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SE-Tech students find camaraderie in online learning

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Criminal Justice Student Volunteers
Student volunteers organize bookshelves at the Winona Salvation Army.

Dispelling the myth that online learning is void of meaningful face-to-face interaction, Southeast Tech students recently volunteered at the Winona Salvation Army as part of their Sociology of the Family coursework. Among other tasks, students readied merchandise for customers by displaying donated clothes, sheets, pillow cases, and other linens on hangers. To freshen up stock already on the sales floor, students pulled all yellow-stickered items for an upcoming clearance sale and permanently removed older white-stickered items from the inventory.

Although students were allowed to pursue volunteer opportunities on their own, Criminal Justice student Julie Evenson proposed organizing a group project at the Salvation Army where students could make a larger impact as a group. Students also organized a potluck dinner at Lake Winona to socialize with their online classmates. Following the potluck, students participated in a study session to prepare for an upcoming test.

Criminal Justice instructor Greg Cady, who teaches the online sociology course, points to the importance of community involvement and service when studying topics such as human behavior, regardless of whether instruction occurs online or in the classroom. “I want my students to become involved and to immerse themselves within our diverse society,” Cady says.

Cady also notes an added benefit of service learning that is in line with Southeast Tech’s mission to educate for employment. “Research indicates networking with others is a key component for obtaining employment. Our students get to showcase their ability while contributing to our community through their volunteerism.”

Learn more about Southeast Tech’s Criminal Justice program and online learning opportunities.