OTTUMWA — Indian Hills Community College will open for in-person, online and virtual learning formats starting Monday, Aug. 31.

The college will continue providing face-to-face and virtual assistance to support students throughout their learning process. Students can choose their preferred learning format using the “Indian Hills Your Way” method.

“The ‘your way’ method of learning provides adjusted learning formats, and students will get the option to select how they want to learn for the fall term,” Marlene Sprouse, the college’s soon to retire president, said.

Sprouse said the decision to offer the different formats was something she and the administration considered for a while. They wanted to give students a choice, knowing “some formats are better than other formats for different students,” she said. “We want to provide flexibility.”

Matt Thompson, the college’s executive vice president, agreed. He said the different formats allows administration to meet the needs of many different students.

“We wanted to make sure we are here to help provide great college experiences,” Thompson said. “The return to campus is very important to our area students who have limited access to technology. The online and virtual format is great for students who are not comfortable coming back to a face-to-face learning environment.”

Thompson is confident about the different learning environments.

“There’s always a positive and a want to take a program that will help lead them to a new career. We as administration want to be that. We want the formats to be a life-changing opportunity as we work through COVID-19 together. We’re excited we can play an important role in the lives of students in our area.”

“Many classes will be offered in multiple formats, but some programs and courses may require a student to attend face-to-face on campus or in a clinical setting,” the college’s website said.

The in-person learning will be similar to the education students received prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Class sizes will be limited to ensure social distancing and safety. The live virtual learning allows students to attend classes from anywhere. Those who take the virtual learning courses may come to campus (as space permits) or login at the same time every day for group work, a live lecture and virtual learning activities via Zoom.

Online learning gives students more flexibility. It allows them to complete coursework on their own time and they are not required to attend class sessions or live lectures. Students may watch pre-recorded lectures or participate in discussion boards as part of their coursework.

Aside from students planning their course work, Sprouse encourages incoming students and their families to call the college for tours so students can get a feel for the school before beginning their fall term.

“It’s a good time to think about college in their backyard,” Sprouse said. “It can be online in person, etc. We think we have a good product. We encourage them to think about college at this point and how they want to move forward — it could be an up step in their career.”

Thompson advises students to sign up for in person classes as soon as possible. For more information about the different learning formats, contact the OneStop at or at 641.683.5262 to schedule a face-to-face or Zoom meeting with an academic advisor. Tours are being offered and will continue after July 4. They can be scheduled with admissions by calling 641-683-4265 or by email at

Chiara Romero can be reached at


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