Ensure Students Are Learning
- Scaled high-quality, program-relevant, applied learning experiences
PRACTITIONER, PRESIDENT, AND PARTNER PERSPECTIVES
Walt Posten, Welding Instructor, Industrial Education Department, Indian River State College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
One thing we started instituting was what we call a shadowing program. During their course, it’s actually part of the program. They would go out to different companies, and they would rotate out through these companies weekly, so they may see 10 different companies. The way they work, they’d shadow an actual person. They may be able to work with them. They’d experience everything that that person would do during their job, whether it’s a supervisor or a craftsman. Then they would have — build that relationship. They’d go through an interview process with that company. Also throughout the year, they have contact with those employers, calling them to actually interview the employer themselves throughout different reachouts like that.
Kate Thirolf, Vice President for Instruction, Jackson College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
So a good example of an applied learning experience is something that we’ve been doing in our cybersecurity programs. In fact, Jackson College just got the bronze medal in a competition that was statewide in cybersecurity. And this is really exciting because we were the only community college to score as high in this competition.
So back to applied learning — these are students in our cyber program that have been taking classes with our faculty in cybersecurity, and so they are learning all the theory, and they are practicing and they are going through their exams and they are demonstrating competencies in the classroom, both online and face to face, but they are also getting a chance, and in fact every Saturday they met as a team to prepare for this statewide competition.
And again, this was all with support and guidance from our full-time faculty, where every Saturday they practiced, and they were doing these mock competitions thinking of ways of hacking — how to use their skills in cyber to score points in the way that the competition was drawn out. And guess what? That’s stuff that employers love. And in fact sometimes more than just a transcript, the idea that these are students that have engaged in this competition and did as well as they did, that’s just — it’s perfect for our students to hit the ground running in their next career.
I’m taking a children’s literature class, and we learn — it’s the only class that I’ve taken at this school where it directly relates to what I want to do, so it’s my favorite class that I’ve taken. We learn how to make lesson plans and how to choose well-written, well-illustrated children’s books that show different worldviews. We have to also do one student teaching. So, yeah, that’s why it’s my favorite class, because we actually learn how to do something that I feel will directly relate to my career.
So my….actually two favorite course — so, the first course is definitely my practicums. That allows me to go out there at the child care centers and get to experience how to be a teacher. Then my second course was Guiding Child Behavior. The reason why I liked that class was because it taught us how to guide a child when they have certain behavior or they have certain tantrums. That class was the one that taught me how to make every experience I have with children I come across with to become a positive experience. It also taught me what I actually really want to be as a teacher.
I think one thing that separates an okay class from a great class is comparing it to what you’re actually gonna be doing in that job. So not just showing you, “Oh, this is how you do something,” but comparing it, “This is what you would do in the real world, and this is how you’d do it.” Also, a good instructor who is passionate about teaching you all of the things that they know, so that you can be more successful.
A lot of the advising that I receive are from our professors. We’ll receive emails on what research programs are available for us, what internships are available. A lot of our professors do their own research, so they’ll take on students that apply to it.
My instructor is actually the only person who communicates to me through my emails. During our — via email and during our classes as well, he regularly, whenever he gets — cuz he is — attends any job fair that’s in the area, as well as some in other cities. And he is in touch with several — he has friends in several government agencies and stuff like that. Whenever a job listing or a job opportunity comes up in any area or company that is looking for people with our skill set, he’ll go ahead and put on the projector their contact information. He’ll send it out to us in an email. And regularly, he’ll encourage us to apply. He also makes it quite clear and tells us every single time that if we put him down as a reference and has them give us a call, he’ll let them know how like we’re doing in class, like how dedicated we are and how passionate we are towards the program and that we’re actually a pretty good candidate for the job. Cuz we’re all there, and we’re a dedicated group of people.