ECC announces continued virtual education in the spring


Lukas Munoz

The D2L homepage will again serve as the central hub for online learning this coming spring semester.

Hadley Corbett and Lukas Munoz

Elgin Community College announced in an email to all of its faculty, staff, and students on Sep. 24 plans for the upcoming semester: “… to prioritize the health and safety of ECC students, faculty and staff, the spring 2021 semester will be structured…with the majority of courses being delivered online.”


Maegan Steinbrenner, a dual credit student at ECC in her last year of high school, is hoping to become a Nurse Practitioner after she graduates. The news that ECC would continue to be delivered primarily virtually in the Spring 2021 semester was easy to handle for Steinbrenner since online school is something she is very used to.


“I [have] never attended a public school at all, so really, there is no change for me,” Steinbrenner said. “I have always schooled at home and online classes really make no impact. With home educating my entire school life and taking online classes during the past two years at home, I have not made any changes to my schooling.  I’m fine with online classes and school because that is all I have ever done.”


Sara Greenwell, a first-semester student at ECC, pursuing a business degree, is taking 4 classes this semester, some in the honors program. Greenwell reports it has been difficult taking online classes so far.  


“[This semester] has been rough,” Greenwell said. “I feel like I’m spending way more time learning the material and teaching myself than I would be if I was in a classroom setting. I feel I’m paying a lot of money to be my own teacher and it’s not going so great.”


She was not pleased with the school’s decision to continue online in the spring and will be making adjustments to her academic plans.


“When I heard that ECC would be online in the spring my heart broke,” Greenwell said. “I was really really hoping classes would be in person next semester. I am supposed to take business calculus next semester and doing it at home is scary. I will be making changes to my schedule. I’ve thought about taking the semester off  or I may cut my credits in half and avoid taking difficult classes, like business calculus.”


The administration has been discussing the decision since the summer. Peggy Heinrich, Vice-President of Teaching, Learning and Student Development, was involved in the school’s decision, along with many other groups.


“These decisions are made with input from many groups on campus, [including] the safety committee, an operations team, academic and student services units, and more,” Heinrich said. “We studied and considered the predictions we were hearing at a national level…and we followed the guidelines of our Governor…In this phase of the Governor’s plan, online and hybrid instruction is recommended, limiting on-campus classes to the greatest extent possible.”


As ECC continues to offer education almost exclusively virtually, it may be wise to reassess academic plans and adopt new strategies. Heinrich had some suggestions for ECC’s students as they selected classes for the spring.


“It may be time to consider which classes to take in the spring, perhaps taking fewer of the more complex classes at a time, where possible,” Heinrich said. “…Be sure to choose classes that allow for adequate breaks in between synchronous classes, for example, to avoid excessive screen time. [Remember to] take breaks, get exercise, remain socially connected, break things down into manageable goals, and know that you are not alone [as] your fellow students are struggling with many of the same issues.”