ELearn and Online Success

By Kalynn Meeker

 

Distribution Learning has taken on the task of teaching Volunteer State Community College’s course management system, eLearn. Andrea Scruggs, the Distribution Learning Coordinator, and her team have supplied all there is to know about the program. All upcoming students have the opportunity to trial run eLearn with the training course to better understand how the program works.

Scruggs relayed the way in to carry out the process. Logging on the Volstate website at “www.volstate.edu” is the first step.  Under the “Current Students” tab, students will click on “eLearn”.  When asked the username type in “VSGuest” and the password is “Guest123”. This will bring you to the guest account.  On the right side of the screen is a link in the “eLearn Resources” module. Click on the first link in the module to take you to the homepage for eLearn Success.

The student is given step-by-step instructions on navigating through every facet of eLearn. There is also a quick-tip sheet of general information. The highlighted red words open in-depth tutorials about everything from classlists to quizzes. Understanding how to use different types of media like Youtube is demonstrated on the page. Kurzweil 3000/Firefly tutorials can be found as well to assist in on-the-go assignment success. When asked how this helps to understand eLearn, Rachel Effinger, first-time freshmen at Volstate, said, “I think once I start classes and I get in contact with someone else, it will help.”

There is also help for faculty in this endeavor. Scruggs has equipped instructors with step-by-step instructions on how to make the beginning of the courses run successfully on eLearn. It can be found on the Distribution Learning blog by visiting http://blogs.volstate.edu/distributededucation/.

Tuition going up 3.4% at Volunteer State

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved increases in tuition and fees Friday that are among the lowest on average since 1996.
The increase raises tuition an average of 3.3 percent across the six TBR universities, 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
Students at community colleges will pay 3.4 percent more for tuition fees.

Students at Volunteer State Community College will pay $3,648 in maintenance/tuition fees, plus $277 in mandatory fees, beginning with the Fall semester, for the 2015-16 academic year.

Vol State has the second lowest tuition and mandatory fee ($3,925) among Tennessee community colleges, just $6 more than Columbia State Community College ($3,919).
In addition to maintenance fees/tuition, which are charged by the credit hour, all students pay a set of mandatory fees that are unique to each campus, like athletics fees, student activities fees, health services fees, etc.

“We are pleased that the tuition levels are the lowest they have been in decades, but we do understand that every time fees are raised, someone may be priced out of an opportunity to attend one of our institutions,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan.

“Tennessee is fortunate to have state leaders who recognize the integral connection between an educated workforce with affordable access to post-secondary education and the economic growth of our state. Our Hope lottery scholarship, the Tennessee Promise last-dollar scholarship and the Tennessee Reconnect grant, along with other state and federal aid programs, make higher education a more realistic option for more people today than ever before, but for those who must cover the full cost of attendance, any increase is unfortunate,” he said.
“Our institutions are more efficient now than ever, and they continue to focus their resources on ways that support student success to help more complete their credentials faster and more effectively.

“We hope that in the coming years our state leaders will continue to find a way to make higher education a funding priority,” Morgan said.

How fees are calculated:


Maintenance fees
(often referred to as “tuition”) are the charges based on credit hours for in-state students. For example, a student pays a flat rate for the first 12 hours of class credits and a discounted rate for any additional hours. Only out-of-state students are required to pay tuition in addition to maintenance fees. Mandatory fees vary by institution, fund specified programs, and are paid by all students regardless of the number of hours they take.

Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Building under construction behind Wood Center

The Steinhauer, Rogan and Black Building is under construction behind the Wood Campus Center on the Vol State Gallatin campus.

The Steinhauer, Rogan and Black Building is under construction behind the Wood Campus Center on the Vol State Gallatin campus.

Volunteer State Community College’s main Gallatin campus is under construction for a new Humanities building. The building will be located between the Wood Campus Center and the Mattox Building.

The new building will be the Steinhauer, Rogan and Black Building.

It will be the largest building on campus at  88,345 square feet.

