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.”

 

Diane Dalrymple–enhancing information literacy

ALA Photo Cropped

 

The Freeda Foreman Chair in Collaborative and Creative Problem-Solving has been beneficial to both faculty and students at Valencia College. “The process of collaboration between myself, a librarian on east campus, and east campus composition faculty and administration was rewarding and insightful. The endowed chair offered me the opportunity to work with the east campus dean of communications (Dr. Linda Neal) and the composition division chair (Randy Gordon), which I have not had the chance to do in the past,” Diane Dalrymple, east campus librarian, says about her current project.

She brought to these administrators the concept of using a standardized test to measure the level of a Valencia student’s information literacy. In addition, Dalrymple met with classroom faculty who volunteered to offer the test through their classes to describe the test and to answer any questions or concerns they had.

This project was a larger-scale attempt to measure a general education student learning outcome than the assessment tools the librarians have been recently employing. Students polled after taking the tests related that they found the questions very enlightening.

One student responded, “I just do research. I really don’t think about how I do it. Maybe I should.” Another student added, “This was hard. I usually just go to Google to find what I need. I never knew there were special places to go for special facts.”

The results from the test showed that Valencia College students scored above average on understanding economic, legal, and social issues related to information. That is, their understanding of copyright and plagiarism is a much higher level than at comparable schools.

The areas where Valencia student need to improve are in retrieving and evaluating sources. Future students will benefit from these assessment results because faculty and librarians now know where we need to focus our efforts in teaching information literacy.

“My conversations with Dean Neal and Professor Gordon were very enlightening to me. I personally had to think about aspects of program assessment that were new to me because of discerning questions about the standardized testing raised by Dean Neal and Professor Gordon. Their questions included what type of results would be received from the testing, were the results actionable, and were the results linked to particular students in particular classes.”

The questions related to application will be answered in future conversations between the librarians as a group and fellow faculty members and administrators interested in using this type of assessment tool. Currently, future conversations have been scheduled with Dr. Laura Blasi and the Valencia College
Librarians Assessment Committee. The hope is that with the support of Dr. Blasi and the
Assessment Committee to be able to offer open sessions for faculty where the results of the test can be presented and robust conversations can be continued. Some of the assessment changes have been implemented already, and the results of the test as a whole will be shared with classroom faculty this fall.

“This project took a village to accomplish and it will take a village to determine where we go from here.”

Andrew Ray, program chair AS built environment programs

1M3A0100 %281024x683%29 (2)Professor Ray is using the Hubbard Construction Company Chair in Technical and Engineering Program for study abroad scholarships.

The Hubbard Construction Chair supports educational programs in building construction, drafting and design, land surveying, and other technology areas. These funds will provide scholarships to allow students in the above programs to participate in a study abroad trip to visit renewable energy facilities in China during summer, 2016. Professor Ray also plan to escort students to Germany/Switzerland in 2016, but the opportunity arose to join Jennifer Robertson’s business students on a 10 day trip to Beijing and Shanghai in July, 2016, to see renewable energy production and accelerated/automated construction techniques.

 “My personal interest in sustainable energy production, including solar, wind and geo-thermal power, spans almost 40 years; the thesis for my Master of Architecture involved creating software and graphics to analyze energy usage in historic buildings.”

The sabbatical Professor Ray completed during fall semester, 2015, included visits to all cities along the path of the proposed trip that Professor Deymond Hoyte and he plan to lead in summer, 2017. “This ‘dry-run’ allowed me to research each site, obtain tourist maps and be able to provide background information to students before and during the study abroad trip.”

The sabbatical itinerary through 29 countries also included visits to a solar plant east of Berlin, geothermal springs and sustainable indoor greenhouses in Iceland, as well as many stops to document various solar and wind power facilities wherever accessible.

