Faculty Spotlight: Yasmin Gulzar

The Teaching & Learning Center at Mountain View College seeks to share teaching practices across the entire institution. The following article showcases a faculty member, provides insight into the environment they’ve created for MVC students, and demonstrates effective teaching practices. 

This month we showcase Yasmin Gulzar, Professor of Computer Science.

What is one element about MVC that makes it the “best college on earth?”

Wow, this is hard to describe in “one” element but the first thing that came to my mind was diversity.  Mountain View College is full of diversity – If you look all around the campus you will see people here from all parts of the world.  But MVC is diverse in all areas; student dreams and goals, teaching and learning, in every department and in every area of MVC.  I believe that this is one of the many elements that makes MVC the “best college on earth” and sets us apart from all other campuses; we embrace all the different aspects of every culture that is unique within each area of MVC.

MVC is able to embrace diversity because of the MVC family atmosphere here on-campus, and this is one thing I like to bring into my classrooms and tell my students that you all are part of a big family here at MVC and our goal and mission is to help you succeed not only in my classroom but also in your life.  We are here for our students to help them achieve their goals and dreams!

How would your students describe you or your teaching style?

Based on the class surveys I give my students at the end of each semester, students have described me as: caring, inspirational, punctual, organized and respected. Below is some feedback I have received from my students on the class surveys:

“I really liked this class it was helpful and really fun to go too”

“One of the best teachers here at Mountain View. I really enjoyed her class.”

“Best teacher ever at MVC in my opinion. She is super nice, helps you whenever, understands that things in life happens. She is the angel among teachers.”

“The labs were VERY time consuming for me but it was a good way for me to learn. DO NOT get behind! It is a lot of work but it is not hard at all! She is very helpful. She responds to emails quickly and she would even email us every week to remind us what work was due.”

“Mrs. Gulzar is very helpful and can guide you through any problems you may have, plus she’s nice.  :)”

What teaching strategies do you find most successful in your courses?

The teaching strategies that I have found most useful in my courses are anything that get students engaged in the learning process so for me this involves:

  • Active learning & Interactive lectures – I have students get involved in the lecture by dividing them up into groups and giving them topics from the chapter readings. They are told to read through their topic, analyze what they read, and create a PPT presentation on their topic and present it to the class.  This gets students engaged in the learning process and students enjoy learning from each other. Students have always told me they like doing this because it allows them to learn and hear from their peers.
  • Discussion Strategies – students are given discussion topics to talk about at the end of lectures, discussion topics are tied into real-world examples so students can see how that chapters topics are being used in the real-world.

What do your students love most about your courses?

I teach Computer Science courses so when students come into my class they are learning about computer concepts and computer applications.  Based on what students have come back and told me and the feedback I have received on my class surveys students love working with the simulations, they like working on group projects and being able to present topics to the class.  I have had students tell me that they like being able to hear what their peers think about the topics being presented and they like listening to these things from a different perspective.  I think what they love most about these courses is that they are learning real-life skills and applications and they enjoy how the whole course ties into the real-world.

What is one creative solution you’ve implemented to address a specific challenge in your courses?

I believe getting students engaged in the classroom is a challenge I have faced and I have been able to address this challenge by utilizing group projects and interactive lectures to get students involved in the learning process. I use a lot of cooperative and active learning and apply some of the flipped classroom approach in my classes.  By doing this, students are having to read, write, analyze and create presentations as a group and then present their projects and topics to the class.  I also use a Learning Management System where students can work in a simulation environment and learn software applications being taught with a hands-on approach.

What has been your most positive or rewarding teaching experience?

The most positive and rewarding teaching experience has been to see students from my past classes come back to me and say, your class was great and what we learned in their we used in our other classes. Also, being able to link students with industry partners and to know that you are helping them achieve their goals and dreams is a rewarding experience.  We are here at MVC to help our students succeed in life and if I can help at least 1 student achieve their goal then I will feel like I have done my job well.

What advice would you give to a new faculty member at MVC?

