Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
TO T E A C H , TO L E A R N , TO I N S P I R E . . . AT A I M S C O M M U N I T Y C O L L E G E

Collaborations Between
and Best Teaching
Practices Within Science,
Technology, Engineering,
the Arts, and Math

ISSUE 6 | 2018
Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
                                      S I G N AT U R E                                  EDITOR’S LETTER
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2018 ISSUE
                                                                                        From Dr. Cerisa Reynolds:
                                           EDITOR                                             STEM education has long been heralded as an approach          4    Change is Inevitable; Transformation is           24   Building Self-Efficacy and Persistence with
                                  Dr. Cerisa Reynolds
                                                                                              that can prepare graduates for careers in a changing,              Intentional                                            Classroom Projects: College Success Fair
                                                                                              increasingly connected, technologically complex world.
                                      PRESIDENT                                               But in recent years, there has been a push to recognize       5    Wonderful Programs; Wonderful People              25   From Astronomy to Philosophy: Building
                                  Dr. Leah L. Bornstein                                       the value in purposefully integrating STEM fields with                                                                    Connections with Interdisciplinary Examples
                                                                                              “the arts” and “the arts” with STEM. The result: STEAM.       6    Using the Community Lab Maker Space for Class
                                EDITORIAL TEAM                                                This issue of Signature explores this concept by working
                                                                                                                                                                 Exercises and Assignments                         27   On Belief and Understanding: Teaching Evolution in
                                   Kendra Griffin                                             within the theme of “STEAM: Collaborations Between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the College Classroom
                             Sarah Schwartzman Ramsey                                         and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology,
                                                                                                                                                            8    STEAM as Exemplified by an English and Biology
                                    Meg Spencer                                               Engineering, the Arts, and Math.”
                                                                                                                                                                 Learning Community: An Interview with Amy Holly   29   3D Printers Foster Learning in the Classroom
                                                                                                                                                                 and Dr. Chris Romero
                               GRAPHIC DESIGN                                                   While the merging of “the arts” with STEM fields may at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   30   Meet the Ipevo-Ziggy HD DocCam
                                      Bethany DuBois                                    first glance seem rather inconsequential, there is actually much
                                                                                        to celebrate here. As explained by Anna Feldman (2015) in an        11   No Time to Waste: Preparing New Allied Health
                                                                                        article for Slate,                                                       Majors to Succeed with a Meta-Major Themed        31   Book Review: Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks
                                                                                                                                                                 AAA Course                                             (Second Edition)
                                          Allyson Byerly
                                          Travis Tomlin                                     “STEAM says we can be better engineers by learning
                                                                                            how to think artistically, and we can re-engage artists         14   The Hamilton Education Program: Project-Based     32   Faculty and Staff Awards
                                                                                            with science by letting them see how STEM can work                   Learning and Innovative Pedagogy
                                                                                            in the arts. It’s infinitely more exciting, especially in an                                                           33   Part-time Faculty Engagement Stipend Recipients
                        AIMS COMMUNITY COLLEGE                                              increasingly interdisciplinary and digital world. In STEAM,     16   Why “Them” Is Your New Best Friend
                              5401 W. 20th Street                                           creativity is the central tenet. It not only revives and                                                               33   2019 Submission Guidelines
                               Greeley CO 80634                                             modernizes STEM, it actually addresses, through real-           19   My Latest Tech Addiction: Google Sites in
                                          970.330.8008                                      world projects, why the STEM subjects should matter to               the Classroom                                     34   Looking Ahead ... Our New Strategic Plan
                                                                                            everyone. And that’s how we should all be learning.”
                                                                                                                                                            21   The Gallery Walk                                  35   Thank You to Our Contributors
                                                                                        While the sciences and arts are often described as two
                                                                                        different portions of academia, a STEAM approach suggests
                                                                                                                                                            23   Celebrating 50 Years of Aims Aviation
                                                                                        that the sciences need the arts, and the arts need the sciences.
                                                                                        This is true for our students and for us as scholars. And in
                                                                                        fact, when we learn from each other and collaborate with
                                                                                        each other, we help our students become well rounded and
                                                                                        engaged critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators.                     5
       GRE E LE Y   |   LOVE L AN D   |    FORT LUP TON    |   WINDSOR   |   ONL I NE

      Aims Community College is committed to providing quality education for            In this, the sixth issue of Signature, you will see some of the
      our students. Our institution continues to make substantial investments
      in teaching and learning. This magazine is one of those efforts. Our              many ways our faculty are helping their students learn, grow,
      annual teaching and learning magazine, Signature, is aimed at providing           and thrive, and you will learn about the various opportunities
      information about teaching and learning strategies and highlights our
      important work in this area.
                                                                                        we all have to grow our teaching practices in deliberately
                                                                                        holistic ways. Some of the articles herein directly explore the
      “The role of the Learning College at Aims Community College is to                 interdisciplinary nature of STEAM, while others focus on a
      contribute and shape scenarios that empower learning through discovery,
                                                                                        specific discipline while providing applicable, key takeaways for
      shared learning environments, and construction of knowledge.”
                                                                                        those in other fields.

      Aims Community College is an equal opportunity institution. The College           This issue serves as an opportunity for us to learn about each
      prohibits discrimination in its practices, programs, and activities on the
      basis of age, race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, sexual
                                                                                        other, learn from each other, and perhaps open a dialogue for
      orientation, or disability and is committed to maintaining an environment         future connections between STEM and the Arts at Aims. Enjoy!
      free from sexual or other harassment and retaliation.

      For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of               Feldman, A. (2015, June 16). STEAM rising: Why we need to
      students who completed the program and other important information,
      please visit our website at         put the arts into STEM education. Slate. Retrieved from

      Aims Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
      ( and 800-621-7440.)

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
Change is inevitable;                                                                     Wonderful                                    Programs;
     Transformation is intentional
     by Dr. Leah L. Bor nstein
                                                                                               Wonderful                                 People
                                                                                               by Dr. Doug Strauss

