In Phi Theta Kappa your potential is limitless

Tasha EsteinIf you catch a bee in glass, you’ll find the bee will hit the top of the glass a few times–trying to fly away–before stopping. If you take that same glass and flip it right side up (without removing the bee), you’ll find that the bee won’t try to fly away any more. In fact, it’s usually quite a while before the bee even realizes that he can fly to reach his full potential. We, as humans, create these same kinds of limitations for ourselves every day. We see how expansive the sky appears to be, but because we have fumbled along the way a few times and hit the glass– maybe because we were under-prepared, were told that we couldn’t do better, or it simply wasn’t the right time – we think of that small, limited glass as our best lot in life. I’m here to help you realize that the sky is the limit – there are no glass limitations except those that you set for yourself. Phi Theta Kappa can help actualize that.

For those of you that know me, hi! For those that do not, I’m Tasha Estein – Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Phi chapter’s historian for this year. I have a secret to share with you all: I’m completely mediocre. I didn’t learn how to read until I was almost 10 years old. I had to retake my senior year of high school. And I had to wait seven years just to get into community college. I have fallen more times than I can count and I have fallen harder than I ever thought I could recover from.

When I started classes at ACC last fall, if you asked me then where I thought I would be in a year’s time–I would have had very low expectations for myself. I came to this school wanting to be invisible: to get my credits and go. I never expected to do anything that I would be proud of, and I certainly didn’t expect to be in a position where people would care who I was. In this last year, however, I have won several awards, been selected for noteworthy positions, and accomplished many things that anyone would be proud of. I will not bother you with the boring specifics, but to give you a bit of perspective: this time last week I was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida working with NASA scientists and 40 exceptional community college students from all over the US. The real kick that I get out of those community college students? Almost all of them were Phi Theta Kappa members and some of them are even intending to run for an International Office for next year. This trend is not limited to NASA either.

Over the past year, I have attend many events, always with a large variety of students. But almost always I have found that the most exceptional people are involved with PTK. And while there are successful students outside of PTK, this organization is a culmination of the best and brightest. Why? Because if you are reading this, you have already proved to be a hardworking individual. If you are reading this, you know that PTK has something important to give to you: the ability to go farther than you ever thought you could go before–a means of becoming the person that you were meant to be.

Although we all have different backgrounds and come from different walks of life, we have joined here because deep down we want to strive for greatness. Perhaps, some of you have already realized it or perhaps some of you are where I was a year ago–when I thought I wouldn’t amount to anything. No matter where you are, it’s important to remember that you will get what you give. If you are willing to work like you did to get to this point the only way out is up. From working with PTK I have gained confidence, found life changing opportunities, made friends and memories, and had a blast while doing it.

I want to personally encourage you to learn more about Sigma Phi. You have reached the edge of the glass. From here, you only need to remember to fly. I can’t wait to see where we will go from here. Thank you.

by Tasha Estein, ACC Student

Transitioning to Civilian

Jason:

This is my first blog so be gentle please. But first a little about me. My name is Jason Moore. I joined the army in 2010 as a 13B or other words knows as Field Artillery Crewman. I was stationed at 101st Airborne Division after basic training and AIT (Advanced Initial Training). I was shortly deployed to Afghanistan in the Kunar province for a year.  I spent 3 years in the army and got out due to a medical reason. When I got out I thought I would just go back to my normal civilian life but it wasn’t easy.

I decided to try and start school to occupy my free time and thought again “this will be easy, I’ve been through the military training, I got this in the bag.”  I was wrong, though. This is a completely different world than I thought. If it wasn’t for the great resources the Veteran center had such as peer tutors, a private place to study (the lounge) and instructors like I had (Joe Slonka, and Richard Corbetta) and all the others in the paralegal program, I believe I will would have quit, but I’m glad I didn’t. But I’m not the only one. DJ will tell you his story now.