Pre-trip meetings with students will focus on popular forms of renewable energy (photovoltaic and thermal solar, wind, geo-thermal, and biofuels), the sociopolitical support of renewables by some governments within the European Union and China, with background on the specific sites they will visit. This will also include an introduction to the culture and people of China for the 2016 trip, and Germany and Switzerland for 2017, and basic language phrases. Since the trip will include students in Built Environment programs and also students taking business courses at Valencia, the cross-discipline approach should foster unique perspectives and discussions. Assessments will include journals and reflection papers on the projects visited and insight gained from the cultural experience.

Study abroad experiences are life-changing for students, opening them to global perspectives, and providing insight into alternate solutions to systemic issues. Most students in the Built Environment program have previously undertaken research on issues related to sustainability, completing an oral presentation on a “green” topic to their classmates. Report topics include the alternate power generation methods and current construction practices featured on this trip, but also include garden roofs; this is the major amenity of an apartment building they will visit in Darmstadt with the students. In addition, students will be exposed to state-of-the-art technologies used in China and Europe, as well as traditional construction techniques predating anything built in the USA.

Professor Ray has been involved in the Central Florida design and construction community for many years. After graduating with a Master’s in Architecture from Texas A&M, he moved to Fort Myers, FL, and was involved with historic preservation and commercial projects while completing his internship. Upon becoming a registered architect, he moved his family to Orlando in 1990, founded Array Design and started teaching at Valencia in 1991. A past president of the local chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, and former Construction Manager with Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Ray enjoys travel and learning about construction. His wife, Alison, is also an architect, and they have two sons, Alex and Tony.

 

Pamela Sandy, professor of dental hygiene

Another in our series on the endowed chairs.

Pam 2015Pamela Sandy, RDH, BS, MA, professor of dental hygiene and dental hygiene program chair, is using this year’s Ira Vinson Henderson Chair in Nursing and Allied Health grant to revitalize the curriculum and calibrate faculty in the dental hygiene program.

Ms. Sandy participated in the Academy for Academic Leadership’s Institute for Allied Dental Educators with the goal of acquiring the skills of a master educator with the ADEA/AAL Institute for Allied Health Educators. The program is a series of five live online ninety minute sessions, and was attended by  Valencia full-time faculty Robin Poole and Rebekah Pittman;  Valencia adjunct faculty Natasha Cook and Danielle Driscoll;  and Valencia senior lab manager, Tiffany Baggs.

The series she selected was titled “Revitalizing Curriculum and Calibrating Faculty,” which included faculty calibration, creating a flipped classroom, designing hybrid courses, curriculum design, and management.

The AAL goals for this class included

  • Creating a flipped classroom: giving an overview of the flipped classroom, identifying advantages and role of faculty as facilitators and applying the concepts by combining the basic sciences with clinical care, including utilization of evidence-based learning, cases and reflective exercises.
  • Curriculum design and management, discussing curriculum mapping and how mapping relates to student assessment, and comparing curriculum mapping and course sequencing for optimal student success.
  • And, finally, faculty motivation, including team-building and applying motivational techniques to better engage peers in an effort to motivate fellow faculty.

In addition, one of her goals—and two of the goals for the class—was to explore other methods for faculty calibration FDHA 2012(calibration is faculty being on the same “page” during clinical evaluation of students; it is developing and adhering to a set of guidelines for student evaluation) in the clinical setting and to assist faculty in designing hybrid courses which will keep the dental hygiene curriculum current. To that end, two faculty completed another course in community dental health to refresh their skills in teaching the course and to enhance course content.

 Dental hygiene student learning can be positively impacted by faculty who are skilled at using the flipped classroom concept and are competent in designing learning activities in an online environment.”

Most of the faculty have been using the flipped classroom concept for several years, and the course gave them some additional ideas for technologies and learning activities they could use in their classes.

In all, the sessions drove the instructors’ learning and impact on the classroom immensely. “It was,” says Ms. Sandy, “a very successful session.”

