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2006-2007 Innovation Abstracts



Vol. XXIX, No. 15

May 4, 2007

In “Challenging the Myths About Online Learning,” Robert Mendenhall, President, Western Governors University (UT), and Mark David Milliron, former NISOD Director, at The University of Texas at Austin, discuss 10 of the most common myths that faculty believe about this developing instructional phenomenon. Their challenges will help allay some fears and provide new directions for faculty looking to “blend” online learning with their traditional classroom teaching.

Vol XXIX, No. 14

April 27, 2007

In “Advice From an Internship Veteran,” Scott Newman, Division Chair of Information Technologies, at Oklahoma State University—Okmulgee, shares advice to any program looking to initiate or develop a successful internship experience for its students. Benefits to students, to the program, and to the college are described.

In “Be A Scholar, Too,” Jerry Clavner, Professor of Social Sciences, at Cuyahoga Community College (OH), reminds us to refuel the “thirst for knowledge” that put us in the classroom in the first place and will keep us enthusiastic about teaching.

Vol. XXIX, No. 13

April 20, 2007

In “Impromptu Speaking for a Purpose,” Gretchen Aggertt Weber, Professor Speech, at Horry-Georgetown Technical College (SC), describes a strategy for choosing speech topics and creating speech prompts with action verbs to help improve students’ skills in public speaking.

In “A New Advising Strategy,” Teresa Ray-Connell, Instructor in Dental Hygiene and Assisting Department, at Wallace State Community College (AL), describes a successful strategy for improving student performance in clinic and classroom—“advisory” groups of first- and second-year students. Students are more willing to ask questions and share experiences in these small-group sessions than in larger classes; students are more collaborative. Other benefits to students and the program are described.

Vol. XXIX, No. 12

April 13, 2007

This issue is the third reprint in the Showcasing Popular Issues Series of favorite Innovation Abstracts. In “How to Favorably Impress the Instructor,” Jerry Clavner, Professor Social Sciences at Cuyahoga Community College (OH), shares tips he offers his students—explaining “good student” strategies to every new class. Years of experience tell him that students often need some guidance about “student behaviors” that reflect their instructors’ expectations and help them navigate college classrooms better.

Vol. XXIX, No. 11

April 6, 2007

In “Using Blogs as Writing Journals,” Maria Johnson, English Instructor, at DeKalb Technical College (GA), describes a successful strategy for maintaining a true writing forum. Moving students from text-messaging on their phones and checking their emails in the college computer lab to writing in response to posted questions (along with their classmates) proved to be a positive challenge and a confidence-building technique.

Vol. XXIX, No. 10

March 30, 2007

In “Unique Student-Teaching Assignments,” John Bertalan, Retired Professor of Education and Political Science, at Hillsborough Community Coollege (FL), describes creative student presentations that “taught” a chapter in the assigned textbook. Each student was permitted to use any creative, unusual, thought-provoking strategies to grab the attention and interest of their classmates (their “students”) and “teach” the chapter well.

Vol. XXIX, No. 9

March 23, 2007

In “Reaching,” Leonard Goodisman, Science/Math Faculty, at Cascadia Community College (WA), describes a strategy for helping students reach beyond what they might consider their “final answer” or “all they can say about the subject.” Students should be encouraged to think about what else they might investigate or what more they could include in their work before calling it a finished product. Students can be taught how to develop their “reaching skills” in a wide array of discipline areas.

Vol. XXIX, No. 8

March 9, 2007

In “Course Assessment and Student Learning Objectives: A Guide for Faculty,” Katherine Simpson, Associate Professor English and Assessment Coordinator, at Lord Fairfax Community College (VA), describes LFCC faculty’s journey toward documenting student learning. The results have included better accounting for student learning, shared best practices, and improved collegiality across disciplines and campus.

Vol. XXIX, No. 7

March 2, 2007

In “Dead Languages—Latin and Ancient Greek—Alive and Kicking in a Science Curriculum,” Claudio Mazzatenta, Assistance Professor in the Department of Biology and Medical Laboratory Technology, at Bronx Community College (NY), describes the importance of designing strategies for encouraging and developing students’ knowledge and appreciation of other cultures and languages—no matter their programs of study and areas of interest.

