FACES of NCCOnline
Meet the FACES of the students and faculty of NCCOnline! These students and staff are Flexible, Accessible, Connected, Engaging, and Supportive, and can give you an idea of what you can expect from the NCCOnline experience.
Judith Miller, NCC Student
Judith Miller, like many students, opted to start taking online classes as a way to get ahead during the summer and winter sessions. She needed prerequisites for a particular program and wanted to complete all of her regular education classes prior to submitting her application for the program.
"I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned in such a short period of time. I was concerned with the condensed time period, but once I started the classes, things just fell into place," says Miller, who was enrolled in accelerated classes. "If I had questions for the professor, they were answered both quickly and thoroughly."
Miller says that future students of the program should be sure that they are disciplined enough to carve out more than two hours a day to either complete the online work or to go through the reading material. Failure to do so can result in setbacks for any online student, because, as Miller points out, "Missed deadlines and your experience and results will show in the end. As with any class either online or in a traditional classroom, you only get out of it what you put into it."
Valedy Ross, NCC Student
Valedy Ross chose an Online Learning experience to get used to the world of technology. Having grown up studying education in cyber schools and more recently programming computers, Ross is interested in the new features and upgrades that technology advancements offer every year and loves working with technology in general.
"I love learning everything about computers and the challenges it has to offer," says Ross. "If you're good with computers and choose to learn online, you become used to the work."
Ross lives an hour away from NCC's on-ground campuses and says that saving that driving time each day helps to be able to balance both school and work priorities. When it comes time to be online for class, however, Ross is completely engaged in the process.
"You can talk with other students one on one, or even listen to the instructor and what they have to say," says Ross. "I'm so amazed with the features and online learning experience that NCC offers, as well as upcoming programming opportunities. It offers a great chance to learn and explore."
Chloe Miller, Instructor
Online Learning instructor Chloe Miller is honored to be able to teach her favorite subject, English as a Second Language, in a format that requires students to practice the subject regularly – through writing. A self-professed lover of words, Miller has moved and worked around the world. She first became an ESL tutor through the Literacy Volunteers in America, then found herself in helping students navigate their first college experience at New York University’s Florence, Italy campus. She became more familiar with the world of computers and the web when she returned to the U.S. in 2003 to study for her Master of Fine Arts in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, and upon graduation, taught at Farleigh Dickinson University. She started teaching online with NCC during a move to Michigan back in 2008, and has been part of the NCC family of online instructors since.
"I really value the fact that students must write in order to participate in regular class discussions," says Miller. "This process encourages them to write in different settings with different goals. I can better see what they need help with by becoming so familiar with their writing. Overall, my goal is to build on the skills they already started learning and practicing in school, professional and personal settings."
Miller understands the frustrations that some students experience when learning a foreign, or second, language for the first time. She learned to speak, write, and read Italian in college and found it to be "terrifically hard." It took a kind professor to help her overcome her doubts about her own learning skills and to help her connect with the language she was studying. Miller hopes to have the same effect on her own students, and knows that technology is the key to helping her achieve that goal.
"Teaching online allows me to access any resource at any time. I can refer [students] to more than one resource for practice beyond the syllabus," says Miller. "It can lead them to an electronic library and then into a physical library. The more widely that a student can read, learn, question, and test out ideas, the more clearly that student will think, communicate, write and participate in the world. I’m here to help students to find the helpful aspects of this tool during their formal education."
Todd Zimmerman, Instructor
World History instructor Todd Zimmerman teaches both online and on-ground courses at NCC. In a classroom, he can "tell by the facial expressions whether students have that ah-ha moment where they understand the lessons," which can be more difficult to achieve through a strictly online community. What online learning can lack for in personal interaction, however, it makes up for through use of ever-changing and expanding modern technology. This allows students to have the advantage of not only taking classes online locally, but also around the world.
"Technology has changed dramatically in the last ten years. The demographics of our society are changing and American colleges can reach out to foreign students around the world and give them an affordable education online," says Zimmerman. "Perhaps a student from Nigeria could take their first two years online at NCC, and then transfer to a four-year institution. This is a win-win for students abroad and American colleges."
Zimmerman also found an opportunity to use the Internet to share a trip he led of eight NCC students visiting Turkey and Cankiri University. The students were able to examine the history and culture of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey via recorded lectures and videos in BlackBoard before they traveled. While on the trip, they posted photos and details of the trip to a social media page set up to share with other NCC students. Though it wasn’t part of an online curriculum, it shows the benefits of using the online world to share teachable moments. The college using Blackboard software has been a big part of that.
"All of the material is conveniently located on Blackboard so that students can have a true online experience," says Zimmerman. "I have enhanced all of my classes, both online and face-to-face, with recorded lectures that are closed captioned according to ADA guidelines."
Luxmi Vadhwana, NCC Student
Luxmi Vadhwana knew what to expect of taking courses online for college; she took high school courses online and found that this created an environment in which she could best learn and avoid outside distractions. The general studies major also found that experimenting in different subjects online left her open to exploring a wider variety of topics instead of one declared major.
"I'm still trying to decide on a major, but I think doing my general studies online gives me more of an opportunity to pursue different things and see what major I would eventually like to choose," says Vadhwana.
One of the best advantages to taking college courses online is that Vadhwana has been able to maintain balance in her life. Many students struggle with being able to both work and go to school at the same time; Vadhwana has found that she can balance not only school and work, but also maintaining a personal life outside of both. This is also due to the support system she has found through online learning.
"I feel that I have the adequate support of my online instructors and especially my online classmates," says Vadhwana. "My classmates have been nothing but encouraging of each other because we all know that online learning can be difficult at some points, and we are all just seeking to succeed."
Vadhwana would also like to offer the following advice to any students who may be thinking about pursuing a degree online: "Don't forget that you're capable of more than you think. Pursuing a degree online may seem scary because there isn't the accountability of a classroom environment. It's just a matter of getting started, and then you can accomplish anything that you want to."
Gina Robertiello, Instructor
Instructor Gina Robertiello knew from an early age that she was interested in the legal system; being allowed to choose an elective in junior high school led her to choose a course on the the law, and from then she knew she would somehow be involved in the criminal justice system. Her love of studying people and trying to figure out "their story" led her to criminology, and after earning her Master's degree in Criminal Justice, she caught the research and publishing bug and wrote and published a dissertation on police behavior while working on her Ph.D. Since that time, she has had about 30 articles, book chapters, and encyclopedic references published and fully enjoys researching, writing, and teaching about her experiences.
"I enjoy the ability to share my expertise in the field with a larger audience," Robertiello says about teaching online learners. I can cover large geographic areas without traveling to them, and I get exposed to many different types of people from different ethnic groups, racial groups and socioeconomic statuses."
Robertiello has been teaching online for NCC for several years now, and like many professors, agrees that the most difficult part of the online teaching experience is not being able to meet with students face to face or getting to know their personalities. She enjoys incorporating different options to improve students' success, and also knows that technology plays a large part in allowing visuals that can reinforce what is taught in the classroom.
"I use MYSOCLAB, MYCRIMEKIT, and other interactive sources that provide real-life scenarios and simulations as well as review guides, sample test questions, flash cards and quizzes for the students to study," says Robertiello. "There is also audio for those who have difficulty reading and the key terms and flash cards are great for students who have difficulty with not taking and mastery of finding the main point."