Thank you to Barbi Galarno, RPR, CRI, court reporting instructor, Lakeshore Technical College (LTC), in Cleveland, Wis., for contributing to this School Spotlight.
JCR | What sets your program apart from other court reporting programs?
LTC | I can tell you what I believe sets our program apart in general, but I am not an expert on all other programs to be able to make any kind of comparisons. We have changed our program to what our college calls iFlex. What that means is that students can choose to attend the program virtually, online, or a combination of both.
What was important to us in adapting our program to be taken completely online was that we did not allow students to take classes self-paced.
Students still have to complete coursework in a weekly timeframe. For example, a class may be held on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. “live” for students to attend virtually. That class is recorded and uploaded to our Blackboard learning platform, and any students enrolled in that class can watch it within the week of its being held. Any coursework resulting from that class must be completed before the class the next Monday.
Because of the iFlex format, a student may attend a “live” virtual class one Monday but may not make class the following Monday and can watch the recording — so in that way it is flexible. When we changed to a completely online option, we still wanted students to be accountable for completing their coursework weekly. I tend to compare self-paced courses to exercise. You always say you’re going to get started next week! I have seen some students comment on self-paced online programs in that fashion. They say they are going to do better the next semester but keep repeating the same course over and over with no success. Self-paced learning is not for everyone.
We had success with our brick-and-mortar program, so we were hesitant to make this kind of change. We were starting to allow students to attend virtually but were still always live. Obviously, COVID-19 helped to give us a push to try this new format, and it really has been successful. We have a good audio platform, which was also a concern to be sure students had good audio. We use BlueJeans, which is owned by Verizon. We feel it works better than many other vendors. We have graduates every semester, so that is always good!
JCR | What is the mission of your school?
LTC | Our mission: Transform individuals to strengthen our communities through innovative and accessible learning
Our vision: The community’s driver for individual, social, cultural, and economic vitality
- Anyone can learn anything under the right circumstances
- Degree completion results in better socioeconomic outcomes
- Students want to complete their degree sooner rather than later
- Equity gaps are unjust
- Students we educate must be better off because of what we do
- We derive change to best serve our student and community
JCR | What do your students have to say about your program?
LTC | Scott Bellile, LTC student and 2021 NCRA A to Z® Scholarship winner from New London, Wis., shared this:
“My prior education was all face-to-face, so I had no clue what to expect when I enrolled in online courses at LTC in 2020. It turns out LTC’s court reporting/broadcast captioning program is highly conducive to virtual instruction; after all, we spend most of our class time writing on a stenotype keyboard.
“LTC accommodates all students’ lifestyles, with classes offered online or in person, live or on demand. The educators possess decades of court reporting experience, so their lessons in theory and speed-building are top-notch. Mentors provide us with supplemental resources, including practice tips and emotional support during the roughest moments. Our instructors aim to get us through school as quickly as possible because employers are desperate to hire fresh grads. LTC’s program is challenging yet fulfilling, and I feel so supported in my journey here.”