 

 

 

Help Us Identify Distinguished Graduate 2016!

The Valencia Alumni Association needs your help!

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The application process for the Mary Smedley Collier  Distinguished Graduate 2016 Award is in full swing.  Along with the distinction that comes with being selected, the Distinguished Graduate 2016 will serve as the keynote speaker at both the morning and afternoon Commencement ceremonies this year and will receive $2,000. We know from experience that many of our eligible students are too humble to see themselves in this role.

This is where you come in.

Don’t let your candidate slip by.  If you know an eligible applicant, please encourage them to apply today.  The deadline for accepting applications is February 19, 2016.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: -Must have a minimum overall 3.5 GPA.

-Must be nominated by a member of the Valencia faculty or staff.  (The nomination letter is required as a part of the online application packet the student submits.)

-Must graduate during the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. This includes Summer ’15, Fall ’15 and Spring ’16 terms.

-Must be available to attend both commencement ceremonies on May 8th and give their commencement speech at both.

APPLY HERE: https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/ScholarX_ApplyForScholarship.aspx?applicationformid=4650&AYID=444

Please contact the Alumni Relations office for more information at alumni@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-3217.

 

Christy Cheney—professor of student life skills and Jocelyn Morales—counselor

Christy Cheney and Jocelyn Morales are using their University Club of Orlando Chair in Humanities to defray the costs of study abroad for students (and counselors) in The Uncommon Scholar: REACH Study Abroad 2016 – Italy program.

The REACH (Reaching Each Academic Challenge Head On) program is a cohort-based learning community at the Osceola campus designed to support and guide students through their first 21 college credit hours. Students are nominated by their high school counselors because they demonstrate the work ethic and desire to succeed in academics, but require college readiness skills and support to begin their college career. Most REACH students question if college is right for them and are typically the first in their families to pursue a college degree.

“While certainly many of our students face financial challenges in earning a college degree, a study abroad experience benefits REACH students on a greater level as they have not only had to overcome financial barriers, but also academic obstacles, as well,” says Professor Cheney. Through integrated lessons, co-curricular programs, and fundraising for the Osceola community, students build strong connections with faculty, classmates, and the learning support service providers to help them succeed in college.

The REACH experience continues to be an invaluable opportunity for students who didn’t think college was an option for them. The Valencia Foundation Board will provide students with additional scholarship funds to experience globalized learning through a study abroad program to Italy in 2016 with an experienced Counselor to provide strategies to address personal challenges and support throughout the study abroad program.

We will provide REACH students with the opportunity to experience globalized learning through the study abroad program to Italy in July, 2016. Through Service Learning or Humanities, students will earn college credit while immersing themselves in the rich cultural contributions of Italy.

The vast majority of REACH students are the first in their family to attend college, and are on financial aid with minimal exposure to life outside of Osceola County. An opportunity to travel abroad is a dream that seems unattainable due to financial challenges, as well as having the experience to be away from their families. The endowed chair will fund additional scholarship dollars to support financial need as well as support a Valencia counselor to assist students in adjusting and acclimating to the global experience.

Prior to traveling, REACH students and the traveling counselor will participate in required meetings to discuss expectations and concerns, and learn about how to transition to the culture/country of Italy. Students will reflect through journal writing to share pre-departure plans on preparing for their trip as well as throughout their trip. Through journal reflections, students will be able to express their excitement, fears and new experiences with the support of the SLS and counselor. Faculty will participate in on going open-discussions before, during and after the study abroad experience to ensure full support and guidance for all REACH students.

Professor Cheney teaches the New Student Experience course. She says “I will have built strong connections and relationships with REACH students in the fall of 2015; therefore, my role in addition to Jocelyn’s role will help students to successfully adjust and study abroad.”

Professor Cheney teaches at the Osceola campus. She has worked with REACH students since 2010.

Ms. Morales teaches at the east campus, where she has worked with REACH students for approximately 20 years.