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Without Campus, Can Students Still Feel Supported? Yes!

Man meeting virtually with another man on a computer.

Wingspan, Fall 2020

When students come to Anne Arundel Community College, they are supported by more than their professors. Staff members from around the college are available to connect students with a variety of resources. Before March 2020, a student could walk into Truxal Library, for example, and find tutoring, the Writing Center, help with research, computer labs and more.

When we pivoted to 100% online in the face of COVID-19, AACC converted more than 1,250 classes from face-to-face to online. Student services transitioned as well. Those resources once found on campus remained available to protect students’ academic, financial, social, physical and mental well-being. From the library to student engagement to financial aid to advising, staff found ways to connect students to the same resources they have always had.

“Going remote for Student Success Services was not too difficult because we already had tools in place,” said Bonnie Garrett, dean of Student Success. “Our goal has always been to meet students where they are and to provide services in a variety of formats to meet individual needs. The methods of contact may be different, but the substance is the same.”

Online options for advising, résumé writing and tutoring were available prior to the shift, but if a student needed someone to talk with, personal counseling became available via HIPAA-compliant video chat. If a student wanted to stay connected to friends, Student Government Association, Active Minds and the Campus Current clubs remained active. And if a student needed help with their classes, the library was still there.

“The library quickly expanded chat reference services to allow easier access to a librarian who could answer research questions,” said Cindy Steinhoff, Truxal Library director. “Many online course sections also have a librarian who provides students with research assistance within Canvas embedded in them.

The library’s collection of digital resources provides thousands of online magazines, newspapers, journals, e-books, and streaming audio and educational videos. The library also lent laptops, hotspots, webcams and headsets to students who lacked the technology to succeed in online courses.”

No matter what the future holds, whether classes are on or off campus, AACC will always strive to support students so they can reach their goals.