The Northern Marianas College has adjusted its plan for the upcoming fall semester. Instead of taking a full, face-to face approach, NMC is working on mixing face-to-face classes with online classes.
In an interview with NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico, he said that NMC is set on a blended or hybrid approach in the fall semester to ensure the safety of students and employees of NMC since the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
“It’s going to be a blended approach, and we’ll be providing more details and, as the weeks go by, we’ll have more information, We want to make sure that the safety and welfare of our students and our employees, who include our cleaning staff, our maintenance folks everyone. We want to make sure that they’re safe. We are not rushing back to this in-person, classroom situation so we’re doing a blended approach but the details to that will be announced throughout the summer,” he said.
Eliptico said NMC will assist students who don’t have the resources for a hybrid approach. These are students who may not have internet or laptops to take online classes. “We have been providing some assistance in lending some devices where necessary but, by and large, the students have been able to access the internet from home using their mobile devices either on their phone, their laptop or another device to access the classes. So we’ve been accommodating individual needs as much as we can but…our students have been able to access those classes,” he said.
Eliptico said NMC has come up with the hybrid approach plan because it wants to avoid as much face-to-face interaction as possible for safety purposes. “When we do have those in-person elements, we will be, of course, maximizing space between students. Again, we want to avoid having those face-to-face interactions if they’re not entirely necessary. For those classes that can be successfully offered throughout the whole semester online, we will do that but there are some classes that have that in-person element, and those classes will then have components of the semester in person. We are looking at it class by class, so it’s not like all classes will be half online and half in-person. We’re looking at each class to make sure that we are maintaining the quality of the instruction, as well as the engagement of the student throughout the whole semester,” Eliptico said.
He explained that the hybrid approach would mix physical classes with virtual classes since there are some classes that cannot be done completely online.
“Our default is to have it online. But if there are components of the class, for example, if there’s a lab component, whether it’s a science class it’s another class that involves some sort of hands-on, or face-to-face requirement that will be accommodated in person,” Eliptico said.
NMC’s current summer semester remains completely online.