Student Zoom town hall meeting highlights online student resources


Screenshot Town Hall Meeting Sept. 29, Zoom Teleconference

By Sically Sorrell, Advocate Staff

Dean Dennis Franco of the student services division and English faculty member Maritez Apigo came together to lead a Student Town Hall meeting at Contra Costa College Sept. 29.

The meeting included appearances from Interim President Damon Bell, Veteran Coordinator Hector Moncada and Student Union President Ricardo Sanchez.

The Student Town Hall meeting took place from 5-6:00 p.m. through Zoom.

The presents explained how CCC’s faculty and staff have put in tremendous effort and hard work to make sure students, faculty and staff members are well-resourced and guided.

The meeting centered around resources for students, as well as a detailed outline of what to expect for the upcoming spring 2021 semester.

A fun, light-hearted 30-minute video kicked off the meeting, which showed what has transpired so far this semester while also highlighting the arduous transition that was undertaken for CCC to continue through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interim President Bell said the town hall “gives us the opportunity to check in with students to see what’s happening and what they need.”

The meeting was set up so attendees could ask questions through a “question and answer” tab or they could use the “raise hand” function and get an answer to their question through Zoom.

Sanchez spoke about the purpose of student services and student life, while also expressing the importance of providing student support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to find out from students what they need. I want to be a voice for the students and a voice for the solution,” he said.

Franco spoke about student access to technology and how CCC has been helping them.

“We know that some students have been struggling with technology, so we’ve lent 300 laptops and Chromebooks,” Franco said. “We also opened up our parking lot to give you better access to Wi-Fi.”

Franco and Apigo said there will be a new accessible feature on Canvas (CCC’s learning management system) called Student Hub and the goal is to have it up and working by the end of the semester.

“It will be like a virtual student services center – everything will be accessible in one place,” Franco said.

Apigo said the Student Hub site will contain tutoring, financial aid and a wellness center surrounding self-care, including how students can access the therapist from the wellness center and other resources concerning mental health.

Apigo also mentioned another site that will help with students for next semester called the Whats-Next-Page.

“If you have any needs for student services, click on the Whats-Next-Page where there are developed office hours, with some programmed through Zoom appointments,” she said.

She added that students can access the Whats-Next-Page through the Student Hub page.

Apigo said students have responded well to a program called Quest Success. It is a self-paced online workshop for students that covers how to operate resources such as Canvas, Zoom and Office 365.

“1,300 students earned their Quest Success online and that’s amazing,” she said.

Franco said a future online update will allow students to know which classes have live meetings or which classes are late starts.

“If signing up for a class requires a microphone, you’ll know because it will have the day and the time of when to get everything required for that class,” he said.

Franco also said they have started a wraparound fund for students who don’t have enough money or who are in threat of dropping a class because of financial issues.

“We will be making lab computers available as a potential solution as well,” he said.

Franco concluded the meeting by saying they would like to conduct these town hall meetings once a month.

“Our goal is to make this as useful as possible,” he said.