Health Occupations Program in Vermilion County Launches Virtual Instruction

The Health Occupations instructors at Danville Area Community College (DACC) have been working hard to ensure content delivery still happens if a student is suddenly removed from class or unable to join due to quarantine. The instructors are using Zoom so students can still attend class. However, instead of delivering separate content that may differ from in-person content, the instructors developed plans to bring the student ‘to class’ for synchronous learning. When in-person students enter the room, computers are turned on so at-home learners are basically in the classroom. This ensures continuity of instruction and that students are not missing days, which would count against their attendance.

The Health Occupations program is directed by DACC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Policy states that if a person cannot obtain 139 clock hours, they must be immediately removed. This presents a situation where even if the instructor was willing to go the extra mile, and all of the Health Occupations instructors are, they would be prohibited since State policy dictates time-in-seat. This creative inclusion via synchronous Zoom allows the students to see and hear exactly what the rest of their classmates are learning. When students return to class, they haven’t missed a beat since they have ‘been in attendance’. This is tremendously valuable since many students are having to sit out at various increments. Normally, an instructor would have to try and remember who hadn’t received what, which would increase the workload and probability that something may be missed. However, allowing a virtual attendance format ensures instruction continues as if everyone were present.

This format, while fairly simple, still requires instructors to do more pre-planning and think creatively to allow hands-on demonstrations and attempts at tasks. Zoom has worked wonderfully for this semester and in this sense, it really does take a village.