Take Advantage of Summer Classes

woman working at computerWe’re intimately familiar with taking classes from the fall through spring. For most of us, this has been the way we’ve gone to school since we were children, and most likely, you looked forward to the summer break eagerly. It was the time where many of us were free of the obligations of homework and were able to pursue our own interests, whether it was group activities, hanging out with friends, relaxing at home with a video game, movie, or book, or for anyone at least aged 16, starting your first job to earn some spending money. For many students though, summer was a time to take extra classes.

There are many reasons why we might have taken summer classes in high school: improving our grades, taking specialized classes, and very commonly now, to prepare for college. These are valid reasons at the high school level, but why should you take summer classes at the college level? Unlike high school, in college we have greater flexibility in choosing which classes we take, and when we want to take them. So let’s examine some of the advantages of spending time in the classroom during the summer.

  1. Spread the workload

    If you’re planning to get through school in the 2- to 4-year time frame, that means you have to average 15 credits a semester; in other words, up to five classes per. But let’s say you take two of those classes during the summer? That would reduce your average semester workload by a fifth, giving you more time to study for the other four classes and potentially increasing your grade in those classes, which can open the way to GPA-based scholarships and grants. More free time during regular semesters also means more opportunities to earn income, if you’re working while attending school.

  1. Earn your degree faster

    This is not an undertaking to be taken lightly; summer classes are typically shorter than fall and spring classes, but they also contain the same amount of course work. However, for dedicated students working to get their Associate of Applied Science degrees to enter the workforce, taking summer courses on top of a regular class load can potentially let them graduate a semester early. This means more time spent in the profession of your choosing, leading to greater opportunities for advancing your career.

  1. Save some money

    If you’re attending a 4-year university, you know that the cost of classes is much higher than attending a community college. Fortunately, earned credits can transfer, and with Colorado Guaranteed Transfer Courses, summer courses at a community college can also be a great way to take care of your general education classes while spending less at your home institution. As an added advantage, this allows you to focus more time on the courses related to your major while you’re at university.

Whether you’re going to a 2- or 4-year institution, attending college is a great way to advance your career and your life, and summer classes are one of the ways to help you do this. If you’re interested in taking summer classes at ACC, registration opened March 26 for Maymester, 8-week, and 10-week classes.

by Martin Strom, ACC Copywriter

BAS in Emergency Service Administration – A Student Perspective

Conner Cunningham and familyWhy did you decide on the BAS in ESA?

To me, choosing a BAS in Emergency Service Administration was a no brainer. I had just completed my AAS in Criminal Justice and one of my instructors informed me the ESA program was starting this semester. I looked into the program and decided it would help me reach my career goals. With the Emergency Service field being one of the most competitive, and I think having a degree in leadership, management will set me apart from other candidates for new positions or promotions.

Why did you choose ACC?

I actually graduated from high school early in 2011 and went to school in Utah. After a year, I took an academic deferment to serve a religious mission in Romania. When I got home I thought I’d move back to Utah. Instead, I asked a girl I met abroad to marry me and she said yes. Naturally, my education was placed on the back burner.

In 2016 we decided I needed to go back to school so I could pursue a career in Law Enforcement. The only catch was I couldn’t attend class on campus since I was working full-time. I scouted several colleges across the Denver metro area and settled on ACC because of its low cost tuition, numerous online programs and scholarship opportunities.

What do you want to do after you get your Bachelor’s degree?

After I finish my Bachelor’s degree I plan on applying for positions in the FBI or DEA. I speak Romanian fluently and there are field offices for government bureaus in Bucharest. I hope my education, professional experience and linguistics skills can land me the job. If that falls through, I want to promote to supervisory levels at my current agency and work on an impact or cyber-crime team.

What do you like most about the program?

My favorite part of the program is the diversity among classmates and courses. Unlike other programs which are targeted towards a niche group of academics, i.e. Literature, Chemistry, Economics, Political Science, Aquatic Macramé, Emergency Service Administration covers all facets of the field including Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, Disaster Preparation and Response, National Park Services, Corrections, etc. This means that courses are sprinkled with Firefighters, Police Officers, Nurses and EMTs resulting in proactive discussions and interesting, challenging assignments.

Are you able to find a balance between school and those other priorities?

