I have taken several online classes at GCC like Philosophy, Sociology, Medical Terminology and hybrid classes like Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology. However, my most favorite online class at GCC was HIS-104 and HIS-101 taught by Judith LittleJohn.
In fact, Judith Littlejohn is one of my most favorite instructors at GCC because she is very pro-science, progressive and is a scientifically literate humanist like me. She is the only online instructor I had so far who actually incorporated activities to make sure students are questioning their study habits and learning new study habits. She is also the only instructor to actually offer weekly check-list for all the assignments, tests and quizzes that we have to complete and how much time students need to assign each week for a certain quiz, assignments, research paper and discussions. Her weekly checklist helped me to organize my schedule very efficiently.
I am about to graduate from GCC. I have taken countless classes at GCC and I have written what feels like thousands of research papers. Research papers carry a lot of points and research papers decides whether you will pass or fail a class.
I never had an instructor before who made it mandatory for all students to submit a rough draft for their research paper. In fact, my instructor broke down the research paper into topic and thesis statements for one week, outline for another week, rough draft for another week, annotated bibliography for another week and lastly, the final research paper is due at the end of the semester. You need to complete all the requirements- topic and thesis statement, outline for a research paper, annotated bibliography and rough draft each week separately in order to receive credits. Only then, you can submit the final research paper.
Previously I have taken classes, in which the majority of the students wrote the research paper all by themselves and the monumental task of writing a research paper was not broken into several stages. As a result, a lot of students ended up getting very low grades. Sometimes, instructors were generous and gave students one more day to correct the research paper and to re-submit it again for a better grade. It takes months of research and brainstorming to write a good research paper. One day is simply not enough to correct a research paper. Last minute rush only creates chaos and confusion.
That is I why I like Judith LittleJohn’s teaching style of breaking down the final research paper assignment.
HIS-101 and HIS-104 are also the only classes I have taken at GCC that offer halftime survey. Students earn extra credit for completing the survey. Students can communicate their progress and concerns in the middle of the semester anonymously through the survey. In other classes, I have seen students dropping out or withdrawing from a class. I believe all classes should offer half-time surveys to students to communicate their disappointments and progress to their instructors anonymously in the middle of the semester. Assignments and tests usually get more difficult during the middle of the semester.
Meta cognitive café discussion offered by HIS-101 and HIS-104 classes are also very useful and all classes should offer that. I learned the Pomodoro technique and other learning habits. I also got to see a Ted Talk video on whether we actually have a learning style. It is not only important to teach students what to study but how to study. Teach students how to think not what to think. The study skills I have learned HIS-101 and HIS-104 are invaluable and will be useful to me for the rest of my life.