Computer screen with students

The first day of all-distance learning at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College was “terrific” on Monday, March 23, according to Chancellor Lui Hokoana.

He wrote, “I got four emails this morning from students who do not have internet access from home. I sent them the Spectrum and HawaiianTel email saying both companies will be providing free internet service for college students.”

“In addition, as I walked around campus, I got to see a couple of our faculty conducting their courses via Zoom, even gave a shoutout to the students in Chef [Peter] Pak’s culinary class. We are also letting our students borrow laptops. This morning we had already lent out 25, the students will be able to borrow the laptops until the end of the semester—May 15.”

Hokoana added that the counselors were all in their offices when he went by, and all of them were conducting virtual counseling and advising sessions with their students.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Melissa Kirkendall shared via email, “My students have risen to the challenge…90 percent turned in their assignment that was due at 10:30 this morning early…our students ROCK! They were worried and nervous about it during the weeks prior to spring break, but now…they are on it! Most of them logged on early this morning…even those that sometimes show up late for class. It is an adventure, and you all rock too…we all approach meeting our students needs in different ways, with the result that they are learning flexibility and adaptability…which requires critical thinking…Thank you all for being solid student-oriented people, and putting our students first. Virtual hugs and high fives to all.”

Converting to online classes

UH Maui College offers 470 courses this semester and all but 40 courses have been converted to online classes.

Instructor flashing shaka at students online
Peter Pak teaching his Culinary 132 (Batch Cookery) course

Hokoana explained that UH Maui College had anticipated offering these 40 courses face-to-face because of the practicum component for automotive, dental hygiene, auto body, nursing, piano, and others. However, after receiving a directive that all courses must be delivered online, UH Maui College has asked these instructors to once again consider offering their courses online. If the course cannot be delivered online they may issue students an incomplete, and the students can complete it in the summer or fall.

Additionally, if students have completed enough work in the course, instructors may be able to issue the students a grade and still meet the course’s student learner outcomes.

Questions about commencement

Hokoana has sent out a note to students saying he will consult with student government members about possible alternatives to the canceled traditional spring commencement ceremony.

“Possible scenarios are to hold it once this crisis is under control or hold a fall graduation that would take place in December,” Hokoana said.

When the campus closes on Wednesday, UH Maui College anticipates offering all courses and services online. Students should check the UH Maui College website for updates.

Hokoana said, “I am committed to keeping our staff and students safe and assisting the students to successfully complete the semester; with the cooperation of our students and dedication of our staff we will accomplish these goals.”