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NMC Students Benefit from LinC Program (March 12, 2011)

The Northern Marianas College’s newly launched Learning in Communities (LinC) program continues to provide participating students with the opportunity to benefit from a different, enhanced learning environment.

The mission of the new LinC program is "to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment that promotes the highest educational, intellectual, and social development of students" through learning communities.

The concept of a learning community is to have the same group of students take courses that are linked together in order to have more opportunities to develop and enhance a deeper understanding and integration of the material they are learning, and more interactions with one another and their instructors.

According to Barbara Merfalen, NMC Dean of Academic Programs and Services, learning communities do exist in other schools because research shows that students who participate in these initiatives have higher academic achievement, enjoy more useful interactions with the faculty, and get more involved with the campus life.

In the Spring 2011 semester, the LinC program began offering its first sets of “linked” courses starting with English Writing and Grammar Study III linked with Drama, and Pre-Algebra linked with Introduction to the Hospitality Industry.

In these courses, the instructors collaborate to develop assignments that connect the lessons of the courses. Students taking LinC courses are also given assistance from peer mentors, who help students with course work and classroom activities.

“The peer mentors in NMC’s LinC program break the barrier of discomfort between a student and the teacher,” said NMC English instructor and LinC instructor Thomas Colton. “Without the peer mentors, the learning communities wouldn’t be as successful as they are.”

“The peer mentors also help us by checking our class work to see if we did our assignments correctly,” said NMC student and LinC participant Chad Merfalen. “It’s most helpful when the mentors go over our tests because I can see my mistakes and learn from them.”

LinC program participant Frankie Romolor added “I feel very comfortable with them (the mentors) knowing that they were students once as well.”

NMC mathematics instructor Lyte Chapap also reports that students in his pre-algebra LinC course are scoring higher on tests.

“The feedback from our students and the improvement we have seen in their academic performance substantiates that the LinC program has been very successful this semester,” said LinC program director Geri Willis. “We are also happy to announce that more LinC courses will be offered in the upcoming Fall 2011 semester.”

The LinC Leadership Team consists of Geri Willis, LinC director, Student Engagement and First-Year Experiences Director; Lorraine T. Cabrera, NMC Interim President; Zenaida Javier, Outreach Counselor; Lisa Hacskaylo, Institutional Researcher/Evaluator; Thomas Colton, English instructor; Larry Lee, Business instructor; Lyte Chapap, mathematics instructor; John Jenkins, education instructor; Johnny Aldan, nursing instructor; and Amanda Allen, Distance Learning Coordinator. The LinC student ambassador and peer mentors are Michelle Avila, Ian Carr, Blaren Castro, Jolly Ann Cruz, Stacey Demapan, and Marvin Rabauliman.



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