2015 Award Recipients

Distinguished Teaching & Learning Award
2015 Recipients

Awardees Photo

Front Row Left to Right: Daphine Mora, Dr. Rebecca Millán, Chef Jennifer Guerra, Gina Miquiabas, Dr. Sandra Ledesma, Robin Bell, Cynthia Sanchez, Eunice Sauceda

Back Row Left to Right: Nicholas Hinojosa, Meliton Hinojosa, Edmundo Garcia, Eric Garcia, Dr. Ravindra Nandigam, Jorge Saenz, David Shepard

Not in picture: Luis Guerra

Robin Bell, Instructor, English, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Teaching Technique: Online Peer Review Using the Wiki Tool in Blackboard
For many students, the thought of writing a college paper might seem scary and overwhelming. With innovate techniques, Ms. Bell consistently tries to better engage and motivate her students by tying many of the writing assignments and topics into popular culture. While the students thoroughly enjoy writing on topics of popular culture, Ms. Bell also incorporates technology by showing a couple of Ted Talks video and encouraging students to keep an online journal through Blackboard. Through these activities, Robin teaches not only the writing process and researching, but also the joy of just writing for fun and the benefits of slowing down. Ms. Bell hopes that each student will be successful not only in the classroom but also in their chosen career paths.

Edmundo Garcia, Instructor, Associate Degree Nursing Program, Nursing & Allied Health Division
Teaching Technique: Enhanced Learning through Simulation and Role Play
Mr. Garcia brings a wealth of knowledge to the ADN Program due to his vast experience as a nurse and his ability to simply and clarify information and the use of simulation. Mr. Garcia's use of the laerdal mannequins and the use of the NLN scenarios have made him an expert and source of information. The experience Mr. Garcia has gained in his many years as a Med-Surg Instructor enhances his simulation and role play techniques. Mr. Garcia has the ability to integrate the use of mannequins to accomplish basic nursing skills in a simulated environment and increase the students learning and experience.

Eric Garcia, Instructor, Mathematics, Math, Science & BAT Programs Division
Teaching Technique: Active Learning, Student Engagement, Emotional Intelligence (Self Awareness), Multi Media, Computer Application
Mr. Garcia uses a combination of web-based technology, open-source software and emotional intelligence skill-building to improve student performance. Lectures are built in ways that develop self-awareness in students. This helps reduce "math-anxiety" and "test-anxiety" by pushing the student to challenge their own preconceived negative notions of mathematics education. Mr. Garcia implements humor, positivity, and his own past struggles with mathematics to create a positive learning environment and mindset. By carefully communicating these concepts, students eventually learn to cope with their own stress triggers and adapt appropriate stress responses. Mr. Garcia utilizes the full capabilities of Blackboard to deliver self-produced supplemental video content on demand. These videos not only offer a recap of the classroom lecture but are also used as virtual office hours whereby questions can be answered. When live video is required, Mr. Garcia has utilized video conferencing during office hours via Skype. Additionally, Mr. Garcia implements web-based applications such as GeoGebra, Desmos, and SymPy in his lessons and encourages his students to use these free web-based applications to further their understanding of mathematical concepts. Mr. Garcia also requires students to use free and open-source software such as R and G numeric in statistics courses. This improves computer proficiency and introduces coding concepts to students.

Jennifer Guerra, Instructor, Culinary Arts, Business & Technology Division
Teaching Technique: Blogging Towards Deliciousness in a Culinary World
Chef Jennifer is always looking for ways to improve her class instruction and engage her students through technology. Chef Jennifer has implemented a technique for each student to create a blog via Blackboard of all their projects. Each student has to write a blog entry and critique their work on whatever they cook or bake and explain what came out well or what didn't. If the student writes down why the project did not turn out well, Chef Jennifer posts comments explaining why and tasks the students to do some research to improve their product next time. This technique allows the students to "document" their work from day one all the way to their practical exam. This also encourages the students as they are able see the improvements they have made which empowers them to do better. In addition, Chef Jennifer also encourages the students to look and provide constructive criticism on each other's work.

