President Knight updates Academic Senate on college’s coronavirus plans

President Brent Knight spent nearly an hour updating senators about the college’s COVID-19 response and taking their questions during the Academic Senate’s April 10 meeting.
Knight told senators the college will only be offering online courses during the summer, although instruction will be offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The synchronous format, with a set date and time for meetings, will hopefully provide students who want it a better sense of being in a face-to-face course with live instruction. The college has not yet made a decision about what course format(s) will be offered in the fall. Knight noted that the pandemic situation continues to change daily, and the college is following the best public health advice available as well as talking with program areas in making decisions about fall.
In addition, Knight stated he expects state funding to the college will be considerably less in the coming months. Although optimistic about summer enrollment, he said he was more pessimistic about the number of students in the fall. Further, he expects that circumstances will be especially difficult at LCC in the coming months.
In addition to talking with President Knight, senators asked Provost Sally Welch questions about grading options for the spring semester. She said that while the grading deadlines cannot be extended, there are other options that can be used to help students. She also answered questions about the new pass/fail grading option available to students for the spring semester. Extensive FAQs about that option are available on the college’s coronavirus and academic advising webpages.
Further, Director of information Security Paul Schwartz spoke to senators about the recent phenomenon of “Zoom-bombing,” and security difficulties with Zoom in general. He said Zoom does not use true end-to-end encryption, allowing it to decrypt sessions for marketing, law enforcement or other purposes. Zoom also misconfigured its cloud storage, allowing the public to view private sessions. Additionally, Zoom’s privacy policy allows it to share users’ information. The college has a contract with Cisco’s WebEx, which provides better security.
Finally, senators approved course proposals and revisions already reviewed by the Curriculum Committee, including:

  • Discontinuation of the standalone Professional Fitness Leader degree and the Neurodiagnostic Technology Certificate of Achievement. PFL is now offered as a track within kinesiology
  • Course revisions to CITN 225: Routing & Switching Essentials and CITN 240: Scaling Networks

These changes now go to the provost for approval.
The Academic Senate will next meet 9-11 a.m. Friday, April 24.