Vol. XXIX, No. 6

February 23, 2007

The second in the Popular Issues Series, “Why Students Must Be Held Accountable for Their Writing,” Sherry Sherrill, then English Instructor at Forsyth Technical Community College (NC), now President of Sherrill Communications, Inc., describes strategies for helping students become more competent writers, preparing themselves for workplace experiences. She tells us now: “I have NOT changed my mind about what I wrote over a decade ago. I am now a corporate trainer and consultant…and the level of knowledge young people bring to the work place is stunningly weak.”

Vol. XXIX, No. 5

February 16, 2007

“You Can Quote Me on That!” by Rebecca Borton, Adjunct Professor of Arts and Sciences at Northwest State Community College (OH), describes a tradition of sharing quotes to seize students’ interest and attention quickly at the beginning of every class session.

Vol. XXIX, No. 4

February 9, 2007

This issue is the first in a series of occasional reprints of previously published Innovation Abstracts. Outside sources seeking permission to reprint Abstracts have identified some of the most popular issues over the last 25+ years. “Showcasing Popular Issues Series” will feature some of those issues. “30 Things We Know for Sure About Adult Learning,” by Ron and Susan Zemke, is the most requested issue of all times. It is as timely today as it was in 1984.

Vol. XXIX, No. 3

February 2, 2007

In “Advising Adult Learners Cross-Country Style,” Joan Ladik, Director of Continuing Education, College Coach (MA), describes services to employers seeking to help keep their employees well trained, viable, and valuable members of their company’s teams by advising and assisting them in pursuing programs and degrees in higher education.

Vol. XXIX, No. 2

January 26, 2007

In “Using an Interactive Multimedia Classroom: Making a Connection,” Beth Bownes Johnson, Instructor and Department Chair, English, at Wallace State Community College (AL), describes her “visual” approach to instruction—engaging students in their own presentations that require creative uses of technology, dress, food, design, and speech.

Vol. XXIX, No. 1

January 19, 2007

In “Alleviating Anxiety for Nontraditional Students,” Elizabeth Padden, Assistant Professor, Modern Languages, at Lord Fairfax Community College (VA), describes instructional strategies for engaging students who too often seek the nearest exit and never return to class. Study sessions, problem-solving activities, technology, positive feedback, and sessions scheduled in both traditional and nontraditional settings and at convenient times for adult, working students combine to keep them upbeat and focused on success in this Spanish immersion class.

Vol. XVIII, No. 29

December 8, 2006

“Writing an Innovation Abstractsinvites faculty, staff, and administrators of NISOD-member colleges to submit articles to NISOD’s publication editor. Past issues of Abstracts are a potential author’s best models for format and tone. And, the wide array of topics addressed in every academic year’s issues reflect the extraordinary creativity of instructional strategies, program designs, and student success strategies currently at work in community colleges everywhere. Should you need more information or want to discuss a possible topic, contact us electronically at Submit articles at this same address.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 28

December 1, 2006

In “Improving Classroom Retention,” Stephanie A. Holt, Instructor, Fine Arts and Humanities, at Hopkinsville Community College (KY), describes a successful blend of strategies for keeping students in class and, ultimately, in college. She identifies her personality, her blended teaching style, consistent grading protocol, and respect for her students as high on student’s list for why they enjoy their learning experiences and are successful in extraordinary numbers in her class.

Vol. XXVII, No. 27

November 17, 2006

In “Implementing an Application-Based Practicum,” Carolin Rekar Munro, Coordinator and Professor, Human Resources, at Durham College (CN), describes an application- and field-based practicum that works with area businesses to move students successfully from the academic classroom into the workplace. A waiting list of businesses each year attests to the success of this professional training program.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 26

November 10, 2006

In “A Study of Science Course Success and a Journey Started,” Merrill Adams, professor of biology, and Vicky Ramakka, Director of University Programs, at San Juan College (NM), describe a process by which help faculty identify the factors that lead to student success, collect and share appropriate student data that help students prepare themselves for success in science courses, and best design learning outcomes that improve student performance in follow-on science courses.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 25

