Teachers should help students prepare for the switch to in-person classes

With LRCCD campuses planning to reopen, teachers should start preparing students to transition to on-campus learning


As American River College plans more in-person classes in the spring semester of 2022, teachers should be looking for ways to help students transition back to in-person learning after being online since spring 2020. (Photo via Unsplash)

As the COVID-19 pandemic gets closer to the end, many college campuses across the country have started to open back up, including American River College and other Los Rios Community College District campuses.

California community colleges have seen a significant decrease in student enrollment and an increased number of fraudulent enrollment. Although COVID-19 is one explanation for the influx of low and fraudulent enrollment, the format of how students were learning virtually could also be a reason.

It was last reported by the LRCCD in September that ARC’s reopening plan would include in-person classes and on-campus services being available to students. But the majority of the students who are attending ARC are still completely online.  

Since I became a college student, I have spent a year and a half learning from my bedroom. For students like myself, we have not had the chance to have an in-person experience or know anything about the environment of learning on campus. 

Although that is no person’s fault, many students will likely be unprepared for returning back to campus because of the long break. One of the biggest resources that students can receive help from is from the teachers that have taught via Zoom and Canvas for the past 20 months.

In-person lectures and learning in real-time were always something that I found to help me with my education. I found it much more effective than either listening to a pre-recorded lecture or just reading out of a textbook. I think if teachers were willing to give more time to live teaching via Zoom, it would be very beneficial to students who have not had lessons taught that way in years.

Because ARC and other community colleges have become completely virtual, students may have a hard time being able to better connect with their teachers. When I was learning in person, one of the things that made classes so interesting for me was how an instructor would carry themselves. For instance, it was easier for me to comprehend information when it was coming from a teacher with a sense of humor. This oftentimes led me to be more interested in the content that was being taught to me.

All of the teachers I have had have offered virtual office hours for students to ask for help on their work, but it is never a mandatory meeting. Unless a student has a question and joins these meetings for assistance, they almost never interact with their professor in real-time. I think it is important to have live interaction because that is what will happen when everyone returns to ARC. It would be a way to help students relearn people skills instead of just explaining notes from a textbook. 

Many students have yet to experience in-person college learning, with many not knowing what to expect or how to be prepared. Many are entering an environment they may not be used to because of COVID-19. 

If teachers are looking for the best ways to help their students be prepared for the future, offering insight as to what the in-person experience is like should be on that list. Teaching is not only educating students from a textbook, but it is also explaining the different ways they can be successful after college.