Minneapolis College Receives $250,000 in Funding
Minneapolis College received $250,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) to address the remote access and technology needs that surfaced for its students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The GEER Funding allows Minneapolis College to align our resources to ensure we have the most experienced, engaging and rigorous educators across all teaching platforms,” said Gail O’Kane, vice president of Academic Affairs. “We recognized not all of the students we serve were equally ready to engage online when the pandemic hit. GEER funding fills the gaps that surfaced, creating an equal playing field for every student.”
The 4 components of the GEER Funding at Minneapolis College include:
GEER Funding will enable the College to provide subsidies for internet access to high-need students who cannot afford such access themselves. Access to internet poses a barrier to at least 15 percent of Minneapolis College students and students lacking access to the internet are not able to receive instruction, complete coursework or communicate in a timely manner. This initiative will eliminate that barrier.
As more courses are offered in online and blended formats, the grant funds the addition of a digital learning specialist who will provide tutoring for students in the use of computer hardware and software applications needed to complete their coursework.
Flexible, portable, sustainable, supportable and user-friendly technology is imperative in the new online teaching environment brought forth by the pandemic. The classroom and teaching environment technology portion of the grant will provide specialized equipment and technology to create an immersive classroom experience for students to participate face-to-face, remotely, asynchronously, from a recording or in multiple classrooms.
Lastly, the College will leverage its existing training program and in-house faculty experts to provide accelerated professional development in online pedagogy to a minimum of 40 more instructors. Culturally relevant approaches to building community and humanizing the student experience in online classes are imbedded in the training.
“The GEER Funding allows us to impact our community in a positive way,” said Tiffni Deeb, vice president of Information Technology Services who notes Minneapolis College is one of the most diverse community college campuses in Minnesota. “The COVID-19 pandemic requires all of our students to adapt to new learning methods, the College to adopt new methods of supporting students and faculty to deliver instruction in a whole new way. The GEER Funding allows us to meet the changing needs of the educational environment.”