DJ:

My name is Daniel Cunningham, like Jason this is my first time writing in a blog format so please be understanding to the both of us. I joined the military back in 2005 as a 91w at the time, it is now known as a 68w or medic. My time in the military was very diverse. I went from Ft. Hood where I had my first deployment to Iraq with 4th ID. When I got back I was put with 1st ID 1/26 where I went on my second deployment in 2008 to Afghanistan. After that I did a stent in Korea and finally came back to 1/26 at Ft Knox, where I went on my final deployment which ended with me being medically retired from the military in 2014.

Coming out of the military was extremely hard on me. I did not want out and I had fought my medical board for almost two years before I finally resigned to my fate. When I first got out I lived with my family here in Colorado trying to figure out what I should do with my life now. My life goals of doing 20 years in the military and then going over to the police force were no longer possible, so I spiraled into a state of depression. Finally, my wife had had enough of me and forced me to go to school to find myself again. Since then I have been a lot happier and have finally chosen a career path for myself, geophysical engineering, which feels good. I believe that being around the fellow Veterans here at ACC and hearing their stories has helped me move through the transition and find a new life outside of the military.

ACC can be a great place for each of our Veterans coming back. We want each of you to find your place here at ACC – join us in the Veterans Lounge, stop by a Student Veterans Association meeting in the fall or use any of the great resources. While it will not always be easy to make a transition, by making connections here at ACC, you’ll have an overall better time here and hopefully a successful experience. You can contact us at jmoore249@student.cccs.edu and dcunningham23@student.cccs.edu

by Jason Moore and DJ Cunningham

Which Note-Taking App Should You Use? 3 Great Note-Taking Apps for College Students

Portrait of successful business team standing together against wooden wall. Full length image of a group of diverse colleagues standing in an officeNote-taking has come a long way. Gone are the days of writing until your hand aches or using an audio recorder and transcribing. Now that 50 percent of college students use a laptop at least once a week in class, many of them are using note-taking apps and programs to take notes quickly and keep them organized.

Thanks to these programs, keeping up in class, staying organized, and even copying notes from your friends has never been easier. Here’s a comparison of three popular note-taking apps to add to your study routine.

Evernote

Evernote is probably the most well-known note-taking app. In addition to supporting both list and longer-form content creation directly in the app, Evernote is also designed to clip and save content from the web and has well-developed collaboration capabilities.

Device Availability:

Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Web

Note-Taking Options:

Evernote truly does let you keep all your notes in one place. When writing notes directly into the app it offers the usual text formatting tools plus the ability to embed tables, files, and pictures. It also has audio and video recording features. If you’re not working directly within the app from the get go, you can clip information from websites and save it to Evernote or take photos of handwritten notes to upload. You can even save emails to Evernote with some plans (sadly not the free plan).

The clipped content feature is particularly handy and an available browser plugin means you can work from your favorite browser, not just the app. When you’re trying to pull an article into Evernote you have options to eliminate the ads, capture just the text and graphics without the layout or videos, capture the full page, save only a bookmark to the page, or take a screenshot of the page. You can annotate the clipped content with text, highlights, and arrows to easily add your own notes. And best of all, the content is live – you can copy, paste, edit, and reformat it.

Collaboration:

Evernote also makes it easy to share and collaborate on notes and projects with your peers. Message back and forth within the app to get the missing parts and pieces you need. You’ll also be able to see real time changes to any of the documents so you don’t overwrite or duplicate work. Whether you’re working on organizing a team To-Do list for a project or sharing your research notes, Evernote can handle a broad range of collaboration needs.

This feature is also particularly helpful if you miss class and need to get notes from a friend. They can simply send you the digital notes via Evernote.

Organization:

All your notes are visible in a single pane, but Evernote offers two ways to catalog and organize individual notes – Notebooks and Tags. You can create and name your own custom notebooks and tags to organize your notes any way you’d like.

Each note can live in only one notebook, but can have multiple tags (up to 100 per note). You can then find your notes in all three views: notes, notebooks, and tags – all of which are individually searchable. Tags are also organized alphabetically so you can add as many tags to your Evernote app as you want without getting completely overwhelmed.

