Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kachemak Bay Campus--Teaching College

Kachemak Bay Campus (KBC) in Homer is part of Kenai Peninsula College (KPC), which is part of the University of Alaska Anchorage system. It has taken me months to figure out this relationship. Kachemak Bay Campus has about 500 students enrolled each semester, which is roughly how many went through North Central Michigan College in Gaylord each semester. As in Michigan, there are dual enroll students (high school students taking college classes), as well as huge variety in the ages of other students. This semester I am teaching College Writing. Of my 12 students, 2 are dual enroll, 2 are older (over 30 or so) and the rest are in their late teens or early 20's. For nearly all of my students, this is their first college class. Based on student test scores, they are placed in Prpe086, Prpe108 or Eng111. Prpe courses are remedial to bring students up to college level skill.
What I find most exciting about teaching here is the contact with other instructors. As an adjunct in the past it took me years to meet and get to know other adjuncts, and I never spoke with other instructors in my field. Here I am in regular contact with other instructors, most of them full-time. I will be collaborating with other instructors later in the semester with their students and mine involved in peer editing activities. I have met with other instructors about Service Learning ideas (of which I am a dedicated fan), and when I have questions about how to teach various skills I just drop one of the experienced instructors an email or catch them on campus. The down side of having colleagues is that it does take more time to network and discuss things. At this point I don't mind that and am just thrilled to be around other dedicated teachers who are good at what they do and passionate about helping students and trying new techniques in the classroom.
I have already developed a reputation as being an "expert" in Blackboard, and have coached other instructors in its use. In fact, I will be developing the online delivery for Prpe086 this fall, and facilitating it (teaching it) next semester. When I received my Blackboard certification in Michigan last spring, my goal was to develop such classes. There is a great need for instructors who know how to use or are willing to learn alternative delivery methods.
There are actually 2 campuses to Kachemak Bay Campus. I teach at West Campus, which is an old intermediate school. The faculty offices are there, and it is staffed by a secretary who sets up technology in classrooms as needed, makes photocopies for instructors (Wow! This is quite a benefit!), proctors tests and handles whatever else comes up. East Campus is the nice and much newer campus. It houses the library, computer lab, art studio, campus bookstore and a very nice lounge area for students, as well as the administrative offices. It is expected that this campus will be expanded in a few years when the City Hall next door moves to a new location. West Campus will be closed and the City Hall will be renovated for the college.
The benefits to having Kachemak Bay Campus part of the UAA system is that the resources are well beyond what a small community college would normally have access to. In addition, I can transfer more easily between the many campuses throughout the state since they are all part of the same system.



Anonymous said...

Where did you get your blackboard certification from in michigan and was it hard?

Michelle Waclawski said...

The Michigan Consortium of Community Colleges (MCCC) offered a 6 week course, and no, I did not find it difficult. If you teach for a college that belongs to the consortium, you can get a discount on the course, or the college may even pay for it. Try Googling it, or ask your college about it. Good luck!