Is it live? Is it online? No, it’s VECAT hybrid!

Who remembers the old commercial tagline, “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” Since 2016, many VECAT MCS classes have been both live and online. Whether a person attended a live, in-person class, or pursued credentialing online, VECAT has employed the use of videos. Videos provided consistency in message and training for all attendees.

When COVID-19 struck Virginia in March, all in-person VECAT classes were canceled. Students had one choice—online credentialing. For many individuals, this was an easy switch. For others new to the paving industry, the loss of classes with instructor interaction was a tremendous blow. As done many times since the creation of VECAT, the VECAT Team (GCC and VAA) got to work developing a solution. They decided that mirroring the initial VECAT teaching concept was the answer—a Hybrid Class! What is a Hybrid Class? Simple—live instruction through the use of web-enabled technology. VECAT instructors and proctors will be at remote locations running the class. Attendees can be at home, in the office, or wherever they choose. Think of it as a live class without the travel.

To kick-off the Hybrid Class format, VECAT subject matter experts and online proctors conducted an Asphalt Field Level I class on June 9-10 and then followed up the class with Asphalt Field Level II on June 16-18. Both classes were held in the morning from 8am-12pm. SME’s covered the material just like an in-person class. Attendees asked questions and were asked to provide feedback that allowed for further refinement.

As for the class exams, Germanna Community College (GCC) was able to set-up remote testing for Asphalt Field Level I. Unfortunately, the written exam for Asphalt Field Level II is not available for remote testing. To take this exam, students have to wait for the testing centers to re-open or travel to a GCC campus for testing. Details on the testing procedures can be provided by contacting Judith Calvert at jcalvert@germanna.edu.

For 2021, VECAT anticipates offering Hybrid Classes along with In-Person and Online Classes. However, a final decision on the class offerings and locations will not be available until fall 2020.

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