Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College
News Article | April 17, 2017
The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has released its picks for Virginia’s best online colleges and universities in 2017. Of the 18 four-year schools that made the list, George Mason University, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Hampton University took the top five spots. Of the 16 two-year colleges that also made the list, Tidewater Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, Central Virginia Community College, Northern Virginia Community College and Piedmont Virginia Community College were top schools. “There are more opportunities than ever for students to earn a certificate or degree from an accredited school by going online,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. “These Virginia colleges and universities distinguished themselves by offering an quality, accredited education in an online format that allows students with busy schedules or geographical limitations to earn a degree on their own schedule.” To earn a spot on the “Best Online Schools in Virginia” list, colleges and universities must be accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also judged based on additional metrics including financial aid availability, the number of student services, academic counseling student/teacher ratios and graduation rates. For more details on where each school falls in the rankings and the data and methodology used to determine the lists, visit: Virginia’s Best Online Four-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Bluefield College Eastern Mennonite University George Mason University Hampton University James Madison University Jefferson College of Health Sciences Liberty University Longwood University Lynchburg College Marymount University Norfolk State University Old Dominion University Regent University Shenandoah University University of Virginia-Main Campus Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Virginia University of Lynchburg Virginia’s Best Online Two-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Central Virginia Community College John Tyler Community College Lord Fairfax Community College Mountain Empire Community College New River Community College Northern Virginia Community College Patrick Henry Community College Piedmont Virginia Community College Rappahannock Community College Reynolds Community College Southside Virginia Community College Southwest Virginia Community College Thomas Nelson Community College Tidewater Community College Virginia Western Community College Wytheville Community College About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success.
News Article | April 28, 2017
The International Nurses Association is pleased to welcome Robert D. Hawkins, RN, BSN, PHN, to their prestigious organization with his upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. Robert D. Hawkins is a Registered Nurse with 17 years of experience in his field and an extensive expertise in all facets in nursing, especially medical/surgical nursing, mental health, correctional health, and public health. Robert is currently serving patients for the County of Ventura in California. Robert’s career in nursing began in 1999, when he graduated with his Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Northern Virginia Community College. An advocate for continuing education, he went on to gain his Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing in 2003 from the University of Phoenix. Furthermore, Robert is a certified Public Health Nurse. Throughout his career, Robert has gained a wealth of experience in many areas of nursing. He keeps up to date with the latest advances and developments in his field by maintaining a professional membership with the American Nurses Association. Robert says that his success has come because of his passion for being a positive influence and adapting to his community, and when he is not working, he enjoys scuba diving and watching football. Learn more about Robert D. Hawkins here: http://inanurse.org/network/index.php?do=/4135809/info/ and be sure to read his upcoming publication in Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare.
News Article | July 10, 2017
HERNDON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Northwest Federal Credit Union’s charitable arm, the NWFCU Foundation, recently awarded $140,000 in scholarships to 26 students and launched its new Higher Education Community College award as part of the Foundation’s annual Scholarship Program. On June 21, 2017 the Foundation held a scholarship luncheon at the Chantilly National Golf and Country Club, honoring the recipients’ achievements. “This year’s winners represent the values and qualities that this scholarships seeks to promote – leadership, dedication and commitment to the community in which they live, work and play,” said Executive Director of the NWFCU Foundation, Alexzandra Shade. "It is with great honor that we recognize the 26 award recipients for the 2017 scholarship year and award them a record $140,000 which takes us over $1,000,000 in awarded scholarships to 258 students since our program began 13 years ago." The full list of recipients includes students from Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., California, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington: The NWFCU Foundation continues to grow the scholarship program through donations and fundraising, such as the annual Drive for the Driven golf tournament