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College Receives National Award for Online Tutorial Community

Release Date: 2/15/2011

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Sylvia Blair
Executive Assistant to the President
Carroll Community College
410-386-8411

Carroll Community College Receives National Award for Online Tutorial Community

Westminster, Md., The National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA) has selected Carroll Community College (Carroll) as a winner in its 2010 Exemplary Initiatives Competition.  The college won an honorable mention in the NCIA Curricular and Program Innovation category. Awards will be presented at the awards luncheon of the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning on April 6, 2011 in Jacksonville, Fla.

The award is for an online tutorial community for chemistry students which allows them to post questions in an online forum for other students and online peer tutors to help increase understanding of the subjects being covered in class. The content is student-generated and monitored for quality and accuracy. For example, a student having difficulty with the empirical formula may post a question online and a student from a higher level class may respond.

"It is gratifying that our online tutorial community is being recognized as an exemplary initiative among institutions of higher education," said Carroll President Dr. Faye Pappalardo.

"This achievement is significant because it highlights the value of students helping students in the learning process. The online tutorial community is a unique vehicle for learning success and one that is catching on," said Carroll Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. James Ball.

"Moreover, the award showcases the talents and knowledge of our outstanding chemistry students who are truly going above and beyond in the classroom. Our instructors increasingly tell me that chemistry students are excelling in numerous ways. Take the case of student Xingzi Zhang, who recently took the A.C.S. General Chemistry Part 1 final standardized national exam and scored a perfect 100 percent. Such an achievement has been matched only by select top students nationwide. Xingzi's hard work and dedication were the reason for her success and so was the help from study partners and chemistry community tutors," said Ball.

"The NCIA award is a special award for us as it was not just a win for the Sciences Department, but also for the Distance Learning and Academic Services Departments as a collaborative project. I want to especially thank Dr. Raza Khan, faculty member in the Sciences Department, for all of his hard work and dedication to make this project possible," said Anne Davis, associate professor, Biology and department chair, Sciences at Carroll.

The NCIA selects winners based on criteria established within each category. Examples of initiatives in the Curricular and Program Innovation category include but are not limited to: core curricula or texts, cooperative/interdisciplinary/service/experiential learning, cross-curricular initiatives, integration of diversity, technology-enhanced learning, distance delivery of programs/degrees, unique or innovative programs, and effective assessment of student learning outcomes.

Carroll also offers a mathematics online community for transitional mathematics students, as well as for students taking general college mathematics or college statistics. Department Chair, Academic Services, Magdeleine Vandal said that "students are not intimidated to ask questions, they see that others have the same questions, they know that help is at their fingertips 24/7, and they feel that they are not alone--but connected to a part of a community."

"Carroll's online tutorial communities and the NCIA award exemplify outstanding, cutting edge methods to enhance the quality of higher education provided at two-year institutions in the United States," said Ball.

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