The best application for this organizational structure would be to create a notebook for each class (be sure you add your new notes to the right notebook!) and add multiple tags to your notes. For instance, you can tag notes with a particular project, by topic, by media type (articles, class notes, video, audio, etc.), and with helpful reminders of when you might need that note (homework, to-do, finals).

Storage:

Evernote syncs with cloud storage, meaning you’ll still have your notes when you jump between devices. Different levels of storage are available with the three different plans. The Basic plan allows for notes up to 25MB and 60MB of monthly uploads. The Premium plan supports notes up to 200MB and 10GB of monthly uploads. A Plus plan falls somewhere in between.

Cost:

Evernote Basic is free but does have a limited number of features. Plus is $24.99 per year and includes a few of the features you’re most likely to miss with the free plan. For power users, the Premium plan costs $49.99 a year.

 

OneNote

Group of college students with laptop computerOneNote, part of the Microsoft suite of online tools, functions like a basic word processor but organizes as if you were writing in a divided spiral notebook. It has a lot of the same note taking features as Evernote, with the added benefit of also boosting most of Microsoft Word’s features.

Device Availability:

Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Web

Note-Taking Options:

You take notes in OneNote just like you’d type in Microsoft Word – which diminishes the learning curve. In additional to typing in your notes, you can also make and insert audio and video recordings, include images, and embed spreadsheets and tables. One of the nicest things about working in OneNote is that it auto saves your work as you go – a feature that anyone who has ever forgotten to hit Save is sure to appreciate.

If you need to upload handwritten notes, no need to sit down and type them all. OneNote allows you to take a photo of the notes with your mobile device and upload it as an image. To make sure the notes are legible, Microsoft offers a companion app called Microsoft Lens.

OneNote also supports clipping content from the web and allows you to add your own annotations or edits. When clipping the webpage, you can select the area you want, leaving out annoying sidebars or ads.

You can even save emails to your OneNote by sending them to your own personal OneNote email address. Emails are saved to a default notebook that you need to select when you set up this feature, so it’s best to create a generic Emails notebook within OneNote. Once the notes are loaded in you can move them as needed.

Collaboration:

You can share your OneNote notebooks with others so they can view, review, and edit your work. Sharing is on a notebook-by-notebook basis, so when you share notes for one class your classmate won’t be able to see the rest of your notebooks or notes.

When you’re sharing your notes, you can choose whether that person can edit or only view your shared document. For extra security, you can also require that the person log into their own OneNote account before they can see what you sent them. If you want to share your notes with someone who doesn’t use OneNote, unchecking the “require sign-in” option will send them a link they can access anyway. The same viewing or editing permission still work in these cases.

Organization:

Documents, notes, and media cannot be stored in OneNote without being assigned to a notebook. Organization is done by setting up notebooks and adding “Sections” to each notebook. While you’ll need a different notebook for each class, the sections make it easy to keep notes for that subject well organized. These sections are organized like tabs, making this app easy-to-use.

Storage:

OneNote is cloud-based, meaning your information syncs among all your devices. Free subscribers are limited to 15GB of space for all Microsoft OneDrive uses (not just OneNote). If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you can get more space.

Cost:

OneNote is free when you sign up for a free Microsoft OneDrive account.

 

1Writer

1Writer is designed to be a clean, distraction-free mobile note taking app that makes collaboration easy. It’s a fairly tech-advanced app that offers a lot of Markdown and JavaScript features and customizable views to really meet your needs.

Device Availability:

iOS only – particularly iPhone and iPad

Note-Taking Options:

1Writer’s main feature allows you to create and edit plain text or Markdown files directly within the app. This basic feature goes so far as to add a convenient formatting row to your mobile keyboard, making it easy to bold, italicize, and hyperlink text or even drop in an image.

1Writer syncs with Dropbox and iCloud so you can access and edit stored documents. If you’re working offline, your documents will be updated in the cloud once you reconnect to the internet.

