Students and Faculty Making the Most of All-Virtual College
April 8, 2020
by Keith Kappes
Like many of their colleagues at colleges across America, Michelle Thoroughman and Charles Lykins of Maysville Community and Technical College became a bit apprehensive last month.
But it seems their temporary anxiety had more to do with obligations outside their teaching duties.
Social distancing for the COVID-19 virus closed their campuses and ended face-to-face teaching and learning in favor of remote delivery of instruction. For Thoroughman and Lykins, neither of whom had ever taught online, it was time to learn new teaching skills and techniques, in addition to juggling home responsibilities.
They agree that the most significant challenge faced by students and faculty alike today is how to care for children during the day while being a college student or teacher in a home setting at the same time.
In normal times, the MCTC faculty and students would be in classrooms or laboratories on campus, and most young children would be in school or daycare.
Thoroughman, coordinator of MCTC’s medical laboratory technology program on the Maysville campus, has four children at home. Lykins, who teaches math at the Montgomery campus in Mt. Sterling, has three. Each holds the rank of assistant professor and has taught seven years at MCTC.
Both faculty members say they operate on different daily schedules than when they were teaching on campus.
“Working from home means you have to make time for family matters in between your teaching and advising responsibilities,” said Thoroughman, founder of MCTC’s medical laboratory technician program. “That often makes the day long to get it all done.”
“I was nervous at the beginning, but I quickly realized the value of using new technology, like putting lessons on video and using websites for tutorials,” said Lykins. “I’m going to use several of these when I return to the classroom environment.”
Thoroughman says she was concerned at first about replacing hands-on medical laboratory work with virtual experiences, a significant concern in technical programs usually not taught remotely. However, students have expressed positive feedback about practicing procedures virtually and being able to use their knowledge to interpret the results of laboratory testing.
Lykins admits the first few days at home were “overwhelming” in terms of getting himself and his students organized. Today, he reports that everyone involved is “comfortable and making progress.” He is particularly proud of his YouTube account, “MathMadeEZ," where students can access his video lessons.
“I feel that everyone involved with our institution at this unusual time is doing the best they can and that we will get through it together,” Thoroughman added.
To learn how you or someone you care about can benefit from great teachers like Michelle Thoroughman and Charles Lykins, go to maysville.kctcs.edu