So far, I have been able to balance school with family, work and hobbies. The course load can be extensive at times, but this isn’t my first rodeo and I know how to budget my time. Also, most of the concepts I’m learning are applicable to my current work assignment so I’m enthusiastic about learning and completing the courses.

Would you recommend the program to others and why/why not?

I highly recommend this program to anyone who plans on, or is currently working in, Emergency Services. I know from personal experience that in the 11th hour you can end up being the most senior team member or heading a special assignment when your direct supervisor isn’t around. This program teaches you the necessary skills to take on an active leadership role when the position is thrust upon you or you’ve been managing employees for years.

Learn more about ACC’s BAS in Emergency Service Administration at our BAS Open House & Celebration on Thursday, April 4th from 5-7pm in the Summit Room at the Littleton Campus. You’ll also have a chance at a $1000 scholarship just for attending.

by Conner Cunningham, ACC Student

International Education Day

International Education Day at the Colorado State CapitolThe Arapahoe Community College, along with several higher education institutions, participated in the International Education Day on February 13th at the Colorado State Capitol. Sponsored by StudyColorado, an initiative partnered with over twenty colleges in the state that is designed to promote Colorado as a higher education destination, this event was the first of its kind in Denver. We had a very productive conversation with legislators about the significant economic and cultural contributions of international education to our state. There are nearly 12,000 international students enrolled in our colleges and universities, and they bring about $460 million annually to the Colorado economy, averaging to $38,333 per student. Lucy Daberkow at the CapitolLucy Daberkow, International Recruitment & Retention Specialist, had this to say about the experience: “What a fantastic opportunity to highlight the importance of international education in our state. The state legislators present during the event gave a standing ovation to the international students representing their colleges and universities and thanked them for choosing Colorado as their study destination.”

 

by Lucy Daberkow, ACC International Student Recruitment and Retention Specialist

Celebrating Open Education Week

OE Week conversation cartoonMarch 4-8 is Open Education Week, a week to celebrate open educational resources, tools, and practices that embrace the spirit of open sharing and open access to education worldwide.

Student Government, our ACC Library and Learning Commons, and our Open Educational Resources (OER) Committee are joining together to celebrate Open Education and spread the word about Open Educational Resources (OER) across campus.

What are Open Educational Resources?

According to the Hewlett Foundation, “Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”

OER materials are available through several respected repositories. One of the best known sources for OER is OpenStax at Rice University in Texas. OpenStax publishes peer-reviewed, open-license textbooks that are free and accessible. Another source for open, peer-reviewed textbooks is SUNY Textbooks (OST) from the State University of New York (SUNY); OST offers peer-reviewed, open texts that can be easily adopted and customized. British Columbia offers  BCcampus OpenEd, which has 270 open, customizable resources available on their site. The materials available through these repositories have a Creative Commons License that allows for open use. For more information, please check out our ACC OER  Research Guide.

Open Educational Resources (OER) save students money on textbooks, increase textbook usage, and support inclusivity since OER materials are fully accessible. OER materials are up-to-date and designed specifically for a course, so they are engaging and help promote student success!

According to a study of 32 community colleges by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit network of leaders in community college reform, students found OER textbooks “accessible, relevant and engaging.”

Student Government is sponsoring info tables about OER during Open Education Week. Also look for a video in D2L in which students talk about their experiences and enthusiasm for classes using OER.

by Josie Mills, ACC Associate Vice President for Instruction

ACC Alumnus Jordan Vigil

Jordan VigilFormer PTK student continues to Move Mountains

ACC alumnus Jordan Vigil, who recently graduated from MSU Denver, amassed a 4.0 GPA and was selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Business Management Student award while earning his bachelor’s degree.

Vigil, who has persevered with his educational journey despite living with the challenges of Asperger’s Syndrome, was a standout member of ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from 2013-14.

He also received the Pinnacol Foundation’s Academic Excellence award during his undergraduate career, and is now working at Computershare and Kumon learning center (Highlands Ranch – East).

“Jordan was a wonderful student during his time at ACC,” stated ACC Business Faculty Denise Lefort, who was one of Vigil’s instructors during the fall 2013 semester.  “His success is a result of perseverance and hard work, and I’m confident that he’ll continue to flourish in his future endeavors.”

