Well this has been real - Sydney Community College

Well this has been real

Sydney Community College Blog | by Claire Pickard on

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Life in lockdown - and a relaunch

How are you feeling? Singing “Rainy Days & Mondays” this morning? Or are you calling it liquid sunshine and ready for your world to open up again?

Looking back over nine weeks of lockdown for the College, we’ve come a long way. 2020 kicked off for us with the usual February peak in classes and enrolments, as a new year got off to a running start.

Cautiously watching for signs of a virus, we stopped shaking hands and hugging. We doubled the soap and paper towel in campus bathrooms, displayed handwashing instructions and hit the suppliers for all the sanitiser we could get our hands on.

Mid-March, with the news from abroad getting very grave, we had the very sad news that one of our staff lost a family member to the virus. Isolation, a negative test and zero contact at work, so our classes continued with care.

We juggled student and tutor calls to: 1. shut down immediately; 2. charge on regardless; and everything in between, while Scomo was still going to the footy.

So out went the message on Wednesday: “classes still on – take care and join us if you feel safe to”. But by Friday it was all over, as the lockdown laws hit. We grabbed what we needed to set up 15 home offices across Sydney.

Together, from a distance, we negotiated the tech, overcame the emotions and set to work cancelling or cutting short 400+ classes and over 1700 enrolments. (that’s a sad face emoji for sure!)

All that hard work to create and deliver courses for the first half of the year… undone.

But some courses we got straight up online. Then we hit the ground running to keep classes alive during lockdown, on Zoom. Now we’re proud to say, we have delivered (or put in the pipeline) over 140 classes online. Including, in a nice piece of self-reflectivity, “Online Training for Teachers” – meeting demand for training on how to deliver learning online.

Victoria Walker delivers a free community webinar — Learning from the Lockdown: Insights for Positive Change

As silver linings go, we’re delighted to see that among those 750 online enrolments, are students from Bourke, Hobart, Melbs, the Blue Mountains, Bungendore, Townsville, Perth and beyond. So that’s something we plan to continue, offering learning to those who can’t get to our campus.

Now we’re planning our return to the office and classrooms. We’d love your input on what that looks like, with our quick little survey.

Claire Pickard

Sydney Community College

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