Luis Guerra, Instructor, Biology, Math, Science & BAT Programs Division
Teaching Technique: Tying-Up Lecture with Video Appeal
In an era of video games, information driven, and short attention span, Mr. Guerra has a unique charismatic way of approaching the new generation needs of students. Mr. Guerra has implemented visual cues to grab his student's interest and application of a complex subject. His students are more interested in the subject matter because they can have a tangible example to the content and topics being covered in class. Mr. Guerra's video collection has been archived in the South Texas College library for those who wish to use it.

Meliton Hinojosa, Instructor, Electronic & Computer Maintenance, Business & Technology Division
Teaching Technique: Using Nonrepudiation Screenshot Software for Authentic Blackboard Lab Submission
Our classes require students to provide screenshots of their work as they progress through the lab. In an online class, students take screenshots and copy/paste them into a final PDF document prior to submission. The problem is that there is no software to uniquely identify student lab work as authentic. Mr. Hinojosa wrote a software that students use on their screenshots to watermark them which makes repudiation of their work difficult. The software's watermark includes the date and time which ultimately prevents and discourages the students from plagiarism or duplicating for semesters to come'.

Nicholas Hinojosa, Instructor, Computer Science, Math, Science & BAT Programs Division
Teaching Technique: Improving Student Comprehension through Visualizations that Model Complex Processes and Abstract Concepts
For many students, learning computer programming can be very frustrating because it is difficult to visually represent the dynamic behavior of computer code. If the student cannot develop the appropriate mental models associated with programming, then they will always struggle with writing code. Mr. Hinojosa helps his students to overcome this challenge by utilizing several visualization techniques to graphically illustrate the structures, relationships, behaviors, and abstraction found in programming. Mr. Hinojosa provides a class diagram that visually describes the attributes and operations of the objects that the student will construct in code. These types of models make it easier for students to translate the requirements of a homework assignment into any object-oriented programming language. With the right visual aids, Mr. Hinojosa believes that all computer science students can develop the necessary mental models to master the skill of computer programming.

Dr. Sandra Ledesma, Instructor, Education, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Teaching Technique: Student Centered Lesson Planning
The purpose of the 'Student Centered Lesson Planning' is to gather as many relevant structures and strategies as possible and design the lesson plan based on if the student falls into 4 different categories: Thinker, Doer, Innovator, and Feeler. Dr. Ledesma has taken into consideration that there are often different student learners in the classroom. The 'Student Centered Lesson Planning' is then applied to favor the needs of all these types of students so that it is almost certain that every student will leave the class with a new sense of knowledge.

Dr. Rebecca Millan, Associate Professor, English, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Teaching Technique: Using the Arts to Teach Social Responsibility and Plagiarism
Dr. Millan uses a teaching strategy involving an interdisciplinary approach to engage the students and teach them about social responsibility (and plagiarism). Using various technology and media, Dr. Millan presents students with cases when media has been "reused" or "repurposed" for new projects. Not only does Dr. Millan fosters active learning and critical thinking through in-depth discussion and written analysis about social responsibility, she has found a great way for students to engage in an interdisciplinary understanding of how concepts such as public domain, proper use of other's work, and creative understanding all foster a sense of social responsibility in one's own work.

Gina Miquiabas, Adjunct Instructor, Developmental Math, Math, Science & BAT Programs Division
Teaching Technique: Bringing Math to Life
Ms. Miquiabas has a creative way in incorporating real world application when it comes to mathematics. She is able to show the students where the math formulas come from and why they work the way they do. By applying this teaching technique, the students learn and understand the formula, as opposed to memorizing. Ms. Miquiabas also does not stop amazing her students with her passion and dedication to bring math to life.

