HARRISBURG, Pa. – More than a decade ago, HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, joined Apple®’s iTunes U and forever changed the teaching philosophy of Pauline Chow, senior professor of mathematics, and other College faculty pioneers who embraced reaching beyond the classroom to engage learners on a world stage.
From a pioneer in educational podcasts in early 2007 to the launch of full courses and collections in 2012 and the launch of six iOS-device required courses in fall 2015, HACC has been a forerunner in online education in partnership with Apple®’s iTunes U.
HACC offers 28 complete iTunes U courses and 76 academic collections that cover subjects like math, biology, psychology, history, English, astronomy and accounting.
HACC has reached learners across the world in 155 countries including Mexico, Italy, Australia, Russia and India through iTunes U. “English schools are very expensive in Mexico,” said Georgina, who took one of HACC’s iTunes U courses from her home in Mexico City. “I could not afford school, so when I saw this course, I was excited because I saw an opportunity to learn and practice this incredible language.”
A student in California recently emailed Chow with her gratitude: “…I just want to thank you for your materials and videos! I use your course constantly to get a better understanding of calculus. My calculus teacher is an older man (in 70s) [and] his teaching style is very dry. It’s basically up to the students to figure out the material; he just reads his notes and even does problems from the book. So, Mrs. Chow, you have been my teacher this whole time! If it wasn't for your videos I'd probably be failing the class. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.”
Dozens of HACC Faculty Embraced Apple®’s iTunes U App Early On
“I personally and repeatedly thank Qiquan (Wang) for his vision in bringing the iTunes U to the faculty in 2007 and his patience in educating and training us,” said Chow, who joined HACC in 1984 and now is an adjunct professor in the Virtual Learning program.
Chow and Wang, now the College’s coordinator of mobile learning, are among the dozens of HACC faculty who have embraced Apple®’s iTunes U app to provide free online programs and courses to learners around the globe.
A new generation of HACC faculty continue the College’s stellar tradition of regularly appearing on the cover of the iTunes U page, which lists the current top downloads.
On Nov. 20, 2017, four of HACC’s iTunes courses were among the top 20 listed on the main page of Apple® iTunes U, including Alfred Shia’s three English Essentials series of courses and Rob Swatski’s new course, “A-Plus Anatomy: The Life of a Cell.”
Siha’s “English Essentials” series were selected by Apple® as one of the best courses three years in a row:
- Best of 2014— English Essentials: Writing
- Best of 2015 — English Essentials: Grammar
- Best of 2016 — English Essentials: Composition
Siha and Swatski are the only community college educators in Pennsylvania to be named Apple® Distinguished Educators. Siha was selected as a member of the Apple® Distinguished Educator Class of 2015, the first time in College history that a HACC faculty member was presented with this honor. Swatski, a science professor at the York Campus, joined the ranks as Apple® Distinguished Educator this year.
Additionally, Siha attended and presented at the 2016 Apple® Distinguished Educator Worldwide Institute in Berlin, Germany, and the 2017 Apple® Distinguished Educator Academy in Houston, Texas.
Content Promotes HACC’s Mission
“HACC’s iTunes U content promotes the true mission of a community college,” said Amy Withrow, associate provost of virtual learning. “It provides access to education for all who seek it.”
HACC added iOS-device required classes in fall 2015. Such a class requires each student to have an iPhone and/or iPad that meets the minimum tech specs. HACC currently offers seven such classes that include both face-to-face and online iOS classes.
“To my knowledge, no institution anywhere has an iOS-device required class in which students use their instructors’ iTunes U course/collection and iBooks textbooks,” said Wang.
“I am passionate about teaching and care about student success in my classroom. Knowing a college student in Iceland or a high school student in Korea can access my course material and succeed in their classes, the thought just gave me goose bumps. Now they can access a complete course, follow the timelines, listen to or watch the lectures, do the homework and take assessments, without setting foot on a physical campus. They can watch the lectures in their pajamas without leaving their home. How cool is that?” Chow wrote in 2012.
Earlier this year, she reflected, “I still remember the day that we were given the iPod for the iTunes U project. … I still remember the morning (in January 2012) that I sat in the car reading the Patriot News with the picture of HACC and five (other) top universities above my first article as a guest columnist. … I am so proud to be the original six HACC faculty who braved the whole new world of podcasting!”
In addition to Chow, the podcasting pioneers were math professors Linda Buckwalter (now retired), Susan Cooper-Nguyen, Jason Rosenberry and Pam Watkins (now retired) and science professor Robert Wagner.
|Fact facts: |
Qiquan Wang, the records-keeper of HACC’s iTunes U stellar accomplishments, notes these milestones:
For more information about iTunes U at HACC, please contact Qiquan Wang at 717-780-2592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, offers more than 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 19,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit hacc.edu. Also, follow us on Twitter (@HACC_info), like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HACC64) and use #HACCNews.