McPherson College students returned to coursework remotely on Monday, March 30 after a two-week expanded spring break. Although students and faculty did not return to campus, they did begin adapting to their new normal.
The college announced to its students on March 17 that the remainder of the spring semester would be completed remotely using online resources because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It is not the semester that any of us planned but we are all working together to move forward despite the challenges,” Michael Schneider, McPherson College president, said. “Our students are adapting to a new normal as they transition to online courses. Faculty has exceeded my expectations to recreate how learning will happen this semester.”
In a video shared with campus last week, faculty and staff members encouraged students as they began classes.
“The faculty has been working hard over the past couple of weeks to meet the challenge of remote learning,” Dustin Wilgers, associate professor of biology, said in the video. “With every challenge there is opportunity. I’ve been able to engage my class content in brand new ways and even found new tools for the classroom.”
College administration is collaborating with students, faculty, and staff on ways to support student learning and keep students engaged. Academics and student life offices are connecting with students through the college social media channels encouraging student involvement with a variety of creative ideas that range from virtual office hours to blanket fort challenges.
“Social media is a great way to stay connected,” President Schneider said. “It’s been encouraging for all of us to keep that connection with our students. I’d invite everyone to follow our social media and check out everything our students are doing on our virtual campus.”
You can follow McPherson College on Facebook @McPhersonCollege, Twitter @Mac_College, and on Instagram @mcphersoncollege.
Other aspects of the college have transitioned to online as well. Although prospective students are not visiting campus in person, campus visits and other recruiting events continue virtually. The college recently hosted the first-ever Virtual Presidential Scholarship Competition, one of its largest events for prospective students, with nearly 100 students registered to participate.
“This is definitely an unprecedented time but what is certain is how positive, diligent, and caring the staff and faculty have handled it,” Nick Navarro, an automotive restoration student, said. “As a senior, I am disappointed that I won’t finish college the way I had hoped. It’s important to see the bigger picture and looking back over the past four years, I can see how far I have come.” Updates about the campus regarding the COVID-19 outbreak can be found at www.mcpherson.edu/covid, and the college is sharing information and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.