Learning Environments

August 2021
Ground broke on Dallas College’s state-of-the-art Construction Sciences Building in 2019, and the need for the new training facility could not be more urgent. Before the design for the new building began, the National Center for Construction Education and Research (2019) had already predicted a shortage of one million craft professionals in the construction industry by 2023. In Dallas, the shortage is critical. From August 2018 to August 2019 alone, the Dallas-Plano-Irving area added 12,400 construction jobs and labor shortages have become a major contributor to rapidly rising new home costs...
August 2021
The reach and impact of COVID-19 is not a new point of conversation. Throughout the world, families, businesses, and schools adjusted their practices and schedules in response to the global pandemic. Some of those shifts were unexpected, undesirable, and even devastating. At Valencia College, the institutional shift to remote work gave the Organizational Design and Development (ODD) team, led by Director Katie Tagye, an opportunity to revamp a long-standing program to more accurately address the needs of the college and its employees. With deep reflection and self-awareness, the team explored...
July 2021
For decades, Jackson College (JC) has been a U.S. leader in providing higher education access and opportunity to incarcerated students. The town of Jackson, Michigan, has long been known as a “prison city,” and three large correctional facilities are located less than 15 miles from JC’s Central Campus. In 1967, the college offered its first class “inside the walls.” In 1969-1970, a pilot prison education program for the Southern Michigan Prison was launched to provide qualifying inmates an opportunity to further their education. Jackson Community College (as it was then called) was one of 26...
May 2021
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Office of Online Learning developed a Boot Camp for hybrid course design meant to help faculty with little to no experience in an online setting to rapidly design hybrid courses. KCTCS Online shared an open access version of this training for use at other institutions for the first time at the department’s “Free PD: Come for the Free, Stay for the Why” session at the 2021 Innovations Conference. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many faculty members into a new teaching reality. Designed to help faculty quickly acclimate to online and...
January 2021
Rio Salado College is one of 67 postsecondary institutions to be included in an expansion of the U.S. Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative. One-hundred and thirty colleges in 42 states and the District of Columbia will now be involved in this initiative, which provides need-based Pell grants for people incarcerated in state and federal prisons to pursue higher learning. The majority of incarcerated individuals are Pell-eligible, but they have been banned from applying for assistance since 1994 as a result of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law...
November 2020
Sacramento City College student and entrepreneur Christian Espinoza’s personal essay was published in Makerspace Impact: Implementation Strategies & Stores of Transformation: “At the time, it was all I ever wanted—to create things that were unbelievable and out of this world,” wrote Espinoza, who exemplifies thousands of students whose lives have been transformed by the CCC Maker initiative. He continued, But as I grew up, those dreams felt more and more unachievable. I thought I could only work a standard job with a fixed pay and maybe benefits, which didn’t sound half bad. I assumed...
October 2020
The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Honors Council is offering a new pilot program called Give Honors A Try! The program permits non-honors students who meet certain criteria to take honors courses and engage in honors-related activities. Each year, CCAC’s Honors Program provides a myriad of opportunities for scholastically minded students to develop leadership skills and to participate in a variety of conferences and community service projects that foster academic and personal enrichment. These include opportunities to hear from guest speakers, field trips, real-world...
August 2020
Somewhere in the United States today, six-year-old Shelby musters enough courage to report physical abuse to a school counselor. The counselor, who has good intentions but is not well trained in best practices for responding to child maltreatment, calls Shelby’s parents to talk about the allegations. The parents promptly deny the child’s assertions and explain away Shelby’s bruises as a fall down the stairs. No investigation is initiated and Shelby, disheartened after working up the nerve to ask for help, will never tell anyone else about this incident or those still to come. If an...
June 2020
Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) was quick to modify college operations in response to the COVID­­–19 pandemic to ensure both academic continuity and the safety of students, faculty, and staff. With the closure of all facilities, hundreds of credit courses were converted from face-to-face to online or alternative delivery formats—an enormous undertaking and a collaborative effort by individuals across the college that was accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Since March 25, every student has been attending classes remotely through a computer or device. Justin Starr,...
June 2020
The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) team at Sinclair Community College is dedicated to creating one of the most comprehensive and pioneering facilities in the nation for the advancement of the UAS industry. Since 2008, Sinclair has been at the forefront of UAS innovation, creating partnerships, developing leading curriculum, and investing significantly to establish a nationally prominent program dedicated to meeting workforce needs. The team members never dreamed they would be called upon to respond to one of the most devastating storms to ever to affect the Greater Miami Valley in southwest...