                                                                                                                                                                  arrived on the Aims campus on March 12, 2018. As I began
                                                ransformation at Aims is exemplified                                                                              my journey to learn about staff and faculty, and the neat
                                                through inspiration, experimentation,                                                                             things being offered at Aims, I spoke with my administrative
                                                creativity, and discovery. As instructors,                                                                    colleagues. I asked them which faculty were doing some “cool”
                                                parents, supervisors, community                                                                               and creative things in the classroom. I wanted to begin my time
                                                volunteers, etc., we know that most folks                                                                     at Aims by learning about the culture and the artistry that was
                                 learn by doing. The learning paradigm of discovery and                                                                       taking place throughout the campus. This search led me to three
                                 the creative paradigm consist of gathering information,                                                                      individuals: Heather Brown, Lee McMains, and Kenny McDaniel.
                                 being inspired, formulating an idea, experimenting                                                                           Wow! They are doing some amazing things, and I wanted to share
                                 or creating, evaluating the results, and repeating                                                                           what I found when I spent time visiting with them.
                                 the process.
                                                                                                                                                              My first stop took me to Lee McMains (Industrial Technology) and
                                 This process—specifically experimentation and                                                                                Aims’ “Craft Closet.” Talk about hands-on learning! This creative
                                 creation—are the keys to transformation.                                                                                     space beckons students and community members to roll up
                                                                                                                                                              their sleeves and delve into “playing” with ideas and inventions.
                                 Experimentation and creation are the combining and                                                                           I mentioned to Lee that my 12-year-old son wanted to build a
                                 recombining of ideas until value is delivered in a new                                                                       grappling hook, and Lee just smiled. He told me to bring him
                                 way. We all engage in this process by constantly trying                                                                      by in the evening to interact with all the “fun” equipment in the
                                 new ideas and prototyping new ways of delivering                                                                             room. My son is very excited to operate a 3D Printer and Laser
                                 excellence to our learners, to one another, and to                                                                           Cutter. Lee mentioned that one goal of the Craft Closet is to have
                                 our communities.                                                                                                             instructors think outside the box as they utilize technology. For
                                                                                                                                                              example, if students wrote poetry in their creative writing course
                                 One exciting feature of our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan is                                                                      they could learn how to bind their poems in a book, or students
                                 that it is modeled with experimentation, creativity, and                                                                     in an anthropology class could create some creative artifacts. The
                                 discovery in mind. Most of the activities/tasks include                                                                      sky’s the limit in the Craft Closet. (See inset, next page).
                                 a research/investigation period, a testing/pilot step,
                                 an identified baseline/benchmark, and an assessment/                                                                         Speaking of the sky, another thing I learned about Lee is his
                                 discovery period after execution. This entire process                                                                        passion for space, and the space I’m referring to is outer space.
                                 allows us to intentionally transform (learn, share, test,                                                                    Lee sponsors a NASA Space Grant CubeSat program where his
                                 discover, and create anew).                                                                                                  students collect data on gases in our atmosphere. Students divide
                                                                                                                                                              into various teams (coding team, structural team, etc.) and work
                                 Through BOTH experimentation AND creativity, Aims                                                                            on different components that culminate in the launching of a
                                 Community College stays ahead of the curve. You,                                                                             balloon carrying a satellite that collects data before coming back
                                 Aims faculty and staff, are incredibly creative, inspiring,     The Aims CubeSat students on the day they launched their     to land. His students have great enthusiasm for this unique and
                                 and transformative. You are leading your disciplines,           satellite. Photo provided by Aims student Phoenix Ventura.   wonderful opportunity at Aims.
                                 your professions, our region, and our nation. That’s
                                 transformation by intention!                                                                                                 Another exciting educational opportunity at Aims is our Cyber
                                                                                                                                                              Security Certificate. This certificate is offered through the

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
Computer Information Systems/
      Using the Community Lab Maker Space                                                   Computer Science department. When

      for Class Exercises and Assignments                                                   I went to visit their instructor Kenny
                                                                                            McDaniel, I found another faculty
                                                                                            member who is extremely excited about
      by Lee McMains
                                                                                            his students and the work they are
                                                                                            doing. Kenny actually began teaching
      Have you checked out the Community Lab (“Maker                                        networking classes at Aims, but in 2017,
      Space”) in our Applied Technology and Trades Center?                                  due to popular demand and need, he
      It’s a place for teachers to break the lecture model and help students explore        began offering Cyber Security night
      collaborative learning—all without having to rearrange their classroom at the end     classes, as there is a significant shortage
      of the project.                                                                       of employees in the field. Kenny
                                                                                            admitted that he had to attain many
      Here are 10 fairly diverse projects that I think would be great in our Maker Space:   certifications himself, thus enabling
         1.   Students in a Business or Marketing class could make pieces                   him to share his knowledge with
              of jewelry, and then develop sales promotions for items made by               his students.
              different groups.
                                                                                            Since many students are already working
         2.   Students in a Spanish class could build and decorate an LED candle for
                                                                                            in technology departments and other
              Dia de Los Muertos, and then explain their build process and thinking in
                                                                                            industries during the day, his students
              Spanish. Advanced groups could decorate a skull and likewise report back
                                                                                            take their classes in the evening. The
              in Spanish.
                                                                                            certificate classes are also offered
         3.   A Creative Writing assignment may ask students to imagine and describe a      online as well as in hybrid formats to
              society from a faraway time or place. Students would then craft an artifact   accommodate a variety of schedules.
              left behind.                                                                  One thing consistent in all of the classes
         4.   Chemistry students could fabricate elements that include protons,             is the strong virtual components. And,
              neutrons, and electrons, accommodating any incomplete valence shells. If      summer internships provide students
                                                                                                                                          Nurse Aide students practice their skills in the lab in the Allied Health Building on the Greeley campus.
              built properly, they could make a 4-foot wide caffeine molecule!              with invaluable experiences. Kenny
                                                                                            mentioned two challenges with this            a partnership between Aims and local school districts, allowing
         5.   Students in the ESL program could create a product that allows them to                                                                                                                           and TechSmith Relay to video record the students performing
                                                                                            highly marketable curriculum. First,          junior and senior high school students to simultaneously earn
              practice target vocabulary, grammar, and conversation skills.                                                                                                                                    the skills. Then, each student would critique their own skill
                                                                                            since technology is constantly changing,      credit toward a college degree while obtaining credit toward a       demonstration as well as provide feedback to two classmates.
         6.   An Early Childhood Education group could regularly meet with and read to      he has to stay very current with the          high school diploma. One challenge confronting this innovative       This process not only helped skill improvement, but it also
              young elementary school kids, with the expectation that the ECE students      latest hardware and software changes.         program is keeping high school students focused and ultimately       helped students develop better “soft skills.” In addition, the
              will get to know their reading buddy well enough to create and publish a      Second, and this I found to be a rather       getting them to pass their state exam.                               videotaping process helped students become more comfortable
              hardcover book unique to their buddy.                                         unique challenge, is how to create mock
                                                                                                                                                                                                               in front of the camera, which translated into being more
         7.   Biology or Anatomy students could build an articulating joint with            problems (viruses/malware/etc.) when          Last year, eight Med Prep students (out of 55) did not pass their    comfortable with patients. The ultimate result was an increased
              “muscles” that contract and relax.                                            computers are hooked into the network.        class exams, and while the statewide Med Prep pass rate is just      pass rate of 91% with the State Board of Nursing.
                                                                                            After all, students need to practice on       under 70%, the Nurse Aide/Med Prep team was not satisfied. So,
         8.   Students in a Physics class could design and print the front and back ends
                                                                                            contaminated systems, but you can’t           they took a creative approach to solving this problem. Instead of    As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, Aims has
              of a rocket fashioned from a Pringles can.
                                                                                            have viruses that infect other Aims           just teaching students what to do and observing them perform         wonderful programs and wonderful people. My exploratory
         9.   Geography students might be assigned to create continent puzzles.             computers and systems. Kenny and his          the skills (which are very precise), their team created sample       journey took me to three such faculty who as you can tell are
              Likewise, History students might use LEDs on a map to highlight the           students are working with IT to figure        videos and a booklet that depicts the exact skill. There are 22      doing some incredible things. I realize that none of our faculty
              location of different events during a historical period.                      out this virus conundrum.                     testable skills and with this new approach, all students are now     are particularly comfortable tooting their own horns, but I can.
         10. Aviation students could construct (i.e. not simply 3D print) wings of                                                        receiving identical training no matter who is instructing            I firmly believe that we all need to share the neat things we are
              different shapes. (This would be a great excuse to build a wind tunnel!)      This virus puzzle led me to my last           their class.                                                         doing, especially when these things are benefiting our students
                                                                                            fascinating faculty member and her
                                                                                                                                                                                                               and our community. I hope by sharing some best practices from
      We don't currently have all of the materials needed to complete these projects,       program where viruses are dealt with          As Heather explained to me, part of the challenge is getting their   Lee, Kenny, and Heather that other faculty will step forward to
      but that shouldn't stop anyone from coming by and seeing how we can support           daily. Heather Brown and her team             students to be receptive to correcting their errors (remember,       share their stories, and I hope to visit with many of them as I get
      their class or program.                                                               offer two certificates, Med Prep and          the skills must be performed precisely or the students don’t pass    acclimated to Aims.
                                                                                            Nurse Aide. The Med Prep program is           their exams). Nurse Aide/Med Prep faculty used a Double Robot

