Standing with Students During COVID-19

Over the past month, our team has been saddened to see the devastation COVID-19 has caused for so many people and communities across the world. While we know that this crisis will continue to incur losses that we are unable to counter, we are firmly dedicated to using every resource in our power to support the students, faculty, and schools that have been affected. 

CodePath.org’s long standing blended model has put us in a strong position to seamlessly transition to distance learning; every day, we’re exploring new ways to serve our students through an unprecedented set of challenges and to share our learnings with the field. As we all navigate this uncertain time, the CodePath team wanted to provide a few key updates on how we are working to support students, instructors and partners.

On-campus class and operations are running 100% virtually. All of our on-campus programs have switched to a virtual format, operating through Zoom or another university-approved platform. Over the past two weeks, we re-trained 61 of our student leaders to transition 26 classes to run online. All group meetings, mobile courses and demo days are continuing as scheduled in a virtual format. 

Our team is dedicated to sharing every lesson we learn with the field. We recently published this piece on online teaching and this piece on managing people remotely. Last weekend, we hosted an “unconference,” free to anyone working to transition to virtual learning—all resources used are available for anyone who wants them. As always, every CodePath course’s curriculum is free and open-source, available to computer science teachers and students around the world. Lastly, we’ve started hosting remote workshops to teach other nonprofits how to run online classrooms and better support students remotely. Yesterday morning, we conducted a webinar with Microsoft to share online instruction best practices with 8-10 of their local and international NGO partners.

Meeting students where they are. We’re in the process of identifying students who don’t have access to devices that can run the tools and software relevant to the course. For example, we are helping students enrolled in our iOS development course who don’t have access to a personal Mac device to purchase access to Macincloud, and to accommodate students who are facing financial, academic and personal challenges, we are extending deadlines for coursework submissions to ensure that students can continue to participate fully despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Attendance and submission rates have not been substantially affected. We’ve also taken steps to adjust our Tech Fellow training to include tips and best practices for remote instruction.

Taking action to support students during uncertain times. We know that these are stressful and uncertain times for all us, including the students we serve. We’ve seen significant increases in student support requests, especially as students move out of dorms and lose access to on-campus computer labs. We are working around the clock to connect students with whatever resources they need. This week, I published an op-ed for NBC News arguing that colleges must do more to support displaced students — but, for as long as there are gaps in student support, we’ll do what we can to fill them.  

Switch to remote operations. All CodePath staff and contractors have been working remotely since March 10.

These are just a few steps that we have taken, and we will continue to look for additional ways that we can support our student and higher education partners during their time of need. 

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