When you see Jason Lee around campus, he’ll probably look the same, but he doesn’t feel the same these days since transferring from IT to teaching computer courses full time at HCC’s Fort Campbell campus. “It’s weird to work at the same place but be doing a totally different job,” he says. Already, he’s noticed the warm welcome from those who relied on him when we hit a tech glitch. We’re sad to lose him as our go-to person but Jason says, “The faculty seems really happy to get someone they are familiar with and know.”
In his summer CIT 105 course this summer, Jason drew heavily on a past experience teaching continuing education courses. Several years ago, he taught a few for Carol Kirves, who coordinates CE. “The classes had five to eight students,” Jason says, and the classes were “Intro to Computers.” These gave Jason hands on experience with a mix of students, some having no experience with a keyboard or mouse, while others were advanced and there to hone skills or learn new developments.
“That’s the challenge, when everybody is not at the same level – when a class has such diversity of skill level.” This helped prepare Jason for the college classroom where diversity of knowledge is never a surprise. “In basic computer courses, some students come right out of high school and have grown up with computers, tablets, and phones, whereas nontraditional students may not know how to copy/paste yet or save something to a USB.”
Jason’s first class as a new faculty member went well this summer. He used the first part of class for lectures and PowerPoint and then got the students doing their homework, pacing things so that he could actually check their homework before class ended.
He’s already discovered using games in order to stimulate participation in what has always been the time honored short answer question or fill in the blank response. “The software to the textbook mentioned an online download for a Jeopardy game. It was a big hit; students who hadn’t said much were calling out answers.” Jason says the game includes low value and high value questions just like the television version. “I was impressed with how they enjoyed that kind of learning, and I’d like to find a more detailed version.” Jason also used words like “fast paced” and “interactive” to describe Jeopardy.
Jason is doing a one year stint, filling a vacancy, but he can see already that his longtime leanings toward teaching are proving what he had hoped they would. Even when he finished his BA degree years ago, he wanted to try teaching and gradually get into it. The doors didn’t open, but he waited and even completed his MA degree. It’s early; he’s taught the one course so far, but he says about teaching, “I think I’m really going to like it. I’ve always liked working with students.” There’s the secret, and it’s no surprise to us. We’re just glad he’s teaching at HCC and didn’t go elsewhere!