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While still under stay-at-home orders on the Big Island, PADI Course Directors David Pinilla and Shannon Shea have been teaching an Instructor Development Course. Initially using online class meetings starting May 13th, both students and instructors were able to attend class from the comfort of their own homes. Adjusting to the new use of technology had some ups and downs, but overall, there were definite advantages to the new teaching approach. Aspiring instructors were able to make progress toward their professional goals while obliged to stay home. As an added bonus, students from Hilo were able to attend class without the burden of driving between the East and West sides of the island or having to arrange accommodation in Kona for the full duration of the class. The academic contact time was broken into short sessions over a 2-week period, thereby avoiding the customary long 8 hour class days of the IDC. As local restrictions eased, Course Directors and students were able to meet for face-to-face classes and pool sessions at the beginning of June, with new social distancing and hygiene precautions incorporated into the class conduct. Ocean dives were conducted a few weeks later when boating operations resumed in Hawaii. The PADI Instructor Exam is tentatively scheduled for the begining of July,
PADI Course Director Shannon Shea had this to say about the experience: “Remote learning can never fully replace in person contact for the IDC but rethinking what’s essential in light of COVID-19 limitations has been really beneficial. I expect future IDCs at JDL will have at least some component of remote learning going forward. How great would it be if a student not just on the other side of the island, but the other side of the world could do their IDC with Jack’s Diving Locker? They can get a surprising amount of the course load completed before they ever arrive in Hawaii, and once here, can devote less of their time to class requirements. This greater flexibility could be a boost for Jack’s Diving Locker professional programs. Plus, the joy of being able to teach the IDC without ever having to take off my bunny slippers should not be underestimated!”