Enjoy each and every day you have with these students, sometimes you alone are going to be there mentor, coach, advocate and support to help get them through that semester.  Working at MVC is an honor, make sure you avail opportunities to give back to the community and support MVC in all you do.  Lastly, be committed to lifelong learning, because like I tell my students in my classes, learning doesn’t end in my class or at the end of the semester, we are always learning even as Instructor’s we are always trying to find new ways to teach our students and get them engaged in our classrooms, we do this by committing ourselves to lifelong learning.

Who is one person at MVC who has been instrumental to your success (and why)?

Wow! This is a really, really tough one and it was so hard to narrow it down to one person because there have been many MVC family members who have been an inspiration to me and have helped guide me while on my journey here at MVC.

If I must pick one person then I have to say, Alex Diaz.  When I first came to MVC five years ago as an adjunct instructor, my Dean at that time, Alex Diaz, was a remarkable person who taught me to pursue my goal of full-time teaching.  I have learned so much from him, he is a dedicated person always ready to assist his students, his fellow faculty members and his division.

Library: Internet Access Student Survey

Posted on behalf of Stephanie Noell, Librarian.

What prompted this survey and why are you interested in the results?

This survey is the result of a series of conversations I have had with my librarian colleagues as well as faculty and staff from across the college. In my experience as an instructor, I came across several students whose only access to the Internet at home was via their smartphone. Over the last year, I have spoken with other employees at Mountain View and many reported the same experience. These experiences combined with a survey by one of Dr. Patricia Lyons’s classes on phone usage at MVC left me wondering just how our students are accessing the Internet at home. The results of such a survey would be helpful in determining how important the on-campus computer labs are to our students.

How does device usage, access to the Internet, and student technology preferences impact the teaching and learning environment?

Since most of our courses have accompanying eCampus pages, access to the Internet is now right up there with food, shelter, and clothing in terms of daily essentials for our students. How students access the Internet impacts how well they are able to write and format their papers as well as research for their projects. In the instance of my students who only have access to the Internet at home via their smartphones, these students were typically also working full-time jobs and were single parents. With our labs closing around the same time that classes let out for the day, these students were left with little to no time to work on any other device but their phone. The papers that they typed up on their phone were not formatted well and were difficult to read.

As far as technology preferences go, the number one issue that comes up for me as an instructor (and as a librarian assisting students in formatting their papers) has been students who own a Mac who save their papers as Pages documents. Pages and Word are both word processing software that do not play well together on PCs. If students are typing up their papers in Pages, make sure that when they are done they go to File>Export As>Microsoft Word (.docx). This will save a Word document version which they can then submit for their eCampus assignments.

Was there anything that surprised you in the results and if so, why?

The results of our survey were as follows:

Q: What kind of Internet access do you have at home?

  • None = 2
  • Smartphone = 60
  • Laptop = 53
  • Desktop = 29
  • Tablet = 41
  • Other
    • TV = 11
    • Xbox = 6
    • Playstation = 7
    • Nintendo = 5

The surprising aspect of these results for me was how few of the responses fell under the None category. With so many of our students living at or below the poverty line and with Internet bills and computers being as expensive as they are, I was surprised to see how much of a financial priority technology and Internet access are to our students and their families. I was also surprised to learn how many students are using gaming consoles and SmartTVs to access the Internet at home. I would be interested in exploring the functionality of our webpages and our eCampus sites on the various gaming consoles. Finally, the low numbers of desktop computers when compared with mobile technology like smartphones, laptops, and tablets seems to indicate a preference for mobility with one’s hardware. Since most of our students are accessing the Internet off-campus from mobile devices, we must be mindful of how mobile-friendly our online resources are. For eCampus pages, there are many considerations to make for content to be mobile-friendly (see Blackboard PDF below).

If interested in learning more about this topic, what web resources might you point people towards?

  1. Blackboard. (2017). Best practices for mobile-friendly courses. Retrieved from http://www.blackboard.com/Images/MobileBestPractices_FINAL.pdf
  2. Feinberg, I., & Greenberg, D. (2016, August 11). How adult learners are not getting 21st-century skills. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-adult-learners-are-not-getting-21st-century-skills-63490
  3. Young, L. (2016). E-learning, the digital divide, and student success at community colleges. EDUCAUSE Review, 51(5). Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/8/e-learning-the-digital-divide-and-student-success-at-community-colleges

Faculty Spotlight: Shelley Ford

The Teaching & Learning Center at Mountain View College seeks to share teaching practices across the entire institution. The following article showcases a faculty member, provides insight into the environment they’ve created for MVC students, and demonstrates effective teaching practices. 

