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NECC Professors Recognized for Innovative Online Courses

Submitted by on June 20, 2017 – 2:50 pm

Kevin Fleese, faculty member in NECC’s American Sign Language.

Two Northern Essex Community College online courses, both of which use engaging, interactive tools to help students to excel, are tops in the state.

The NECC Professors who designed the courses, Sheila Kane of Medford, and Kevin Fleese of Manchester, New Hampshire, received the 2017 Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) Course of Distinction (COD) Award. The award is given to state faculty who develop and teach innovative online and blended courses that are representative of the best uses of eLearning instructional tools to enhance student success.

The awards were presented during MCO’s 12th annual conference on eLearning “Sharing Best Practices” at Greenfield Community College, which was held in June. MCO is a consortium of the 15 community colleges and 9 state colleges of Massachusetts. The institutions have joined to share their convenient and flexible online courses and programs with students throughout the state and beyond.

Kane designed a hybrid Personal Health & Wellness course that students in the Public Health Associate Degree Program and the Community Health Worker Certificate Program are required to take.

NECC nursing professor Sheila Kane

She found aspects of the course, like the interactive syllabus, so successful, that she incorporated it into her Clinical Pathophysiology Course and plans to use it in other courses in the future.

“I hoped that a more engaging syllabus would help students understand the expectations and requirements of the course, thus improving chance of success and retention in the course…I did notice students had fewer questions about grading, assignment due dates, etc.,” she said.

Her interactive syllabus includes practice questions and a graded quiz. Weekly narrated lectures are short, searchable, and broken up with key questions.  Students learn about health by using interactive online tools like “USDA Choose My Plate” and “Fruit and Vegetable Quizzes” to test their knowledge about food groups. Lessons include animations and activities to truly engage students with the course content.

For 14 years, Kane has taught in Northern Essex’s associate degree and practical nursing programs. She teaches several hybrid courses though the iHealth program.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rhode Island College, a Master of Science in Parent Child Health Nursing from Boston University, and a Nurse-Midwifery Certificate from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center.

Fleese, who has taught in the American Sign Language Program at Northern Essex for 23 years, earned the honor for an intermediate online linguistics class he designed for students in the ASL program. He uses interactive modules designed to demonstrate the studying and analyzing of American Sign Language. These interactive modules include video tutorials that allow students access to “close-up” parts of sign language. He offers two other ASL courses online, both of which use pre-recorded video lectures.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Gallaudet University and a Master of Education in Deaf Studies from Boston University.

Northern Essex offers dozens of online courses, web enhanced courses, and hybrid courses each semester. More than 20 degree and certificates are now offered exclusively online or 80* online. These programs include business management, criminal justice, liberal arts, computer and information sciences, and sleep technology.

Here are NECC’s online course and program offerings.