Specific criteria that is planned for the new building includes it having 23 classrooms, 18 labs, 11 collaborative study areas, 56 offices, adjunct faculty workrooms, an outdoor amphitheater, and a courtyard. It will also have a recording studio/ lab; drawing, ceramics and printmaking studios; instrumental art gallery, computer labs, and a large capacity of flexible instructional space.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity this will give to our students in the Humanities program. But it will also free up space for us to offer exciting and collaborative activities and classes for students in all programs,” said Alycia Ehlert, dean of the Humanities division.

Construction is said to be completed by the summer of 2016.

Traffic and parking changes and warnings will be e-mailed throughout the Vol State community via their student or faculty g-mail accounts.

Live streaming of the construction can be watched online at http://www.volstate.edu/construction/.

Completion Advisors to start in July

 Starting in the Fall, Volunteer State Community College will be introducing new advising help for the student body.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the Funding is currently pending but the school plans to hire four completion advisors.

“Each division will have one, so there will be one assigned to Humanities, one assigned to Social Science, one for Business and Technology and one for Math and Science. We already have one in Allied Health,” said Pimentel. 

Pimentel also said the completion advisors will give students guidance.

“They will have an advising load just like the other faculty do but they are going to be there for a resource, they are going to help by doing more active advising . . . they will be trained as counselors as well,” said Pimentel.

If a student’s advisor is absent or unable to see the student right away, Pimentel said the completion advisors are who the students should go to next. 

“Say, your advisors not there, instead of you having to come back another day, that persons there in the division. You can go see them and they can take notes and send them to your advisor and help out the students.

“We are really looking forward to having them on board in July. We are relatively sure we are going to move July 1, so that’s our goal. I can’t guarantee it, but I feel good about it,” said Pimentel. 

Summer’s Campus Connect welcomes new students to campus and college

This summer, Volunteer State Community College is hosting a number of orientations for upcoming first-time Vol State students.

Among those students, are the ones who qualified for the Tennessee Promise program. 

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said as a result of the increase in students, more orientations have been added. 

“All the students that are coming to Vol State who are on the TN Promise will be embedded just like the other students but because this is the first big push out for TN Promise, and a lot of students have applied, the Governor [Bill Haslam] has asked that we actually have some specific days [for them],” said Pimentel. 

According to Student Services, all first-time students will receive a letter in the mail with their orientation date and any additional information they need. 

Pimentel said orientation is a must in order for a student to be comfortable and successful in their first year. 

“One of the most consistent messages we’ve been telling everyone, as well as all the other schools, is that when we go to the mentor meeting to talk to the students that are going to be TN Promise students, [we tell them to] come to orientation, fill out your schedule, speak to your advisor because that’s all things that will help make them successful. There are just a variety of things like that, that will be going on all summer as a part of our normal orientation,” said Pimentel.  

Vol State considering two commencements to aid students

May 9, Volunteer State Community College hosted its 43rd annual graduation ceremony. According to the Vol State website, the event had the largest amount of participants in the college’s history, with more than 470 students walking.

With the increase in numbers, the Commencement Committee is deciding whether or not to add another graduation into the school year.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs and a member of the committee, said that it all depends on how many people walk.

“If we continue to grow like we have been over the next few years, we feel like it’s going to be necessary to have a Fall and probably a Christmas graduation.

“Right now, nothing’s official, but we’re going to be talking about it next year after this graduation to see if we need to go ahead and just expand to two of them. We’ll try to keep the same one for as long as we can,” said Pimentel.

Pimentel said besides the additional cost, there are a couple things they are working on.

“Number one, we have about 470 students who traditionally walk, but if that number grows to 550, then obviously you add all of them, plus everyone who brings five guests, and its really full. So we are right there at about the maximum number we can accommodate.

“We’ll have to meet this summer to talk about [if] we just want to split it and have the students that graduate in December, just have a ceremony for them at Christmas time and the ones who graduate [in the] Spring and Summer, we’ll do like we normally do in may. That decision will be made by the [Vol State] president sometime this year,” said Pimentel.