This month we showcase Shelley Ford, MSN, RN, Nursing Professor.

What is one element about MVC that makes it the “best college on earth?”

I love the community at MVC, and I love our diversity. I guess those are two elements. But I think they are both so important, and two of the reasons I’m so proud to work at Mountain View. The faculty and staff show great pride in their work and remain strong advocates for our students. Our differences, both as employees and students, make us stronger and help us strive toward excellence in all we do.

How would your students describe you or your teaching style?

I think my students would describe me as outgoing and friendly, but tough. I take the job of training future registered nurses very seriously, and I hold our MVC nursing students up to the highest standards. My teaching style is interactive, and I do everything I can to make the classroom an open environment. As a nursing professor, we teach in several different settings – theory lecture in the classroom, skills courses in the simulation lab, and clinical practice at the hospital. In all of the environments, I ask a lot of questions and encourage student participation.

What teaching strategies do you find most successful in your courses?

I believe open dialogues are important. When a student comes to me asking for help with their course work, I try to start the conversation with listening and understanding what they’re doing on their own and then offer advice to assist their progress. When I teach in the classroom, I walk around a lot to show the students that I am engaged in their learning and not just reading off a slide or directly from the book. In all of my teaching environments, I ask questions to allow students to use their critical thinking skills before just giving them the right answer. As future nurses, they need to know how to find the solution using the tools they’ve been taught. I believe it is my job to give them those tools, along with teaching the critical thinking skills they will use for the rest of their careers.

What do your students love most about your courses?

As a nursing professor, I am blessed to teach students in small groups (as mandated by the state board of nursing), so I get the privilege of getting to know our students very well over the 2 years they are in our program. I think my students like my level of engagement and the passion for nursing I display in my teaching. All of our nursing courses are very difficult, but I try to remain personal and approachable to help assist all students during one of the most stressful periods of their lives. I use a lot of examples from nursing practice and make the material presented in all of our teaching environments relatable. I make sure the students know I remember what it was like to be a nursing student myself, and therefore, I will do everything I can to help them be successful within the policies of our program.

What is one creative solution you’ve implemented to address a specific challenge in your courses?

Nursing requires a lot of hands-on learning. During my time here at MVC, I have worked directly with the dean and other faculty members to revise and update many of our courses. We have changed aspects of our curriculum to ensure students are up, moving around, and engaged with active learning in the skills & simulation lab, instead of sitting and listening to a lecture. We have worked hard to maximize their time during skills and on-campus clinical courses to give them as much active practice as possible, so they are fully equipped to take care of real patients in the hospital clinical settings.

What has been your most positive or rewarding teaching experience?

Nursing Pinning is my favorite day of the school year. I am the faculty member in charge of pinning each year, and I love working with the graduating students to plan their big day. Pinning is a worldwide nursing tradition that goes back centuries. I love getting to celebrate with our graduates and their families. Watching them walk across the stage to receive their MVC nursing pin brings me such joy and pride. All of their hard work has paid off, and we get to celebrate their extraordinary accomplishments.

What advice would you give to a new faculty member at MVC?

Give yourself some grace as you begin teaching at MVC. Whether you’re new to teaching or just new to our institution, there is always a learning curve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (lots of help!), advice, and guidance as you acclimate to your new position. Get to know your coworkers – they are invaluable resources. Remain firm with students, but humble. Practice consistency in the classroom, which students appreciate and respect, but don’t forget to also practice compassion. Learn from your mistakes and implement guidelines to prevent the same mistakes from happening again next semester.

Who is one person at MVC who has been instrumental to your success (and why)?

