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Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM


PHILLIPS, C. Dianne1, LOWREY, Paul1, GALLOWAY, Marvin2 and ANDROES, Dixie2, (1)Science and Math, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, One College Drive, Bentonville, AR 72712, (2)Science and Math Division, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, One College Drive, Bentonville, AR 72712,

Faculty at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) have developed an andragogical (adult learner) model of engagement that successfully integrates project based learning, community collaboration, application of course content and the use of technology into a meaningful and effective active learning experience. The EMPACTS (Educationally Managed Projects Advancing, Curriculum, Technology and Service) educational delivery system was developed in 2005 and has been applied in over 30 different courses across a broad curriculum.

Physical Science courses with an EMPACTS component include; Environmental Geology, Intro to GIS, Physical Geology, Physical Science and Survey of the Universe. Each course generates approximately 5 team directed projects where students collaborate with peers and community agencies as they complete and present their final projects at the end of each semester. Over 500 community based projects have been successfully completed in the past five years.

As an extension of the collaborative nature of the EMPACTS model, Learning Communities have developed between environmental courses in the sciences. The Intro to GIS course serves as a technology bridge as teams of students from Environmental Geology, Environmental Biology, Plant Biology, Physical Geology, Astronomy and Introduction to Education courses, collaborate to collect data to be used in a broader campus mapping project. Students in the different science courses learn field and laboratory techniques as well as lecture concepts. Each set of data is then used by the Intro to GIS class to generate a final map of attributes provided by each individual course.

Pre to post treatment surveys of student attitudes towards learning, teamwork, community, technology and self were conducted. EMPACTS students report an increase in confidence in all dispositions, with non-traditional students reporting the greatest increase in their confidence in using computer technology.

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