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

My Experience as an ACC Student

ACC main building - Littleton CampusTwo years ago, I came to this beautiful state (Colorado) in the United States of America from my home country, Nepal. I did my Master’s in Medical Microbiology from Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu Nepal. As I was new to this state, I started search for a job opportunity. During my search online, I found a Medical Laboratory Technology course at Arapahoe Community College which I found related to my subject. Then, I applied for the MLT program, but I needed to do prerequisites for this program to fulfill its criteria. From there, I started my journey at Arapahoe Community College to complete my prerequisite courses. In January 2018, I started studying here and now my prerequisites are almost complete. After completing all my prerequisites, I will be applying for the MLT program next year. Hopefully, I will get admission and pursue my dream in the field of medicine.

In my opinion, Arapahoe Community College is great college to pursue education for a student like me, as I was new for this country with a completely different background. The best thing I like about this college is its friendly and very cooperative environment. I found all instructors and students are welcoming and helpful in all possible ways. Whenever, I get stuck in anything, I can openly ask for help without any hesitation. Similarly, the instruction at ACC is very fruitful, as the study pattern focuses on both theoretical and practical knowledge. Personally, I have improved a lot and learned many new things during my course of study.

While analyzing the difference between online and face-to face courses, as per my experience, I found both courses have their pros and cons. In online courses pros are in its flexibility with time and accessibility whenever we want. Whereas cons are not getting a response of our queries in real time and lack of peer interaction. Similarly, in face-to-face courses, the pros are that we can asks questions to our instructor in real time and can discuss the course-related problem with peers. Whereas, cons are it takes lot time for traveling. So, it all depends on us what course will be manageable in a particular time according to our needs.

Overall, as an Arapahoe Community College student, I have had a wonderful learning experience and feel proud  to be part of this prestigious institution.

by Nabina Jha, ACC student

ACC Welcomes New Group of International Students

Arapahoe Community College is proud to welcome its newest group of international students on campus! Students from China, Nepal, South Korea, Thailand, the UK, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe joined us for international student orientation and are ready to start their semester at ACC. They are part of an impressive and diverse group of international students on campus who are eager to Move Mountains. International students bring a unique perspective to our campus and in the process enhance our understanding of other cultures and global educational systems.
ACC International Students 2019
Our international students are already feeling part of the ACC community. Yao Zheng, a new student from China, had this to say about her experiences on campus: “I used to study in a language center with a partnership with ACC. When my teacher recommended ACC to me and my friends as the future college, I hadn’t realized how amazing this college is. After I met the international student advisor, I decided to study in this college because I know it’s going to be the great college of my next two years. And I came to ACC several times for visiting and getting information, the employees here are so helpful and nice.”

by Lucy Daberkow, ACC International Student Recruitment and Retention Specialist

Succeed in your Biology Courses

Did you know how many amazing resources there are to get help in your biology courses? The biology department has a study lab in the library that is staffed by ACC biology faculty to help you with your courses. This study lab room is stocked not only with instructors, but with models, microscopes, slides, and lab equipment. We can also help with scientific writing and lab reports! The main library desk also has these items if you’d like to check them out and study on your own for a couple of hours.

For those students in BIO111, our Student Success Center also has S.I. (Student Instructors) that meet throughout the week for help with that course.

These resources are entirely free and the schedules can be found online:
Biology Study Lab Schedule | Student Success Center S.I. Schedule

by Rachel Willard, ACC Biology Faculty

Why You Should Check Out the ePortfolio Feature in D2L

Arapahoe Community College theme available in ACC’s ePortfolio in D2L

Imagine having your own gallery where your work over several years is displayed in a beautiful arrangement. At the entrance is a short bio about you. Around the room are posted papers you’ve written in various classes over the years, presentations you’ve given, photos and reflections from a service learning or community service event that you participated in, documentation of the fine work you did in internship in the field. A resume and cover letter is also displayed along with any honors or awards you’ve received. The exhibit is multimedia with text, photos, video, and embedded social media posts. And it’s fully available online.

The new ePortfolio feature in Desire to Learn (D2L), our course management system, offers us this robust storage and presentation capability, terrific for students and beneficial for everyone else too. We know that you have other places where you can store and post collections of your work (Google+, One Drive, Tumblr, Instagram), but we think you’ll find the ePortfolio offers an easy-to-use, readily accessible option with rich multimedia tools. You also have the option to choose a unique ACC theme for your presentations like the one shown at the top of this page or just below this paragraph…

Arapahoe Community College theme available in ACC’s ePortfolio in D2L

Say you’re a professor and you need to write a letter of recommendation for a student you haven’t seen in a couple years. The student sends you the link to her ePortfolio where the papers she wrote in your class and her current information is available. The link can be private, sent only to you.

