NC-NET Academy

An Online Professional Development Program for Community and Technical College Faculty

The rationale behind the NC-NET Academy courses is that educational ideas cannot simply be presented; they need to be thought about, talked over, and experienced. These six-week facilitator-led online courses weave together readings, activities, and discussions for participants to construct new understandings in the context of their own situations. Each week, threaded discussions play an essential role in encouraging participants to reflect on the readings, share stories from their lives (and their classrooms), pose questions to the group, and express their reactions. The courses provide an opportunity for faculty throughout the system to network and learn from each other.

Course Offerings

The NC-NET Academy courses cover an array of professional development topics, including the course titles listed below. Details will be forthcoming on the next round of course offerings.

Incorporating Active Learning Strategies in the College Classroom
Come explore ways to increase student engagement and participation in your courses. We’ll begin by examining best practices and models of active learning, including case studies, problem-based learning, and collaborative group learning. Along the way, we’ll self-assess the degree to which our current teaching strategies promote active learning. Finally, we’ll stretch beyond our comfort zones and redesign a lesson that is usually taught in a more passive manner.

From Good Teaching to Student Learning
Adjunct and new instructors are encouraged to enroll in this course that challenges participants to investigate complex issues: How well does your teaching style mesh with your college’s mission? What’s different about adult learners? How do we reach them—and how do we know that we did? Designed for participants with minimal background in education theory and application, this course will enhance new and adjunct instructors’ understanding of community college students and the factors critical to their academic success.

Technology Bootcamp: Incorporating the Latest Tools for Effective Instruction
Feeling overwhelmed by all the new technology tools available for classroom use? Wondering if any of them can really enhance student achievement? Need some guidance on where to start but are too embarrassed to ask? This course is for you! Join us in a user-friendly environment in which we’ll start at the beginning and explain the latest technology applications and how to incorporate them easily and effectively into both your online and face-to-face courses. Please note: This course is designed for IT novices.

Technology Bootcamp II—More Tools for Reaching Students
Don’t abandon those blogs yet! Now that you’ve gotten your feet wet in Technology Bootcamp I, you’re ready for the accelerated pace of this course. You’ll learn the basics of two new technology tools each week. Get ready to explore Google Earth, lecture capture and distribution technologies, collaboration tools, copyrights, and more! Note: This course is for faculty who have completed Technology Bootcamp I. A software and equipment list will be posted prior to the course registration.

Recruitment and Retention in Technical Programs
A range of strategies for both recruitment and retention will be explored. These include both long-term strategies such as dual enrollment, informal learning experiences, learning communities, service learning and mentoring and short-term, instructional “quick fixes.” Model programs with an emphasis on science and technology will be featured.

Building Learning Communities: A User’s Guide
Imagine a restructuring of the way students interact with the curriculum; imagine a curriculum that integrates several disciplines and conveys a “big picture;” imagine small groups of students cooperating to build meaning—imagine learning communities! Participants in this course will explore various models of learning communities and the rationale for establishing them. This is an active learning experience—participants will practice interdisciplinary collaboration around a group-derived theme and will develop a blueprint for implementing this teaching strategy at their institutions.

Service Learning in the Community College
It’s not just a buzzword for campus activism or volunteerism; it’s a structured academic experience with deep roots in the metacognitive realm. Participants in this course will gain familiarity with a broad range of issues related to service-learning—including the philosophy behind the approach, replicable models for integrating service into the curriculum, academic quality, and assessment methods—by actually engaging in a short-term service-learning project themselves. (Course requires work in a volunteer setting in addition to that completed within the online classroom.)

Helping Students Succeed: Broad Strategies in Student Retention
Community college enrollments are growing at a prodigious rate. At the same time, however, we’re losing students who have so much potential to learn and grow. Drawing on the work of theorists Tinto, Astin, Rendon, Cross and others, this course examines why students leave—academic, personal, economic, and cultural factors—and provides an overview of strategies instructors can implement that lead to improved student retention.

Embracing Diversity in the Classroom
Community colleges enroll a true cross section of an America that is diverse in race, ethnicity, language, age, special needs, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status and geography. Participants in this course will learn ways to cultivate a climate of respect and creativity within a diverse student population, reflect on their own experiences, examine research on inequality in the classroom, explore ADA issues and discuss handling “hot button” issues.

Fostering Gender Equity in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Classroom
This course is designed to help instructors favorably alter the gender-equity climate in their classrooms by providing an overview of recent research on women’s abilities and preferences in technological learning environments and strategies for promoting their interest in STEM fields. Upon completion of the course, participants will understand the underlying causes of gender inequity, recognize conscious and unconscious bias, and be equipped to alter their pedagogy and initiate programs aimed at recruitment and retention of young women in emerging technologies.

Meeting of the Minds—Cooperative Curriculum Development for Creating Integrated Instruction
In this course, academic and technical faculty will work together to develop integrated curriculum units that they can each use in their own classrooms. Participants will be taught an 8-step process for interweaving academic concepts and technical course content that brings challenging subject matter to life. Faculty will explore contextual teaching strategies, including scenario-based instruction, and learn how to design authentic assessment tools that can be used to evaluate student performance in project-based learning activities. Teams of instructors from individual colleges are encouraged to enroll.

NC-NET Academy Participation Details

The NC-NET Academy courses are six-week, facilitator-led online courses that use Blackboard as the course platform. Enrollment is open to part-time or full-time community college faculty members in North Carolina on a first come, first served basis. (Up to six instructors from one college may register; additional faculty from the same college will be placed on the waiting list and admitted as space allows.)

Tuition: Funding from the North Carolina Community College System to the NC-NET project (using Carl D. Perkins funds) will enable participating faculty members to receive scholarships covering all course tuition.

Registration: All course registration will be done online through the NC-NET website. When the enrollment period for a course is open, you will find a link to the online registration form below the course description. Participants will be enrolled until each course reaches a maximum of 30 participants. A waiting list will also be maintained.

Participant Requirements: Full-time and part-time faculty from any community or technical college in North Carolina may apply. Participants should plan to spend 5-7 hours per week on course assignments.

Technology Requirements:

  • Reliable Internet access
  • Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari
  • Java-enabled browser
  • Acceptance of cookies enabled
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher (can be downloaded from the web)
  • MS Word, optional

Additional Technology Bootcamp Requirements:

  • Microphone (you can borrow one from the IT/Computer Services gurus at your college)
  • Portable digital music player (iPod or other MP3 player) optional
  • Computer with speakers (can be built in speakers)
  • Good working relationship with campus IT staff (just in case)
  • Webcam (can be built in) for Bootcamp II only

Questions? Please email for additional information.