Mobile teaching stations enhance instruction at MCC
College-level classes are coming to a classroom near you.
Montcalm Community College is testing mobile teaching stations this summer that will be implemented in three area high school classrooms – Central Montcalm, Fulton and Vestaburg – this fall.
The teaching stations will serve students and instructors in the college’s dual enrollment classes by providing all of the technology necessary to deliver a college-level class in a high school setting. The carts include a computer, document camera, 65-inch computer screen, DVD capability, wireless connectivity and conferencing hardware. The stations are funded in part by the MCC Foundation.
MCC Instructional Technology Consultant Kevin Wagenmaker said the mobile teaching stations are the result of the college working to creatively adapt to various teaching and learning environments.
“We’re shifting the mindset to being able to access learning in multiple locations over different platforms and media,” he said. “There are a lot of tools out there, and we’re testing how to best put them to use to fit the needs of our diverse locations.
“We’re focusing on providing consistent technology and resources for our instructors and students so we can better deliver course content regardless of the classroom setting,” Wagenmaker added.
Dual enrollment at MCC allows students to take college-level courses while still in high school and receive both high school and college credit. Through dual enrollment, students can take up to 10 college classes, and their high school helps pay tuition and fees up to an approved dollar amount.
MCC English Instructor and Dual Enrollment English Coordinator Ben Stancil is testing a mobile teaching station this summer in his Freshman English 1 class.
“The whole goal is engagement,” said Stancil, who teaches MCC dual enrollment courses in several area high schools.
“In these dual enrollment scenarios at high schools, if it’s not a live class and there’s not a live teacher, schools aren’t a big fan of it because students are just in a room or library somewhere without the interaction of being in a live classroom,” Stancil said. “There just isn’t a lot to encourage students and actively involve them in the class.”
The mobile teaching stations will allow instructors to share their live classroom at one site with students at another site, while also engaging the off-site students and including them in discussions and classroom exercises.
“It really makes our courses more accessible in all of the various locations we serve,” he said.
MCC Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lund said the mobile teaching station concept fits well with the goals of the MCC Foundation.
“The Foundation directors are very supportive of initiatives that support MCC’s mission of creating a learning community,” Lund said. “They understand that dual enrollment courses provide tremendous opportunities for our local high school students. They saw the pilot project as an opportunity to promote the quality and consistency of learning opportunities off campus.”
“Dual enrollment has been and will continue to be an area of growth for the college, and the Foundation wanted to ensure the technology keeps up with this demand,” she added.
MCC Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Spohr said the mobile teaching stations may make the difference in being able to offer a college-level class at an area high school.
“At times, we don’t have enough students at a given high school register for a dual enrollment class, so we have to cancel the class,” Spohr said. “However, this technology will allow us to hold a course involving students at multiple sites, thus reducing the impact of low enrollments on course offerings. The only difference is that the interaction is all online instead of in person.”
Dual enrollment at MCC continues to grow. In 2019, students from 22 area schools took 722 dual enrollment classes, up from 500 classes taken by students at 18 schools in 2018. Since 2014, students in 28 school districts have taken 3,283 dual enrollment classes.
The MCC Board of Trustees recognizes the value of dual enrollment and in 2017, the board approved an in-district tuition rate for all dual-enrolled students, including those who are attending from an out-of-district high school.
“This has been a great cost savings for the high schools and their students and has allowed for more schools and students to participate in the program,” said MCC Recruitment Director Emily Carmey, who coordinates the dual-enrollment program.
“The dual enrollment program ultimately allows high school students the opportunity to tailor their education to fit their specific goals, needs and schedule. Whether taking dual enrollment classes on campus, online or in their high school building, dual enrollment students are setting themselves up for success by accumulating college credits without accumulating debt,” Carmey added.
Schools participating in MCC's dual-enrollment program this year include: Ashley High School, Belding High School, Carson City-Crystal Alternative, Carson City-Crystal High School, Cedar Springs High School, Central Montcalm High School, Fellowship Baptist Academy, Flat River Academy, Fulton High School, Greenville High School, Home Schools, Ionia High School, Lakeview High School, Michigan Connections Academy, Michigan Great Lakes Virtual, Montabella High School, Niles High School, Portland High School, Saranac High School, Success Virtual Learning Center, Tri County High School and Vestaburg High School.