Say you’re a department chair overseeing students’ internship work. Students can post forms, weekly updates, performance reviews, and reflections in an ePortfolio presentation.

Sample Resume

Say you’re a student, workstudy, instructor, or staff member seeking a job or making a career move. You can include a link to an ePortfolio Presentation on your cover letter or in your LinkedIn profile. This link can be a public, external link available on the web.

Say you’re a student preparing for a presentation at the end of the semester, and you’re burned out on PowerPoint. Why not shake things up by creating your presentation in ePortfolio? The result will be fresh and professional. It’s also very easy to create a stunning presentation quickly and easily using  themes. Here’s an example:

Sample Presentation

Faculty can also create assignments using the ePortfolio feature such as having students create a presentation that they then share with a student group or with professionals in the field for feedback. In addition, faculty can use the “Reflect in ePortfolio” feature in Content to have students record reflections on each assignment.

Students in AAA101 will now develop an ePortfolio from the start of their time at ACC. We hope faculty will support its use throughout all classes by encouraging students to upload papers and presentations into the ePortfolio. eLearning staff are happy to visit classes and lead students through the process. ePortfolio training sessions are also being offered weekly in eLearning or stop by eLearning for a quick one-on-one tutorial.

Video Tutorials

To learn more about ePortfolio and how to use it, watch these D2L training videos.

by Josie Mills, Associate Vice President for Instruction at Arapahoe Community College

A Year-Long Project: Project Homeless Connect

“Project Homeless Connect was the most inspiring event of humanity that I have been part of in a while. We need more compassion and acceptance in our world today, and being at the event reminded me of all I have and all I can give to others. Thanks to everyone who organized and was a huge to small part of this tremendously valuable event!”

This quote from one of our 35 ACC volunteers at Project Homeless Connect says it all.

Sponsored on November 15, 2018 by Mile High United Way, Denver’s Road Home, and the City and County of Denver, over 750 volunteers helped connect those in need to an array of offerings, ranging from ID services, housing information, resume workshops, haircuts, legal assistance, and various healthcare service—like massage and diabetes testing—to specific help for veterans, children, and pets. Plus, 157 people were offered jobs on the spot. ACC is proud to have been a provider and sponsor for this remarkable event, each of us becoming more educated about homelessness, as well as better understanding issues of diversity since culture, race, age, learning and physical challenges, gender, sexual orientation, and religion were all represented in one day.

On that sunny, unseasonably warm, 60-degree day, ACC helped our most vulnerable population access much-needed resources to become self-sufficient for themselves and their families. But this annual, one-day event—open to people of all ages who are experiencing homelessness or facing housing instability—did not begin and end on November 15.

Beginning back in Fall 2017, ACC’s Service Learning Center began collaborating with Phi Theta Kappa, Student Life, our Library, and various other departments to collect 1,000 coats for the Fall 2018 event. We fell short of our coat count, but our community did step up, and generous students, staff, and faculty donated 450 coats right up to the night before the event took place.

Phi Theta Kappa students Savannah Lewis-Sweed, Carli Rodriguez, Josephine Thibodeau, and Ryan Holmes.

Phi Theta Kappa students Savannah Lewis-Sweed, Carli Rodriguez, Josephine Thibodeau, and Ryan Holmes.

It was quite daunting to collect and store hundreds of coats for two and a half semesters, but it was worth it to know some of our teachers were planning worthwhile Service Learning assignments for their students. Dina Hornreich’s Interpersonal Communication student, Rachel Anderson, and Karen Rojenko’s Nursing student, Josh Mickelson, spent time volunteering at our ACC Coat Table at the event by showing up at 7:30 a.m. to help set up and staying through the morning to hand out coats while learning about the many families looking to stay warm this winter. Chris McKellip’s AAA assignment focused on Service Learning, helping Jonathan Rumley and Carol Capuano learn first-hand about the homeless situation by guiding guests through the many services offered, while Tamara Haynes, being a licensed cosmetologist, adorned 15 guests by cutting their hair.

