Moving lessons from labs to online platforms was a hurdle for students and faculty alike, but employees summoned their creative energy to make the transition and support students through it.
Madigan Library and Information Technology Services staff deployed laptops to students in need.
In the dental hygiene and paramedic programs, directors mailed supplies to students to continue practicing skills at home.
“While some other programs had no choice but to suspend teaching their paramedic students, we are fortunate enough to have the faculty, staff and technology needed to continue our students’ education during the COVID-19 closures,” said Christopher T. Boyer, ’03, director of the paramedic program.
Chris C. Warren, building construction technology instructor, drove more than 500 miles to deliver materials to students in his Interior Finish class so they could complete a pared-down version of their lab project at home.
He left State College at dawn, loaded a truck bed at the college, and set off on his mission. Warren and the students observed prescribed safety measures at every dropoff, wearing face masks and gloves and ensuring the outdoor deliveries followed social-distancing guidelines.
“We, as Penn College students, are problem solvers, and this has been our biggest challenge yet,” said Stahley, one of Warren’s students. “In the field, we will have to overcome these difficulties and figure out how we can still get the project at hand completed, and completed successfully.”
Many faculty provided live video feeds to demonstrate skills, including high-climbing GoPro videos by Michael A. Dincher, assistant professor of horticulture, and Wyatt C. Forest, laboratory assistant for horticulture, to deliver instruction for arboriculture labs.
Graphic design faculty uploaded student work to continue group critiques during class time, while leaders of the college’s new student chapter of AIGA, the professional organization for design, developed a YouTube channel where students share design tips and tricks.
“Skillshares are essential in majors like graphic design, where the field is always evolving and technology is advancing,” said Alexandra D. Petrizzi, president of AIGA Penn College. “Even as a graduating senior, I’ve learned something from all of the tutorials posted that will help me as a student and in my future career path.”
And, as it always has, classwork continued to adapt in response to real-world cues.
As nonessential businesses were ordered to close their physical sites and restaurants were told to provide takeout and delivery only, Spyke M. Krepshaw, instructor of web and interactive media, saw a community need that he and his students could help meet.
“I strongly believe that we need to help support the people and businesses in our community during this time of crisis, so I came up with the idea of offering my services free of charge to help businesses start selling their goods online,” Krepshaw explained.
Working through the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce to promote the service, Krepshaw and seven students provided online ordering systems and other website-related services for 12 businesses in the Williamsport area.