The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

No classroom, no problem for online teachers, students alike

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The Collegian logo

By Jade Myers/campus editor

Connect campus teachers are some of the more mysterious teachers at TCCD because you never even have to meet them to take their class.

“I think of somebody sitting at their coffee table,” TR student Arek Thompson said.

Connect Campus is TCC’s 6th Campus said Randy Jackson, Connect business and technology chair.

“We are one of the only community colleges that is accredited as a standalone online campus,” said Jackson.

Connect Campus’ physical location is located on TR Campus. Down the escalators that are right past the Riverfront Cafe and down a long hallway until you finally reach the Connect info desk.

“Some of the rumors about being at home teaching your class with a cup of coffee, that’s, some of that’s true, yes,” Jackson said. “We do have the availability to work remotely which also frees us up to be able to meet with students.”

Jackson is also a business and technology associate professor.

“I enjoy the flexibility,” he said. “As an online instructor, I’m not tied down to that eight-to-five schedule. There is a lot of advantages to being able to work remotely, you know I don’t have to worry about daycare or puppy care for my big’o 100-pound Husky.”

Connect teachers may have the flexibility in where they work, but they also have to be flexible with their time, Jackson said.

“I have my email tied to my phone,” he said. “It’s not unusual for me to respond to students at nine, 10 [or] 11 at night,” he said.

Connect instructors do not have to live locally either.

“From the department chair side of things, I’m not limited to who I can hire based on their geographic location,” Jackson said. “It also allows me to kind of look outside of this area. So, I can pull in some expertise from other places as well.”

Many online teachers also teach on other campuses, Jackson said. One such teacher is Penny Cypert, NE computer science and information technology associate professor.

“It’s a different type of interaction, but it is nice,” Cypert said.

Students do have to have discipline to take an online course, there are also very successful students in the online class, she said.

“If I’m having insomnia at two o’clock in the morning I can jump on [the computer] and there’s still usually some of them on,” Cypert said.

One of the biggest bridges to gap with an online class is communication between students and teachers.

“The great thing about our phone system is that our phone system and our voice mail is tied to our computer accounts,” Jackson said. “If someone leaves me a voicemail, I actually get an email that has that voicemail in it.”

Every instructor has different rules for how to get in contact as well, Jackson said.

Email, Blackboard Collaborate, WebEx, Google hangouts and Skype are a few avenues for communication, he said.

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