Without a doubt, it is Cherlyn Shultz-Ruth, Dean of Allied Health/Nursing. When I started at MVC, she was still a full-time professor at El Centro and serving as an adjunct at MVC. She spent extra time with me during my first semester teaching me how to use Blackboard and other ways to enhance my teaching skills. After coming to MVC full-time, we served as faculty coordinators together, and I learned so much watching how she taught with clarity, intelligence, and passion. Once she was appointed Dean, she has thrived in the role, and I am proud to serve under her leadership. She is a huge student advocate, loves nursing, and is committed to graduating qualified, compassionate, MVC-strong nurses.

Teaching & Learning: Nepantla

This series is part of an effort to showcase the many great employees who contribute to teaching and learning efforts at MVC.

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Posted on behalf of Professor Tina Medina.

What teaching and learning opportunity recently occurred at Mountain View College (MVC)?

Currently a solo exhibition by MVC faculty Tina Medina is on view at Mountain View College in the Cliff Gallery from the dates March 6 until April 7, 2017. A workshop based on the art techniques will occur on March 29, 10:10am until 11:00am in the Cliff Gallery. In connection with the Nepantla exhibition, Dallas artist Tina Medina will demonstrate portrait drawing related to visual heritage. Participants will experience mixed media drawing techniques and be guided on how to draw portraiture. Participants are encouraged to bring a copy of a photo of a face or work from those provided. The workshop is free and art materials will be provided. Space is Limited, the workshop is limited to 15 people, thus, the first 15 who show up to the workshop will be given a seat. However we welcome onlookers and questions from those individuals that do not get to directly participate in the workshop activities.

What about this topic are you most excited about?

The exhibit relates specifically to the student population and community demographic. Through various themes about family, ancestry and US history, the art is portrayed from the viewpoint of people from various ethnic backgrounds and immigrants. The themes relate also to the current events and political topics. Through this art exhibition I am hoping to open avenues of communication, dialogue and discussion for all students and members of the community. These artworks are meant to create critical thinking situations for students in classes of all disciplines.

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Why is this topic so important to everyone at MVC?

These topics are so important to everyone at MVC because these viewpoints are the viewpoints of our students, faculty and staff. Various individuals from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds come together at the community college in order to better their lives, whether that be through working or taking classes there. The diversity of our campus is the strength and beauty of our college.

What did participants learn or take away from this experience?

Participants who view the art exhibit and/or participate in the workshop will learn about various art methods including installation art, mixed media techniques, as well as themes in art regarding ancestry, politics, social protest, affirmation, race, gender and class. Those who view the art will hopefully take away questions about history and the viewpoints of others.

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What is some of the feedback you received regarding this event?

Some of the feedback so far has been that many who have seen the art comment on how the topics are powerful and meaningful. Faculty have requested to view the exhibit with their classes, the Culture of Writing Festival will feature the exhibit as part of a presentation during the festival. A local news channel has contacted MVC media about interviewing the artist.

If people would like to learn more about this topic, where would you point them towards?

Interested people who want to learn more about the art exhibit or the workshop can visit or contact the Cliff art gallery or contact the ARCO division office. Regarding learning more about the topics in the art exhibition people will find more information in libraries and literature and history books written from the viewpoints of people of varying racial ethnicities and cultures.

Recent Workshop: myPortal

This series is part of an effort to showcase the many great employees who contribute to teaching and learning efforts at MVC.

Posted on behalf of Eddie Middlebrook, Senior Web Editor/Writer.

What teaching and learning opportunity recently occurred at Mountain View College (MVC)?

“How myPortal Will Help Improve Your Work Life” is a workshop scheduled as part of MVC’s 2017 Employee Development Day. This workshop is open to all faculty and employees who want to understand and make use of myPortal. In these workshops, we talk about why we have myPortal, what role it plays in your job and the future of myPortal.

What about this topic are you most excited about?

For employees to learn and understand myPortal. This collaboration tool is not only the district’s intranet, but also the primary way DCCCD communicates with employees.

The collaboration aspect of myPortal is where I see folks around the district obtain value. I am currently working with several departments at colleges where we help them market their responsibilities to their coworkers and better quantify their job duties.

I get excited to teach myPortal because I know how hard it can be or feel like to learn new(er) programs. I am always eager to let folks know how easy myPortal can be, and to let them know that they have someone to reach out to with any question they may have. These days, we are always talking about building and extending our network. Our world and job extends way beyond our cubicle, office or classroom. We need to be able to discuss and work with colleagues and students at a moment’s notice. myPortal is a great tool for this ever-changing society.

