Vast majority of CLC classes in fall will be online
College of Lake County officials unveiled more of their plan to safely teach students this fall using a significant number of online offerings, some socially distanced on-campus courses and a new program allowing students to complete courses in less time.
Officials said Thursday they are optimistic the plan will attract students but won't know for sure for a few weeks.
Only about 10% of the classes offered at CLC will be conducted in person this fall, officials said. The college has steadily increased online course offerings over the years, but the pandemic necessitated a sudden large jump in those offerings.
"We converted as many classes as possible to an online delivery method," said Jessica Berek, CLC's director of curriculum and planning for educational affairs.
Some of those online courses will allow students to work mostly at their own pace, but CLC spokeswoman Lindsey Nemcek said the number of "live" online courses being conducted over Zoom has increased significantly.
"Using Zoom, students and instructors interact at a set time and in real time so students are able to interact as they would in a classroom," Nemcek said.
For those who do have to go to a physical classroom, the college will require face masks and offer hand sanitizer and regular deep cleanings. During the summer semester, the largest face-to-face class size was nine students plus one instructor, Berek said, and the college hopes to be able to increase that number slightly under the Phase 4 guidelines that begin Friday.
And students will be given more scheduling options this year as part of a new initiative called FlexPath. CLC Dean Sheldon Walcher said FlexPath could allow a full-time student to complete a transfer credential in as soon as one year, because of the addition of intensive 8-week courses.
"FlexPath courses have been carefully designed to provide a rigorous, highly engaging learning experience by blending the best elements of hands-on learning with outstanding online tools and resources," he said.
CLC President Lori Suddick said at this week's board meeting that students so far have been slower to make registration decisions on the fall, but she added the college experienced a 13.8% enrollment increase during the summer semester.
"CLC is one of four Illinois community colleges out of 48 reporting an increase in summer enrollments, and one of two reporting an increase over 10%," Suddick said. "With the recent launch of communications regarding the fall delivery schedule this week, we are anticipating increased activity from students in the registration process."
Suddick said the college will have a better picture on fall enrollment numbers in a few weeks.