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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sacramento City College Davis Center offering more classes in person for spring semester

Center classes are adopting a hybrid format as in-person teaching slowly returns

By RACHEL SHEY city@theaggie.org

The Davis Center, a Sacramento City College facility located in the UC Davis West Village and the only California community college to be situated on a university campus, has taken a slower approach to returning to in-person teaching, according to Dean Andrea Gaytan. 

Fall semester, we allowed faculty to decide whether they were comfortable coming back on ground,” Gaytan said. “For some programs, it was essential that our classes returned based on instructional practices, like our biology labs needed to be on ground so that students actually had hands-on experience working with microscopes, for example, and other things like dissections that really we wanted to have students complete those courses with that hands-on experience.”

The hybrid setup has allowed the Davis Center to offer more courses without packing the campus with people. 

“It’s not like the hallways are crowded, and we can spread out,” Gaytan said. “We’ve definitely had a lot of silver linings. The idea of having lectures online and labs in-person has been one of those. A lot of faculty and students were reluctant in the past to try a hybrid course, but now they see the benefits of that and a lot more people have accepted that an online education can be really thorough and comprehensive and you’re not losing out on a lot.”

The Davis Center also offers FAA-approved aviation courses, which train students to become air traffic controllers. They don’t involve actually flying planes, but these courses require in-person instruction and use of equipment, so they are among the classes that are in person. 

“We also had courses like aviation at the Davis Center that, per FAA regulations, need to have face-to-face time with instructors and equipment that we have on site,” Gaytan said. “So we couldn’t get around that and we were really impacted by mandates we had previously.”

However, some of the aviation lecture courses are fully online. Sacramento City College is unique in offering these aviation courses, being the only community college in Northern California which has this sort of program. 

“There are flight simulators and air traffic control screens that mirror what a professional would have in the industry,” Gaytan said. “We have a lot of training materials that are very hands-on in terms of understanding runway patterns. We also have flight technology courses that are all lectures; we don’t actually put students in airplanes. It’s the ground school portion of pilot training, for private pilots, not commercial pilots yet, but we’re looking at and exploring programs for professional pilots as well.” 

Gaytan was surprised to find that students have not been signing up for the in-person courses as quickly as anticipated. It seemed like students may be a tad reluctant to return to classes already. 

“This semester, we have scheduled a larger proportion of classes to be on ground, but we’re seeing that students aren’t enrolling in the on-ground sections as much,” Gaytan said. “We’re trying to provide the opportunity for students to come back, particularly students who have felt isolated being online for so long and want the opportunity to interact in-person, but we are not really seeing a high turnout in students enrolling in those classes as much as we anticipated.”

Written by: Rachel Shey — city@theaggie.org

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