded our technical infrastructure, purchased software and cameras, and trained faculty and students to connect remotely to the classroom. For students who could not connect during the scheduled time, we began recording class sessions and making them available in Canvas, our learning management system.

All these changes enabled us to teach effectively in any modality; as a result, we are better prepared for the challenge that faces us now.

Beginning the Fall 2020 Semester

As we start the second week of instruction for the Fall 2020 semester, everything is going extremely well.

Faculty and students are adapting to the new situation. What we learned to do so well in PACE, we are now applying to the traditional classroom. Approximately 40% of our students are connecting remotely to the classroom via Zoom, a cloud-based video conferencing service we have already been using for quite a while to virtually connect with students.

Each classroom has Zoom capability and is being utilized by all faculty, both full-time and adjunct. We will soon upgrade the technology in every room by installing the Meeting Owl Pro for the purpose of creating an immersive learning environment for hybrid students.

Because of our remote access capability, we are now able to reduce the size of face-to-face classes and establish adequate social distancing. The new seating arrangements, along with masks, provide protection for faculty and students.

Extremely Thankful

God has prepared us for this time, and I am extremely thankful for the blessings and protection that He provides!

Whatever this semester brings, I am not afraid for the Scripture and my experience proclaim that God is good!

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8

Written by Dr. Gary McAllister, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Photo Caption:

Pictured is one example of a Central Baptist College classroom adapted to meet current Arkansas Department of Health guidance regarding social distancing. This is a Business Department class taught by Dr. Kateryna Pitchford, Associate Professor of Business. Note the red and green stickers on the tables. The green stickers indicate where students can sit and safely be at least six feet away from other students. The red stickers indicate where students cannot sit. All students and the faculty member are wearing masks for the duration of the class. Finally, additional students are joining the class via Zoom. You will see them on the screen at the front of the classroom. Hybrid classes (students in class face to face and students on Zoom) allow all students who need a course to be able to take it while allowing for proper social distancing in the physical classroom.

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