Campus Connections – April 1

Hospitality and Culinary Chair Maureen LaSalle and her 12-year-old daughter practiced “snowcial” distancing when making snowmen during a morning break on March 24.

SMCC comes together

SMCC has come together in response to the unprecedented circumstances from COVID-19 by expanding our online class offerings and having employees work from home to make sure we offer a safe learning and working environment.

With the virus spreading around the globe and in Maine, SMCC underwent a huge undertaking to continue providing a quality education to students while limiting personal contact.

The College moved as many classes and services (from the Learning Commons to Student Activities) as possible to an online format following an extended spring break, while canceling those that can be done only live or in-person. Residence halls and dining services were shut down.

While the college is offering all its services online, it’s important to maintain connections, share experiences and provide helping hands to each other.

We have changed the usual format of Campus Connections to reflect the changes around the college.

And to help keep students and employees connected, we want to hear from you about your experiences at home, what keeps you going and tips that might help others.

We encourage students and employees to share photos, videos and stories of your home offices, your special places or even your pets on your social media using the #SMCCCares or #SMCCinit2gether hashtags.

If you don’t want to post from your own account, email and we’ll help spread the word on SMCC’s social media accounts.


Online learning tips to help you succeed

Online classes are no longer the novelty they once were.

According to federal data, more than a third of all college students took at least one online course in the fall of 2018.

Experts say that a dedicated space at home, the appropriate technologies, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) goals, and schedules are all invaluable for students.

Thanks to Michael Hart, SMCC’s Director of Online Learning, for passing along these tips that can lead to success:

  • Confirm technical requirements for online classes.
  • Connect with instructors early.
  • Create a schedule and manage your time wisely.
  • Stay organized.
  • Have a consistent workspace.


Need help? Here’s where to turn

We know that transitioning from in-person classes to online is no easy task.

Your instructors make the final decision on where to host their online courses. Some may use Blackboard or Zoom, while others will use MYSMCC, Collaborate or school email.If you need help with Blackboard, MYSMCC, Zoom, or Collaborate, here are resources that can help.

Online teaching tips

With classroom instruction interrupted, faculty members are now teaching online — many for the first time.

The college has provided a document with basic expectations for online instruction. The full document can be found at, but here are the primary points.

  1. Develop a plan. Coordinate with your department chair, determine how you will deliver instruction, assemble learning material, verify that you can access the tools you need, and review and adjust your syllabus and schedule.
  2. Communicate with your students. Use school email as the primary communication tool, post weekly announcement via email or the announcements tool in your learning management system, and post updated announcements and clarifications to your course.
  3. Post lecture material to your course. These include PowerPoints, Word documents, videos and video conferencing.
  4. Post assignments to your course. These include papers, questions from the textbook, performance assignments and presentations.
  5. Discuss! Interact with your students, foster group conversations, have weekly discussions.
  6. Assess your students. Upload paper tests and have students complete them offline and email them back, or create timed exams that are done online.
  7. Keep up with attendance. Attendance in online courses is defined as submitting weekly academic work. Make it a point to have weekly work due so you can track attendance.
  8. Track grades. You can track grades with your normal gradebook practices. You do not need to have an online gradebook.

Health Science programs answer the call

When health care and public safety agencies reached out to SMCC in search of masks, gloves and gowns so staff could perform COVID-19 testing, our Health Science programs responded with boxes of personal protective equipment from our South Portland and Midcoast campuses.

ConvenientMD Urgent Care had been performing coronavirus testing at its clinics on patients who are at high risk for COVID-19 infection when it first contacting SMCC a couple of weeks ago. A ConvenientMD representative said they were having a hard time securing not only COVID-19 tests, but also personal protective equipment (PPE) for its employees who were administering the tests.

In response, faculty and staff in various Health Science programs collected boxes of PPE to help. When a ConvenientMD employee picked up the equipment, she had tears in her eyes and said, “Words can’t describe how thankful we are!”

The Health Science programs as well the Maine Fire Service Institute made additional contributions to Southern Maine Health Care hospital and to fire-EMS agencies throughout southern Maine.

Captain’s Cupboard lends a hand

The Captain’s Cupboard food pantry closed operations following the decision to shut down our campuses, but not before packing up bags of non-perishable food for students in need and their families.

Professor Kathryn Stannard and a former student packed about 20 grocery bags of food after learning that the pantry itself would not be able to remain open.

Some of the bags were distributed to residence hall students who had to leave campus, while others were placed on the “sunset shelf,” a shelf inside the Captain’s House building where students can pick up food when the Captain’s Cupboard isn’t open.


News before the disruption

The spread of COVID-19 disrupted our usual Campus Connections schedule.

But we have posted some stories on our website that took place before all the disruption.

You can also find In The Spotlight profiles of an awesome student and an alumnus who is continuing to excel after SMCC.