Des Moines Area Community College announced today it plans to move a majority of its programs to real-time, virtual classes for its fall semester across its campuses. The move would include about 55% of DMACC students taking classes virtually, while the remainder — those whose programs require being on campus, would have in-person classes.

“Real-time virtual classes are as close as you can get to being in the classroom without physically being there,” DMACC President Rob Denson said. “This will give our students added structure and stability through personal-contact learning until we can all meet again in the classroom.” The college is branding the real-time, virtual classes, which will be offered on the digital learning platform Blackboard Collaborate, as DMACC Rx.

“The students [taking individual online classes] have been missing any kind of social contact,” Denson said. “So even if it’s seeing and hearing their professors and being able to converse in a public setting [virtually] with students in their class. They want some kind of contact, but they want to be safe.”

Because the classes will already be scheduled and times blocked out, the plan provides an easy way to transition back to all in-person classes if it’s possible this fall, Denson said. Otherwise, having more virtual classes will provide more space for classes that must be taught in person, such as automotive repair, chemistry and welding.

Denson said the college is also working hard to keep students safe who take classes on DMACC campuses this fall by deep cleaning buildings and purchasing personal protective equipment for students, faculty and staff.

“Our goal is to make the fall semester as stress-free, safe and rewarding for them as possible,” he said. “It’s a great way to start preparing for a successful career. And, the prescription for success is DMACC Rx, real-time virtual classes.”

Registration is now open for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 26.