and their recent car raffle. “As our scholarship program grows, it is our privilege to recognize a greater number of deserving students by supporting their continuing education,” said Acting President and CEO of Northwest Federal, Jeff Bentley. “I’m especially pleased that we have expanded our program to include community college students in our area.” The award luncheon marked the first presentation of the Foundation’s Higher Education Community College Award in conjunction with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). “Northern Virginia Community College graduates step in to fill thousands of jobs in this region every year,” said Provost of NOVA’s Loudoun Campus Dr. Julie Leidig. “Many of our students are active duty military or veterans. Many are the first in their family to attend college. Many don’t have the resources to pursue their educational dreams without the existence of community colleges and the generosity of local foundations such as NWFCU Foundation.” Click here to learn more about the program and how you can support the Foundation’s scholarship program. The NWFCU Foundation was established in 2004 to promote and manage Northwest Federal Credit Union’s philanthropic activities. The mission of NWFCU Foundation is to empower youth to achieve their goals by helping them learn and celebrate life and supporting their health and well-being. The NWFCU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permissible by law for those who itemize deductions. For more information, visit www.nwfcufoundation.org. Northwest Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution ranking among the largest credit unions in Virginia and in the top 50 credit unions in the nation. Established in 1947 and headquartered in Herndon, Va., Northwest Federal is dedicated to providing financial services and education to its members and the community. The Credit Union currently serves more than 220,000 members and has assets in excess of $3.1 billion. For more information, visit www.nwfcu.org or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
News Article | July 28, 2017
Increasingly, there is a new challenge from the growing Open Textbook Revolution—and traditional bookmakers, after years of opposition and lawsuits alleging copyright infringement, are trying to get a piece of the action as their glossy hardbacks get tossed aside. Open texts are free academic materials written by educators and professionals that are peer-reviewed and licensed to be freely downloaded. They can also be something as simple as professors’ lecture notes made available for free for teachers and students to use, print, and modify as they see fit. Thanks to investments by universities and private foundations, many of the free online peer-reviewed texts are on par with the big bucks’ books in terms of depth and production values—and they’re rapidly gaining traction. OpenStax, a nonprofit run by Rice University, estimates that its peer- reviewed, Creative Commons-licensed resources are in use at 27% of colleges and universities across the country. That saves students $77 million in textbook costs in the most recent school year alone, according to OpenStax estimates. Its titles are available for free download or in hard copy form for essentially the cost of printing. Several state university systems have also launched their own open text publishing projects and directories, like the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has made materials from 2,400 courses freely available through its OpenCourseWare project. And materials from Harvard University’s introductory computer science class, the school’s most popular course, are freely available online. Overall, open resources are used in more than 10% of high-enrollment introductory and core classes at colleges across the country, estimates David Wiley, the chief academic officer at Portland open educational resources (OER) startup Lumen Learning. “That’s accelerating every year,” says Wiley, who also leads the Open Education Group at Brigham Young University. “That number was zero 10 years ago.” And while colleges initially invested in open resources partially as an alternative to traditionally costly textbooks, traditional publishers are increasingly getting into the open resource game themselves. They’re looking for ways they can combine open source materials with proprietary content, and with online materials like interactive quizzes that professors can use to track how their students are doing. Publishers are even experimenting with new pricing models, like so-called “inclusive access” deals, where schools negotiate a per-student fee for access to online course materials, similar to how they might license software from Microsoft or Adobe rather than a traditional textbook arrangement. “I think the move to OER is part of a broader move away from print and to digital, which is certainly where our members are moving with textbooks and adaptive learning materials and other materials,” says David Anderson, executive director for higher education at the Association of American Publishers. “I don’t know that print will ever disappear entirely, but I think five to 10 years from now, higher education textbooks are going to be by and large digital.” Many professors like that they can edit open resources to suit the needs of their students, and certainly some have a philosophical preference for more freely available content. But there’s no question that much of the recent push to use open texts has been motivated by the