By Tara Black
Grand Rapids Community College students are now able to sign up for Winter 2022 courses through the Online Center. However, with the pandemic continuing to linger, there have been many changes to the way GRCC has been operating its course format styles.
One thing that has changed is students only being able to schedule their courses by the semester instead of a full academic year as before.
“GRCC stepped back from the year-long schedule because of the pandemic and the frequent changes we needed to make as we responded to the unprecedented times,” said GRCC Communications Director Dave Murray. “We realized we needed to be as flexible as possible during that time and didn’t want to offer classes and later make changes to them.”
This change has not only been for students, but faculty members as well as professors were required to completely alter their teaching styles within a span of days.
Though this scheduling change is not something that will be permanent, with administrators planning to go back to scheduling like before the pandemic took place.
“We plan to go back to year-long scheduling this spring (2022),” Murray said. “Starting in March, the college will be enrolling for summer, fall and winter again.”
GRCC students are still getting acclimated to change as some students are having a difficult time, and others are finding the process easy.
“I felt good about making my winter schedule because I had done it before,” said GRCC student Mya McCarron, 18, from Grandville. “I thought that the process was very easy, and I didn’t have any problem.”
Learning formats have been altered quite drastically at GRCC, as more online and/or hybrid courses are being offered than before. Even though it wasn’t as extensive before the pandemic, online and hybrid courses are becoming more popular among college students.
“About half of the Winter 2022 classes are in person,” Murray said. “That’s below pre-pandemic levels. But, we’re learning that many students prefer classes with an online component because it allows them to schedule classes around their home and work responsibilities.
“Our expectation is there will be a growing demand for classes in the hybrid, virtual real-time, and online formats in addition to a robust in-person offering,” he continued.
As new normalities continue to take shape throughout society due to the pandemic, class scheduling is a major topic of conversation. Though GRCC’s scheduling change was made to accommodate the pandemic, the varied course delivery formats could potentially be how the college operates going forward.