Daphine Mora, Instructor, College Success for Healthcare, Nursing & Allied Health Division
Teaching Technique: Changing Behaviors in Students to prepare them to be Successful in Health Care
Ms. Mora focuses primary on changing behaviors in the classroom. The most elementary behavior that must be learned is classroom civility. Ms. Mora demonstrates both classroom civility and incivility. On the first day of class all students are greeted courteously and are expected to reply in kind. Ms. Mora chooses to demonstrate incivility during one class period by being extremely disagreeable and demanding. She intentionally raises her voice and demands orders from students. After 10 minutes, Ms. Mora stops and ask students how they felt about her behavior opening a dialogue about respect and civility from all parties in the education process. This technique helps students understand the need to support their fellow students and better able to understand the need to conform to classroom rules. Ms. Mora believes that civility is the foundation for learning and demonstrating new behaviors.

Dr. Ravindra Nandigam, Instructor, Physical Science, Math, Science & BAT Programs Division
Teaching Technique: Applying the KISS Principle ( Keeping It Simple for Students)
Dr. Nandigam demonstrates his teaching technique by applying the KISS Principle: Keeping It Simple for Students. He makes the complex Physical Science content and curriculum easy to understand for all student learners. For instance incorporating technology in his classroom by showing educational and relevant videos and applying hands on group work, all while making it fun.

Jorge Saenz, Instructor, Electronic & Computer Maintenance, Business & Technology Division
Teaching Technique: Providing Students with Additional Educational Opportunities through Content Specific Workshops
Throughout his years of service, Mr. Saenz has worked in conjunction with the Technology Campus CLE Workshop Series to provide students with additional educational opportunities that will help prepare them for the industry they will enter upon graduation. Specific to the industry, the content for the workshops will usually be derived from a number of different avenues, including: emerging technology, industry trends and topics not covered in curriculum, simulation exercises based on workplace scenarios, general troubleshooting of hardware, more in-depth conversations about key topics in the curriculum, industry certification exam reviews, and practical application of theories discussed in class. Mr. Saenz has hosted 49 workshops with a total of 384 attendees, in the Spring semester alone.

Cynthia Sanchez, Assistant Professor, Business Administration, Business & Technology Division
Teaching Technique: Teaches through Relevance, Innovation, and Strong Engagement (or RISE)
Ms. Sanchez' teaching philosophy is based on basically three areas: Relevance, Innovation, and Strong Engagement. All the materials and teaching techniques utilized in her courses are relevant to her students. Ms. Sanchez makes sure that students can connect, find usefulness in the material, and the material is suitable for the class level. In both Ms. Sanchez' online course and traditional courses, she utilized innovative technology from Blackboard enhancement form the traditional course, to collaboration lectures in her online courses. Ms. Sanchez has also implemented the "flip" classroom for selected courses and believes that students must be engaged and interested in the teaching techniques that she is utilizing. A few engagement tools that Ms. Sanchez uses are: group applications, application labs, web enhancements, paychecks every 2 weeks in replacement of grades, games such as Family Feud, Who Wants to by a Payroll Accountant, Who wants to be a Cost Accountant, and Double Jeopardy.

Eunice Sauceda, Instructor, Radiation Technology Program, Nursing & Allied Health Division
Teaching Technique: Radiographic Image Critique
Ms. Sauceda continuously strives to assist students by employing teaching techniques that provide student-centered learning environments. Ms. Sauceda empowers and instills self-confidence in the students by allowing them to explore concepts while providing guidance that result in optimal learning as well as the application of knowledge. Ms. Sauceda developed a teaching strategy that enables the students to learn the art of radiographic image critique. The students will perform a given procedure on the classroom phantoms, then Ms. Sauceda will guide the student in the evaluation of every aspect of the image. The student is able to learn from a hands-on perspective in how to properly produce a high quality diagnostic image through practice and encouragement. Ms. Sauceda is there to help the students in the development of their clinical skills and they are very appreciative of her efforts.

David Shepard, Associate Professor, Psychology, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Division
Teaching Technique: A Video Teaching Archive That Makes Visual Examples, Humor, and Stories Available in ANY Classroom
Mr. Shepard has developed a point and click database of over 300 videos that can be accessed by any professor in any classroom to provide easy in-class demonstrates to illustrate important points on any the subject matter; which can range from bullying to human genetic disorders to World War II, just to name a few. Mr. Shepard makes these videos available to students taking regular courses or on-line courses to help improve and engage students in discussion.

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