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This upcoming fall semester, sociology professor John Tenuto will be teaching classes in three different formats: in-person, live over Zoom and traditional online anytime. Most classes were taught live over Zoom for the last year and a half, but now they’re being taken congruently with the other two modalities. College of Lake County (CLC) students are being given even more flexibility when it comes to how they learn.
“CLC takes the word ‘community’ very seriously,” Tenuto said. “What we do here is very community focused. We are going to do whatever our students need if the need is there.”
Over the last year, Tenuto believes the faculty at CLC have not only adapted to the online teaching world but are excelling at it.
One of the main challenges was finding ways to make teaching with a webcam similar to the in-person classroom experience, something Tenuto succeeded in by creating his own classroom in his home to teach from.
While all teachers can’t go to that extent, Tenuto thinks just attempting to make the online learning atmosphere more fun than sitting at a computer is all it takes for Zoom classes to be just as successful as in-person. This was something he believes CLC’s instructors did well during a tough situation.
“Instructors didn’t take spring breaks to work on the transition,” Tenuto said. “The uncertainty drove creativity, and the experience we gained set us up for the future.”
Tenuto says even after the pandemic is over, Zoom classes should stay part of CLC’s course offerings because of the ways they benefit students.
“Online classes are better for students who might have other obligations like work,” Tenuto said. “They can take the class at home and then go to work without spending time driving to and from campus.”
Classes being taken over Zoom also benefit students who might struggle in groups because of anxiety. Some like the social interaction of being in a classroom, but it isn’t the best for everyone. The more options the students have, the better chances they have at succeeding.
This year, as CLC adds back in 7 a.m. classes, the online live class Tenuto teaches at that time has the highest enrollment of his courses. He attributes this to students being able to take the class at home to get it out of the way, rather than having to wake up early to drive to campus.
Regardless of what happens with Zoom classes, Tenuto believes learning at CLC, and everywhere else, won’t look the same as it did before.
“We will never be back to the way CLC was in January 2020,” Tenuto said. “We will go back to learning in-person, but it won’t be the same. It doesn’t take people long to get used to things, and I think a lot of students have gotten used to how things are being done.”
Not only that, but he says the changes occurring or will occur would’ve happened eventually, but the pandemic sped up the process.
“Figuring out what’s best for the students has come out of this,” Tenuto said. “The process moved along faster than usual because of necessity.”
Registration is available online for fall classes. Classes start Aug. 23.
College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.
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“CLC is a melting pot; a microcosm of America. The students come from so many different backgrounds and contexts, that you learn almost as much from your classmates as you do from your courses.”
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“To create the 'a-ha' moment in my public speaking classes, I set the pace from day one, creating an environment in which my students will feel safe and comfortable.”
“I use many different teaching methods, including: journaling, readings, oral quizzes, in-class and out-of-class activities, role plays, group discussion, media, group work and providing many examples.”
“Whether teaching online or onsite, I encourage active discussions in which students interact with each other as well as the course material.”
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“I find it gratifying when I stimulate the students' minds and to see how they go beyond what we do in class; some decide to pursue the subject as a future career. It is very rewarding to know that I can make a difference in students' lives.”
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“My main goal is to connect with students in a way that motivates them to learn the material deeply, not just to pass a test. And I really enjoy getting to know students on a personal basis and helping them along the path to being an engineer.”
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“I emphasize that professional nursing education is a continuous, life-long learning process.”
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“Helping put students in a position to make a difference in others' lives - that's what makes my job so rewarding.”
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“I want to help students become problem solvers in the computer information technology field.”
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“I seek to make connections between course content and students' lives and to build relationships with and among students in the classroom. Students flourish when working together toward a common goal and when they realize that they can rely on their peers and professors for support and information.”
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“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to help students navigate college and make decisions that will have a lasting impact on their lives and families.”
“I want my students to be able to recognize the extent to which society influences most of what we do and think, but that we can also change the course of society. To achieve this goal, I often provide a range of different examples and activities. ”
“I believe my students should be active participants in the learning process, and the material should be directly connected to their outside experiences. At the end of the semester, I hope they leave with the belief that they can change the world!”
“Using genealogy and popular culture allows me to make connections for students to unfamiliar sociological theories, by utilizing something they know (their family history; favorite TV shows, or movies) as a starting point.”
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