With many students attending Blackburn College remotely this semester, the school has created a new method for remote learners to obtain their work credit without needing to be on campus. The work program is crucial for students since it allows them to pay some of the costs to attend Blackburn.
There are plenty of jobs available under a variety of departments, and the program also gives learners a chance to gain work experience and participate in running the campus. However, the current pandemic prevents many students from staying on campus. Thus, for the jobs that cannot be transferred to a virtual setting, the school has introduced modules to help remote learners earn their work credit.
“In essence, it’s going to look like another Google Classroom class,” said Angie Morenz, the Dean of Work. “The students have these different topics, and they have to read articles or watch videos. Then, they have to submit what would be an equivalent of an assignment, such as recording a video blog, writing a reflection, or responding to questions about the article they had to read or the video they had to watch.”
“You work at your own pace,” said senior literature major Katlynd White, who previously worked in the community services department. She is able to complete modules in the time between her classes, similar to work on campus.
Although the modules are formatted like assignments, they relate back to the things happening in the work program on campus. The topics focus on the work skills the school wants students to improve upon. Morenz also tailors the modules so that new students have a different set than the ones sent to returning students. She said, “The tone and the content might be similar, but they’re different in the sort of questions that we ask them.”
Though this is a new method for obtaining work credit, very few issues have been reported thus far. Communication between the remote learners and the school helps to keep the work program running smoothly for those at home. Anyone who does run into problems can send them to Morenz, who replies back fairly quickly. She said, “I try to be as responsive as possible and available to answer questions, given that this is new to all of us.”
With the modules serving as a way to earn work credit, remote learners are taking it seriously as it is currently the only option available for a majority of them. White commented, “I don’t think that the modules are as good as physically being on campus to work. I do believe that they are sufficient for our current circumstances, though.”
“If we have to do this again in the second semester, I’ll be able to tweak some things,” Morenz said. “And students will know what to expect now. Being familiar with the modules means they’ll be able to help each other through it, and of course, I’ll be able to help as well.”