FLCC provides training for downstate COVID unit workers

Finger Lakes Community College is providing online training to home health aides in New York City and Long Island so they can fill a critical need for nurse assistants in COVID-19 units.

United Healthcare Workers East, 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, has hired FLCC to provide the training based on the college’s reputation for online education and experience training certified nurse assistants in the Finger Lakes region.

Nurse assistant students watching demonstration at patient bed
Students in an FLCC training class for certified nurse assistants watch a demonstration.

Classes began Tuesday, April 21, for a pilot class of 22 home health aides, chosen because they have some health care experience. During a state of emergency, federal law allows many health care workers to work outside their normal scope of practice, provided they have training in a critical set of skills.

FLCC curriculum designers moved those skills, largely involving the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to the beginning of the 10-week class. This will allow the students in the pilot class to go to work in four weeks in COVID-19 recovery units while completing the course components that can be taught online.

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Crayfish hunting and other ecology lessons amid COVID-19

Finger Lakes Community College conservation instructor John Bateman has volunteered his time giving ecology lessons and leading field trips for his hometown elementary school since his twin sons were fifth-graders there in 2011.

The pandemic closed schools in early March putting an end to those visits, but not the connection.

John has been trekking into parks and wooded areas near his home the last several weeks to record short educational videos for Village Elementary School in Hilton, Monroe County.

The videos – recorded by John with his cell phone – have become a vital tool for Village Elementary first-grade teacher Carla Heise. She has been sharing the recorded lessons with her students as she receives them, about once a week.

The elementary videos first began as demonstrations to share with his college students. As COVID-19 has closed campuses and K-12 buildings, it has opened doors for creativity and collaboration among educators at different levels. Ecology in particular can be taught at a basic level to younger children with more sophisticated lessons for college students.

In one video, John filmed himself at a local creek, modeling how to catch crayfish and other aquatic critters.

Within a day of sharing the video with students, Carla started receiving pictures showing what they had caught using the techniques John had demonstrated.  One photo shows student Lucy Smith in a puffy pink coat proudly holding a bucket filled with creek water and creatures.

“After watching the video of Mr. Bateman, Lucy insisted that we go get all of the tools to go and explore the creek,” said her dad, Jake Smith.  “We knew about where he was so we bought what we needed and went for it. Lucy had such a great time and really showed me how to do it.”

Lucy gained some bragging rights, too. According to dad, she caught seven crayfish, three fish, a few bugs and one snail.  “I only caught two crayfish,” he said.

Elementary student holding a net searching for aquatic creatures in a creek
A first-grader from Carla Heise’s class copies what she learned in one of John Bateman’s ecology videos.

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FLCC winemaking prof brings students to the vineyard, virtually

 Brock
Paul Brock wears a GoPro and a few other high-tech devices to conduct remote labs with students in real time. (Photo by Bill Pealer)

With a video camera strapped to his head, Paul Brock stood alone in a lab in the Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture and Wine Center on a recent weekday afternoon.

Paul instructed his students just as he would have if they had shared the same space. The GoPro camera  recorded the lesson, which was streamed in real time on the internet.

Paul’s students may not have been in the Geneva lab, but they were present nonetheless, watching from the comfort – and safety – of their homes.

As the coronavirus pandemic made its way across the nation in early March, college students left campuses, their in-person courses transferred online. For degree programs centered on hands-on learning, like FLCC’s viticulture and wine technology major, the challenge to teach entirely online at first seemed insurmountable.

However, faculty members like Paul have teamed up with colleagues to find creative ways to connect with students and continue with courses dependent on laboratory and experiential learning.

“When we were told that there will be no in-person classes, I had to figure out a way to make our hands-on learning curriculum accessible through a screen,” said Paul, associate professor of viticulture and wine technology. “I know that watching videos is not a way to learn how to do things with your hands. I also know that many students struggle with the traditional online learning model of do-the-work-when-you-can.” Continue reading “FLCC winemaking prof brings students to the vineyard, virtually”

Working to meet student needs amid the COVID outbreak

Photo of student Aubrey Smith
First-year student Audrey Smith is among those who received laptops to complete spring semester studies online.

One afternoon last week, Sarah Whiffen drove from her home to the Newark Campus Center to deliver laptops to two students.

She parked and waited in her vehicle. When they arrived, she placed the boxed devices on the sidewalk nearby and stepped aside – in strict adherence to social distance guidelines – so the students could collect the devices, one at a time.

Amid drastically changed working environments, FLCC faculty and staff have worked to not only transition to online instruction but also to ensure students’ needs are met.

Stories of outreach abound: Three weeks ago, as social distancing suggestions turned into business closures and stay-at-home recommendations, staffers Sara Iszard, Teresa Daddis and Jan Kerrick made the rounds at the Suites at Laker Landing and nearby rental sites. They knocked on doors, checking on students and helping them plan for what was to come. They and several colleagues worked behind-the-scenes, packing bags of non-perishables from the FLCC food pantry and delivering to the dozens who’d indicated they’d otherwise be without. Student Life staff complemented their efforts with bags filled with snacks and games.

Outreach efforts have been guided by surveys and the interactions like those spearheaded by Student Affairs staff. In the weeks ahead, they will continue, informed by surveys and an initiative to call every student.

Roughly 85 students indicated in surveys conducted last month that they needed a computer to complete their courses online. The Information Technology Division responded with the purchase of over 100 laptops, loaded with basic software. As of last week, about 50 had been mailed to the students overnight or handed out by Sarah, Jan or Janette Aruck at the main campus.

Meanwhile, last week, Sara continued to ensure the dozen or so students remaining at Campus Gate had food. She and colleagues have braved multiple grocery stores to keep up with the demand, but the FLCC student food cupboard is depleted. Community members can help restock it and help students faced with other emergencies by making a contribution to the COVID-19 Emergency Response effort by clicking here.