As for doing research and taking notes from online sources, 1Writer has an in-app web browser and you can bookmark your favorite sites right in the app. The app can also convert web text to Markdown syntax and allows you to drop the copied text onto a clipboard.

You can also create handy To-Do checklists in the 1Writer app. Additional features – such as Find & Replace – can be added to the basic app by downloading them from the 1Writer website’s “Action Directory” at no extra charge.

Collaboration:

1Writer has a host of built-in sharing features that let you share your work outside of the app. You can generate a sharable link that leads directly to your notes in plain text or PDF form. You can also email notes as plain text, formatted text, or a PDF. Interestingly, you can also turn 1Writer notes or text selections into Evernote notes.

More advanced features let you share using URL scheme or JavaScript text manipulation.

Overall, 1Writer allows more sharing of notes rather than active in-app collaboration between different users.

Organization:

Your notes can be organized in searchable folders and tagged with searchable hashtags (within the text) to help you keep everything neatly organized and easy to find.

Storage:

It’s unclear how much in-app storage 1Writer supports, but it can sync with Dropbox and iCloud, which gives you plenty of options for cloud storage.

Cost:

$4.99 in the Apple App Store.

 

Using Note-Taking Apps

No matter which note-taking app you choose, all of them make keeping up and taking notes fast and simple. Technology can benefit you only if you use it properly, though, and it’s worth noting that studies have shown that writing with pen and paper helps to boost your memory and “ability to retain and understand concepts.” If you have a particularly challenging class, you may want to switch between handwriting and your note-taking app so you can retain difficult concepts better. Or opt for a note-taking app that supports uploading handwritten notes so you can keep everything organized while still getting the benefits of hand-writing your notes.

Where these apps do come in handy is in keeping you organized and keeping your notes legible. Sloppy or slow handwriting, misplaced or disorganized notebooks, and running out of ink aren’t problems anymore thanks to note-taking apps. Simply turn on, type, and you’re set!

The Political Frontier of Free Community College

Transcript:

The members of Sigma Phi interviewed students and administration on the political frontier of free community college.

Why did you choose to pursue a community college education?

“So I decided to go to community college so that I could save some money and then transfer to get my four-year degree. It’s a lot cheaper.”

“Uh, save a little money because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after high school.”

“It’s a smaller class and you can really interact with teachers and professors.”

“I want to get a strong footing in order to pursue a four-year degree.”

How would the free community college initiative benefit you?

“It would make me want to go to community college more instead of taking out loans and paying more money for the rest of my life.”

“I would be able to cut my student loans.”

“It might take stress off of me in the future if I decide to have children and want to pay for their education.”

Joan Anderssen, Professor of Economics [at Arapahoe Community College]: “Last year, seventy-one percent of US college graduates had student loans to pay off with a whopping $33,000 in debt per student. Americans now have more collective student loan debt, 1.3 trillion, than any other kind of debt. Right, it’s more than credit card and auto loan debt. These high levels of student debt are also serving to perpetuate an even worse economic inequality here in the US, undercutting the opportunity and social mobility that higher education has for a long time promised.”

Do you think post-secondary education is a public or private good?

“Public, for sure.”

“I honestly think it’s both, actually. The reason why I think it’s public is because it is open for anyone of any age to really join. But I do see it as a private because it’s a choice.”

Dr. Diane Hegeman, Vice President for Instruction [at Arapahoe Community College]: “I believe that has a many-perspective response. But, bottom line, I do believe that everyone has the right to access post-secondary education, but I also believe the public has an accountability aspect to this complicated question.”

What are some obstacles you see in the free community college initiative?

“The first and foremost is how is it getting paid for, where is it coming from.”

“I think some people might try to take advantage of it.”

“I think the biggest obstacle would be market saturation.”

“I’m afraid some students will not try as hard.”

“Too many people filling the system and straining the resources of the community colleges.”

