ANC adds ‘ZOOM Room’ to its campus

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Members of the Arkansas Northeastern College Board of Trustees met via ZOOM teleconferencing on Wednesday, approving the renovations of a campus space for a new ZOOM Room.

ANC President Dr. James Shemwell reported to the board that due to COVID-19 much of the college’s course delivery options had changed or been enhanced by technology to allow student to continue learning from remote locations. In addition to its traditional live classes and online courses, ANC has added to its delivery choices with many ZOOM Internet and ZOOM optional classes. Many students appreciate these courses and prefer them to the traditional classroom, officials say.

“The number of classes our students are taking this summer term has actually increased, so we feel that they are getting comfortable with this new technology,” said Shemwell, who added that the ZOOM classes provide students with live feedback from classmates and instructors much like traditional classes.

Because of this, and to continue offering classes under social distancing guidelines, ANC has increased its ZOOM OPTIONAL and ZOOM INET offerings.

ZOOM OPTIONAL offers a live classroom where the instructor is located, and the student has the option to attend the live classroom or to attend the class remotely and simultaneously using the ZOOM teleconferencing.

In ZOOM INET, instructors are teaching from a remote location and students may only attend via ZOOM teleconferencing.

Either way, the class meets at a designated time and date with an instructor presenting the material.

Due to social distancing guidelines, ZOOM OPTIONAL live seating is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore the board approved a new ZOOM Room to provide an overflow space where students may still ZOOM into the class. The new ZOOM Room can also be used by any student for any ZOOM class as it will provide the necessary Wi-Fi connectivity to support the technology.

Students coming to campus to participate in a ZOOM OPTIONAL class that is full will be directed to seating in the newly furnished ZOOM Room, or they may go to any other remote area they wish as long as there is internet access.

ANC provides free Wi-Fi in many of its parking lots, so students may even sit in their cars to attend a class.

“Technology has really opened up new avenues for our students. They can take online or ZOOM classes from home, which can solve problems with childcare or even work obligations. The flexibility we are offering students should alleviate many of the barriers that students have faced in the past, and the new ZOOM Room will give them a comfortable space on campus to relax while taking classes,” Shemwell said. Meanwhile, the board heard a summer enrollment report.

The numbers indicate a light increase over 2019 in the credit hours being taken. Headcount for Summer 2020 was 60 students less than 2019, but the student semester credit hour was 2,171 this summer as opposed to 2,132 in 2019.

Arkansas Northeastern College received notification of grant continuation from the Arkansas Department of Career Education for the Adult Education Program. The board approved acceptance of the grant which includes the funding of four grants to be used soley for Mississippi County and totaling $358,725.22. Before adjourning, the board recognized the June 30, 2020, retirement of ANC Vice President for College Readiness Sherri Bennett who has 25 years of service to the College. Members of Bennett’s family and representatives from the departments she has overseen joined the ZOOM meeting for the reading of Resolution #75.

The resolution expresses the appreciation of the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Northeastern College and its College community to Ms. Sherri Bennett and honored her with the declaration that she be designated Vice President Emeritus of the College and spread Resolution #75 on the permanent minutes of the Board of Trustees.