ACC students Rachel Anderson and Josh Mickelson

ACC students Rachel Anderson and Josh Mickelson

If collecting and storing hundreds of coats was a task, how did we plan to get them to the Denver Convention Center 10 miles north of ACC? That was easier than realized, knowing how helpful and collaborative our departments are across campus. Brendan Bieker and Adrian Medina from our Facilities Department drove us and our dozens of trash bags filled with coats of all sizes in two enormous pick-up trucks to the event center in the middle of afternoon traffic—and back—with no complaints at all.

Loading up the ACC coat donations the day before the event. Pictured are Brandon Bieker, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, and Adrian Medina

Dropping off the ACC coat donations the day before the event. Pictured are Brandon Bieker, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, and Adrian Medina

But at 10 a.m. on November 15, it was show time, so we had to have our coat area set up and ready for the more than 1,400 guests who would soon be arriving at our table, planning for another Colorado winter. Good thing a small group of our volunteers entered the event center nearly three hours earlier that morning energized because we needed a lot of time to tear apart those bags and organize the coats neatly in sections on our 24 tables for men, women, and children—along with a miscellaneous items’ table of hats, gloves, and even t-shirts. We instantly knew we had more tables than coats, but then we introduced ourselves to Linda and her staff of three from Coats for Colorado who brought another 750 coats. We also worked also alongside Juanita from Servicios de la Raza and two friendly folks from Home Aid Colorado who dispensed 1,000 pairs of socks. We even gave away over 20 of those plastic bags that originally held the coats—without rips or holes—to some guests asking for ways to store their new coat or socks or whatever else they were procuring for themselves.

English and Literature faculty Juliet Hubbell and Assistive Technology Specialist for Student Access Services Enrique Castro Franco volunteered at ACC’s Coat Table. Their blue volunteer t-shirts tell guests that they are bilingual.

ACC Library and Learning Commons Director Lisa Chestnut and eLearning Specialist Cherri LaMarr volunteered at the ACC Coat Table

ACC’s Workforce and Community Programs staff volunteered at the ACC Coat Table. Pictured: Kelly Locascio, Amber Toliver, Julie Beggs, Anthony Silio, and Shao Yeung

But serving the community while hearing people’s stories about living in Denver without a place to call home is more than supplying coats to those in need. Brad Bartholomew, a member of our photography faculty, incorporated a unique and valuable Service Learning project for his class by bringing 12 students out to their own booth so they could learn to take high-quality portraits and communicate with the public. Brad had this to say: “We had a wonderful and positive experience. I had many students say that it was one of the most positive things they have ever done. They thanked me for getting them involved. I set it up, but they did all the work. We were all proud to represent ACC as we helped our neighbors.” And ACC was not alone in educating students about poverty and inequity, as Regis University’s Service Learning students worked the Welcome area to pair up volunteers with over 1,400 guests that day.

ACC Photography professor Brad Bartholomew and his Commercial Photography students

ACC’s Portrait Studio at Project Homeless Connect

Humans were not the only ones receiving care and support that day. Quite a few dogs—small and large—were getting checkups and immunizations, picking out toys and snacks and bags of food, taking time to be petted by volunteers representing non-profit animal shelters, and even getting baths. And one or two got to have their portraits taken by Brad’s students while posing with on their humans’ laps.

Some dogs accompanied their humans to Project Homeless Connect this Fall 2018

By 3 o’clock, the event was over and people were meandering out the door with smiles and new outlooks on life. At our now-empty coat tables, the remaining five volunteers had only three coats left that Servicios de la Raza—which serves as an integral chamber in the heart of Metro Denver’s Latinx community—took with them for their upcoming Thanksgiving event.

Reflecting back on the event just a few weeks after it ended, it felt good to leave knowing so many people that we live alongside in our communities would be warm this winter, because in spite of the balmy temperatures we had for the event, a big cold front with lots of snow was heading towards Denver in the next few days. It was also sad to think so many individuals, especially the children and dogs we saw, needed to have those resources in the first place and couldn’t simply spend that day nestled in their own, safe homes. Sometimes, we take what we have for granted, but it’s good to know we can help again in other areas of support next year. Any ideas? See you next Fall at Project Homeless Connect 2019!

ACC Service Learning Center Coordinator/Communication faculty Diana Hornick and Math faculty Heidi Barrett

by Diana Hornick and Josie Mills