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
What inspired you to create a learning community between           Chris and Amy: On a quantitative level, students who take
                                                                                                                                                    English (the arts) and Biology (the sciences)?                     learning community courses tend to be retained longer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and take more credits in subsequent semesters. We’ve
                                                                                     as Exemplified by an English and                               Chris: When I was dean from 2008-2010, I observed Shawna           also measured that student grades tend to be better on

                                                                                     Biology Learning Community:                                    Van and Matt Stilwell [from the English and Literature             assignments compared to the previous standalone classes,
                                                                                                                                                    departments at Front Range] in their learning community            particularly on tests and Formal Lab Reports. Qualitatively,
                                                                                                                                                    and found it fascinating and decided then that when I went         students form stronger relationships with each other and with
                                                                                                                                                    back to the classroom that I wanted to do this. In my previous     us, there is a greater sense of community. Students seem to
                              An Interview with Amy Holly and Dr. Chris Romero                                                                      standalone BIO 112 class, I assigned a “research” paper,           understand and value the commonalities between the
                                                                                                                                                    that definitely needed work as an assignment, but I didn’t         courses and learn how to transfer skills to other classes
                              by Allison Easley                                                                                                     want to get rid of it. Having this type of assignment was also     outside the learning community (students have stated this in
                                                                                                                                                    motivation for wanting to work with an English teacher in order    course evaluations).
                                                                                                                                                    to make it more effective and useful for the students, and also
                                                                                                                                                    to ensure a writing component in the course.                       Do you have any data about student retention or
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       persistence in the learning community model?
                                                                                          Learning communities by their very nature encourage       Amy: When I moved from part to full-time, [the department
                              Learning communities                     have been a
                                                                                          the kind of collaborations between science,               Chair, Shawna Van] approached me about the opportunity to          Amy: Again, retention and persistence rates are higher for
                              household name in higher education for at least the
                                                                                          technology, engineering, the arts, and math that          pair with Chris, who was looking for a teaching partner. They      students subsequent to enrolling in a learning community
                              last several decades. As two scholars recently put it,
                                                                                          constitute the STEAM movement in education. While         both explained the issues Chris was having with the research       course, so much so that the ROI results in a net profit for
                              they “are now so ubiquitous ... that they have their
                                                                                          traditional classes tend to offer “departmentalized       assignment and I thought it would be interesting to give           the program as a whole. Graduation rates are pretty much
                              own category in the U.S. News and World Report
                                                                                          modes of learning that fail to establish any connection   my ENG 122 a thematic focus using the content of another           even with the norm, but for learning communities that pair
                              rankings” (Fink & Inkelas, 2015, p. 11). A number of
                                                                                          from discipline to discipline” (Minkier, 2002, para.      discipline even though I really knew nothing about Biology at      developmental courses, those students tend to perform
                              studies published in the 1990s and early 2000s confirm
                                                                                          11), learning communities provide a more intentional      the time.                                                          better in the subsequent college-level course. And while
                              that learning communities can offer many benefits to
                                                                                          space for interdisciplinary thinking. But, what might                                                                        we have not documented this within our own program, a lot
                              students such as higher grades, increased retention,
                                                                                          one of these learning communities look like in                                         In your learning community, how       of research shows that the LC model especially benefits
                              and better student satisfaction (Minkier, 2002, para.
                                                                                          practice? For instance, how could a science class and                                  do you combine the content and        students from underrepresented groups, like low-income and
                              41). More recent reviews of the research also point to
                                                                                          an arts class be paired, and what impact might this                                    skills of English and Biology?        minority students.
                              learning communities as part of the reform efforts in
                                                                                          have on students?
                              higher education at the turn of the twenty-first century,
                                                                                                                                                                                 Amy: We take an outcomes-based        What are the challenges, if any, of teaching your
                              as colleges aim to better engage
                                                                                                                 We do not have to look far to                                   approach using both the CCNS          learning community?
                              students and prepare them for
                                                                                                                 find examples of successful                                     course outcomes for each course
                              further study or the workforce
                                                                                                                 learning communities bridging                                   as well as the five [Front Range]     Chris: At least early on in the process of development, it’s hard
                              (Fink & Inkelas, 2015, pp. 11-12).
                                                                                                                 the sciences and the arts. Front                                student learning outcomes (critical   to have another teacher in the room all the time. It makes each
                                                                                                                 Range Community College                                         thinking, effective communication,    teacher really pay attention to what they are doing.
                              While definitions of learning
                                                                                                                 has offered various learning       information/technology literacy, quantitative reasoning,
                              communities     vary,   according
                                                                                                                 communities for several years.     and professionalism). Once we identified where we address          Amy: It can be hard if the teaching styles are very different or
                              to   the   guidebook     Creating
                                                                                                                 At the nearby Larimer campus       common outcomes, we designed summative assessments                 if each teacher has differing perspectives on pedagogy. It can
                              Learning Communities, these “initiatives share basic
                                                                                          in Fort Collins, eight to 10 learning communities are     first that would target multiple outcomes. We went from the        be hard to learn the content of your partner’s course, but it is
                              characteristics,” including “organizing students and
                                                                                          offered each semester. Among these is a partnership       outcome to the assessments in a backward design fashion,           also one of the most rewarding parts (and fun). It also takes
                              faculty into smaller groups; encouraging integration
                                                                                          between faculty members Amy Holly in English and          then built our course schedule to align outcomes that would        a lot of extra time to develop the curriculum, grade student
                              of the curriculum; helping students establish academic
                                                                                          Dr. Chris Romero in Biology. According to Amy, “We        already overlap, scaffolding in different elements of our          work, be in class that much ... Enrollment can be challenging
                              and social support networks ... [and] bringing faculty
                                                                                          teach two different pairings: BIO 111/ENG 121 and         respective course content to support the outcomes that             at times, if not enough students need both classes. Sometimes
                              together in more meaningful ways” (Shapiro & Levine,
                                                                                          BIO 112/ ENG 122 in a two semester sequence.              each assignment was meant to address. We then developed            it’s better to offer learning communities in only one or the
                              1999, p. 3). In many cases, learning communities “link
                                                                                          We actually developed the second-semester course          lesson plans, activities, formative assignments, etc. to get the   other semester (fall vs. spring) to keep up with enrollment
                              or cluster courses with other courses ... an intentional
                                                                                          (122/112) first, which focuses on argument and            students ready for these assessments.                              trends and address this issue.
                              restructuring of students’ time, credit, and learning
                                                                                          Evolution [and] Ecology.” Amy has eight years of
                              experiences” (Minkier, 2002, para. 8). Often, these
                                                                                          teaching experience at the community college              Now that you have taught this English and Biology                  What have each of you learned about the other instructor’s
                              pairings include an English or math class—that
                                                                                          level, and Chris has 25; together, they have been         learning community for several years, what do you see as           discipline through your Learning Community?
                              nearly every student needs—with another class in a
                                                                                          co-teaching in the learning community model for six       the strengths and benefits in this pairing—for you and
                              specific content area, such as Psychology, History, or
                                                                                          years. They graciously shared their insights with me in   for students?                                                      Chris: I think one of the things I’ve learned is how important
                              a CTE course.
                                                                                          the interview below.                                                                                                         understanding rhetorical concepts is to the scientific method