cost of traditional textbooks. Researchers from organizations ranging from the liberal Student Public Interest Research Groups to the conservative American Enterprise Institute have reported that textbook prices are rising significantly higher than inflation. The AEI report indicates book prices have risen 90% since 1998—and that’s after adjusting for inflation—and points to individual texts like an organic chemistry book sold for $376 and a tax accounting book on sale for $389. “The educators are acutely aware of this [pricing] problem,” says Charles Key, founder of COT Education, a nonprofit that supports open books and maintains College Open Textbooks, a directory of what’s available. Publishers generally argue those numbers don’t take into account students finding discounts online, using cheaper e-books, or renting course materials. And, they say, their new packages blending open material with their own content deliver the best of both worlds, including professionally fact-checked reading material and professor-friendly features like automatically graded quizzes and homework problems, all for less than the cost of a traditional book. Boston-based Cengage, for example, announced a pilot program in January offering blended packages for introductory psychology, world history, and other courses, with pricing starting at just $40. And Macmillan’s Sapling Learning online homework system offers coursework geared for the OpenStax series of open textbooks. Those programs come as schools and individual instructors are increasingly adept at using open materials in the classroom. Virginia’s Tidewater Community College is even offering what it calls a Z-Degree, where students can complete a two-year associate’s degree without ever needing to pay for books. The school cites research saying students are more likely to complete courses and earn better grades when they don’t have to worry about spending money on costly texts. That’s especially true at community colleges, where students are often struggling to pay the bills. “By percentage, they’re much more expensive for community college attendees because, of course, tuition is so much lower at a community college,” Key says. “In California, we frequently find now that the cost of textbooks is equal or more to the cost of tuition.” And at Northern Virginia Community College, assistant professor of geology Shelley Jaye says courses using open resources result in more students passing. And not paying for books can even help students afford to take additional classes. “Students that have taken a course with me using open educational resources will come back and take another class knowing that I’m using open resources across the courses I teach,” Jaye said in a June 28 online panel organized by Cengage. But even when colleges and professors are looking to use open resources, publishers argue students can still benefit from the industry’s decades of expertise. Publishers can bundle open materials from multiple sources and add supplements like video. And they can provide edited and expert-reviewed versions of open materials, and combine them with online content like interactive quizzes. “The beauty of OER is you can actually use that content any way you want—you have the rights to it,” says Cheryl Costantini, vice president of content strategy at Cengage. Online quizzes can help professors gauge student progress and spot struggling students early in the semester, even if they never reach out for help. Publishers can even provide digital analytics tools tracking which students actually cracked the virtual spines of the textbook. “I heard over and over again, I love the idea of not charging students, but there’s no way I’ll work on grading homework again,” said Barbara Illowsky, chief academic affairs officer at the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative, at the Cengage panel. “Now, we have partnerships with corporate America where they do what they do best, which is a lot of the technology or the support materials.”
News Article | August 3, 2017
Year Up National Capital Region (“Year Up NCR”), a year-long workforce development program for low-income young adults, is proud to announce that it will host its graduation ceremony for the Class of July 2017 on August 3, 2017. Established in February 2006, Year Up NCR provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with a combination of hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credit, corporate internships, and wraparound support. The July 2017 Graduating class is Year Up NCR’s 22nd at its Core Site and the 3rd from its partnership with Northern Virginia Community College. President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Hamre, will receive the Peter Kuchli Urban Empowerment Award. Year Up presents Urban Empowerment Awards to individuals in the community who have displayed relentless support and dedication to the organization’s mission of closing the Opportunity Divide. Dr. John Hamre will receive the award at the upcoming August graduation for helping to strengthen the relationship between Year Up NCR and CSIS. At the January 2017 graduation, Dr. Michelle Gilliard of Venture Philanthropy Partners and Aaron Brachman and Christopher Detmer, both of Steward Partners, received Urban Empowerment Awards for their continuous stewardship, and philanthropic and community-based support of Year Up NCR over the past five years. Capital One is a long-time partner of Year Up, both nationally and in the National Capital Region, and will be