Learning Environments

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...
June 2017
We live in a digital age, so we may assume that digital is always better. But that isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to audio recording. The new recording studio at Volunteer State Community College is state-of-the-art analog. Another room has home studio equipment. That may seem strange at a college with yet another studio that is fully digital and fully automated. The reason is simple: learning. “The vision for our process is to have three different recording environments,” said Entertainment Media Production Director, Steve Bishir. The original studio has a fully-digital, fully-...
May 2017
Marlie Burt was 75 miles away from fellow classmates when she worked on a group project last semester. Burt, who lives in La Harpe, Illinois, and attends classes at Carl Sandburg College’s branch campus in Carthage, collaborated with her classmates via a telepresence robot located on the Main Campus in Galesburg, where the other students in her police administration and management course met. Burt attended the class by controlling the robot—affectionately named Sheldon, after The Big Bang Theory character—while sitting at a computer station at the branch campus. With Sheldon, distance was no...
February 2017
San Jacinto College has launched a general studies associate degree pilot program that provides significant cost savings to students who now do not have to buy traditional course materials such as high-cost textbooks. In lieu of traditional print textbooks that can cost as much as $300 per copy, students who participate in the new program use digital open educational resources (OER) course materials which are free and accessible online. San Jacinto College full-time students previously paid approximately $700 per semester for printed textbooks, which amounts to nearly one-third of the total...
December 2016
Bob Klepac is breaking down the notion that architecture means four walls and a roof. For example, he told a Del Mar College class one morning last summer that one of his former students is designing a meal tray for passenger jets at Boeing. “He’s making over $120,000 a year doing that,” he said. Klepac, a technical drafting instructor, was a lively observer that day as students in his Technical Animation and Rendering class presented their final projects. The 12-week course introduced them to three-dimensional (3D) computer modeling and the software language of computer-aided design. Their...
December 2016
Move over kale; the latest trendy vegetable comes from the sea. It’s kelp! Kelp is a slippery brown seaweed that grows in shallow waters along coastal areas. This unlikely ingredient is on the menu at Norwalk Community College (NCC), where the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts programs have partnered with marine biologist Charles Yarish, Ph.D., to harvest kelp for research and to promote its nutritional benefits. Kelp is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It is used in many Asian cuisines and contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food source. It’s also high...
November 2016
It’s crunch time on campus at Onondaga Community College (OCC). Spring semester final exams are just over a week away. In Professor Kristen Costello’s Microeconomics (ECO 204) class she’s discussing final project options with students. “You can do either a paper or a presentation,” Costello said. “If you choose a presentation you can do so as an individual or in a group of up to three people.” Costello is holding class in the lounge of one of the college’s four residence halls. This particular residence hall is the home of Business majors who reside in one of the college’s Living Learning...
October 2016
It’s a pitch meeting on Music Row in Nashville, the center of the city’s music industry. Young people are presenting a complete package for a new rap artist, Malik Deshaun, known professionally as Vantage. They screen a video, show features of a website, discuss the social media pages they have created for the release, and run through a business plan. Then, it’s off to the listening room to play the tracks. The bass rumbles and the drum beats are sharp. Heads nod in the room in sync with the rhythm. But these aren’t Nashville music pros presenting—they’re students from Volunteer State...
October 2016
The computer hacking of major corporations, government offices, and banks is a growing threat. Dozens of high profile cases in the news recently highlight the issue, but there is a solution: cyber defense. Companies across the world are expanding and refining their security systems. Volunteer State Community College (Vol State) in Gallatin, Tennessee, is responding to the need for cyber defense expertise with a new degree concentration as part of a rapidly growing realm of information technology education being offered at the college. The reason for the expansion is based on employment...
July 2016
San Jacinto College launched a collaborative course in the fall 2015 semester that incorporates algebra and English composition. The new course links college algebra and introductory composition, both gateway core courses for all students who plan to either earn associate degrees or transfer to universities. “This is a novel concept at San Jacinto College,” commented Mark Johnson, North Campus language arts department chair. The course explores the power of narrative in math and English. Give a person some facts and part of the brain lights up. Tell a person a story and the whole brain lights...
September 2015
San Jacinto College veteran educator Dr. Karen Hattaway was selected by the League for Innovation in the Community College to author The Cross Papers, Number 18, a scholarly, in-depth monograph that will help to shape teaching strategies in many of the nation’s community colleges. The format for The Cross Papers was established by K. Patricia Cross, a retired educator and scholar of educational research who wrote the first seven issues. Since the release of the inaugural issue in 1997, The Cross Papers have been designed to provide faculty with a body of useful, proven, practical strategies...
July 2015
Every college campus has a feel, an atmosphere, that is all its own. Having spent the last 16 years working in metropolitan community colleges, I have had the opportunity to see all types of students interact with one another in that atmosphere, as well as with faculty and staff from all backgrounds. All students are on campus to learn, and when the learning mission is disrupted, it's important to know two things: why it was interrupted and how the college can stop the interference from reoccurring. One issue facing today's college campuses is how to comply with federal Title IX guidelines....
May 2015
When looking at national data about American students who are identified as English language learners (ELL), overlapping definitions from two prominent sources are important to note. The U.S. Census Bureau uses the American Community Survey (2013) to obtain information about factors that disproportionately affect ELL students and their families. The survey compares statistics between "native" and "foreign" households, definitions which are determined by where the householder was born. Not all children whose parents were born outside of the U.S. are identified as ELL. However, when...
December 2014
Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) recently celebrated the grand opening of the Coyote Center, a new multi-functional facility serving as the front door of CGCC's Pecos Campus. The new 74,859-square-foot center is one of just a few buildings in the nation to innovatively blend academics, athletics, enrollment services, and student affairs into one location. The building was designed around a new model of student service that eliminates inefficiencies, like waiting in multiple lines. By combining most administrative resources under one roof and training staff to handle a broader range...
September 2014
Great Falls College MSU, located in rural big sky Montana, has been working hard to bring unique educational opportunities and skills to students across Montana and the nation. According to Dr. Heidi Pasek, Chief Academic Officer, "This is a changing world, and we need to adapt to the needs of our students using all of the resources at our disposal." Great Falls College MSU has demonstrated adaptation through three truly unique opportunities—the SIM Hospital, NANSLO remote science lab, and SWAMMEI program. Simulated (SIM) Hospital Great Falls College MSU is extremely proud of its nursing and...
June 2014
An anonymous person stated, "E-learning doesn't just 'happen'! It requires careful planning and implementation." New Mexico State University Alamogordo (NMSU-A) understands this statement and is working diligently to become an institution known for the quality of its online instruction.  Online education began at NMSU-A in the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, interest in online education began to grow among a small but significant percentage of the faculty, primarily as a means of providing greater access to students in NMSU-A's 6,627 square mile service area. The number of courses offered...
March 2014
In May 2013, over 70 students in the first class of Early College High School at Midland College (ECHS@MC) received associate degrees during Midland College's (MC) 40th commencement ceremony. A week later, in a separate ceremony, the 17- and 18-year-old college graduates received high school diplomas when ECHS@MC observed its first high school graduation ceremony at the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center on the MC campus located in Midland, Texas. ECHS@MC is a joint educational commitment by Midland College and the Midland Independent School District (MISD). The majority of students attending...

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