KIRTLAND, Ohio — Lakeland Community College believes its role in ensuring students’ success during this crisis takes more than just making sure every student has access to a laptop and internet. It also requires additional support.
“I'm feeling pretty good. I like the in-person classes rather than online,” said freshman Seth Brigham.
Brigham dreams of working in the sports management field.
Right now, he’s taking prerequisite courses at Lakeland Community College.
It’s the third week of the semester. Just like the nearly 6,000 other students on campus, Brigham has the choice to learn online, in-person, or in a hybrid of both.
“I used a different program in high school — Google Classroom — and transitioning to Blackboard is different because different teachers put their stuff in different spots,” said Brigham.
Executive Vice President and Provost Laura Barnard recognizes the transition to remote learning may be jarring for many students.
She says since COVID-19 spiked in the spring, leaders knew the college needed to step up online learning services.
Lakeland drew inspiration from the helpful, knowledgeable person at a hotel — the concierge.
“We thought, well, what if we had a remote learning concierge — someone who could specifically answer students' questions, whatever they might be, that come up when someone is taking an online course," said Barnard.
And the “Remote Learning Concierge Program” was born, thanks to a $75,000 grant from the KeyBank Foundation.
It just kicked off this week.
“I think that’s interesting to be able to help students, help students understand — especially students that haven’t used this program before, haven’t used online at all before. It will help them," said Brigham.
Currently, there is one concierge. But the goal is to expand the service and become a model for other colleges, while upholding educational standards for students.
“Make them realize that Lakeland is there for them and while this may not be their chosen modality for learning, we know that they can be successful and we’re willing to put some of our resources behind that promise to them,” said Barnard.