November 3, 2006

In “The Significance of an Overseas College Service Project,” Susan McClung, Humanities instructor at Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City Campus (FL), describes benefits to students and faculty who participated in a humanitarian service project in Ghana, Africa. Academic and personal benefits strengthened the students’ academic skills and fine-tuned their appreciation of belonging, involvement, and responsibility that grew from the African experience and spread into their local communities.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 24

October 27, 2006

In “The Liberal Mothers Stage: A Paradigm for the Single Mother College Student,” Rochelle Holland, Assistant Professor of Counseling, at Borough of Manhattan Community College (NY), describes a program to help single mothers identify, embrace, and survive the multiple tasks that childrearing and college responsibilities create.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 23

October 20, 2006

In “Innovation and Evocation: Supporting Teaching and Learning Through Short Writing Assignments,” Devon Galway, Professor of Technology and Trades, at Algonquin College (Ontario, CN), describes a unique way of students communicating directly with the professor through Summary and Response Pieces. All students have profited by this approach to staying in good touch and monitoring progress.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 22

October 13, 2006

Carlos Gomez, Professor of Art, at University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, describes a successful experimental art class in “Is It Art?” Students found experimenting with “making art” to be a difficult task, but they were won over relatively well and developed some important skills in the process.

In “Hammering Home the Importance of Education,” Gena Parsons, Public Information Officer, and Michael Schaefer, Division Chair of Business, at Blinn College (TX), describe a nation program that brings fifth-grade students onto campus for a fun event that involves students and community in learning about important relationships between school work and the real world.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 21

October 6, 2006

In “Keys for a Successful Disability Awareness Day,” Florence Weeks and Jan Irey, DSR Specialists at Pima Community College—East Campus (AZ), describe strategies for informing and involving all students in debunking myths and raising awareness about students with disabilities and their experiences in the college environment. October is Disability Awareness Month.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 20

September 29, 2006

In “Vita Income Tax Preparation: A Win-Win-Win-Win Program,” Nancy Swanborg, Director of Women’s Resource Center; Fay Schuett, Faculty Director of Scholars Honors Program; Lavonda Ramey, Michelle Randall, Gerard Melnick, Faculty in the Accounting Department; and Timothy O’Neal, Director of the Office of Academic Computing, at Schoolcraft College (MI), describe a successful program for serving the community, providing critical learning experiences for accounting students, and expanding the accounting curriculum.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 19

September 22, 2006

In “Back to the Board,” Maria Andersen, faculty member in the Math/Science Department, at Muskegon Community College (MI), writes about her extraordinary success using whiteboards and markers—having plenty to go around—and students working in pairs to solve problems by doing “board work” every day. Students’ exam scores have improved significantly, and they respond favorably to these times at the board.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 18

September 15, 2006

In “Practicing Best Practices,” Fran Turner, Program Director of Adult Education, Thomas Taylor, Dean of Students, Curtis Coleman, site coordinator for Adult Education, and Phillip John, site coordinator for Adult Education, at Shelton State Community College (AL), describe a strategy for spotlighting and showcasing best practices in teaching and learning. In addition to reading about best practices in action, faculty members experience them first-hand, learning to replicate them in their own classes.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 17

September 8, 2006

In “Strategies and Benefits of Computerized Learning Systems with Developmental and Literacy Populations,” Raymond Manak, Dean of Developmental Education and Learning Services, and David Haiduc, Assessment and Evaluation Specialist at Cuyahoga Community College (OH), describe a model for facilitating these special populations’ academic success—the AZTEC Project. This project implements learning modules with follow-up strategies for formative and summative evaluation. Student satisfaction surveys demonstrated the model is a viable approach to successfully developing writing, math, and reading skills.

Vol. XXVIII, No. 16

September 1, 2006

In “Rethinking Research,” Judy Nolasco, Professor English at Hillsborough Community College—Ybor City Campus (FL), describes her strategy for addressing the increasing problem of plagiarism—a Personal Development Research Paper on topics that would eliminate the vast array of papers available online. Students must write about issues and needs of interest to them—e.g., buying car insurance or a house; conduct the appropriate research; and learn about research techniques simultaneously.