Professional Learning Communities

In August 2018, CETL launched various internal Professional Learning Communities or PLCs to collaborate, innovate and enhance student success at HCC. HCC PLCs are essentially internal “communities of practice.”

You can learn more about best practices for communities of practice using the following links:

The PLCs consist of 5-12 faculty and staff members working on specific themes tied to instruction, student support and key priorities identified by CETL as important for student success. Below is current list of HCC’s PLCs. Each is aligned with an Achieving the Dream (ATD) capacity:

  1. Digital Badging/Competency-Based Education (CBE )
    Participants will explore ways to utilize digital badging and other methodologies to expand the use of competency-based education at HCC. A focal point for this PLC may involve Blackboard, which has a built-in mechanism for digital badging that involves Yahoo and LinkedIn. For example, students can earn recognized digital badges for skill achievement though project and assignment success in courses across the curricular spectrum, not just on career-focused classes. Participants may also explore other opportunities for scaling up CBE at HCC. ATD capacity: Teaching & Learning
  2. Research, Scholarship & Creativity (RSC)
    Participants will share strategies and create a support group for faculty and staff who engage in research, scholarship or creative projects in discipline-based fields of inquiry, education or both. This PLC will pursue the development of a community help HCC faculty and staff pursue research funds or develop written pieces for publication, for example. The PLC will also pursue and promote strategies for HCC faculty to infuse RSC into their instruction and develop tenure and promotion portfolios. The cohort may also support and/or provide suggestions to support HCC faculty who choose to pursue advanced degrees to support RSC. This PLC may be a good choice for faculty new to research and scholarship. ATD capacity: Teaching & Learning
  3. Credit/Non-credit alignment
    Utilizing communities of practice, participants will identify assignments/modules/courses where both credit and non-credit students can work collaboratively to ensure collective learning opportunities. The participants will also identify obstacles to aligning credit/non-credit courses with recommendations on how to remove barriers. This PLC will also work closely with faculty and staff to develop more opportunities to align credit and non-credit programs with a focus on maximum benefits to HCC students. ATD capacity: Teaching & Learning
  4. Service-Based Learning & the 21st Century Technology Tool Box
    Utilizing communities of practice, faculty will identify external shareholders interested in providing service-based learning opportunities to solve real-world problems. Faculty and students will then employ web-based tools to facilitate and create projects that they can share with community participants.
  5. Active & Collaborative Learning
    This PLC will focus on the promotion of active and collaborative learning across the curriculum. According to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), “Active and Collaborative Learning” is a key benchmark for measuring student learning: “Students learn more when they are actively involved in their education and have opportunities to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings. Through collaborating with others to solve problems or master challenging content, students develop valuable skills that prepare them to deal with real-life situations and problems.”[1] PLC participants may focus on strategies such as project-based assignments, for example. [Note: there will be two Active & Collaborative Learning PLCs]
  6. Country spotlight for 2018-2019: Syria
    This PLC will support curriculum implementation of items about Syria into classes and promote campus-wide awareness of the Syria crisis and related topics from a multi-disciplinary and global perspective. Participants will develop ideas and specific strategies for classroom or online activities by seeking to understand the Syrian situation from various angles incorporating fields such as: literature, history, international relations, economics, sociology, environmental sciences, psychology, and public health.

ATD Equity Capacity

The commitment, capabilities, and experiences of an institution to equitably serve low-income students, students of color and other at-risk student populations with respect to access, success, and campus climate.[1]

  1. OER Development
    Utilizing peer coaching, participants will review OER development and copyright guidelines and then develop an OER for either a portion of or an entire course. The cohort will consist of current users and new instructors interested in developing OER course materials. The OER PLC will focus on the OER use to support equity at HCC by minimizing textbook costs and supporting instructors to leverage technology for effective teaching and learning.
  2. HCC & Equity
    Participants will explore possible equity issues on campus that affect students of color, low-income students, gender/age, and those students who fall victim to the digital divide. They will then concentrate on one area (decided by the group) and develop a way to serve this group of students with improved processes with regards to access, success and/or campus acclimation.
  3. Culturally Relevant Teaching
    Participants will explore the topic of culturally relevant teaching (from delivery to assessment) including student learning needs and styles and culturally significant teaching strategies such as oral storytelling. Participants may explore specific challenges and teaching strategies for international students or LGBTQ students, for example.

ATD Data & Technology Capacity

The institution's capacity to collect, access, analyze and use data to inform decision, and to use powerful technology to support student success.[2]

  1. eLearning Design Institute participants
    eDI cohort members will work towards the preparation of a submission for the Instructional Technology Council (ITC) eCourse award. ITC is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges and represents institutions that offer distance education courses to students around the world. Cohort members will also prepare a proposal for presentation at the 2019 Maryland Distance Learning Association Spring Conference.
  2. Artificial Intelligence & HCC
    Participants will research and explore artificial intelligence and how such innovative tools can be implemented to enhance student engagement and success. For example, PLC members may explore AI-based applications involving adaptive learning or assignment review, for example, for specific disciplines, programs or college-wide use. They may also investigate the use of AI for enrollment and advising, or to match HCC students and alumni with available jobs, and other college-wide uses of AI to support student success.