January 2020
Students in the Radiation Therapy Technology program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) are training on equipment just like that used at leading teaching hospitals around the world. In fall 2018, the college acquired a Virtual Environment in Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system that enables students to practice direct hands-on skills in a radiation-free virtual setting without risk to the patient. The virtual simulator replicates the controls of a linear accelerator, which delivers targeted doses of radiation to cancer patients, bringing the level of training typically used in...
December 2019
Students at Mesa Community College receive hands-on learning experiences each semester with two days of simulated emergency medical scenarios. MCC’s Immersive Total Patient Management Experience (ITPME) is a multi-college, cross-disciplinary educational event exposing entry-level EMT, paramedic, nursing, psychology, and theatre/film arts students to potential real-life emergency scenarios and training. In addition to providing workforce experience training, the event encourages a larger dialogue among educators about the nature of innovative collaboration to create the most comprehensive...
October 2019
The Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus held a ribbon cutting ceremony in April 2019 to celebrate the opening of its new Film Center. Local dignitaries, administrators, faculty, staff, and students were in attendance to share in the festivities and view the space, which has been transformed to house the campus’s highly successful Film Technician program. Launched at South Campus in the spring of 2017, CCAC’s Film Technician program is designed to address the shortage of qualified film crew members in the Pittsburgh region. The program focuses on the technical aspects of the...
July 2019
Students in the Mesa Community College (MCC) Everyone Can Code iOS Apple App Development program decided that a joint project was a perfect opportunity to put their knowledge to use. The outcome? The Resource Information Services for Everyone (RISE) app. The development team of faculty and nine students from advanced and introductory classes were assigned roles that highlighted their skills. The team researched the existing app market, developed a plan, and began developing a proof of concept. Initially, the app contained helpful markers for on-campus resources such as registration,...
January 2019
To prepare students for meaningful work, California Community Colleges (CCC) have invested $17M over three years in the CCC Maker initiative to facilitate a network of 24 college makerspace communities. What’s at stake is the untapped potential of the 2.1 million students in the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the country, according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CCC Maker Statewide Project Director and Associate Dean of Workforce Innovation at Sierra College. “I believe that makerspaces are transforming education,” said Pepper-Kittredge. In an educational makerspace,...
November 2018
Two years ago, student and Valencia Technology Club member Richard Haynes asked if club members could take Valencia College’s obsolete computers and refurbish them for students who need a computer and can’t afford to purchase one. At the time, the project did not move forward. A year later, however, representatives from the Information Technology (IT), Legal, and Finance departments; the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP); and the Valencia Technology Club met, and, collaboratively, developed the club’s computer donation and repair programs. Now, selected LSAMP students...
November 2018
Arapahoe Community College (ACC) and Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, launched Colorado’s first registered Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program designed to meet local workforce needs in July 2018. A dozen students are enrolled in the initial cohort of this innovative work-based learning program, which is made possible by funding from the Colorado Workforce Development Council, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Centura Health, Colorado First, and Existing Industry Grants (CFEI) jointly administered by Colorado Community College System and Colorado Office of...
September 2017
It is a glaring truth. No matter how broad the scientific research or how far academia have reached to date, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields have been and remain a man’s world. Although there have been some changes in the last few decades, for the most part, women and minorities still face disparities (Office of Science and Technology Policy and Office of Personnel Management, 2016). There are many negatives associated with women and minorities’ limited participation in STEM fields, such as repression of creativity, loss of true innovation (Del Giudice, 2014), lower...
July 2017
As part of the reaffirmation process of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Wake Technical Community College launched a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) initiative based on best practices in eLearning. The goal of the eLearning Preparedness Initiative across the College (EPIC) is to remove learning barriers and better support online student learning, persistence, and success. A broad cross-functional and multidisciplinary team of faculty and staff developed and implemented eLearning Quality Standards, an online student orientation, and a faculty...
June 2017
Communication faculty often have a unique opportunity to hear students’ own stories. These stories permeate the work of learning public speaking. Faculty members at Pellissippi State Community College recently launched In Our Words, a public forum in which students share their stories with audiences beyond the public speaking classroom. Public speaking generally benefits both speaker and audience, and In Our Words certainly does that. Benefits also extend to the Communication Studies department and other areas of the college. Process Pellissippi State has, for years, had a robust faculty...

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