Changes To Expect Amid Coronavirus

MANCHESTER, NH— Like in schools across the country, students at Manchester Community College this fall can expect to see several changes intended to help keep people healthy, socially distant and financially supported.

Programs like free tuition, hybrid classrooms and emerging technologies will help MCC further that mission when classes begin on Aug. 31, the college said in a news release.

Funding through the federal CARES Act is now available to students, including those at MCC, afford tuition. The funding is available to current and incoming students, and it can be applied to traditional classes as well as short-term certificates, the school said.

MCC had already dolled out $200,000 in CARES Act funding as of Monday, the release stated.

MCC President Brian Bicknell said hybrid classes, with some socially distant in-classroom time, will also be offered for students in lab classes for HVAC, welding, automotive and advanced manufacturing.

“MCC has struck a balance between minimizing risk and maximizing educational opportunities. Many of our ‘lab’ classes, which require hands-on learning, will move forward as planned on campus,” Bicknell said. “We will also offer hybrid programs that combine the best of in-person and online learning. And we will offer numerous classes that are 100% remote/online options. Our goal is to cater to the needs and challenges of all of our students in a way that empowers them to decide the best pathway.”

The school said its student clubs and organizations will pick back up where they left off earlier in the year, meeting remotely for the foreseeable future. Faculty members will be available to assist with issues that arise during remote club meetings.

The school is also offering telehealth options for students dealing with health issues, crises or other unique needs, the release said.

Computer science students this fall can look forward to learning in a fun new way, as well. The release stated remote augmented and virtual reality options will be used to replicate the “hands-on lab” computer science students are used to.

“We believe this additional delivery method will make labs, lessons and demonstrations come alive and become more interactive and engaging for students,” said Peter La Monica, Computer Science Department Chair, in a statement. “We believe this technology will transform online classes into a uniquely fun and engaging class experience.”

Access to VR and AR labs is provided by EON Reality, founded by Dan Lejerskar.

In a statement, Lejerskar said the new technologies give teachers and students better access to more tailored learning programs.

“Rather than having to create or help create individual lessons and modules for teachers to use, we’ve found that giving teachers and students the keys to make their own content is a far superior option. Not only does it mean that each lesson is perfectly tailored to what the instructor needs, but it also encourages the students to become experts themselves when designing lessons to teach their peers,” Lejerskar said.

This article originally appeared on the Londonderry Patch

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