“[Our] instructors now need even more magic, and this technology will help make these magic moments happen.” — Dr. Joanne Richards, UCC biology professor.
ROSEBURG, Oregon – Over the past few months, Umpqua Community College (UCC) has been faced with the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic known as COVID-19. None have been more affected than the students of UCC and how their instructors teach them. But with new challenges come new solutions and UCC’s Science Department has accepted that challenge and continued to grow.
The UCC Science Department was recently awarded a Funds for Innovation grant from the UCC Foundation. Through this grant, the department was able to purchase technology to further support their ability to instruct students. The new tech used to deliver science to students includes two tablets and smart accessories to enhance their usage. Using these items, the Science Department intends to improve the way they present their classes to students learning remotely.
“Having [an] iPad to use this term has been a game-changer. I cannot imagine how I would have taught this term without it,” Dr. Joseph Villa, associate professor of chemistry, said. “If only Apple would release a smell-o-vision app. I will never be able to replace the hands-on learning experienced in a face-to-face lab, but it will be as close as possible.”
Not only does this technology add support to instructors capabilities, it also opens up instructors to new possibilities.
“We’re doing a lot of novel things because of the Novel Coronavirus,” Dr. Paul Morgan, assistant professor of astronomy, said. “I’ll be teaching night sky navigation remotely using smartphones and tablets. Having this tablet will allow me to add new dimensions to my class like never before. Even without quarantine, we’ll see some sort of difference for those who can’t make it to the observatory.”
Morgan’s plans include integrating app-based star charts into his Zoom (UCC’s video conferencing app) lectures to bridge the gap created by remote learning. His goal being that students will be able to do the same and learn about what is visible wherever the student might be located.
“It offers a lot of technical benefits that Zoom alone can’t give us,” Dr. Joanne Richards, program coordinator and associate biology professor, said. “[Our] instructors now need even more magic, and this technology will help make these magic moments happen.”
Richards also shared words of gratitude to both the UCC Foundation and Becky Kipperman, UCC’s science lab technician.
“I really have to thank Becky for writing this grant and the support she provides all the time,” Richards said. ”I can’t express how grateful we are for this gift from the UCC Foundation. This means our instructor can be so much more effective for right now. Because so many of those course are four weeks, we hope will make a huge difference in student success.“
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
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