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
and scientific inquiry. They really are very much the same in terms      Chris and Amy’s experience—along with their colleagues at
  of stating claims with reasons, and then providing evidence to           Front Range who teach other subjects in the learning community
  support those reasons.                                                   model—could inspire us at Aims as we look at the possibilities

                                                                                                                                                             No Time to Waste:
                                                                           of such course pairings at our College and simply rethink the
  Amy: I feel like I have learned pretty much everything about             ways we allow other, even seemingly opposite disciplines, into
  Biology since beginning the Learning Community. I didn’t                 our own teaching. Dean of the Arts and Sciences division Scott                   Preparing New Allied Health Majors to Succeed
  have to take hardly any science classes in college, and I think          Reichel explains how learning communities may develop at
  my last Biology class was as a sophomore in high school. But
                                                                                                                                                               with a Meta-Major Themed AAA Course
                                                                           Aims in the 2018-2019 academic year and beyond, as
  less specifically, I feel like I’ve learned about the difference         developmental education changes encourage us to rethink
  between teaching content and teaching skills, and how what               pathways for students:                                                                       by Denise Pearson & Francie Rottini
  we traditionally think of as a “content” discipline really still
  is about skills and vice versa. And also what Chris said about               Part of our efforts to institutionalize some best practices
  understanding the process of scientific inquiry and its relevance            from AAA 090 will include a pilot program with learning

  to any research or writing task (which is what I would call the              communities. These learning communities will be designed
  Composition “content”). Basically, I think when we get down to               for first semester students, and they will likely consist of                   tudents may enter Aims Community College with a strong desire to
  the skills level, we are all really teaching the same thing; it’s just       three core courses set up as nine co-requisite credit hours.                   pursue a career in the Allied Health field but flounder from having unclear
  that we each have different content that we utilize through which            The intent is to capture some of the community building                        career knowledge or a limited understanding of options and goals. Since
  to teach those skills.                                                       that has traditionally happened in our AAA 090 courses,                        2013, Advancing Academic Achievement (AAA) has offered an Allied
                                                                               along with emphasizing the transferability of reading and                      Health themed course designed to provide students with a strong start.
  What advice would you give to colleagues at other schools                    writing skills by creating complementary assignments across     They get the experience of being in a cohort with other students pursuing Allied Health
  trying to start new learning community programs?                             multiple disciplines.                                           programs and are guided in advancing their understanding of career options in Allied
                                                                                                                                               Health, creating academic and career plans, as well as developing strong academic skills to
  Amy: There has to be administrative support for compensating             Ultimately, learning communities are valuable not just for our      achieve their goals. Student feedback from focus groups and course evaluations, as well as
  the additional time it takes to design and run the LC effectively,       students, but for ourselves when we reach across disciplines,       other quantitative data, show the themed approach to be a promising model to help the
  in the form of faculty load assignment. There also has to                across the College, or even across to other institutions to find    persistence and retention of new students.
  be institutionalized program leadership when it comes to                 connections and embrace our role as lifelong learners.
  scheduling, mentoring, training, recruiting, and coordinating with                                                                           A Career Course as an Intervention
  student affairs and advising. There has to be an emphasis on             Amy Holly may be contacted at;             Many student services reforms and retention interventions have been implemented in
  pedagogy over content. There has to be an assessment model               Dr. Chris Romero may be contacted at                                order to improve completion rates and help community college students attain their
  in place for the program as a whole, to make sure it is achieving                                        educational goals. The structure of many of these interventions is based on data that
  the intended outcomes. It’s also important to remember that                                                                                  suggest that degree completion and retention can be improved when students gain
  not all learning communities look the same—even across FRCC,                             Fink, J. E. & Inkelas, K. K. (2015). A History of   crystallization of vocational self-concept and can develop an academic plan (Jenkins &
  different campuses offer different iterations of the LC model.                           learning communities within American higher         Cho, 2012; Scott-Clayton, 2011). Much of the success for these interventions rides on
  Different institutions implement differently with various levels of                      education. New Directions for Student Services,     the assumption that students are equipped to adequately identify appropriate programs
  integration. Compatibility between instructors is very important.                        2015(149), 5–15. doi:10.1002/ss.20113               of study and then have the ability to connect those programs to their longer-term
                                                                                           Holly, A. Personal communication, March 6, 2018.    academic and career goals. However, many students who enter a community college do
  Chris: You have to check your ego at the door and open up to
                                                                                                                                               so with little understanding of career options and have unclear academic, personal, and/or
  different ways of teaching and assessment.                                               Minkier, J. E. (2002). ERIC review: Learning
                                                                                                                                               professional goals.
                                                                                           communities at the community college.
  Is there anything else about your learning community                                     Community College Review, 30(3), 46-63.
                                                                                                                                               In addition, there is evidence to suggest that students highly benefit from taking a course
  experience that you would like to share?                                                 Reichel, S. Personal communication, March           that provides a combination of career education and academic course work. “Career
                                                                                           30, 2018.                                           development learning integrates students’ workplace experiences, clarifies their career
  Chris: This is the best professional development I’ve ever had,
                                                                                           Romero, C. Personal communication, March            plans and provides a better understanding of the curriculum and relevance of university
  primarily because it is ongoing and you never stop thinking
                                                                                           6, 2018.                                            academic experiences” (Smith et al., 2009). In one study, Reddan and Rauchle (2012)
  about new ways to do things in the classroom.
                                                                                                                                               noted that all surveyed students responded positively in response to the question “Do you
                                                                                           Shapiro, N. S. & Levine, J. H. (1999). Creating
                                                                                                                                               believe career education should be a part of a work experience course?” Many reasons
  Amy: It is important to remember that this benefits the faculty as                       learning communities: A practical guide to
                                                                                                                                               were provided, including that they valued “learning how to behave in a professional
  well as the students. It also benefits the institution as a whole in                     winning support, organizing for change, and
                                                                                                                                               manner,” and that career education “gives you knowledge of a variety of jobs” and
  the implications it has for supporting a pathways model, where                           implementing programs. San Francisco, CA:
                                                                                                                                               “provides a clearer career path” (Reddan & Rauchle, 2012).
  LCs can be aligned with various academic plans.                                          Jossey-Bass Publishers.