I have been creating myPortal content and training DCCCD faculty and employees on myPortal since April 2014. At this point, I’ve done hundreds of workshops and helped thousands of faculty and employees get a better understanding of myPortal.

While I work closely with IT, I still can relate to the average user when it comes to learning new software. It is this knowledge that allows me to communicate in an easy with folks as we discuss myPortal.

Why is this topic so important to everyone at MVC?

With myPortal, we are not constrained with being at our desk at work to handle an emergency work situation. We can now access our sensitive work-related documents anywhere in the world through myPortal. We are also moving beyond simply using emails as a way of communicating with our coworkers, supervisors or colleagues across the district. As we move farther into the 21st century, we see less reasons for using paper forms as online forms like the Leave Request Form move into myPortal.

Through myPortal team sites, I am able to track my tasks not only in the immediate present and future sense, but all my tasks past, present and future. This is beneficial when performance evaluation season hits and I need to share my work for the past year.

Through the workshop, I can show folks how to quantify almost anything within their role at MVC as long as we have processes in place to collect the data.

What did participants learn or take away from this experience?

Folks will learn how to communicate more effectively with coworkers, departments and/or committees they participate in. With a robust myPortal team site, any department and/or committee now has a central library of communication, documents, calendar events, etc. that will stay with the group no matter the turnover. Specifically, I have one department at another college that is looking at using their team site as a great place to store training materials for future employees. Through an effective use of a team site, I have seen the learning curve for new employees shrink dramatically as they are able to access all their department’s information from one source.

What is some of the feedback you received regarding this event?

I routinely get folks telling me how much easier myPortal is to navigate then they originally thought. I also enjoy showing data-driven employees the possibilities myPortal provides for them as they are able to quantify things they never thought were possible (primarily due to lack of time). It is always great to see their eyes light up and I can almost see the brain working in overdrive. 🙂

If people would like to learn more about this topic, where would you point them towards?

Feel free to contact me (emiddlebrook@dcccd.edu) and I can answer questions directly or point them to more general myPortal info (manuals, Lynda.com courses, etc.).

Faculty Spotlight: Francis Cho

The Teaching & Learning Center at Mountain View College seeks to share teaching practices across the entire institution. The following article showcases a faculty member, provides insight into the environment they’ve created for MVC students, and demonstrates effective teaching practices. 

This month we showcase Uichung “Francis” Cho, Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering, Professor and Chair in Engineering.

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What is one element about MVC that makes it the “best college on earth?”

Community college has different teaching and undergraduate research environment in comparison to four-year institutions. For example, some experimental classes that combine art and engineering will make MVC very unique.

Our student demographics may not have the financial resources and may not feel confident. If we can help our students take more diverse, non-core curriculum, they may be able to better decide their future potential (majors). My goal is to implement high-quality and more diverse engineering classes.

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How would your students describe you or your teaching style?

Challenging, conceptual, practical and creative.

I attempt to motivate my students through the latest cool technology. Some feels 3D technology daunting, but after understanding the technology behind it, students think about the way to utilize it, which naturally lead them critical skillset – interactive graphics programming. Programming, microprocessor control, and graphics will become key elements in the coming years (5-10 years). If our students understand and get exposed to this, they will be more marketable in the job market.

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What teaching strategies do you find most successful in your courses?

Motivate students by letting them to think about years to come and what should they prepare, providing futuristic and fun examples. In parallel, I try to provide options to take industry-accepted certificates (e.g., SolidWorks CSWA).

Changes made in the past 50 years are now happening in the span of 2-5 years today. If students are not aware of future technologies their learning may be already obsolete. I attempt to integrate current and future technologies.

Unlike the new technology, there exist long lasting core concepts that build foundation of engineering. I tried to teach these core concepts in a very simplified manner, in order to minimize distraction.

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What do your students love most about your courses?

Eureka! Understanding key concepts so that they can apply it to specific problems.

Students, by firmly understanding the concepts, students can become more creative and work independently, which makes engineers different from technicians.