Women’s Tea recognizes and celebrates women of Vol State

Volunteer State Community College hosted its annual Women’s Tea last Wednesday, to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Sybril Bennett, an Emmy Award winning journalist.

After a welcome by Davis Carr, Psychology club president, Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of History, introduced Bennett.

“She has a book out about the underground railroad that is really about networking. Its about how people can take the example about this folks who worked the Underground Railroad to get you from point A, to point B, to point C, safely and freely and how you can apply those principles today. . . . She has worked for CBS news, she has worked for Channel 5 News here in town, and she is a journalism professor at Belmont,” said Bucy.

Bennett spoke about networking in the world today and how it relates to the Underground Railroad.

“If you think about innovation and the Underground Railroad, my premise is, the Underground Railroad is among the most innovative, effective and disruptive networks in U.S. History. The Internet will be too,” said Bennett.

“I use seven ideas as a framework, the seven elements of innovation; problem, principle, purpose, pioneering, perspective, passion and play. Problems, if you think about then and you think about now, the problems are the same. Freedom, boundaries, ownership, privacy, access, “ said Bennett.

Bennett talked about enslaved Africans of the past and what they fought for.

“The enslaved Africans, and I use that term deliberately because they were enslaved, they were forced into slavery. Some now choose to be slaves in denial, doubt, [and] disbelief. There’s choices that are made, but in this case, these were enslaved Africans. These were people who were forced into slavery. These were people who fought for their privacy. They wanted the right to eat alone, bathe alone, have intimate relationships alone. . . . Enslaved Africans valued their personhood, they valued their freedom. So much so, they partnered with an amazing network to get to that freedom,” said Bennett.

“I heard [Bennett] speak two years ago and met her for the first time, at the Nashville Davidson County African-American history conference, which is sponsored every year by the Metro Historical commission and she was such a dynamic speaker that I knew she would do well here at Vol State because her motivational message of ‘you can be anything you want to be’ I think really needs to be heard by our community college students,” said Bucy.

After Bennett spoke, lunch was served and awards were presented to four women who were nominated as outstanding women on campus. These four women were Kathy Sowell, director of the office of disability services and ADA coordinator; Melva Black, instructor of communication; Shellie Michael, associate professor of
Communication and English; and Brenda Buffington, director of adult learners and evening services.

Connie Martin, instructor in psychology and education, attended the event and said she enjoyed it.

“It was very active and very interesting. I liked how [Bennett] took the Underground Railroad and made it applicable to everyone in the audience . . . everyone from the youngest person in the audience to the oldest person in the audience. I got ways out of it that I could look and change maybe some of the ways that I’m doing, for example she said ‘stop looking at the problem to find the solutions,’ I’m going to share that with my students,” said Martin.

By Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

 

Nunsense mega musical performed by Theater Department

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

The Theater Program at Volunteer State Community College had a play this past weekend called “Nunsense.”

The theme of the play was a group of nuns trying to raise money to bury their sisters who all died from food poisoning.

The play had an all female cast and starred Janice Winfrey-Thomas as Sister Mary Regina, a model mother superior who knew how to get a laugh,

Sonya Mckinley Sharp as Sister Mary Hubert, who taught the novices the ground rules, Aubrey Iwan as Sister Robert Anne, a tough streetwise nun who had a heart of gold.
Stephanie Goodrum played Sister Mary Amnesia, who could not remember her past and Kat Lambert played Sister Mary Leo, who was a professional dancer before entering the convent.
Sister Mary Brendan, played by Hannah Meece, joined the convent after a failed career as a ventriloquist and Sister Julia Child of God, played by Ren Creasy, is the nun who poisons and kills 52 of her sisters.

This play also featured a live band. Jane Kelley as the conductor and piano player,
Rex Howell on the percussions, Katie Blomarz on the bass, and Sheldon A. Thomas on the saxophone.