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
AAA Offering an Effective Model                                    curriculum for this themed section, students are given a tour of     with similar career interests positively impacted their success in        “As an administrator in the Allied Health area, as well as
     In 2013, AAA first introduced a meta-major themed course for       the different labs for their respective program. Students also       the course and beyond.                                                    a former medical professional, I truly believe that ANY
     new incoming students who were interested in one of the Allied     attend a professional panel of Aims Allied Health faculty. During                                                                              additional information we can give our students to
     Health Careers. The model was piloted to provide new students      this panel and open forum, students are able to ask specific         AAA focus group participants described the benefits received              help them prepare for their future careers is beneficial.
     an environment rich with opportunities to help them better         questions of their future faculty. In addition to hearing directly   from themed courses as follows:                                           People who are proficient in their careers have layers
     understand and navigate emerging and divergent college and         from faculty, students also obtain information about program                                                                                   and layers of knowledge that they draw upon, and
     career pathways and opportunities. It has become a consistent      expectations, professionalism, and real life experiences from            “It just seems like to me, so far out of all the classes I have       this is especially true in health care. Why wouldn't we
     course offering for fall and spring semesters ever since due to    the field. Students benefited from this experience, as one               taken, [AAA] has been the only class where I have been                want to customize course content to meet the specific
     strong quantitative and qualitative data.                          student described here:                                                  able to just talk about our careers and where we want                 interests of students? This can only benefit them, and the
                                                                                                                                                 to go, and our similar interests and even our differences             patients they will treat in the future” (P. Rand, personal
     The format is effective because students are offered career-           “Thank you so much for having the board [panel], that was            have helped us grow. In my AAA class, we can talk to each             communication, March 28, 2018).
     related course material immediately while they also develop            amazing and super helpful. Very thankful to be in this class,        other, we can just get feedback and that has been very
     basic academic skills. In turn, this improves their motivation         it has been amazing and I feel so much more prepared                 invaluable that I will take with me and it has just made          As we look for ways to improve our college’s persistence,
     to persist in their academic goals. This model offers students         because of it. I’ve gained many valuable skills through this         me feel secure in what I am doing and what I am going to          retention, and graduation rates, programs and courses that
     vital information about their career in order to make informed         class” (Z. Cornelius, personal communication, October                accomplish. It makes me more determined to overcome               proactively help students engage in career exploration and
     decisions. Research suggests it is important that college staff        31, 2017).                                                           anything” (AAA Student, Focus Group, November                     development will be essential. The Meta Major Allied Health
     and faculty “focus on how they can help college students                                                                                    17, 2015).                                                        themed AAA class is one such intervention.
     develop behavioral and adaptive components of exploration and
     planning” (Fouad, Chang, Gifueiredo, & Bachbuber, 2016).               “I learned that the healthcare field is full of options,             “Being in a class with others interested in the same              References
                                                                            opportunity and a great career field to go into. It was very         career has helped greatly, it is motivating and makes me
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Fouad, N. A., Ghosh, A., Chang, W. H., Figueiredo, C., &
                                                                            exciting and encouraging listening to the chairs share about         feel more involved. It also makes having this career seem
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bachhuber, T. (2016). Career exploration among college
                                                                            their experiences and love for the field. Also, it was super         more attainable” (AAA Student, Focus Group, November
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   students. Journal of College Student Development, 57(4), 460-
                                                                            informative to hear their wisdom and get a better idea               17, 2015).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   464. doi:10.1353/csd.2016.0047
                                                                            of the process. I feel very encouraged and definitely
                                                                                                                                             Additionally, the AAA meta-major themed course has                    Jenkins, D., & Cho, S. W. (2012). Get with the program:
                                                                            solidified my decision to pursue a career in healthcare”
                                                                                                                                             produced better results than the existing AAA model for               Accelerating community college students’ entry into and
                                                                            (Cornelius, 2017).
                                                                                                                                             improved retention. In fact, on average, students who take            completion of programs of study (CCRC Working Paper No.

