Spring semester classes at Holmes Community College started back today in an online format as Holmes does its part to help fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The College has moved 788 academic and career technical classes to an online format which includes 3,555 traditional students. Currently, 5,210 Holmes students are being taught and are receiving instructional support. Plans are being made to host individual training for career and technical students in addition to their online content.

Holmes Community College President Dr. Jim Haffey is proud of the effort his instructors and administrators have made to keep students on track to finishing the spring semester in a timely manner.

“We take a lot of pride at Holmes at being flexible and responding to our communities’ needs quickly,” Haffey said. “That is a culture that our instructors and employees embrace.”

Holmes has invested in the Canvas Learning Management Platform, which has become the most widely adopted LMS in North America, benefitting millions of students and teachers globally across 70 countries. The eLearning Department at Holmes embraced the use of Canvas and many other innovative activities to enhance online education.

“We were fortunate to have invested heavily in online learning over the last decade,” Haffey said. “A large percentage of our classes are usually delivered online to students across the state and country.  I would not say that it has been an easy process to convert everything to online, but most of our classes already had a lot of online resources tied to them, so we have been able to expand those. I am extremely proud of our instructors for jumping in with both feet to help get our state and country back going.”

Director of eLearning Tish Stewart said her staff was eager to help the on campus instructors convert their classes to online.

Since our eLearning program has 20 years of experience, we have a wealth of information that we are able to share with instructors and students, including basic instructions, training manuals, and tips for the online classroom,” Stewart said. “We are doing all we can to help all those involved with this transition to be prepped and ready for what the weeks ahead may entail.”

Vice President for Academic Programs Dr. Jenny Jones said once she knew a transition from on-campus to online, her staff and instructors went to work getting this accomplished.

“Our instructors were able to take their face-to-face courses and start converting them to fully online within days,” Jones said. “Of course none of this would have been possible without the outstanding support from the eLearning Department, they have been the backbone to this massive undertaking. We want to ensure that our Holmes students to know that we are all here for them and will support them in the days ahead. No Place Like Holmes! has never been more evident than now.”

Vice President of Career Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington said her classes have made a move to online as well which has made her instructors embrace new technologies along the way.

“I am proud to say that our face-to-face CTE courses went live today with online content to ensure that we are continuing to provide those skills necessary to gain employment upon completion of a CTE program,” Whittington said. “The eLearning Department has been vital in the success of our push to online with program content. Our highly-skilled instructors are continually searching for new technologies to train remotely.

“Collaboration and team work across divisions have been key in this transition,” she added. “While these may be challenging times, I am confident that our CTE team will use this time to find ways to make our programs even stronger.”

“As schools and universities close or otherwise prepare for coronavirus (COVID-19), the Instructure (Canvas) team is here for you,” according to the Canvas website. “We’re committed to the health, safety, and success of students, educators and administrators everywhere. And we want to make sure you can continue to teach, learn, and succeed from anywhere.”

Holmes has also identified several areas at each location where students can park and work on their assignments in their vehicle if they have limited access at their homes.

Wifi is available to students in the following areas of our campuses: Goodman Campus, along Montague Street; Ridgeland Campus, parking lot in front of Adcock Library; Grenada Campus, parking lot on Avent Drive near the Phillips Building; and the Attala Center, in the big parking lot.

Hours available will be 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Students need to be aware that signal strength is determined by the numbers of users so the strength may fluctuate as more people take advantage of the service.

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