TSC’s innovative technology allows for continued learning during nationwide crisis

Texas Southmost College has transitioned to remote and hybrid learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

TSC began remote courses on March 30 using technologies such as Zoom video conferencing, Big Blue Button Canvas Conferencing, PlayPosit, an online learning environment for interactive video lessons, and Brainfuse Online Tutoring.

“Each of these technologies facilitate the active engagement we expect in any TSC class,” said Angelica Fuentes, TSC associate vice president of Academic Success. “TSC’s instructional quality standards remain regardless of delivery method.”

With all of this technology implemented, students are active participants in classrooms and discussions. They are able to watch live or recorded instructors’ lectures and respond with questions and comments while watching.

Additionally, students are placed in virtual break-out rooms to work in smaller groups, allowing for intimate discussions on assigned readings or topics presented.

“These methods allow for each student to participate,” said Fuentes. “No one falls between the cracks. No one passively participates.”

Fuentes added that all learning outcomes prescribed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and program accrediting agencies are still being met and assessed.

With TSC offering more than 50 programs of study that lead to certificate and associate degrees, faculty have implemented and customized this technology to meet program demands.

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration instructor Federico Rodriguez has been able to include interactive activities for a program that consists of primarily hands-on training.

“By combining all technologies I can draw diagrams to better explain and show what I’m teaching,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve even been able to create friendly competition among students with interactive labs and experiments. These technologies and methods will definitely be implemented beyond this period in time.”

For TSC’s Medical Laboratory Technology Director and acting Dean for Health Professions Consuelo Villalon, the technology recently implemented due to the COVID-19 crisis have been a game changer.

“In health professions we can never replace 100% face-to-face instructional delivery, but the technology we’re using has been helpful during this shift,” she said. “We’ve been able to maintain discussions, quizzes, exams while still utilizing videos, case studies and simulation practices for different disciplines.”

The Medical Laboratory Technology program, for example, has purchased a microscope simulator to facilitate learning and students have been able to record themselves mastering the skill.

TSC Dean of Humanities Brian McCormack said faculty have found the technology very user-friendly for themselves and their students.

“These technologies provide faculty from various programs the opportunity to share course materials in a classroom-like setting while they lecture and interact with their students,” said McCormack. “It also provides faculty the chance to team their students together to work cooperatively on group assignments and demonstrate teamwork skills.”

He added that students have also positively adopted these new learning formats.

“Our students are very versatile and skilled when it comes to technology,” said McCormack. “They’re discovering new ways to utilize these technologies to complete course and group assignments in innovative ways.”

Fuentes said there has been a large learning curve for faculty and students alike with the transition to remote and hybrid learning, but she has seen how these new learning strategies and technology are shaping the future.

“Many faculty have shared that the plan is to implement these new technologies long after this situation is over,” she said. “TSC faculty and students have showcased their resilience and passion about academic success.”

For more information on TSC’s programs of study, visit tsc.edu.

Registration for Summer and Fall 2020 is underway.