Moorpark College sends students and faculty online for the remainder of the Spring Semester

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Emmerson Kelly, Moorpark student, uses her laptop to study for her english class in the top floor of the library on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Although making the switch to online classes may be tough for some students, Kelly says that taking online classes has allowed her to do classwork when it is most convenient. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Dominic D'Amico

On Monday March 16, VCCCD Chancellor Greg Gillespie announced that in-person instruction at Moorpark College and all other VCCCD locations will remain suspended for the rest of the 2020 spring semester, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, which sent a massive metaphorical ripple through the Moorpark College campus.

With the campus closed at least until the end of the spring semester, and only online/virtual instruction classes planned for the summer session, programs have had to quickly adapt courses to succeed without the college’s physical resources.

Moorpark College Director of Music Theory & Technology, Nathan Bowen specifically emphasized the loss of specific software and apps, available on campus, that his classes regularly used.

“For my music tech classes we use software that is Mac-only in some instances, and other apps come at a significant cost,” Bowen elaborated. “So I’m needing to get creative with free app solutions that still allow us to learn relevant topics, and don’t slow us down.”

Professor Nathan Bowen demonstrates how to use the software Ableton Live during class on Thursday March 5, at Moorpark College.
Professor Nathan Bowen demonstrates how to use the software Ableton Live during class on Thursday March 5, at Moorpark College. Photo credit: Natalie Saraf

On the student side, Moorpark College film major Jhovani Diaz prefers in-person lectures to online because it’s easier to learn the material and some of his classes don’t adapt well.

“I learn better with face-to-face lectures and struggle reading pages and pages of materials,” Diaz stated. “Also, I have a couple hands-on classes that don’t really work from home or can’t be managed.”

The Moorpark College Performing Arts building remains empty on Tuesday, March 17. Due to safety precautions, all upcoming performances have been cancelled.
The Moorpark College Performing Arts building remains empty on Tuesday, March 17. Due to safety precautions, all upcoming performances have been cancelled. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Diaz is part of KMCJ, the Moorpark College radio station, which can no longer record or host live broadcasts from the campus Communications building due to the closure. Diaz worked the station alongside a crew of students, including kinesiology major Teresa Cedeno.

Cedeno does not see the shift affecting her learning process overall, but is still saddened by classes being cancelled.

“Transitioning to online classes won’t affect my learning, I’m very comfortable with online learning,” Cedeno stated. “I am sad about my ballroom (dancing) class being cancelled though. It’s a shame this is going to be the experience of my last semester at Moorpark.”

Despite the challenges posed by the transition to online only, like the loss of school equipment, Bowen and Diaz both expressed a drive to make their semesters work despite difficulties.

Bowen emphasized that he wants to make sure the semester works out for students, not just on an academic level, but on a human level as well.

“We’ll see how this plays out. I think it will be important for the online classroom to function more than just as a hub for learning. I think as we’re all in more isolated circumstances that it will be therapeutic to be having a class where we can vent, laugh, share memes and just get through this crisis together,” Bowen elaborated. “Above all I feel I sense of keen necessity to make it work. We simply need to be ready to roll, as so much depends on it.”

While the Moorpark College campus will no longer hold in-person instruction for the rest of the semester, many other events on campus have also been cancelled, including the entire upcoming schedule for the Performing Arts Center. These cancelled events include the rest of this semester’s run of “Romeo and Juliet,” the next Student DJ Showcase, Club M as well as Raiders Got Talent.

Cedeno accepted that some might think this response to the COVID-19 pandemic was overblown, but was grateful that Moorpark was taking this measure to protect the campus population.

“I’m glad Moorpark College is taking strong actions to protect its students and the community surrounding it. Some might say a shut down is over-dramatic since there aren’t many cases in Ventura County,” Cedeno stated. “On the other hand, we would quickly blame Moorpark College for not taking preventative measures if an outbreak were to stem from our campus. Better to be safe than sorry.”

In-person instruction at Moorpark College and the rest of the VCCCD campuses is scheduled to resume with the start of the fall semester.