Thursday, March 17, 2022
A Message from the West Campus Learning Support Services Department
This month, check out our latest Learning Support updates, including the Academic Coaches for Excellence (ACE) program, extended library services during the pandemic and 2021 library statistics.
Get to Know the ACE Program
The ACE program is a non-remedial approach to learning enrichment that increases student performance and retention. The program offers regularly scheduled, out-of-class review sessions to all students enrolled in targeted courses. The sessions are informal, where the students review notes, discuss readings, develop organizational skills, learn time management and prepare for examinations. Students learn how to integrate course content with reasoning and study skills. These sessions are facilitated by ACE Coaches (curriculum assistants), which are students who have previously and successfully completed the course. They attend all class lectures, take notes and act as model students. This allows for growth, building a rapport with the students, faculty guidance, and communication with the professor and his or her students.
Linda Ferguson, interim tutorial support specialist, is the coordinator for the ACE program and has been with this program for 10 years. She started when it was the Supplemental Leaders (SL) program.
“I wanted to support an English composition class, and unfortunately, there were no available classes,” shared Linda. “I was asked to help with a math class and in return would work with English composition the next semester, and now 10 years later, I’m still helping students with math. This has been very rewarding for me, as I love helping people. It reminds me of when I started at Valencia and sometimes felt overwhelmed. Some classes can be challenging, and it’s refreshing to know that there is a program that caters to historically difficult classes.”
Linda also tutors students with math or who are seeking their Special Education Certification through the Division of Blind Services.
Linda added, “Working with students who have challenges that we don’t has taught me that they don’t feel challenged at all. Their vision is not the same as ours, and if they put their mind to it, they can do anything. This has helped me in numerous ways.”
With ACE, we have coaches who currently work with math (developmental math to college algebra) and science (general chemistry to organic chemistry) classes. Some have been with us for more than two years.
Michael Cabrera, curriculum assistant, has coached in both subjects very efficiently, and he has a way of making chemistry fun by making a game out of it with Kahoot.
Mani Olarte Sanchez, curriculum assistant, coaches Organic Chemistry classes, and she makes a PowerPoint and uses it with her iPad, which allows her to write as she reviews. The visual aspect of that is excellent.
Margot Sellers, curriculum assistant, works with one of our math professors. She is very organized, and her session environment is peaceful and calm. It leaves you with a feeling of being able to ask questions without being embarrassed about it.
If you have any questions about the program or would like to learn more about it, contact Linda Ferguson at email@example.com or 407-582-5118.
How We Extended Library Services With DLIS Grant Funds During the Pandemic
In December 2020, the Florida Department of State Division of Library and Information Services (DLIS) awarded $92,383 to the Valencia College Library. This was federal flow down money from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Funds supported three significant initiatives:
- Establishment of a hotspot circulation program: The Valencia College Library partnered with the Campus Store to distribute T-Mobile 4G LTE HotSpots to students by both mail and pickup. All 175 hotspots were distributed, and a waitlist was created to redistribute the devices as they were returned. In a survey of students using the hotspots, 94% said these devices helped them succeed in their classes.
- Expended tech support services for students: Five part-time positions provided technical support to more than 300 struggling students during the grant period. Students in the New Student Experience course, for example, were able to complete their final video project with the help of virtual tech support.
- Programming to support student connections during a time of isolation: “The Big Read” was a great opportunity to expose Valencia students to a nationally recognized, science-fiction author who incorporates themes of social justice in her writing. The author, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, provided students and faculty a platform to engage in meaningful discussion about her novella, Binti, via two Zoom events.
In December 2021, DLIS approved Valencia College for an additional $25,697 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide students with safe learning environments as colleges adjust to “the new normal.” Valencia will purchase Vibe Boards to support online library instruction sessions. A Vibe Board is a smartboard that supports remote and hybrid teaching and enhances virtual instruction. Besides active learning in the classroom, they have many other uses, including interactive tutor sessions and displays.
Valencia College Library 2021: By the Numbers
Valencia College Libraries were busy last year! We compiled some statistics to see just how much students used our resources.