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Roxbury Community College Celebrates Success in the Vision Project

Roxbury Community College (RCC) is proud to be involved in the Vision Project, a statewide strategic plan to achieve national leadership among state systems of public higher education. The Vision Project is focused on improving higher education in the state of Massachusetts through seven primary goals: expand college access, raise graduation rates, improve the quality of student learning, align degree and certificate programs with the needs of local employers, prepare future citizens, close achievement gaps and pursue research that drives economic development.

Last month, on October 18, 2013, delegations representing all 29 of Massachusetts’ higher education campuses attended the Within Our Sights Conference to discuss strategies and results of the Vision Project. Jenene Cook, Dean of Academic Technology for RCC, attended and spoke at this conference. She presented the success of her project: Enabling Disruptive Technologies to Further Vision Project Goals. Her project has focused on learning on the go and improving student outcomes with mobile classrooms.

The project began in September of 2013 with a pilot of mobile learning (m-learning) using Mobile Moodle. The pilot includes five select faculty members and a Microbiology course. In January 2014, seven additional courses will be added to the pilot: three College Experience courses, two Intermediate Algebra courses, and two Developmental Reading and Writing II courses.

These mobile learning courses are a great way to attract and connect to minority students. According to a study done by Pew Internet & American Life (2010), people of color in the United States “lead the way when it comes to mobile access—especially mobile access using handheld devices. Nearly two-thirds of African-Americans (64%) and Latinos (63%) are wireless Internet users, and people of color are significantly more likely to own a cell phone than their white counterparts (87% of blacks and Hispanics own a cell phone, compared with 80% of whites).”

This ongoing project is also changing the landscape of pedagogy, the science and art of teaching. This project along with RCC’s Title III activity “Utilizing Technology to Increase Persistence and Graduation Rates” (2010–2015) includes a comprehensive faculty development program with a primary focus on increasing student success in developmental education classes. Faculty who participate learn about new pedagogical approaches including: constructivism, blended learning, collaborative learning and active learning. These approaches support m-learning by letting students’ learning processes and innovation drive changes in pedagogy, compared to the traditional way of content driving the approach.

This project has had strong and measurable results to highlight the success of RCC’s involvement in the Vision Project.

· 33 faculty have completed the Title III professional development “Facilitated Learning” program. Five of these faculty are participating in the m-learning pilot.

· Over 60 faculty use Moodle as a companion tool with their face-to-face (f2f) courses and an additional 15-20 faculty have indicated interest or started basic training.

· 77% of RCC students indicate that the college’s technology has had a positive impact on their learning.

· 48% of RCC students have used Moodle to access course material this fall semester (2013).

· Course completion rates increased in: Basic Math from 62% to 65%, Intermediate Algebra from 62% to 69%, and Developmental Reading and Writing II from 55% to 65% from spring 2012 to spring 2013.

· Research shows that m-learning has the following advantages: life-long learning, learning inadvertently, learning in the time of need (on-demand), learning independent of time and location, and learning adjusted according to location and circumstances (“Mobile computing devices in higher education”, Gikas & Grant, 2013).

About Roxbury Community College:

Roxbury Community College, founded in 1973, is a two-year, state-supported, co-educational institution of higher learning offering Associate Degrees and certificates to members of the Greater Boston Community.  RCC currently offers 27 degree programs of study and 11 certificate programs.  Educational experiences in the classroom are complimented by those in athletics which promote discipline, teamwork, leadership and good sportsmanship.  RCC is also recognized as the first Junior College inducted into the N.E. Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.  In 2000, the RCC Men’s Basketball Team won the NJCAA Division III National Championship. In 2011 and 2012, the Women’s Basketball team played in the Championships games and was the Runner-up both years.


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