A publication of the North Carolina Community College System

   March 200700

Welcome to NC-NET News

In This Issue:

Resources from the NC-NET Academy:
From Good Teaching to Student Learning
Embracing Diversity in the Classroom

NC-NET Announcements:
Western Center hosts Teaching and Learning Event
Self-paced Podcasting Course Complete
NC-NET Information Sessions Available

  Academy Resources: From Good Teaching...

Resource Exchange from the NC-NET Academy
The NC-NET Academy is in its second full year of providing facilitator-led online courses for faculty development. Each course has been popular, as evidenced by swift enrollments and lengthy waiting lists. In this issue of NC-NET, we share a few resources and readings from two Academy courses.

From Good Teaching to Student Learning is designed for new faculty members, both full- and part-time. The course challenges participants to investigate complex issues such as: 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? The course is designed for participants with minimal background in education theory and application and is intended to enhance new instructors’ understanding of community college students and the factors critical to student success.

Articles for Review and Reflection:

Adult Learners in Postsecondary Education” by Susan Imel

Imel briefly explores research examining different facets of the experiences of adult learners in postsecondary education—instructors and instruction, cognition or knowledge construction, expectations of outcomes, and the effect of race. In light of these factors, she outlines recommendations for improved teaching practice:

  • Involve adult learners in sharing and critiquing their life experiences in the classroom.
  • Be sensitive to individual differences.
  • Adopt curriculum that is inclusive and culturally relevant.
  • Use instructional strategies that enable adults to form relationships.

Assessment that Promotes Learning” by John P. Lowe
Lowe’s article provides practical steps for designing assessments—not just tests—that encourage students to become aware of their own learning.

First, the single most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. This observation has two important ramifications for me. One is that I expect the students to be able to call on knowledge and skills from prerequisite courses, and it is important that I let them know that. The other is that I expect them to come prepared to class each day. Usually that means they have read ahead or done a certain problem, so it is important for me to demonstrate what that day's task is. Just saying that they must be prepared is not enough; I must also show them what they must do to be prepared.

The second factor to remember is that awareness of learning motivates learning. This is an easy one to forget, and one I need to attend to more often. I try to find ways for students to experience the payoff when they make an investment in improving their learning/thinking skills. When they see results, they become more highly motivated. My tendency, however, is to ask more challenging questions as students get more sophisticated, so that test results tend to stay constant. This interferes with the buildup of confidence I would like to encourage. Even though I can see their growth, they don’t if their test scores remain fixed.

 Academy Resources: Embracing Diversity

The Academy course Embracing Diversity in the Classroom asks instructors to identify the changes they see around them. How is America different? How is North Carolina different? How have both education and our students changed over time? Course participants learn ways to cultivate a climate of respect and creativity within a diverse student population.

Informational and Teaching Resources on Diversity

The Cost of Change: (Re)Educating North Carolina’s Workforce” is a presentation by NCCCS President Martin Lancaster describing the many changes affecting North Carolina, including demographic, economic, and technological changes. [View PowerPoint presentation by President Lancaster.]

Embracing Diversity in the Classroom explores subjects that can be tricky and highly personal—and hard to discuss without feathers getting ruffled. Heated moments in the classroom can also be teachable moments, particularly through the use of strategies that honor each student’s uniqueness and channel conflict into positive expression. Below are several to try in your classroom.

Conflict De-escalation Strategies
A resource from the Arizona State University Intergroup Relations Center offers strategies for de-escalating conflict and tension when it emerges in the classroom:

Equity Checklist for the Standards-Based Classroom” by Christina Perez
A checklist to help teachers reflect on and improve their efforts to create a more equitable learning environment in their classrooms: http://wge.terc.edu/checklist.html

 NC-NET Announcements

The NC-NET Western Regional Center will host “Becoming an Intentional Learning College: No Student (Or Employee) Left Behind” at Southwestern Community College in Sylva on March 23, 2007. Central Piedmont Community College president Dr. Tony Zeiss is the keynote speaker. For details, visit the Western Regional Center webpage, http://www.nc-net.info/westerncenter.htm. Register by March 12 by contacting jennifert@southwesterncc.edu or calling 800-447-4091 x273.

Podcasting Technology in Education, a new self-paced online course, has been completed for NC-NET by a group of educators from Guilford Technical Community College, Wake Technical Community College and Stanly Community College. The course explores how podcasting can be an integral part of the learning process for students. It consists of three parts:

  • Module One focuses on the technology of podcasting, walking you through the steps of recording and distributing your podcasts.
  • Module Two discusses the pedagogical factors of incorporating podcasts into your curriculum.
  • Emerging Issues introduces ways for you to continue your learning about this new technology through the use of blogs, podcasts and your chosen aggregator.

Module assessments and an end-of-course survey are also included. Check out this new resource today by logging in to the NC-NET Blackboard server, accessible from the NC-NET modules webpage: http://www.nc-net.info/modules.htm

If you are interested in hosting an NC-NET Information Session for faculty at your institution, contact Nancy Massey at the System Office in Raleigh. Nancy coordinates the project for NCCCS and is available for presentations at your campus on how to use NC-NET’s free resources to enhance instruction. To schedule a session, contact Nancy at Masseyn@nccommunitycolleges.edu



Copyright 2007 North Carolina Community College System
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Photos courtesy of the NC Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development