                                                                                                                                             AAA courses are retained from fall to spring at a higher rate         32). New York, NY: Columbia University, Teachers College,
                                                                        Another benefit to this themed course model is the sense
                                                                                                                                             (by 10%) than those who do not take a AAA course; however,            Community College Research Center.
                                                                        of belongingness and comradery that is built within the
                                                                        learning community:                                                  students enrolled in the meta-major themed AAA section were           Reddan, G., & Rauchle, M. (2012). Student perceptions of the
                                                                                                                                             retained, on average, at a 16% higher rate from fall to spring        value of career development learning to a work-integrated
                                                                            “I would say that having a lot of people in my class with the    compared to the general student population.                           learning course in exercise science. Australian Journal of
                                                                            same interest as me allows for them to understand some                                                                                 Career Development, 21(1), 38-48.
                                                                            different things that I may [be] thinking or going through…      No Time to Waste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Scott-Clayton, J. (2011). The shapeless river: Does a lack of
                                                                            So having that in a class really brings a sense of comradery     As Aims Community College strives to “transform student
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   structure inhibit students’ progress at community colleges?
                                                                            and there is not tension, the ice is broken. I love having       pathways from access to completion,” there is no time to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   (CCRC Working Paper No. 25, Assessment of Evidence
     AAA students in an Allied Health classroom on the                      a sense of comradery in a class like that” (AAA Student,         waste in a student’s first semester. The AAA Meta Major Allied
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Series). New York, NY: Columbia University, Teachers College,
     Greeley campus.                                                        Focus Group, November 11, 2015).                                 Health themed course offers new students a timely opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Community College Research Center.
                                                                                                                                             to be immersed in content and conversations related to their
                                                                        Is This Approach Successful?                                         major and career goals. The relationship between developing           Smith, M., Brooks, S., Lichtenberg, A., McIlveen, P., Torjul,
     Patricia Rand, Dean of the Allied Health and Wellness Division,
                                                                        The AAA department assesses student learning and experience          vocational self-concept and persistence with career, academic,        P., Tyler, J. (2009). Career development learning: Maximising
     states, "I had the distinct privilege of being able to teach
                                                                        through a variety of techniques both inside and outside              and personal goals cannot be overstated. By integrating               the contribution of work-integrated learning to the student
     the AAA for Allied Health course in fall of 2017. I was able to
                                                                        the classroom. Each semester, AAA courses conduct a Pre-             career development and academic skill-building, students              experience. Final project report, June 2009. Wollongong,
     customize much of the course content to help them get a leg up
                                                                        Assessment and Post-Assessment to monitor effectiveness.             gain a better understanding of the relevance of their college         NSW: Careers Central, Academic Services Division, University
     on information that I knew would help them in the medical field.
                                                                        In addition, when new AAA courses are designed, the AAA              academic experience. In addition, it provides a vehicle for           of Wollongong.
     Now I realize that it makes so much sense to customize courses
     to specific student interest."                                     department conducts student focus groups to gain feedback            students to develop professional contacts, build transferrable
                                                                        on student experiences, perceptions, and motivations. A focus        skills, and clarify academic goals, all of which lead to increased
     In the meta-majored themed AAA class, students are introduced      group was conducted in fall 2015 to assess the impact of the         academic motivation.
     to many degree and certificate programs offered at Aims, and       meta-major themed sections. From those assessment measures,
     are encouraged to begin building their professional portfolio      students indicated personal, academic, and professional growth       Here, the Dean of the Allied Health and Wellness Division
     and skill set early on in their academic journey. As part of the   and agreed that being a member of a “community of learners”          describes the positive effects of customized content:

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
students understand how historical documents could be               In completing this assignment, my students succeeded at
                                                                                                                                                    interpreted and put into different words and yet still create       higher rates than on other formative assessments that seek
                                                                        THE                                                                         accurate interpretations of the past.                               to develop similar skills. For example, I have had students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        engage with primary sources through the writing of brief

                                        H A M I LT O N                                                                                              The final stage of the curriculum was for the students to
                                                                                                                                                    apply the skills they had developed to create their own
                                                                                                                                                    performance pieces. Students spent a number of days outside
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        analytical essays. This is a much more common approach to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        developing the skills of historical inquiry, but many students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        struggled to develop those skills through these assessments.
                                               E D U C AT I O N P RO G R A M :                                                                      of class tracking down sources; working in groups, with other       In contrast, the creativity required in the creation of a
                                                                                                                                                    students, or individually to draw information from these            performance piece made the students dive deeper into
                                          Project-Based Learning and Innovative Pedagogy                                                            sources; and drafting scripts or song lyrics for performances.      the source materials and develop a more sophisticated
                                                                                                                                                    When students finished their performance pieces, they               understanding of the underlying content. When giving lower
                                                                     by Casey Clay                                                                  submitted their written work and performed the pieces for           stakes formative assessments in class similar to this one, I
                                                                                                                                                    their peers in class. In this way, my students demonstrated         typically have a number of students who fail to complete
                                                                                                                                                    their ability to use information from the past to create            the assignment. In the case of this particular assessment,
     IN MARCH OF 2018, more than 70 Early College Academy                      an interpretation of historical events and to present those          interpretations and analyses of historical events.                  I had a 100% completion rate. The engaging nature of
     (ECA) students traveled to Denver to see Hamilton at the Buell            interpretations in the form of a brief performance piece. We                                                                             the assignment, the fact that students had a great deal
     Theater. They were able to attend due to their participation              began the project in class by reading some interviews that the                                               The projects that           of freedom to choose their topic and explore their source
     in the Hamilton Education Program (EDUHam), a program                     creators of the musical provided that described the process they                                             students completed in       materials, and the scaffolding activities in setting up the
     that requires faculty to integrate performance and Alexander              went through to bring history to life in the form of this Broadway                                           class align with a number   assignment allowed my students to have the confidence in
     Hamilton into their history curriculum. Below, the history faculty        musical. We discussed, as a class after reading and viewing                                                  of the learning outcomes    their abilities to complete the assignment and to excel at it.
     member responsible for ECA participation describes the ways in            these interviews, the ways in which historical information can be                                            expected in HIS 122.
     which his students interacted with the curriculum to qualify for          translated into performances such as Hollywood films, historical                                             In HIS 122 students         After my students spent a number of weeks working on
     the program.                                                              reenactments, and musicals such as Hamilton.                         work toward the development of their critical thinking skills.      their projects in class, they were able to travel to the Denver
                                                                                                                                                    Specifically, students are expected to formulate arguments,         Center for the Performing Arts and view a special student
     When Lin-Manuel Miranda created his musical, he                                          After these class discussions we used one of the      incorporate evidence, and understand the implications or            matinee of Hamilton. As we arrived at the Buell Theater, we
     relied heavily on the biography Alexander Hamilton                                       songs from the musical as a specific case study       make conclusions about past events. This particular project         were seated by school, and we had an opportunity to view
     by Ron Chernow. In interviews about his musical,                                         in how Miranda translated historical sources          required students to work toward the development of each            some of the work produced by other students from Colorado.
     Miranda mentions that he was inspired by the                                             into his performance piece. The song became a         of these core competencies. In choosing a specific topic to         While none of the ECA students’ performances were picked
     drama embedded in the story of the founding era                                          model for the project the students themselves         create a performance piece on, students developed research          to be performed on stage, the students from Colorado who
     of the United States, and that he was fascinated by                                      were expected to complete for class. We spent         questions based on their individual interests. From there,          did perform were quite impressive. Both my students’ and
     how the perspectives and experiences of historical                                       time in class analyzing a couple of sources that      students were expected to draw on multiple primary source           other students’ abilities to draw on information from the
     actors often influenced their descriptions of events.                                    provided the foundation for the song, “Farmer         documents which required them to synthesize different               past and create compelling pieces was amazing to see.
     These factors are central to the academic study of                                       Refuted.” Students worked through a series            historical actors’ perspectives and to ultimately take a            The students also had a chance to create questions for some
     history. Understanding different perspectives and                                        of questions that I provided for each source in       position as they decided which pieces of information they           cast members and learn about how they were able to embody
     being able to create an interpretation of the past                                       small groups and then shared their responses          would incorporate into their projects. In order to create           the historical figures in their performances. Finally, after our
     through the study and use of sources from the                                            out with the entire class. After they had read        their arguments, students had to track down and evaluate            lunch break, we were reseated in the theater and given
     historical record are essential skills that we seek to                                   and summarized the sources, we listened to the        primary source materials and synthesize the information in          a chance to view one of the most renowned musicals in
     impart on students in their studies of history at the collegiate level.   song and used the lyrics to complete a comparative analysis.         them to create coherent and compelling performance pieces.          recent history.
     To me, Miranda’s play provides an excellent example of different          Students used their summaries and the primary sources they           Finally, students had to ultimately draw conclusions about
     ways in which the study of history can be used and presented. So          had analyzed to draw parallels between the song lyrics and the       the significance or importance of their chosen historical           The experience for the students of ECA was, as many have
     often, students are used to engaging with the discipline of history       primary source materials. They filled out a graphic organizer that   figures, historical events, or historical concepts. These were      informed me since, one of the highlights of the year. For
     in textbooks or academic articles that, while excellent works of          placed specific passages from the source material alongside          displayed through the written dialogue or song lyrics. The          weeks students came to school wearing hats and t-shirts
     scholarship, are often dense and uninspiring to the average               specific lyrics from the song. We next held a discussion about the   project also required students to develop information literacy      emblazoned with the Hamilton logos. Snippets of musical
     non-historian. I felt that using the play as a way to inspire             difference between summarizing/distilling historical information     throughout the process. Students had to evaluate information        numbers could be heard in the halls. Students recounted their
     students to engage in the process of historical inquiry could be          into historical writing, and taking direct quotes and passages       critically in choosing which sources they viewed as useful or       experiences to their peers with pride and excitement. Surely,
     very motivating.                                                          from source materials in historical writing. Students provided       authoritative in developing their scripts and lyrics. Students      the experience these students had will stick in their minds for
                                                                               examples of ways in which they might be able to use direct           had to effectively use that information to create a historically    years, if not a lifetime. How many of us can say the same of
     As part of this curricula, students in my class were required             quotes or summaries drawn from sources to create their own           accurate interpretation that was both compelling and                our experiences in history class?
     to explore a number of primary sources in order to create                 interpretations of historical events. This exercise helped the       interesting to the audience.

