Central Baptist College has transitioned to teaching all classes through online course delivery during this unique time of transition.
To give you a peek into CBC’s time of transition, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Gary McAllister, has answered some questions about what this process has looked like for our institution since the COVID-19 pandemic entered our reality.
Time of Transition
When we sought initial approval from the Higher Learning Commission for distance delivery of courses and programs in 2010, we never imagined that one day we would teach all classes online and forgo the traditional face-to-face classroom experience, but that is exactly what has happened as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Although the primary method of course delivery has changed, student learning continues. The institution’s capacity to provide education to its students and the quality of its performance in doing so, whether via distance delivery or traditional face-to-face modes, remain the same.
During this time of uncertainty, there have been many questions from students, parents, staff, and faculty regarding how we will continue to educate our students while maintaining the same level of academic excellence that has come to be expected from Central Baptist College.
Here are some of the questions and our responses.
What did faculty have to do to prepare?
In some cases, faculty had very little to do in preparation for the transition because they have already taught the course(s) in an online format, but most will spend the next few days importing instructional content into Canvas, our online learning management system, and organizing it for an optimal learning experience.
How will CBC ensure that the mission of integrating Christian faith and academic excellence is still met?
As we consider what makes us different from other institutions, numerous things come to mind: small class size, Christian environment, quality instruction, family atmosphere, personal relationships, etc., but it really boils down to just three things, and they can be said in six words:
1) Glorify God
2) Know God
3) Love God
These things describe what we do, why we exist, and why we are different. We teach students to glorify God, to know Him, and to love Him. The teaching modality may change, but those three things do not. We challenge students academically while nurturing their faith at the same time.
How are faculty staying connected to their students?
Most faculty have opted to provide live instruction streamed via ZOOM, a video conferencing platform. Students can see and hear the professor as well as have the ability to interact with the instructor and other students in the class wherever they may be. Faculty are also maintaining regular office hours and can be reached by email or phone.
Canvas connects faculty with students as well. Students can ask questions, submit assignments, receive feedback, take tests, participate in discussions, and obtain instruction.
How will faculty conduct laboratories, private music lessons, and fitness classes?
This is challenging given the constraints of online teaching; however, in most science classes, we are implementing virtual labs. For private music lessons, we are continuing face-to-face instruction since it involves just two or three people and can be accomplished with social distancing.
Teaching a badminton class online, for example, is practically impossible, but we are focusing on teaching the rules of the game and providing video instruction and other materials to support their understanding of the activity.
How is the institution supporting students academically as they transition to online classes?
Faculty had an opportunity to meet with all their classes before the transition took place, and they explained the process, including how to communicate with the instructor, how to access Canvas, and when to begin working. Student Services also met with students and answered questions, and a student resource page has been developed: library.cbc.edu/remotelearning.
Are there any positive outcomes as a result of this transition?
It is very encouraging to see faculty helping one another during this difficult time. There is a great synergy developing as they work together to teach online. When the semester concludes, we will review all the new ideas that have been tried and will share them will all instructors. This will undoubtedly improve the instructional quality of the institution in the future.
Written by Dr. Gary McAllister, Vice President for Academic Affairs
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