Dr. Lisa Mayte Edwards, Vice President of Student Affairs [at Arapahoe Community College]: “I do see capacity issues, making sure that the classes are available for student to take in a meaningful way and in sequence.”

Dr. Diana M. Doyle, President, Arapahoe Community College: “Well, certainly funding is going to be an issue. Someone has to pay for it. And that is going to be a complex resolution. Does that start at the federal level? How does it flow through at the state level? What is the obligation of the colleges themselves, both public and private? And then the students. I think accountability on the part of the students is important as well.”

What kinds of services do you need to succeed in community college?

“I really have benefited from the math lab and the Student Success Center.”

“A good library and good advising services.”

“I think that access to tutors…it’s crucial.”

“I think there needs to be good sources of technology that students can use.”

Rachel Weir, Assistant Director, Disability Services [at Arapahoe Community College]: “And I think to prepare, here at a community college in particular, we would definitely need to assess how we are managing our time. Where are we really invested in, and can we make a shift?”

Dr. Diana M. Doyle, President, Arapahoe Community College: “First is we are going to have to be more creative in how we advise students. We’re going to have to restructure our advising processes. Secondly, colleges need to rethink how we deliver education. The days of the traditional sixteen-week course are probably going to have to change quite a bit. These are all adjustments that colleges will have to make in order to accommodate an increased student population.”

Joan Anderssen, Professor of Economics [at Arapahoe Community College]:”Thomas Jefferson said, ‘An education is an all-important part to participatory democracy. This would help advance our democratic goals for our society.'”

Produced by the Members of the Sigma Phi Chapter and Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society [at Arapahoe Community College]

What is Concurrent Enrollment

(And why should I participate?)

Move Mountains with the Concurrent Enrollment Program!

Move Mountains with the Concurrent Enrollment Program!

Have you heard your colleagues or friends talk about concurrent enrollment but wondered what it really is?  Concurrent Enrollment (CE) is a nationwide trend in higher education to offer high school students the option of participating in college-credit courses taught by college-approved high school teachers on their high school campuses. Sometimes called “dual credit” or “dual enrollment” or “college in the high school,” students enrolled in these classes earn credit towards both high school graduation and college completion.

Here at ACC, we offer students a couple different options.  One option is for students to take classes in their high school.  Check with your counselor for courses available at your school. Our Concurrent Enrollment Office works with over 30 high schools across 8 school districts enrolling over 2400 students per semester.  If a high school student discovers that the CE options on his/her high school campus don’t align with future career goals, a student may choose to take courses on our campus, with permission from their high school counselor, working with our Student Recruitment and Outreach Office.

So, why would a student want to participate in concurrent enrollment classes at their high school?  One great reason is cost: they’re free!  When taken at their high school, the cost of tuition for these classes is paid through the student’s home school district and the College Opportunity Fund (COF).  With the sky-rocketing costs of higher education and the continuing need for employees with degrees, students have the opportunity to lower their overall cost of college tuition, potentially reducing any future debt.

Another reason for students to take advantage of concurrent enrollment is the advantage of experience.  To enroll in a CE course, students apply for admission to the community college and begin their journey of higher education.  As CE students in the high school, they learn key skills that prepare them to transition smoothly into a post-secondary institution.

For students who’ve long known about (and perhaps dreaded) those AP or IB courses, a CE student has the advantage of earning the credit immediately on successful course completion with a “C” or higher with no exit exam or post-test required.  The credit appears on an ACC transcript as if the student had taken the course on our campus, and it can potentially apply directly towards a degree.  If a student takes a CE course designated as a “guaranteed transfer,” the course will transfer to any Colorado public institution.

If we want to create better futures for our secondary students with clearer pathways to post-secondary degrees and sustainable careers, perhaps we should look closer at encouraging them to consider their concurrent enrollment options!