This play set in present time was being held at Mt. Saint Helen’s School Auditorium. The nuns decided to throw on a variety of shows so that they can raise money to bury their sisters.

“It was fun playing a Nun, the only challenging part about it was learning the dance steps and singing,” said Creasy.

This performance featured a number of songs, such as “The biggest ain’t the best,” “So you want to be a Nun,” “I just want to be a star,” and their finale song, “Holier than thou”.
“It’s a play that everyone can come and enjoy,” said Edmon Thomas.

There was tap dancing, choreography and even a ballet performance by Lambert. During intermission, the nuns interacted with the audience, asking for donation for the church and Sister Julia Child of God wandering around asking the audience if anyone would like to try her soup, the same soup that killed 52 of her nun sisters.

“I think everyone is going to laugh and enjoy this play,” said Iwan.

First annual History Bowl at Vol State a success

by Jesse Versage// Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 25, the Supplemental Instruction (SI) sponsored History Bowl took place. The event occurred in the Rochelle Center at Volunteer State Community College.
There were two teams competing, the Honorifics lead by Dr. Merritt McKinney, director of the Honors Program; and Professor Peter Johnson, associate professor of history and the leader for the History Pickers.
“Jennifer from Supplemental Instruction just contacted me and asked if I wanted to partake in this event and I said sure,” said Johnson.
McKinney’s student team was from the Honors Program and Johnson’s team was made up of some of his best students to compete in this competition.
The event was setup where each team had four teammates, and every so often would switch out with substitutes.
Professor David Fuqua, assistant professor of Economics, hosted the History Bowl and read out the questions to the competitors. The questions mainly ranged from mid 1800s – 1920s era for United States history.
The way the competition worked was that with every question a team gets correct, that team who answered it correctly received ten points.
If the team answered incorrectly, the other team would have a chance to answer.
They could try to answer the question mid description without any penalty if they had the question incorrect.
There was also a buzzer system where one team was blue and the other red, and each individual on each team got a buzzer to use if they wanted to try to answer the question asked. If no one on either team answered the question, the question would go to the audience to answer.
At the end of the event, Johnson’s History Pickers won with the final score being 210 – 150.
The attendance ranged from 65 – 75 in the audience alone.
Also in attendance was Dr. George Pimentel, the vice president of Academic Affairs, he was there to settle disputes if there were any to occur.
“There were a lot more people who showed up the History Bowl than I anticipated, if we could have more events like this on campus that would be awesome,” said Sara Jarka a Vol State student.

Color and Rhythm lecture connects the arts and music

by Jim Busha// Staff Writer

‘To hear the color and see the sound’ was the idea behind Color and Rhythm, a lecture series given in the Volunteer State Community Rochelle Center, by Sue Mulcahy, professor of Art, and Nancy Slaughter, professor of music.

The lecture was open to anyone interested in art and music or the relationship between the two.

“The arts all have common ground. We talk about the similarities between the languages of art and languages of music. The series started as collaboration between the art and music departments here on campus. We wanted to see how they influenced each other,” said Mulcahy.
To begin, everyone was told to close their eyes and relax before a sound was played.
Everyone was then told to open their eyes and say what image they saw in their head when they heard the sound.
Throughout the lecture, the audience was  asked to share which sounds were associated with the images in front of them.
“It inspires critical thinking and gets people to understand that there are real connections between art and music.  Different music can change someone’s perception.
“If you look at two different pictures side by side and listen to one song or sound, it could change your opinion on which image you relate to more. It may help you broaden your personal relationship with art and music. A painting you never liked or didn’t understand could become understood or interesting to you,” said Slaughter.
Slaughter and Mulcahy said the next lecture hasn’t been scheduled but there will be another one coming soon and that they encourage anyone interested in music, art, or both, to attend.
“It generates conversation, and helps me view art and music through broader eyes,” said Cindy Wyatt, professor of English
“Nancy and Sue force me to think about art and music in different ways.   Anyone who didn’t attend missed out,” said Ben Graves, instructor of Music.