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
WHY                                                                                                 order to avoid any possible offense. This was at times clunky in         I began my curriculum transformation slowly, updating my

                                                                                                             a roundtable workshop class, which required me to consistently           handouts and course content to contain the pronoun “they”
                                                                                                             allude to and build upon each other’s comments, but I was afraid         whenever possible and removing gendered language.
                                                                                                             using “they” in public would “out” Mikey.                                Surprisingly, I realized that replacing pronouns, especially
                                                                                                                                                                                      gendered pronouns, is also just good teaching. We should
                                                                                                             Why didn’t I simply ask Mikey and their best friend what                 already be continuously modeling such discipline conventions
                                                                                                             prounous they preferred I use? Was it my unfamiliarity with              in our own handouts. For example, in academic writing, sources
                                                                                                             the topic that kept me from asking, or my fear of mishandling            should be referenced by the author’s last name, not pronouns
         IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND                                                                             the situation and perhaps making a student feel marginalized?            at all except in the rare instance when the researcher themself
                                                                                                             Unsure, I reached out to colleagues for advice before the next           has related their demographics to their conclusions. And when
                                                                                                             semester began. Thus, on the first day of class in January, I wrote      teaching my students to write about literature, my reinforcement
                                                                                                             out brief “get to know you” questions on the board, the last of          of terms such as “the protagonist” instead of “he/she,” helps
         by Kendra Griffin                                                                                   which included a note to please share one’s preferred name and/          them absorb course terms in context.
                                                                                                             or preferred pronoun(s).
                                                                                                                                                                                      My next step was to allow students the use of “them” for a
                                                                                                             After class that night, lo and behold, another student whom I            singular example. As a composition teacher, this makes good
                                                                                                             had assumed to be a woman approached me alone and thanked                sense. For years, I have painstakingly corrected students who
                                                                                                             me for asking. He explained that he preferred to go by “he,”             say, “a health insurance purchaser” in one example and then
                                                                                                             but that he was also fine with “they.” Relieved at my success in         transition to “they/them” in the next. Not only has attending
                                                                                                             creating a safe space, I relaxed until the next class in which others,   to this rather insignificant lower order concern been a waste of
                                                                                                             uninformed, referred to him as “she.” The anxiety returned, but          my valuable time, it has unfortunately reinforced the idea that

                                                                                                             this time I pulled the student aside at the                                                  gender is a fixed, binary concept when, in
                                             his past spring, after 15 years of teaching English and         end and simply asked if he wanted me to                                                      fact, gender identity and the perception of it
                                             scrupulously correcting pronoun and antecedent errors, I        correct others. It turned out that he did not.                                               vary widely from culture to culture (Jacobs,
                                             decided to flout the conventions of grammar and not only                                                                                                     Thomas, & Lang, 1997; Nanda, 2014).
                                             allow the use of “them” in reference to a singular person,      This past January, two more students in
                                             but encourage it.                                               other classes contacted me through email                                                     To place things into an artificial set of binary
                                                                                                             to let me know that their preferred gender                                                   choices is what’s called a “false dilemma” or
                               It wasn’t the buzz surrounding the Bathroom Bill, or Aims’ compelling         pronouns    and    preferred    names    differed                                            a “false dichotomy.” As a teacher of rhetoric,
                               Diversity Statement, or even my own desire for social equality that           from that of their given names. In addition,                                                 it seems hypocritical to me to encourage
                               snapped me out of my addiction to accepting only the “correct”                because of my new first-night get-to-know-                                                   nuanced, ethical thinking and yet conduct my
                               grammar. It was simply a conversation with a student’s best friend before     you approach, when Mikey took a second class                                                 own classroom from a viewpoint that would
                               class last fall that went something like this:                                with me, Mikey also requested I use “they”                                                   not only tolerate, but perpetuate, a logical
                                                                                                             for them. This left me wondering if this shift were a zeitgeist I        fallacy. My job is to encourage broad-minded, contextualized
                                   Me: “Is Mikey sick today? Do you know if she’ll make it in to             had caught on to just in time, or if the shift in my own thinking        critical thinking skills that surpass “left and right,” or “good and
                                   present her work tonight?”                                                and actions, both conscious and unconscious, might have                  bad,” or “true or false” dichotomies that inevitably stunt our
                                   BFF: “They’re going to come in late and just stay for the                 encouraged students to reveal themselves to me with more trust.          intellectual growth. Not only do I not have the right to decide
                                   workshop. They’ll be here soon.”                                                                                                                   what someone’s gender is, I also haven’t the right—and certainly
                                                                                                             When a student tells us clearly how they want to be identified,          haven’t the ability—to decide what one’s gender isn’t. Much
                                   Me: “They? She’s bringing another friend? Is she nervous
                                                                                                             the issue is simple to address, if not always simple to apply.           less do I possess the ability to determine what gender is at all,
                                   about presenting?”
                                                                                                             However, creating a generally safe space that does not                   considering that every culture ascribes different expectations
                                   BFF: “No…” (Awkward fumbling for words.) “They …                          contribute to the idea that there are only two genders is a little       upon its gender roles (Nanda, 2014).
                                   They’ll drive themselves. It’s just them. Just Mikey.”                    more complicated. There’s a time investment there, of course, as
                                   Me: “I don’t...” (A longer, even more uncomfortable pause on              there is for any revision and improvement of curriculum. But just        Therefore, I now enact a twofold approach for writing: accept
                                   my part.) “Oh! Oh, okay! Great!”                                          as I would update with an eye for any other microaggressions, I          the neutral gender pronoun in students’ work, but encourage all
                                                                                                             am now actively considering the importance of not perpetuating           students to use plurals when providing theoretical examples. This
                               As I called the class to order, I wondered if it was Mikey’s choice to go     this particular, and sometimes hurtful, logical fallacy.                 is in line with advice given by Thomas and Hirsch (2016), authors
                               by “they/them,” or if it was Mikey’s friend’s choice to refer to all people                                                                            of “A Progressive’s Style Guide”:
                               that way. Anxious to respect any of their possible wishes, I began
                               referring to both of them throughout the semester by first name only in