recognized at the upcoming graduation. Since 2013, Capital One has hosted over 60 Year Up interns and provided several professional development opportunities for students, including Capital One Day (twice per year) and Workforce Development Day. Within this graduating cohort, there are fifteen Year Up NCR interns at Capital One in Quality Assurance, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity roles. Capital One continues to invest in the Year Up NCR mission through philanthropic contributions and internship seats. “Our organization could not be more proud of this promising group of students who worked so hard to get to this day and who are now equipped with the skills they need to launch their careers,” said Guylaine St. Juste, Executive Director of Year Up NCR. “We are extremely grateful to Capital One for its continued support of both Year Up NCR and the national organization. Capital One’s commitment to helping bridge the opportunity divide is manifest through its unflagging commitment to our students." Graduation will take place at the Rachel Schlesinger Center in Alexandria, VA. Students, family, faculty, alumni and friends are invited to join Year Up NRC’s July 2017 Graduation Class on their graduation day. About Year Up Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college-level coursework. Its holistic approach focuses on students' professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 3,600 students annually across 24 campuses in Arizona, Baltimore, Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greater Atlanta, Greater Boston, Greater Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, National Capital Region, New York City, Providence, Puget Sound, South Florida and Wilmington. To learn more, visit http://www.yearup.org, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter: @YearUp
News Article | June 22, 2017
The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) announced today that Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) has signed on as its first ever NVTC Academic Partner. This new partnership reflects NVTC and NOVA’s joint commitment to ensuring the Northern Virginia region has a robust pipeline of highly-skilled information technology workers. Recognizing the tremendous impact of the information technology sector, both currently and in the future, it is critical for educational institutions and businesses to partner together to attract and retain a talented workforce. This innovative partnership will better align training and workforce needs within the Northern Virginia region, ultimately allowing businesses to remain economically competitive. In addition to positively impacting the business community, this partnership will better prepare students to enter the labor market, as NOVA will flex with changing employer demands to enhance and grow new programs to ensure individuals are equipped with the real-time skills needed on the job. “The region’s universities and community colleges have been active participants and leaders in the NVTC community,” said NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg. “With this new partnership, Northern Virginia Community College is affirming its willingness to support the workforce needs of the region’s technology community.” The Washington, D.C. metro area, with 161,000 information technology job advertisements over the last 12 months, is the second largest region in the country for employers seeking IT workers. Additionally, job growth in the information technology field is projected to increase by 1.7% annually over the next 10 years, adding 34,000 new IT jobs to the region's economy by 2027. In addition to support for many of NVTC’s year-round events and programs, NOVA’s Academic Partnership includes sponsorship of NVTC’s Tech Talent Initiative, which aims to address the workforce challenges of NVTC members and the Greater Washington technology community. “We are proud to be NVTC’s inaugural Academic Partner,” said Northern Virginia Community College President Dr. Scott Ralls. “NOVA is committed to creating a workforce pipeline that meets both the capacity and the competency requirements that are driving our regional economy. Partnering more closely with NVTC and its members will allow us to develop programs, curriculum and content that align with the needs of the region’s technology employers.” About NVTC The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia. As the largest technology council in the nation, NVTC serves about 1,000 companies from all sectors of the technology industry, as well as service providers, universities, foreign embassies, nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies. Through its member companies, NVTC represents about 300,000 employees in the region. NVTC is recognized as the nation's leader in providing its technology community with networking and educational events; specialized services and benefits; public policy advocacy; branding of its region as a major global technology center; initiatives in targeted business sectors and in the international, entrepreneurship, workforce and education arenas; and the NVTC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that supports the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative and other priorities within Virginia's technology community. Visit NVTC at http://www.nvtc.org. ABOUT NOVA Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America’s largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College’s website, http://www.nvcc.edu.
