Santa Monica College is aiming to double the number of students on campus over the next two semesters as the facility continues to reopen post pandemic.

About 4,000 students returned to class in-person during the fall with about 13 percent of classes being held on-the-ground. Individual departments held anywhere from 0 to 81 percent of their classes in-person.

Officials said their plan is to double the percentage of classes offered in-person during the Winter to about 29 percent, however, far fewer students attend classes during that time. For Spring 2022, SMC is aiming for 36 percent of classes with a projected on-ground population of about 10,000.

Classes that are not fully in person may operate on one of several formats.

“There are these flexible online classes that are really traditional that have always existed, but we have begun to experiment and learn from online classes with scheduled exam times, online classes that have some optional meeting times and online classes that even require people to all be in the same learning management system at the same time with scheduled synchronous meetings and that last modality didn’t really exist before the start of the pandemic and it’s becoming really popular with students and faculty alike,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Bradley Lane.

In Spring, the college plans to have about five percent of classes be online with exams, five percent online with optional meetings, 19 percent online with required meetings and 34 percent fully online.

The school is asking every department to have at least 50 percent of classes in-person for the Summer and Fall of 2022.

Lane said full reopening requires cooperation and planning.

“We want to take it slowly and intentionally,” he said. “We want to certainly work with our partners and Faculty Association around the working conditions of this environment because it can be really complicated fast. We also want to make sure that we have the right kind of educational technology to support that kind of teaching and learning but we do think it’s the future and there are a lot of different departments on campus that want to get started with it.”

Some programs have already adapted to the online future. Students who experience difficulty finding an online class at their homeschool can take advantage of an exchange program.

“There is an online exchange going with community colleges across the state where if a student cannot get online a course that they need at their home college it actually makes it seamless for them to take a course online through another college and the trend to credit just goes back to them and they use it for graduation,” said Lane.

editor@smdp.com