WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College’s efforts to deliver quality educational programs despite the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in new methods of teaching delivery and new collaborations.
A prime example came in August, when the college’s Paralegal Technology Studies program partnered with its Fire-Rescue continuing education program to offer a highly sought-after course in law and administration. Although both programs are part of PCC’s Public Services and Fine Arts Division, collaborations between degree courses and continuing education professional development programs are rare.
CCP Paralegal Technology Instructor Chris Young has taught the course to more than 30 students, using a hybrid flexible (or HyFlex) format that gives students the option to attend class 100% in person or fully online synchronously. About half of Young’s class came to class while the rest participated remotely via video conferencing technology.
“I think this is the first time a school has offered students the option of taking the ‘Law and Administration’ course in person or remotely,” Young said. “…I’ve been teaching like this in our curriculum for quite a while. The pandemic required a lot of creativity from the instructors, and we were lucky to have the [technological] means doing what was necessary.
Like many continuing education courses required for professional certifications, Young says “Law and Administration” is in high demand. He explained that this is a standard certification class that the state’s Code Officials Qualification Board requires code enforcers to meet in order to perform building inspections in their technical areas. The course consists of 15 hours of instruction which must be taught by an attorney licensed by the State Bar of North Carolina and certified by the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
Mekenzie Newkirk, CCP’s director of fire and emergency services training, invited Young to offer the course shortly after her department merged with the Utilities and Fine Arts division.
“Chris has been teaching law classes for a long time with all sorts of delivery methods,” Newkirk said. “I thought we could leverage that for the legal courses we need on the continuing education side.”
The idea paid off.
“All course material was available to students electronically. They could access everything from computers in our lab or their own devices at home or work,” Newkirk said, adding that student reviews of the course were “universally positive.”
For Young, “Law and Administration” is just the beginning. He is working on a series of courses for lawyers and paralegals to meet annual certification requirements, particularly in the areas of technology and ethics.
“I’m a big proponent of cross-divisional, cross-disciplinary education and projects,” he said. “Whenever I have the opportunity to diversify into other fields, I take it. I look forward to continuing “Law and Administration” and implementing other courses to meet legal training needs. from the community. “
Dr. Dan Mayo, dean of the CCP’s Division of Public Services and Fine Arts, says “the sky’s the limit” when it comes to future training opportunities.
“We are so excited; this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Mayo said. “We are fortunate to have dedicated education professionals and subject matter experts, like Mekenzie and Chris, opening the way for these kinds of collaborative efforts.More certification courses, continuing education for lawyers and paralegals, and custom domain-specific training are all possibilities here.