SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO ONLINE STUDIES HELPED
BY ERIN SILVER
Attending school in a pandemic is difficult, as students all over the world have learned first-hand. But at Bermuda College, staff and faculty have successfully transitioned to online learning and are particularly able to support students in ways other colleges cannot.
“In the last year, Covid-19 has made things challenging,” says Thaao Dill, a recruitment officer at Bermuda College, a community college accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. It is his job to help students to come to school. He communicates with the community about the opportunities that exist at the South Shore, Paget institution and he supports them through the entire recruitment and admission process.
“Traditionally, we didn’t offer many academic college credits online, but within a matter of weeks, we were able to transition to an online delivery system for everything except laboratory courses, which require in-person instruction and tools,” Mr Dill explains.
He credits the outstanding faculty and staff for making the changes so seamlessly in an effort to support continued student learning: “The responsiveness and commitment of faculty and staff to make this work for students while ensuring their safety has been remarkable. I’m proud of our school for being able to adapt so well.”
Due to social distancing and new public health demands, the school had to shift the way its content was delivered. The majority of classes have been running primarily online since the pandemic first hit the island in the spring of last year. Technical education programmes, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, culinary arts, plumbing and motor vehicle technology to name a few, have remained in-person out of necessity but with strict social distancing guidelines in place. The ability of Bermuda College to adapt to changing circumstances has been hugely successful.
“I’ve directly engaged with dozens of students since the pandemic began to support them in their education,” says Mr Dill. “The vast majority of them have found success and satisfaction in our education.”
In addition to seamless online learning opportunities and safe in-person programming, there are many other benefits of a Bermuda College education for students, especially during a global pandemic. Mr Dill details some of the major advantages below:
Due to Bermuda College’s NECHE accreditation, credits can easily transfer from other institutions to Bermuda College and vice versa. This is especially beneficial for students who were planning to transition overseas or were studying overseas but had to stay at home because of travel restrictions. Bermuda College created the Visiting Students Programme specifically for this purpose. “It’s an uncomplicated process to transfer credits to and from other institutions,” explains Mr Dill. “Being able to provide the community here with opportunities to continue to make progress toward their undergraduate degree at Bermuda College and not interrupt their academic life has been very significant, especially as safe, reliable access to institutions in other places isn’t available yet.”
Students who have chosen to study at home because of travel restrictions will find that studying at Bermuda College saves money on everything from tuition to room and board to health insurance and travel. “Studying abroad is a costly endeavour,” says Mr Dill. “Being able to study at home significantly reduces costs, which can open the budget for further study.” In other words, the money students save by going to Bermuda College can be applied to graduate studies. “I’m always excited when graduates can continue studying. As long as they’re successful in getting what they want from life, we’re happy, especially during the pandemic.”
Bermuda College offers small class sizes. In addition, the relationship between students and faculty is more pronounced than in other larger schools where students may never have the opportunity to speak directly to a lecturer. “Here, our students get direct access to lecturers and the faculty community. Compared to most community colleges, Bermuda College’s faculty is disproportionately well educated and having access to them greatly benefits the student community,” says Mr Dill.
Finally, there is one other thing that Bermuda College provides to its students that sets it apart from any other similar institution: “We make sure everyone is looked after in the way that’s required to best meet their needs,” says Mr Dill. “They’re our people. Bermuda College exists so people from here can have successful, productive lives. Students who come here will be cared for, not just in their academic life, but as a holistic person, better than at any other school they attend.” The school sets students up with the support and guidance they need to continue to grow and earn academic qualifications so they are in the best position to make Bermuda a better place.
Students wishing to inquire about transferring credits to Bermuda College or starting their studies there, can contact Thaoo Dill directly at [email protected] or visit www.college.bm.