News Article | February 15, 2017
You may have heard me say this before, but I firmly believe there are few topics more fundamental to study than the workings of our planet. The earth sciences aim to unravel how the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere operate—and how they operate together. It is a science of synthesis. And it’s one that needs to move forward, both because of the great service the earth sciences perform for society and the understanding of world-shaping processes that they advance. Now, earth scientists are not always the first researchers you see on TV or in articles about science, even if the topic is plainly within their realm. Since the days of Carl Sagan, the physicists have carved out a nice role as the most prominent popular science communicators. There isn’t anything wrong with that. But earth scientists are experts on the Earth—and when questions arise about climate, hazards, and resources, it makes sense to reach out to the researchers who have the most knowledge and expertise in those earthy topics. Even though physicists have the strongest voice in science communication, there are many more outlets for earth scientists to spread their knowledge. The free flow of communication from scientist-to-scientist and scientist-to-public is the key to making sure the country continues to value science: funding research across all sciences, appreciating and acting on the results, and continuing to give scientists the freedom to accumulate and interpret data to draw evidence-based conclusions. This isn’t some vast conspiracy of scientists trying to get rich, but rather people dedicated to knowing how the planet operates. If you’re excited about learning about earth science, a great way to start is to follow earth scientists and earth science organizations on Twitter. Many of us strongly value communicating with the public, mostly because we’re just that excited about what the science is doing and discovering. So I’ve created a list of people and organizations to follow to get you started in earth science. Scientists are people, so expect a lot of science but also a lot of other things that make them tick (or make them angry, or thrilled). This, by no means, is an all-inclusive list. Rather, it’s a cherry-picked list of my favorites. If you have other earth scientists who you think need a follow, leave them in the comments and I can amend the post over time—especially with international and non-English language geoTweeters. Give me a reason to add them so I can add details for people looking for science on Twitter. @drlucyjones: Dr. Lucy Jones is an earthquake expert who recently retired after years of service with the U.S. Geological Survey. She quells a lot of the crazy ideas and “predictions” people have about earthquakes, especially in California. @allochthonous and @highlyanne: This duo write Highly Allochthonous and run all-geo.org. Both faculty at Kent State University, Anne Jefferson studies water, especially in urban environments while Chris Rowan works on paleomagnetism and tectonics. Both are strong advocates for science, science communication and diversity/inclusivity in the sciences. @Tessa_M_Hill: Tessa Hill is a professor at UC Davis and an expert on climate and oceans. She is also (along with the aforementioned Anne Jefferson) an AAAS Public Engagement Fellow. @seis_matters: Christopher Jackson studies basin analysis (in other words, how sediment and tectonics creates and fills valleys and depressions on Earth) at Imperial College. He’s also about to head off on a lecture tour for the Geological Society of America. @lava_ice: Ben Edwards is a volcanologist at Dickinson College working on volcanoes in far-flung places like Iceland and Chile. He also likes to dabble in making his own volcanoes with the help of the folks at Syracuse University. @methanoJen: Jen Glass is faculty Georgia Tech and studies geobiochemistry and how microbes impact methane production. She’s a prolific tweeter and activist as well, trying to protect the freedom of speech for scientists and making science as open and accepting as possible. @PopePolar: Allen Pope studies glaciers, snow and ice using satellites. He’s an invaluable resource for keeping track of how climate change in impacting our frozen water. @janinekrippner and @alisongraeting: Together, Janine Krippner and Alison Graetinger keep track of all the volcanic events that even I have troubling keeping up with. Beyond that, they run In the Company of Volcanoes as well. @guertin: Dr. Laura Guertin is passionate about geoscience education and getting students involved in research to get them excited about earth sciences. @tuff_cookie: Jessica Ball is a volcanologist currently with the USGS and a former Geological Society of America Congressional Fellow. She also writes Magma Cum Laude on the AGU Geoblogs. @callanbentley: Callan Bentley is faculty at Northern Virginia Community College and a prolific blogger, tweeter and geologic illustrator. @davidmpyle: David Pyle is a distinguished professor at Oxford University, an author of several books on volcanoes and an important drive of Oxford Sparks and STREVA (strengthening resilience to natural hazards in volcanic areas). @TTremblingEarth: Austin Elliot is a post-doctoral researcher studying active tectonics and also writes (and tweets) about earthquakes. If you need even more (and you do), Ron Schott (@rschott) keeps an exhaustive list of geologists on Twitter. And there is also yours truly: @eruptionsblog @USGS and @USGSVolcanoes: The U.S. Geological Survey has a ton of useful Twitter accounts to shell out lots of great information. You can start with the main survey account and I, of course, recommend the Volcanoes account to keep track of all the rumblings