How Different Areas at CAC Adapted to COVID-19 

Gabriel Ramirez , Staff Writer

Ask yourself, what has changed since the start of COVID-19? Does your academic journey look different from what you originally envisioned? Did you plan to take online classes before the pandemic? 

Different areas at CAC had to adapt their departments to ensure students have the best experience with face-to-face learning, hybrid, and online courses. 

In 2020, CAC’s services switched from in-person to strictly online. Colleges all over the nation had to change their teaching styles to better suit student needs. But how exactly have CAC’s departments adapted to COVID-19?  

 

Blackboard and Office 365 Support  

Blackboard and Office 365 Support adapted its services by making online courses and resources easier to navigate. If you have immediate questions and need answers, CAC’s Signal Peak campus Learning Management System Specialist Joshua Tidwell is a person who has helped direct students through Blackboard. “It was a challenge, but it was nice seeing everyone come together as a team, to build a learning experience for students to continue their education,” said Tidwell. Support services accommodated for all ways of learning.  

To access additional tech tutorials about Blackboard, students can visit: https://centralaz.edu/current-students/information-technology/ 

 

Placement Testing 

Placement tests have been known to help CAC students find suitable courses. For new students, the process of taking a placement test changed since the start of the pandemic.  CAC has adapted to COVID-19 by providing more options for students to choose from.  

Option 1: Students can bring a copy of their high school transcript to an advising appointment. This should include grade point averages for Reading, English, and Math.  

Option 2: Students can take a “Skills Assessment” to determine the most suitable Reading, English, and Math class. 

Option 3: Students can use scores on standardized tests, which include ACT, SAT, GED, CLEP, AP, IB, and Dantes results. 

Option 4: Multiple measures can be used to help place students in suitable courses. These measures include student high school GPA, college preparatory courses taken, and completed college-level courses.  

For more information, visit: https://centralaz.edu/academics/advising/#tab-id-2 

 

Outreach and Recruiting 

When schools around Arizona closed their in-person services due to COVID-19, recruiting had to meet with high school students via Zoom, Google Meet, or Teams. One-on-one interviews also had to be conducted virtually, changing how students received information about CAC. The department wants to accommodate for all students’ needs. Hazel Rossi, Assistant Director of High School Programs and Outreach at the Signal Peak Campus said, “We are open and welcome new students who have questions regarding high school programs and the college itself; we’re willing to sit down with students who want to meet in person on campus.”  

If you have additional questions, you should contact Rossi at hazel.rossi@centralaz.edu or 520-483-4043. 

For more information, visit: https://centralaz.edu/future-students/high-school-programs/# 

 

Teaching 

COVID-19 affected all Arizona teaching departments, causing CAC to switch to fully online courses.  

Dr. Sandra Rath, the San Tan Campus Lead Faculty for Phi Theta Kappa and Professor of Communication Studies, is one of the faculty members that strived to work around students’ needs. “Making sure we’re connecting with our students is something we wanted to maintain,” said Dr. Rath. “We didn’t want people to be lost in the shuffle.” Up until recently, losing the face-to-face interaction of in-person classes changed how students received instruction. Dr. Rath wanted students to know their professors care about their individual success.  

The pandemic limited the types of courses students could take. Chef Clay Paden, Culinary Instructor at CAC’s San Tan campus, said, “We had to build a program for students to succeed.” Paden catered to his classes by staying attentive to their needs. The culinary department sent students materials needed to get the full experience of cooking in the safety of their homes. Peden made several live cooking tutorials for students to get the same experience they would have received in an in-person course. The Culinary Arts department wants students to know face to face courses are now available.  

For more information, visit: https://centralaz.edu/divisions-programs/business-professional-industries/culinary-arts-aas/#tab-id-1 

Students have the option to contact professors anytime through Blackboard or email. Need questions answered and don’t know whom to ask? Advising office hours are Monday – Thursday, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.   

For more information about advising, visit: https://centralaz.edu/academics/advising/