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Heartland taking blended approach with classes in Fall

June 1, 2020

Students will return to Heartland Community College on-campus facilities in the Fall semester, but not all classes will be held face to face. 

All classes with a clinical or hands-on component will take place on campus in a classroom/lab setting with a limit of no more than 10 people per meeting, employing health safety practices.

All other classes that do not require a hands-on component will take place in either a fully online format or a Zoom hybrid format.

Zoom hybrid courses combine online learning with a structured, scheduled Zoom video meeting component that allows for regular, real-time interaction with instructors and classmates. Students are required to attend Zoom meetings during the days/times indicated on the course schedule.

“We have been working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our students without compromising the quality of our education,” said President Keith Cornille. “After much discussion, as a college we have decided limiting class sizes is necessary to safeguard the well-being of students and staff for the upcoming Fall 2020 semester. Even though our alternative delivery instruction methods are robust, they are not a solution for every class. That is why we will be conducting our hands-on classes with limited numbers and employing a hybrid method where it is needed.”

The structure of the Fall courses was greatly informed by a commitment to quality instruction.

“Ensuring quality meant we needed to make a decision about classes now, to let instructors fully prepare their classes. However, if State guidelines allow it, we plan to provide face-to-face student supports such as tutoring and success coaching to ensure students are assisted in their coursework and academic success,” said Sarah Diel-Hunt, VP of Enrollment and Student Services. “We are committed to providing the individualized attention and support Heartland is known for and we’ll be creative in achieving that, with health safety practices in place, no matter what environment we are in this Fall.”

The College has taken great measures to offer high-quality and high-touch online courses. Heartland faculty go through an extensive 96 hour certification course to learn how to teach well in an alternative delivery format and certification is a requirement for the attainment of tenure. Over 95 percent of full time faculty scheduled to teach in Fall of 2020 are currently certified through the course.

In 2019, the College invested in a state-of-the-art platform and infrastructure for online courses with students serving on the selection team.

Some students who have already registered for Fall classes that have changed in format will be required to re-register for the comparable class online. Classes converted to Zoom hybrid format will remain on the existing schedule and students will not be required to re-register.

Advisors will reach out to students whose schedules have been impacted. Classes that were originally in an online format are not affected. 

Enrollment assistance is available through the advisement office. Students are asked to email or call 309-268-8027 during regular business hours for assistance or to schedule an appointment. 

Heartland continues to offer additional technical support for online students via 24-hour support from the Canvas Learning Management System and the Heartland Online Learning Support page.   

Registration for Fall 2020 semester academic classes is open through August 17.  

Written by: Steve Fast