Mendocino College instructors and staff using innovative ways to support students amid shelter in place orders

April 3, 2020

At Mendocino College, faculty and staff have been working diligently to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19 in order to continue providing quality education to students.

With no on-ground classes currently being taught, many instructors have moved to a traditional online teaching format, using the online learning system Canvas.

Other instructors have had to be very creative in order to teach content not easily managed online such as science labs, culinary arts, and music.

Chemistry instructors are creating videos of their labs so that students can observe, take notes and write their lab reports as if they were conducting the experiments. Instructors in the new Physical Therapy Assistant program are also creating video content approved by the program’s accreditation agency, for students to observe clinical techniques and exercises to practice at home.

In the Nursing Department, skills labs and clinical time have been maintained through the use of virtual patient simulations, patient case studies, virtual skills modules, and faculty demonstrations via Zoom or pre-recorded video.

Students in Culinary Arts classes have been supplied with a list of groceries and gift cards funded by a Mendocino College Foundation affiliate to complete projects at home. They are attending Zoom video meetings with their instructor to learn techniques and are documenting their own cooking projects with notes and photos.

Music faculty are also using Zoom and other video conferencing platforms to have students sing and play music together virtually.

An English as a Second Language class is using a Facebook group to continue to practice their English skills. The instructor engages them with a prompt and students respond.

Learning support and student services, such as tutoring, counseling, and financial aid have also all moved to Canvas, Zoom and other online formats. Instructors across disciplines are maintaining office hours through Zoom, telephone and email.

A recent student survey conducted by the college showed that many students are struggling with access to food, computers, Internet and textbooks during the shelter in place.

In order to mitigate some of these barriers, Mendocino College is helping students in need by loaning Chromebooks to those who do not have access to a computer at home.

On Thursday, March 26, the college offered a free take-out lunch at Subway restaurants throughout the district to all of its students and continues to provide students with access to free food through the college’s Food Pantry.

“Our faculty, students, staff, and administrators have done an amazing job meeting the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 virus. All of our efforts were taken purposefully with student success in the forefront. We took the time to discuss the transition with students before moving to remote methods of teaching and learning. I am extremely proud of what the team at the college has been able to accomplish in such a short time. We have tough road ahead, and we are all doing our best to remain calm and flexible,” said interim Superintendent/President Eileen Cichocki.

The summer semester class schedule is now posted on the college’s website at

With the uncertainty of when shelter in place orders will be lifted, the college has ramped up its online class offering for the upcoming term and will announce information regarding on-ground classes if it is deemed safe by public health officials in time for the June 8 summer term start date.

Registration for summer 2020 begins April 25.

For ongoing updates regarding the college during the shelter in place, please visit