What is one creative solution you’ve implemented to address a specific challenge in your courses?

Use of design methodology to amplify student’s creativity. Combination of Arduino and 3D printer to teach synergy effect of technologies.

At the beginning, students have several challenging but rewarding design topics to choose from. One example is a smart cane to replaces a traditional cane for people with vision loss. We choose an existing product, brainstorm, build prototypes to verify the new concepts. This is project-based teaching that goes beyond theory and they naturally study what they need to learn in order to accomplish their close to real-world projects.

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What has been your most positive or rewarding teaching experience?

Hearing thanks from students at the end of semester and more.

I feel happy when students understand difficult concepts, and start to apply it to other problems. I would like to hear that my class is very challenging but very rewarding. Here is actual remark from one of my students:

“Engineering is hard work. Professor Cho is a great guy. Very intelligent, very helpful, and very kind. But be prepared to work your butt off. There were weeks that I spent 10 hours in the CAD lab on homework. His tests are the hardest tests I’ve ever taken. Especially the theoretical portion. You can make an A or B, but be prepared to work.”

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What advice would you give to a new faculty member at MVC?

Do not under-teach students. Set the quality of your class high.

As a faculty, we must ensure that the standards we set meet and even exceed those standards at four-year institutions.

Who is one person at MVC who has been instrumental to your success (and why)?

Dr. Jones was very supportive in setting up infrastructure for engineering program. Without him, I may not have felt interest in teaching engineering here at MVC.

Before I joined MVC, I was running a start up company specializing in 3D technology. My business was so stressful as we should have competed with industry giants like Microsoft. This business field was so stressful but I still loved the technology. Dr. Jones helped me to utilize such technology for MVC STEM students. He and I also prepared grant proposal in adopting 3D technology for teaching. We also developed AR and VR app for STEM education.

Faculty Spotlight: Rodney Jackson

The Teaching & Learning Center at Mountain View College seeks to share teaching practices across the entire institution. The following article showcases a faculty member, provides insight into the environment they’ve created for MVC students, and demonstrates effective teaching practices. 

This month we showcase Rodney Jackson, Adjunct Faculty in Career and Technical Education.

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What is one element about MVC that makes it the “best college on earth?”

MVC’s passion to adapt and focus to accomplish what is best for students, employees, and our larger community.  For me it’s about integrity and leading by example.

When someone greets me in the hallways I respond that every day at MVC is, “another day in paradise.” When I see students that I have not seen for a while, I ask them how their grades are. I appreciate each and every opportunity I have here at MVC. Believe me, it could be much worse. There are many people that are unemployed out there or working in jobs or positions they are currently unhappy with. I’m ecstatic that I’m in a positive place and truly appreciate the job I have and the work I get to do.

Another thing about MVC is that we encourage diversity. Thinking outside the box. Our mission is more than just words on paper. It comes down to what we can do differently. How we incorporate those diverse perspectives. What sets us apart is the experience our community has when they come on our campus and witnesses our faculty, staff, and students firsthand. It is an element that makes us the, “best college on earth.”

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How would your students describe you or your teaching style?

According to the classes’ post surveys and emails, students really appreciate the open, two-way communication, which requires me to actively listen without necessarily forcing my own views on every class or student.  Students have expressed that the prompt response to emails and phone calls has eased the burden of learning (the challenge they experience to potentially difficult and technical concepts such as the IT field of study).  Past students also have expressed gratitude for a passionate and supportive instructor, both in and outside of the classroom.

For me, teaching is about making a difference in someone’s life. We have a diverse student body in our classes. Every student however has the potential to be reached. I’ve been in classes where I did not have a personal connection with my instructor. Because of such experiences, I set out to establish a strong presence from day one. That is especially important in my online courses.

I really enjoy technology as a whole and having the privilege to teach others is very special for me. I see this as a way to give back. I’ve learned many thinks in my field over the years and I feel that it’s my purpose to give back. I still remember people in my life that saw potential in me. There was one person in particular who told me that I would be a great fit in the IT world. That advice and his willingness to give it changed my life forever. I want to have that impact for my students.

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What teaching strategies do you find most successful in your courses?