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Collaborations Between and Best Teaching Practices Within Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math - Aims Community College
... it is my job to
                                                                                                                teach as well as I               MY LATEST TECH ADDICTION:
                                                                                                                can, and to do so,
                                                                                                                I must approach
                                                                                                                                                 Google Sites in the Classroom
                                                                                                                each student as                  by Chelle Costello, Jennifer Ridgeway, and Meg Spencer
                                                                                                                a learner. And to
                                                                                                                learn well, we must              CHELLE COSTELLO:                                                      My favorite part of using Google Sites is how beautiful it looks
                                                                                                                feel comfortable.                I never thought about creating websites for classes until fellow      on mobile, so much so that students have begun simply using
                                                                                                                                                 English professor Jenn Ridgeway asked for advice on having            their cell phones instead of turning on computers when they
                                                                                                                                                 her students create them. Without thinking, I suggested Google        don’t need to. This is also a great help when we have technical
                                                                                                                                                 Sites, since all email addresses have access to it. I        difficulties with the computers, as every professor knows is
                                                                                                                                                 hadn’t made a site myself, but Google’s Docs and Drive system         bound to happen once or twice per semester.
                                                                                                                                                 seemed easy enough to use, so why not?

                                                                                                                                                 A few months later, I took my own advice.

                                                                                                                                                 Teaching Humanities 123 (Medieval to Modern) required a place
                                                                                                                                                 to bring all of my open-sourced videos, pictures, text, links,
                                                                                                                                                 maps, music, and documents seamlessly together, and the goal
                                                                                                                                                 was a multi-modal experience of a particular subject. A survey
                                                                                                                                                 course spanning over 400 years is hard enough to cover in a
                                                                                                                                                 semester without leaving out important, beautiful topics, so if we
         “If a gender-neutral term is available and does not change        As a teacher, it is not my job to tell students how to feel about a   were focusing on Baroque science that day, I wanted a Baroque
         the meaning, consider using it. Often this means just             social issue or to expound upon my personal realizations on the       atmosphere of art, music, and philosophy to be present and
         pluralizing the antecedent to avoid use of singular pronouns:     topic of gender identity. However, it is my job to teach as well as   accessible as well.
         ‘Employees should read their packets carefully,’ not ‘Each        I can, and to do so, I must approach each student as a learner.
         employee should read his packet carefully.’; ‘Invite your         And to learn well, we must feel comfortable. Therefore, any step                                        Google Sites was the easiest
         spouse or partner,’ not ‘Invite your boyfriend or husband’”       I can take to help reduce a student’s anxiety and to help them                                          way to do this. Students
         (p. 15).                                                          feel more grounded in a comfortable identity is a step towards                                          bookmarked the URL (https://
                                                                           improving their learning environment and ultimate success.                                    
     Truthfully, I found it most difficult to implement my new approach                                                                                                            home) on their devices so they
     when speaking off script in front of the class. I began by using      References                                                                                              could easily tap on the page
     first names and possessives of such whenever possible (“Mikey’s”      Jacobs, S., Thomas, W., & Lang, S. (Editors). (1997). Two-                                              of the day. These pages now         I used Google Sites for a class page, but there are about as
     instead of “his”), and I of course used the pronouns and names        Spirit people: Native American gender identity, sexuality, and                                          hold all of my multimodal jazz:     many ways for students to create their own Sites as there are
     provided by the students. I also continued my practice of using       spirituality. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.                                                  for locations and architecture,     for professors.
     “they/them” for theoretical examples. There were some awkward                                                                                                                 there are embedded Google
                                                                           Nanda, S. (2014). Gender diversity: Crosscultural variations.
     moments to be sure, as I faltered with 40 plus years of language                                                                                                              Street View maps; for music,        Jenn Ridgeway has transitioned a final project in LIT 255
                                                                           Second Edition. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
     patterns, my own attachment to grammatical correctness, and                                                                                                                   Google playlists provide us with    (Literature for Children) and an annotated bibliography for ENG
     sometimes, inevitably, my own attachment to my culture’s gender       Thomas, H., & Hirsch, A. (2016). a Progressive’s style guide.                                           background sounds of the times      122 (Composition II) into student-created websites.
     norms. Despite my occasional blunder, at the end of the second        Sum Of + Us, 15. Retrieved from                                               we are studying.
     class that Mikey took with me, they thanked me for having been                                                                                                  JENN RIDGEWAY:
     so considerate with their name and gender pronouns. I quickly         STYLEGUIDE.pdf.                                                                                         Documents and videos are also       I first used Google Sites last semester for my online Children's
     admitted that I knew I had erred a few times and once called                                                                                                                  embedded straight to the page       Literature class. I needed a way to translate my final project from
     them “she” simply out of habit, because I had known them as                                                                                                                   for easy access. There is no        a traditional classroom to the online environment. Children's
     she for months before learning their preference. Mikey said, “Yes,                                                                                                            extra clicking or linking needed,   Literature is popular with early childhood and elementary
     I know it’s awkward, especially for some of my older relatives. All                                                                         which means no extra tabs in which to get lost and no sneaky          education majors. For my in-seat class, students design and
     that matters is that you’re trying.” And after Mikey left, Mikey’s                                                                          broken URLs.                                                          present a curriculum idea to the class. They select an age-
     friend added, “I really appreciate that Mikey felt welcome in your                                                                                                                                                group that they'd like to teach, a genre or topic, books for their
     class and felt like they could be who they are.”                                                                                            Images above: Pages from Chelle’s HUM123 Google site.                 imagined classroom bookshelves, and craft some sample lesson

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