Robert McCaffrey, professor of digital media

Robert McCaffr20160921_191035ey, professor of digital media, used his 2015-2016 Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications to purchase an interactive LCD screen system to use with the journalism media production class. The class it was intended to accompany didn’t make the cut in the spring semester, but the equipment will be used as part of a revised Valencia Voice (student newspaper) starting this fall (2016).

“The students will learn how to send content to the device and we will test it in different locations on East Campus to see if we can connect the stories of the student journalists with a student audience on campus.”

Although it was bought primarily for the student journalists, this device will likely have a secondary benefit as a platform for the interactive design courses in the department. It gives students a different input device for which they can imagine and design interactive products.

“You can think of the device as a giant iPad. We can program it to run certain content, but then us20160921_184746ers can touch the screen to interact with the content. That might mean stopping a currently running story and starting a different one, or thumbing through a photo gallery, or tapping on a Twitter feed from the college new group, or even rearranging all the content on the screen into a different configuration.”

The students are really excited about the potential of the screen. One of the most active ideas at the moment is to create a ‘Know Your Candidates’ interactive news project in time for the presidential election.

 

 

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Deborah Howard: math, the struggle is real–and good!

D HowardDeborah Howard, math professor at the east campus, is using the Lockheed Martin chair in Mathematics this year in several ways, including bringing in Jeff Kosovich and allowing Professor Howard to attend the “Learning and the Brain” conference last winter.

Jeff Kosovich is a psychological researcher from the University of Virginia. He came to Valencia to conduct several cognitive interviews with Valencia students and front door math instructors on experimental design, growth mindset and motivation theory.

“We learned several useful procedural strategies that will assist us in collecting meaningful data,” says Howard. For example, their first attempt in recruiting students to participate in a focus group consisted of them contacting random Valencia math students. Only a few students attended even after they were called and reminded. “Jeff suggested we have the student’s math instructor make the contact with the student, since they already had a relationship with the student, and we were able to recruit a much larger sample of students.”  A protocol was created to ensure that each student’s experience in the focus group was as similar as it could be compared with other focus groups and that the interviewers did not influence the group’s responses.

The “Learning and the Brain” conferences Howard attended were “Shaping Student Mindsets” and “The Science of Imagination.”

“I learned that mastery-based goal orientation promotes a growth mindset, whereas performance-based goal orientation fosters a fixed mindset. Some effective strategies are to make the learning criteria known to students, emphasize productive struggle, and encourage students helping others which creates autonomy and resilience. In addition, passion for learning is sparked when students’ curiosity is engaged. I aspire to challenge my students to “Wonder Boldly”!”

Additionally, they were able to fund materials—including 40 jump drives for the secure data transfer of confidential and student-sensitive data, and two literature books, The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st-Century Schools” by Mariale Hardiman and “Mathematical Mindsets” by Jo Boaler and Carol Dweck.

Howard said, “Valencia wins! The teaching pedagogy of twenty-three East Campus front door mathematics faculty who participated in the growth mindset and motivation theory training were enriched. In turn, the students for these instructors for this year and future years will benefit with potential decrease in course drop-out rates, increase in math interest, and increase in overall course success rates. I have been approached by some of my own students who are so thankful that they now have the ability to believe in their own success in math. They are no longer afraid or believe that they can’t do math!”

Angel Buckland—Dreamy Cakes Bakery

Angel Buckland, a 2012 graduate of Valencia, started out in Culinary Arts planning to become a chef. Once she completed her culinary degree, she pursued baking and pastry management as a secondary degree. “I also joined the Valencia coangel-silver-medalist-1mpetition team with Chef Ken Bourgoin and discovered I had a passion for baking and pastry.”

And that was the start. “I am a cake artist and bake a lot of cakes and create custom cake designs; however, I also bake many other sweet and savory treats using a lot of my training in French techniques that I learned from the Valencia Culinary program.”

She loves playing with flavor fusions—her favorite (right now) is chocolate salted caramel. Her favorite class at Valencia was Garde Manger, which is a class that focuses on things like reception foods, a’la carte appetizers, and grand-buffet arrangements, because it was so creative; and Restaurant Production, where students were able to create desserts from their own ideas.  “I also loved competition class where we were able to compete for Florida at the ACF competitions. Best experience of my life.”

She got her start right out of Valencia, in 2012, which is not to say she got her start right out of college—angel-with-baby-cake-1she had one of those winding paths to a degree, starting out in computer science and moving on to marketing management. But once she got her degree at Valencia, she started Dreamy Cakes Bakery, and the rest, as they say, is history.

She started out by renting a commissary kitchen and began baking. It took her a while at first, building a clientele, but now, three years later, she’s opened her first bakerydreamy-cakes-staff-1 in historic downtown Sanford, at 114 W. 2nd Street (you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DreamyCakesBakeryFL)

You can also find her website at http://dreamycakes.net/store/ with dozens of pictures to drool over.

“I just want to say that it has been a life-long dream to graduate from college.  I was determined to get my degree before I turned 50. I was 48 years old when I graduated, so I would like to inspire those who have a dream, to never give up.  Pursue your dream and passion in life. I never wanted to look back at my life and say, I wish I could have. Now I can look back and say, I did it. To chase after my dream, accomplish something in my life and achieve my goal–that is the best feeli ng in the world.