of the volcanoes monitored by the USGS. If earthquakes interest you, try @USGSBigQuakes. @theAGU and @AGU_Eos: These two are the main account for the American Geophysical Union and the Union’s magazine, Eos. You’ll find tweets on new earth science research, posts from the great AGU blog network and statements of policy from AGU (@AGUSciPolicy), including their letter denouncing restrictions on how scientists can communicate. If you’re into volcanoes, you can also try the @AGUvgp account for the Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology group. @GlacierHub: The account for Glacier Hub, a nexus of information about glaciers and the impact that changing climate has on glaciers along with the communities impacts by glaciers. @trowelblazers: This account sends out links and information about the multitude of women who had played important roles in the history of archaeology, palaeontology & geology along with what women are doing across these fields today. @geosociety: The Geological Society of America, bringing you new earth science research and links to fascinating articles on our planet from across the internet. @EuroGeosciences and @EGU_GMPV: The European Geosciences Union, the European twin of AGU along with their section of Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, Volcanology. @STREVAProject: I mentioned the STREVA (strengthening resilience to natural hazards in volcanic areas) Project above, but it deserves it’s own listing. The Project looks to help areas in danger from volcanic activity through outreach and research. You should also check out my post on the various volcano observatories you can follow on Twitter. Journalists (again, just some of my favorite science journalists, but there are many, many more out there!) @alexwitze: Alexandra Witze writes for Nature and is the co-author of Island on Fire about the eruption of Laki in Iceland. @elakdawalla: Emily Lakdawalla writes for the Planetary Society about space exploration and extraterrestrial geology. @mikamckinnon: Mika McKinnon is a trained geophysicist and a freelance science writer (along with sci-fi science consultant) @SJVatn: Scott Johnson is science journalist for Ars Technica and science editor for Climate Feedback. @teideano: David Calvo is a member of INVOLCAN (@involcan), a volcano monitoring group in the Canary Islands and a radio/TV personality covering science. @aboutgeology: Andrew Alden has been writing about geology on the internet longer than most people and has wrote some fascinating stuff about the geology of the Bay Area (amongst many other topics). @david_bressan: David Bressan writes about geology for Forbes, tackling the long and winding history of the discipline. @earthmagazine: As the title implies, Earth magazine digs deep into the planet to cover all the news and research in geosciences. Looking at Earth (I’m a big fan of satellite views of Earth, and you should be too!) @NASAEarth: The NASA Earth Observatory has thousands of amazing images of the planet and keeps them coming on our ever-changing world. They also help us visualize the vast amount of data that can be collected by earth-observing satellites. @NASA_Landsat: This account follows all the great work done by the NASA/USGS Landsat missions that watch the planet. @Landsatbot: This automated account is great if you like random satellite views of the planet from Landsat 8. Sometimes they are an area of geologic wonder, sometimes they are “unnamed location” in the middle of the ocean or arctic. @Planetlabs: Their armada of Doves are some of the newest earth observing satellites.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 190.95K | Year: 2011
The goal of this project is to strengthen and enhance the current NOVA Biotech Program, which includes an Associates of Applied Science (AAS) Degree program in Biotechnology and a Career Studies Certificate program for Biotechnology Lab Technicians. Four specific goals have been identified including: internal recruitment of current NOVA students into the Biotech Program, improved retention and graduation efforts, successful placement of students in workforce and/or at transfer institutions, and more extensive assessment and evaluation of student learning outcomes and success.
To promote awareness of biotechnology and the Biotech Program within NOVA, biotechnology laboratory exercises are being introduced into General Biology courses at several campuses (Manassas, Alexandria, Annandale) to make students more aware of the field and their potential within it; this is being accompanied by faculty training for General Biology faculty new to the techniques and culture of biotechnology. An internal advisory board is also being established to help promote the biotechnology program and enhance retention of students who are recruited into the program. Retention is also being strengthened by increased student advising, tutoring resources, and interactions with the local industry. An external industry advisory board is helping ensure the curriculum is responsive to industry needs. To enhance job placement, a formal internship program is being created, and new courses quality control, bioinformatics, and microbiology/biomanufacturing are being introduced. Furthermore, a survey of potential employers is beinge conducted to assess employment needs in terms of educational and skill set requirements for entry-level positions. In addition, work is in progress with transfer institutions (i.e. George Mason University, George Washington University, etc) to establish articulation agreements. To facilitate assessing students in each course and tracking their progress on a semester basis, faculty are establishing desired student learning outcomes for each course and the entire curriculum.