To learn more about ACC’s Concurrent Enrollment Program, visit our website.

by Shari Culver, ACC Concurrent Enrollment Specialist

ACC Parker: Connecting Passion with Opportunity

Parker Campus Cookies with the Manager

ACC Parker Campus Cookies with the Parker Campus Manager, Gwen Young

Day or night, our ACC Parker Campus bustles with activity. Early birds arrive at 8am while night owls work late into the night. With offerings to pursue a variety of certificates and Associates degrees, you can connect your passion to opportunity at our ACC Parker Campus. We have the talent and drive to help you meet your goals, regardless of what career and academic path you pursue. With a variety of student services, Guaranteed Transfer Courses and exciting new course offerings, our ACC Parker Campus staff can help you Move Mountains at the right place and right time for you!

Whether you are studying Business, Early Childhood Education, Computer Information Science or are taking electives for your degree plan, you’ll find ACC Parker to be a great spot to grow and learn.

ACC Parker - Pizza with the President

Pizza with the President at ACC’s Parker Campus

Our ACC Parker Campus is growing too! We are happy to offer more Health and Science offerings, preparing students and community members to thrive within the growing health care and science fields. With offerings such as Emergency Medical Technician Certification, Medical Terminology, Certified Nursing Assistant, Human Nutrition, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Pathophysiology, you can pave your path with our classroom to career courses.

Stay tuned for more Health and Sciences offerings as our ACC Parker Campus expands. Renovations will begin next year and will include more space for specialty programs, labs, and study areas!

Spring registration has started.  Give us a call at 303-734-4822 or visit us online, and let us help you connect your passion with opportunity!

Together, we can Move Mountains!
Team Parker

Veterans View – From Soldier to Student

Jeff Fogg, President of ACC's Veterans Club

Jeff Fogg, President of ACC’s Veterans Club

I am not what most would call a “traditional student”, in fact, I’m the older guy at the back of the classroom; an Army veteran who has found a home here at Arapahoe Community College.

My first week of school, I was nervous to say the least, but with the encouragement of my wife Krysten and the motivation of our child on the way, I needed to succeed. This was my opportunity to start my education and pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. My nerves, as it turned out, were unfounded, because with the help of ACC’s student veterans and the College’s Veteran Services Center, I am doing it.

Ever since my discharge from the Army, I have been distant from my veteran status because – although I served honorably – I felt that the Army did more for me than I did for it. I can’t nail down one specific amenity ACC offers to its student veterans that has made the difference, but rather, a combination of services and values. From the veterans lounge on the first floor, to Dawn Stratton (Veterans Club Faculty Advisor and Testing Center Coordinator) and Ariel Mendez (Financial Aid Advisor and VA Certifying Officer) up on the second floor, ACC has to be one of the friendliest schools around.

It may be difficult to understand from an outsider’s perspective, but I’ve struggled with “personal space” issues. When someone is walking closely behind me, I become very anxious. This was, in fact, what was keeping me out of school.

When I started at ACC, I met a fellow soldier who experienced these same feelings of personal-space anxiety. Thanks to the compassion and understanding of other student veterans, as well as Ariel and Dawn, this anxiety began to slowly dissipate. It’s difficult to express how much this support has improved my morale. I was made to feel welcome and safe during my first year at ACC thanks to their support and patience, and my guarded mannerisms began to diminish. I hope I can provide other student veterans with the same comfort.

As President of the ACC Veterans Club, I work alongside some of the most dedicated veterans, with a focus on helping other vets achieve their goals at ACC and beyond.  Beyond ACC? With the extraordinary faculty and staff ACC has to offer, leaving behind such an amazing support system can be a daunting thought. From an emotional standpoint, members of our Veterans Club understand this dilemma, and we work together to connect with other vets on a peer-to-peer basis to encourage transferring to a four-year school, or even entrance into the civilian workforce.

When our current members recently began revitalizing ACC’s Veterans Club, we were encouraged by the College’s amazing faculty and staff. My hope is that our new regime, along with future members, will continue to reach out and assist student veterans with servitude in their hearts.

by Jeff Fogg, President of the ACC Veterans Club