Wednesday, August 13, 2014
NAME: Karin Moyano Camihort
TITLE: Dean of online learning and academic initiatives, Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave.
HOW MANY ON YOUR STAFF: The Online Team has five staff members and five IT student workers
WHAT YOU DO: I provide vision and direction to Online Programs. Student demands for flexible online learning options have grown dramatically. In an effort to respond to these demands, HCC has made online learning a college priority. We increased the number of online degrees and have been working hard on the virtualization of the campus. From admissions to graduation, learning experiences and academic support strategies are designed for the online student. As the dean, I am responsible for the budget, policies and procedures of the division. Among my obligations, maintaining high academic standards and preserving HCC student-centered ethos are chief.
EXPERIENCE: I came to this position with substantial experience and a strong commitment to teaching and innovation. I have had the chance to engage in a number of collaborations and projects at other vibrant campuses. I am constantly engaged in dialogue with colleagues across the country who are also leaders and innovators. For example, I recently spent a week in an intensive Breakthrough Models Academy, exploring ways in which technology can help us design the next generation learning models.
THE MARKET: Our online students are, on average, older than our campus students, most of them work full time and have family responsibilities. They are looking for authentic and meaningful learning experiences. Our job is to create this educational space where they can learn and succeed.
KEY TO PROGRAM SUCCESS: The secret to student success is the connection they make with faculty and peers. Creating opportunities that promote these connections are key to the overall program success.
CHALLENGES: Online learning forces us to reconsider traditional policy and practice in educational settings. Our main challenge is to create nimble organizations able to adapt to the future.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: The preliminary success of the program led us to believe that every student could be successful online. We were wrong. Learning online is challenging. Successful online learners are motivated and technology savvy. They are self-reliant students that know how to manage time and how to face challenges. We have learned to, early on, embed these skills in the learning process.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: I am a resilient observer who believes we can always do things better. I can be very assertive, but I try to remain open and listen. I know my strong convictions can only improve if I am open to the insights of others. I have learned that change is only possible when we all work together.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: Thomas Warger, who was my boss at the Five Colleges, Inc., has been my invaluable mentor. He is an expert in the field and extremely generous with his knowledge. I also pay close attention to what my colleagues, faculty and students teach me on a regular basis.
TOP GOALS FOR 2014: Our main goal for fall 2014 is to complete a successful upgrade of our learning management system and to continue providing excellent learning opportunities for all.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: All of us, at certain moments of our professional lives, need to take the time to step away from our daily obligations and look back from a new perspective.
PARTING THOUGHT: Online learning makes it easier for you to pursue your dream of a degree.
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