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Iowa Lakes Community College Transitions Spring Term to Online Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

April 6, 2020

(Estherville, Iowa) Almost two weeks ago, Iowa Lakes Community College moved all courses, including career and technical programs, to an online format. Additionally, Iowa Lakes established virtual campuses and continues to serve students remotely amid the fast-changing situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

Iowa Lakes transitioned to an online format to support "social distancing" and to maintain the health and safety of the Iowa Lakes community. Iowa Lakes was ready to move forward quickly due in part to the online and distance learning opportunities already available at Iowa Lakes.

"Iowa Lakes is no stranger to online and distance learning. We have been a leader in this area for more than 20 years. Iowa Lakes is a key partner in the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC), and the framework in place with these efforts has allowed for a quick and relatively seamless transition," said Iowa Lakes President Valerie Newhouse.

The faculty, staff, and administration maintain their commitment to providing students with the best education and services possible.

"The faculty and staff at Iowa Lakes have gone above and beyond to transition coursework and services offered to students. Many have infused new tools and techniques into their curriculum, and are providing resources to allow us to reach our students best," shared President Valerie Newhouse.  

Dana Grafft, Iowa Lakes Surgical Technology Assistant Professor, shared how her program and students have transitioned.

"The Surgical Technology program is a very hands-on skills-based program. Students attend labs and clinical, which they are no longer able to do, so we are getting very creative," said Grafft.

Iowa Lakes Community College uses a learning management platform called Canvas. This platform allows Iowa Lakes to meet the unique needs of the institution while supporting and growing traditional learning techniques.

Grafft shared, "Luckily, most of our content was already available in Canvas, so with the addition of Zoom meetings for classes and online testing, we were able to keep moving forward. We've also added interactive internet assignments and surgical procedural videos to help students continue to be engaged in surgery while they are out of the clinical setting."

Iowa Lakes students have also had to adjust not only to not being on campus but to temporarily learning 100% online.

"I think we have bonded as a group through this transition. My students see me as a human, not just an instructor, and we have been able to have honest conversations about the challenges that we are facing. Some students have children at home that they are homeschooling. Some are taking care of family members. Some have had to start working more hours in essential positions, while others are trying to adjust to finding a new normal and routine. It is interesting how many of our students are seeing how a pandemic or world crisis may affect them in the future as healthcare workers on the front lines. It is all valuable learning, and we are in this together," added Grafft.

Iowa Lakes continues to look toward the future and encourages students to register for Summer and Fall terms.

Iowa Lakes Registrar, Barb Grandstaff, shared, "Summer and Fall registration is now open, and we encourage students to complete their registrations as soon as possible. We also remind students that as we move through this unique period, we want to assist and encourage them to keep moving forward so that they meet their academic and career goals."

To register for classes, contact the Advising and Success Center at 712-362-7935.

For More Information:

Iowa Lakes Marketing Office at 712-362-7947

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