“Valencia College gave me that chance to pursue my dream, and it was the best years and experience in my life.”

 

Colin Archibald – “Big Data” is not ready for Valencia

Professor Colin Archibald, computer programming professor, used part of his University Club of Orlando Chair in Advanced Computer Technology this year to explore the world of “big data.”

“In this project colinarchibaldwe explored the emerging field of big data. Also called data analytics, and closely related to other emerging fields in computing, such as predictive analytics and business intelligence. Big data is not a well-defined field of study. In fact, most of what is called big data is really the rebranding of well-known mathematics. The new part is that we have data being collected from many different sources, including from a myriad of internet-connected devices.”

 

Dr. Archibald attended an intensive three-day course during the Christmas break. This course was offered by Learning Tree International, and called Introduction to Big Data. This was a very valuable course – although what was learned wasn’t what was expected!

One of the most valuable lessons was that the computer science department has determined that “the wme-and-earl-1eek long, intensive, boot-camp style courses are not the most effective way to learn this material”; they chose to go a different route, and purchase some online video courses that would help people in the computer science department learn this new technology. One plus is that taking the courses on an ad-hoc basis means that they can take these courses as needed and as time allows, without disrupting their usual day-to-day teaching.

A series of several video courses were purchased instead, making it a very high learning-value. Additionally, they generated some interesting discussion among the advanced students. One student did his project for the honors program on “big data” (Correlation or Causation).

Although the original objective was to create a course for Valencia programming students in big data, that proved to be a bit beyond the reach of faculty and students at this time.  Dr. Archibald says “We’ll keep an eye on it. When it is a bit more solid, and a lot less ‘hype,’ we’ll have another look at whether it should be part of the curriculum.”

 

Mayra Holzer (Speech): intercultural traditions

eva-perons-grave-1“The purpose of my sabbatical work was to allow me to cultivate my intercultural competence and to become a more competent global citizen and educator.” Mayra Holzer, professor of speech, used her Rhymer F. Maguire Jr. Endowed Chair in Communications to that end.

Through her sabbatical, she “sought personal and professional renewal and development,” in large part by immersing herself in the culture of Argentina. While in Argentina, she visited museums, cultural and historical monuments, and was able to experience their food, music and community.

In addition to full immersion in the culture, she participated in a variety of professional development activities in the area of intercultural communication. She received personalized training in intercultural communication through Iceberg Inteligencia Cultural Iceberg, an international organization that promotes multicultural understanding and global competency for effective intercultural communication in professional acasa-rosada-2nd educational settings, specializing in Latin American cultures.

“My overseas experience enriched my world view in general, and my multicultural approach to education in particular.” Through her travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was also able to re-connect with her Hispanic heritage, was able to practice her Spanish language skills, and learned about a new culture in a country she had never visited.

While on sabbatical, she worked on internationalizing her curriculum for SPC1017 (Interpersonal Communication) and SPC1608 (Fundamentals of Speech), with a strong emphasis on the impact of culture on communication styles. Upon her return she created two INZ toolkits (SAGE) for SPC1017 and have submitted a request to offer an internationalized course as part of Valencia’s Global Distinction Program. She has also developed a workshop to be offered in the 2016 fall term during Global Peace Week. The workshop is titled “Cultural attributions and their impact on communicating with others.”

 

Chef Manny Washington—Orlando Fire Department’s finest chef

“Chef Manny” 11141778_377244982472413_4444921235404832610_nhas been cooking since he was eight. He started with desserts–in fact, the first thing he learned to cook was southern staple sweet potato pie. Next he graduated to sides, and finally to main dishes.

He learned from his grandmother, then his mother and his father, also a firefighter (in Miami).

He’s best known for his appearance on national cooking shows, which he’s been doing for only a year. (Since August, 2015, when he first appeared on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.) The one thing that scared him the most about competition cooking? Plating. “Firefighters don’t require plating; they just want good tasting food.”

With all this cooking, you’d think he majored in something culinary, but Washington, it turns out, is kind of a science geek. From Valencia, he got an AS in Emergency Medical Services. From there, he went on to UCF, where he got a BS in Chemistry Education, with a minor in Emergency Management. “My favorite class was Organic Chemistry I with Dr. Eric Crumpler (west campus). By far one of the hardest classes I have ever taken, but I love how I get to take an acid naturalization and apply it to work.”

He is an engineer/paramedic with the Orlando Fire Department, stationed at Fire Station 1 (downtown). mc7_706-16-15-lobsterelim_0313_hires2He works on the Hazardous Materials team, which works with everything from gas spills to weapons of mass destruction.

How does he balance his career as a firefighter with this new “career” as a part time gourmet chef? Due to their schedule (24 hours on, 48 off) he has the time to do live food demos, private dinners, and even cook for other fire stations nationwide. His favorite thing to cook is skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, white rice, black beans and caramelized plantains. Did we mention he’s from Miami?

You can follow Chef Manny at @chefmannyfd on Facebook, Instagram, Twittter and YouTube.