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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ACC Hosts Curriculum Conference

ACC Hosts Curriculum Conference
Alvin Community College hosted a conference on February 16 to provide local instructors in colleges and high schools with methods to improve classroom instruction.
The second annual Across the Curriculum Conference featured several speakers on a variety of topics. Approximately 70 instructors attended the conference from local universities, community colleges and school districts.
“This new initiative is aimed to help the ACC faculty, students and staff as well as our ISDs partners and other colleges in the region to increase professional development opportunities and to foster an environment where they can discuss and share their best classroom practices and innovative ideas,” said Dr. Nadia Nazarenko, Dean of General Education and Academic Support.
This year’s conference was supported by a $1,000 Innovative Initiative Grant by the ACC Foundation.
Some of the conference topics included student engagement, classroom technology, honors programs, accessibility active learning along with student and faculty panels.
Author and University of Houston Clear Lake professor Dr. Caroline Crawford delivered the opening address of the conference and challenged attendees to identify what they want most out of their students.
“What do you want students to take away from your class?” she said. “Personally, I want my students to learn self-efficacy.”
Instructors must create a culture of learning in the classroom which will help fuel student engagement and success. That culture can include students working not just with their teachers but with friends and family members as well, she said.
“I integrate a collegial community environment,” she said. “You have to show the work you’re producing and then elicit feedback.”
ACC English instructor Bevill introduced a new method of compiling student writing assignments to limit the amount of papers that instructors have to grade. Using free websites, students can build their work into electronic portfolios, easing the amount of paper turned in at the end of the semester.
There is an additional benefit in that students are better-equipped to use online technology for their assignments, she said.
“This is how students communicate now,” she said.
While technology has become more prevalent among students, ACC Distance Education Director Dena Coots delivered a workshop on the benefits of prioritizing technology use. People are facing serious psychological problems due to their constant connection to social media, e-mail, texting and more.
“What you end up is stressed out, over-stimulated and still feeling like you’re missing something,” she said.
Students and educators must learn to set aside their media for a given amount of time every day and prioritize what they get from their technology use.
“Decide what you must pay attention to and when,” she said.

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