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NECC Faculty Recognized for Innovative Online Courses

Submitted by on July 5, 2018 – 1:22 pm
Kristen Sparrow and Clare Thompson smile holding their COD award and certificates

Kristen Sparrow (left) and Clare Thompson (right) were presented with awards during MCO’s 13th annual conference.

Two Northern Essex Community College faculty members, Clare Thompson of Amesbury and Kristen Sparrow of Haverhill, are the recipients of the 2018 Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) Course of Distinction (COD) Award given to state faculty who develop and teach innovative online and blended courses that represent creative and transformative uses of eLearning instructional tools to enhance teaching and student success.

The awards were presented during MCO’s 13th annual conference on eLearning “Sharing Best Practices” at Framingham State University last month. MCO consists of 24 state universities and community colleges in Massachusetts, whose statewide organization of professionals meet to share their best practices and identify new collaboration opportunities.

Named after the Bay State’s unique association with the “Sacred Cod,” the MCO Courses of Distinction awards were created to encourage faculty to incorporate successful strategies into their online/blended courses. The annual conference allows attendees to view the courses from a student’s perspective, while also serving as a way to publicize the success of online and blended learning and course quality.

Thompson was recognized for her online course “ENG 101,” which holds an engaging theme due to its main focus on the global water crisis. She has created video workshops that require student interaction along with art-based activities used to deepen students’ understandings of a text or their writing. This unique course exemplifies best practice for online course design and teaching.

Thompson began working at Northern Essex in 1999 as a tutor in the writing center. She worked as an adjunct faculty member teaching Basic Writing, Composition I and II. She became a full-time faculty member in 2007.

Sparrow has designed her hybrid course “Introduction to Computer Science” to demonstrate basic programming and online problem-solving skills through the use of desktop videos. Informational videos are used by students to complete labs and coursework. Sparrow has utilized the Kaltura software to provide students with weekly course announcements and videos on demand. Kaltura analytic has features which allow the professor to track who is watching the videos and for how long, tracking student engagement and improving retention.

An adjunct instructor at NECC for 18 years, Sparrow will begin teaching full time in Computer Information Sciences Program in the fall.

Northern Essex Community College offers dozens of online courses, web-enhanced courses, and hybrid courses each semester. Nineteen programs are available online or 80% online. These include business management, computer & information sciences: information technology, criminal justice, liberal arts, and more.

Here are NECC’s online course programs and offerings