Data gathered for formative and summative assessment of the project will include quantitative data such as enrollment, course completion, graduation, and job placement data as well as more qualitative data concerning student and employer satisfaction. The intellectual merit of the program lies in the rigor of the new courses being introduced and the new material being introduced into existing courses. In terms of broader impacts, the presence of an expanded career pathway, a better assessment process, enhanced retention and graduation rates, the establishment of more rigorous curricula, and strengthened relationships with the local industry is expected to increase the number of skilled lab technicians and expand educational access to biotech curricula.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 299.78K | Year: 2013
This collaborative project builds on prior work to expand, augment and disseminate geoscience learning resources based on the affordances of the Google Earth virtual globe. Components of the project include 1) development of a suite of globally distributed interactive virtual fields trips which add high-resolution gigapixel panoramic images, virtual outcrops and specimens, and automated grading to the Google Earth base, 2) using the Earth Engine API to integrate large geoscience datasets into the virtual globe, enabling additional forms of inquiry-based learning and undergraduate research, 3) expanding toolkits, including mobile apps, to enable a broader range of faculty and students to contribute crowd-sourced data and educational resources to an online repository, 4) conducting face-to-face and online faculty professional-development workshops to promote use, and 5) assessing dissemination efforts and student learning gains through a combination of surveys, clickstream data and pre-/post-tests.
The intellectual merit of this project lies in its ability to leverage user-friendly, cutting-edge virtual-globe and gigapixel-imaging technology to engage students in an array of learning activities and virtual settings. Assessment is combining discrete collection of data through surveys and pre- and post-tests with more-continuous clickstream data to provide insights into how students learn in such virtual environments.
The broader impacts of the project include 1) its applicability across a wide range of institutions, both as formal course assignments and for ancillary use in and beyond the undergraduate geoscience curriculum, 2) extensive faculty professional development using face-to-face, webinar and group-video-conferencing approaches, 3) materials development specifically for pre-service science teachers, and 4) provision of access for mobility-impaired students, as well as those with work or family commitments which limit participation in actual field trips.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 76.67K | Year: 2016
The lack of appropriate instructional materials at the undergraduate level for laboratory techniques presents a significant barrier to increasing student access to and knowledge of analytical skills necessary to succeed in the geosciences and other STEM fields. This project will create and evaluate five open access online learning modules for laboratory methods and scientific inquiry skills. These materials will initially be evaluated in courses at a four-year university (JMU) and a minority-serving two-year college (NOVA). The community-based review, evaluation, contribution, and further testing of these modules in various types of classrooms will create a forum for sharing ideas among geoscience and STEM faculty who wish to incorporate analytical methods into courses using robust peer-reviewed online teaching resources. The modular format will provide flexibility for instructors to use as few or as many units as needed for a specific course or student research experience.
Five learning modules will be created that represent commonly available analytical methods as well as techniques available at both JMU and NOVA. These units will include gas and water plumbing, petrographic microscopes, thin sectioning equipment, energy-dispersive spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and Raman and infrared spectroscopies. Scientific inquiry skills will be embedded into the content modules, and will include creating and testing protocols, evaluating data quality and error, and synthesizing data. To benefit the larger geosciences and STEM community, the modules will be published on an open educational resource (OER) courseware site. Module structure and content will align with active, inquiry-based learning theories, and will include video mini-lectures, individual and group quizzes and assignments, expository materials in video or animation formats, video tours of equipment and laboratories, and instructor resources. This project will improve geosciences and STEM learning by establishing effective practices for integrating open educational resources into research-based instructional units in geoscience and STEM courses involving the use of analytical equipment. The assessment plan will include formative and summative evaluations of student learning and attitudes within required and elective courses in geosciences and STEM at JMU and NOVA, as well as module reviews by geoscience community members outside of these institutions. Evaluation will focus on the effects of open educational resources and a blended learning course format upon student retention of analytical methods and instrumentation skills, student mastery of scientific inquiry skills, and student attitude and competencies towards conducting research with analytical equipment. The protocol established by this study will be used to create additional modules on other analytical techniques in the future, and will be a template the STEM community may use to develop other online learning resources.