Being able to adopt, listen, support, and communicate unconditionally. Truly valuing student input creates many great discussions in class. When I’m explaining or lecturing and a student doesn’t understand, it’s a gateway to stop my lecture and fully engage with their question.

I look at it like this. If one student asks a question, there are most likely others that have the same question. I take advantage of every opportunity where I see students curious about content. You can tell when they get it…that look on their face, and even their body language.

When students perceive passion from an instructor, class participation increases. Every semester is a different group of students. No class is ever the same. I find that being willing to go off script as an instructor makes my content relevant to each unique class.

These are just some of the strategies that work well in my courses.

What do your students love most about your courses?

That the course material and real-life experiences provided in the classroom, help prepare and provide a pathway to a successful future career. As one example, I demonstrate how to determine the right computer or laptop to buy, without simply relying on cheap bargain prices. I call it my, “Computer Purchase Cheat Sheet.”

I show them the shortcut by pressing the Windows key + pause button, or by right clicking (This PC) and selecting properties to view the system specs. Example below:

  1. Processor: AMD or INTEL (multi core processor 3.0-3.5 GHz)
  2. Installed Memory (RAM): 4GB or 8GB (max for 32bit 4GB)
  3. System Type: 64bit or 32bit processor
  4. Windows edition: Windows Home (Basic user) or Professional (Technical user)

This is just one hands-on example. Every class loves the real-world examples I bring in. This results in students that not only learn concepts, but can apply them to their world outside of class.

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What is one creative solution you’ve implemented to address a specific challenge in your courses?

Technology makes things possible that we couldn’t possibly fund locally. It makes things like simulation, virtual labs, and even more possible. It also gives our students access to these advanced tools and resources 24×7.

Implementing the Learning Management Systems (LMS) into the classroom has truly changed the the education of students enrolled in our technical courses.  Listening and responding to students’ feedback using the virtual classroom has also ensured that MVC is being competitive and providing what businesses are seeking in quality candidates (familiarization with technology, collaboration, and teamwork).

I decided to utilize LMS because students were not fully benefiting from classroom computers due to network security limitations when performing labs. I simply wanted every student to experience exactly what they would encounter in the real technical field.

Student feedback has been excellent; the students can perform their labs in a virtual setting where they have the same experience as if they are working on a real computer or network, which can be accomplished from any laptop/computer.  Additionally, the LMS has an app so students can study from their mobile phone or tablet. Technology truly increases access for my students, is something that employers expect, and something the students themselves appreciate from their education.

What has been your most positive or rewarding teaching experience?

When past students return unannounced asking to share their experience and express how they have benefited from the class.  When you are stopped in the hallway and a past student says thanks for everything.  You never forget that feeling, ever.

I have had students email me stating the class has prepared them for certification, and employment.  Some has asked for a letter of recommendation for jobs, so I have made it a priority to assist students with employment every single semester. All of these seemingly small things help ensure that our students believe MVC cares about their education, career,  and future success.

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What advice would you give to a new faculty member at MVC?

That there is no blueprint to being a model educator, but if you are willing to listen, adapt, and have open two-way communications with students and colleagues, you will experience what paradise feels like each and every day.

In addition, never stop willing to learn. I recently completed my MS in MIS, and plan to continue working toward certifications in Security, Networking, and Cloud Computing to stay current with the revolutionizing technology. This is just one way I demonstrate my commitment to my subject matter and more importantly, to the students I serve.

Who is one person at MVC who has been instrumental to your success (and why)?

WOW!  This is a very tough one to answer. Our MVC family has so many outstanding people that deserve this acknowledgement.  However, the one person that stands out, has been instrumental and also inspiring in many ways, is Mr. Rogers.  Eight years ago, we crossed paths and I addressed Mr. Rogers as Dr. Rogers, and he quickly suggested that Mr. Rogers was appropriate.  After taking the moment to introduce myself and getting to know him, it struck me that this person was special for MVC.  As time passed, and observing his presence in the classroom, his office, the hallway, the parking lot, and how he conducts himself with students and colleagues, it’s not rocket science to know he is a person everyone can learn something from.

Thank you, MVC family, and special thanks to Mr. Rogers.