The notions of incorporating hands-on, immersive learning aren’t new to Community College of Aurora. The advent of the Center for Simulation and the inclusion of realistic portrayals in the EMS program was only the beginning, leading to faculty development seminars about curriculum that could effectively cross disciplines and use these learning methodologies in a streamlined fashion.
The integration of such curriculum is growing and will continue to do so. No further proof is necessary than the nearly $435,000 in grant funding the state community college system recently awarded to CCA to implement five new immersive-learning projects through June 2014.
In total, CCA now has nine different game-based initiatives in the works or past the approval stage, making it a leader in immersive learning as a community college in the Denver area.
“What’s really amazing about them is that while some of them are about cutting-edge technology, they range across a whole variety of programs, all of our divisions, and all kinds of faculty are new to this,” said Chris Ward, the college’s executive director of grants and planning. “To me, this is a real testimony to the importance of vision and investing in faculty development that helps people see the value in this, and now we’re bearing the fruits of that.”
And with it, the creativity that’s emerged has led to some exciting learning opportunities for students with the most recent grants. Such as:
Law & Order: EDU
Project Manager: Margaret Ann Uchner, Legal Studies/Paralegal & Criminal Justice
Abstract: CCA’s Paralegal and Criminal Justice programs are converting a classroom into a fully functioning courtroom. The project’s aim is to give students and opportunity to experience the workings of litigation in a real-life setting, to learn in a way that cannot be duplicated in a traditional classroom. The courtroom addresses a need for students to enter the workforce with the practical skills necessary to assist in litigation. It will help bolster the curriculum by allowing more real-life learning. The program will tie the courtroom to learning objectives in many classes and disciplines, leading to increased retention and completion.
The Best of Blended Learning
Project Manager: JoAnn Burkhart
Abstract: The Community College of Aurora proposes The Best of Blended Learning for the 21st Century, a project designed to address the need to increase retention and completion through the development of best practices for innovative, immersive blended learning courses. Project objectives include researching existing innovative course design; developing a manual of engaging practices; training a designated group of instructors from CCA, ACC, and RRCC to help them develop full courses aligned with the CCCS competencies for stand-alone use by instructors across the CCCA; and hosting a dissemination event to highlight successful blended course design and materials.
TheiaSys or T-Sys
Project Manager: Frederic Lahey
Abstract: TheiaSys will give students studio level evaluative tools to predict audience engagement in their own student film projects. By using real world resources, students will be able to focus themselves on the essentials involved in audience engagement, so that they can raise the quality of their production projects. TheiaSys will be fundamental in shifting upper level production classes from traditional classroom delivery to hybrid instruction, reserving traditional classroom time for individual meetings to evaluate and partner in the production of student projects.
Checking In: Business Behind the Scenes
Project Manager: Tamra Schmitt
Abstract: CCA will implement a multi-level business simulation competition for BUS115 students. Utilizing a D2L virtual lab and the CESIM OnService program, students work in teams to manage all the business activities of a family hotel. Winning teams maximize the overall return to shareholders which consolidates key success factors into one measurable criterion. Competition rounds begin with intra-class (within each class), move to inter-section (between classes) and end with an inter-campus scaling round in spring 2014 where teams from throughout CCCS compete against one another with one team being declared the CCCS champions.
Model United Nations
Project Manager: Bobby Pace
Abstract: The Model United Nations will immerse students into the practice of international politics and diplomacy. As a multi-disciplinary collaboration our learning objectives focus on public speaking, research methodology, written communication, group engagement and the development of international public policy. The simulation requires student delegations to adopt a UN member state and work to advance the state’s goals within the UN system. National delegations are subdivided into working groups of two students who will represent their state within different UN agencies. Participants will develop the skills necessary to effectively engage the public policy process while simultaneously exploring their own political efficacy.