Coast Mountain College announced that the entire 2020-21 school year will be taught via distributed learning. (Keili Bartlett)

Coast Mountain College announced that the entire 2020-21 school year will be taught via distributed learning. (Keili Bartlett)

Less classroom, more computer: Coast Mountain College commits to mostly online learning for school year

College made the decision now to give students, staff and faculty certainty

Coast Mountain College (CMTN) announced Thursday that it will be offering its entire 2020-21 academic school year in a mainly online format.

CMTN President Justin Kohlman said the decision was made now to give students and faculty certainty about how the year would play out, as COVID-19 cases rise in the province and post secondary institutions throughout Canada re-evaluate their course delivery.

“It is important that students know what to expect so they can plan for the whole year,” he said in a news release.

“More than 90 per cent of our faculty have done additional training to ensure our students are able to get a rich and engaging learning experience in a distributed format.”

According to the college, online instruction would take the form of email, web-conferencing, online videos, and social media, supplemented with textbooks and, where appropriate, tasks outdoors.

Some trades classes with practical elements have already been in session at the Terrace and Smithers campuses over the summer as the college experimented with COVID-19 precautions, like staggering class times. The college said those classes are small – two to three people – but it has been a way to establish protocols like handwashing stations and having students enter through certain doors.

Electrical foundations, enhanced welding, heavy mechanic, professional cook and millwright classes have successfully been completed under the new protocols.

“Students in my program will have online classroom content and labs combined with optional face-to-face components,” said Gordon Weary, geoscience coordinator in the release.

“This means that students may head out to collect and identify rocks and also shoot video for their classmates. While different than what we’ve done historically, this model has been successful in providing experiential place-based learning during our recent summer semester courses.”

CMTN says that its safe operations framework is in alignment with the ministry of education’s Go Forward Guidelines and follow recommendations from B.C.’s Public Health Officer.

READ MORE: Class will look different at Coast Mountain College this September


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