Through Virtual Collaboration, Adult Education Students Earn Certificates

As Joliet Junior College was preparing to transfer courses online in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, adult education instructor Angela Logwood was already preparing for how her summer global supply chain management support courses would be impacted.

“The writing was on the wall. I knew that we needed to act quickly to prepare for the unknown,” said Logwood. “I organized a meeting at a local coffee shop that had good WiFi.” 

Logwood, who teaches the course alongside business professor Jim Revis, had already been preparing students to transition them completely online for the summer. The March meeting served as the final chance to train in person, and build the necessary support network to complete their certificates by summer’s end. 

“At first, I was very worried when my instructor said that we could no longer meet in class and would be working completely from home. I didn't know if I could do it,” said Sofia Cortes, 42, who lives with her husband and two sons in Joliet. “Today, I am completely comfortable as an online student.”

Global Supply Chain cohort
Students meeting in March. From left: Olenka Pisconte, David
Fuentes,  Francisco Lopez, Sofia Cortes, Lidia Sanchez, Julio
​​​​Samano, Nabil Khiar, Ana Hernandez. Not pictured: Yuliana

By earning a certificate of completion, Cortes, who worked at a warehouse emptying trucks, sought to elevate her employment status. So she dually enrolled in global supply chain management and English as a second language. The pandemic added to the rigors of that learning.

As part of the Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS), those seeking their high school equivalency through JJC can simultaneously work toward a Certificate of Completion by co-enrolling in its global supply chain management program. It's coordinated jointly by JJC's Adult Education Services and Business Department.

“English is not my native language. When we met in person, I could ask my classmates questions if I did not understand a word. I also liked listening to my classmates speak so I could learn how to pronounce words in the industry,” said Cortes. “Being online has been challenging. But I learned how to use voice translate which has really helped me.”

For 40-year-old Francisco Lopez, a father of two from Joliet, working online by himself was a brand new experience.

“I preferred being with my classmates to work through the lessons,” he said. “I had to learn how to communicate with my instructors and classmates online to get things done.  But it all worked out.”

Lopez, who has worked in the global supply chain environment for years, said he learned a lot about the industry through JJC.

“Angela [Logwood] and Jim [Revis] always worked so hard at helping us succeed while we were in class,” said Lopez. “I wasn't sure how things would work by going completely online.  When we met in March, Angela worked so hard to make sure we had everything we needed to finish the semester online and prepared us for summer classes online. Her hard work was just the push and motivation I needed to keep going.”

Cortes said her supervisor now considers her bi-lingual, and the remote course instruction has helped her career. 

“I also learned a lot about computer systems, inventory, receiving and how to modify counts and weights. I have been promoted to the office,” she said.  

For Logwood, the March meeting not only prepared students for remote instruction, but built a family of learners.

On Sept. 10, the college will hold a drive-thru celebration honoring its certificate of completion earners.

“I am happy and excited to celebrate with my classmates and our families. I also look forward to seeing my teachers and friends in adult education. I am very grateful to JJC administration to make this possible,” said Cortes.

The drive-thru celebration begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 outside the A-Building at JJC’s Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road.

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