Kapiolani Community College Wins National Award for Online Teacher Education

From left to right, Helen Torigoe, Jamie Sickel and Youxin Zhang

Instructional designers at Kapi’olani Community college won a grand prize of Campus technology. the Teaching the preparation program online (TOPP) was recently recognized with a 2019 Campus Technology Impact Award. Campus Technology is one of the leading higher education information resources for campus professionals. the Kapi’olani CC team won the teaching and learning award.

The team was made up of instructional designers Helen Torigoe, Youxin Zhang and Jamie Sickel, who thought, researched extensively, interviewed professors, reviewed curricula, experimented with cutting-edge technological systems, and explored in depth how their efforts would make faculty succeed in front of an online audience.

“Our goal is to provide a balanced education in technology, pedagogy and facilitation skills in the online environment,” said Torigoe. “Faculty participants experience being an online student while creating their own online or hybrid course with guidance from instructional designers. “

TOPP was a response to online students expressing frustration at the lack of consistency in design, navigation, interaction, and use of technology between classes. The program allows faculty members to experience, empathize with, and become an online student while creating their own online or hybrid course.

“By the creation of TOPP, Helen Torigoe and her team have proven that when the teacher is the learner, the learning experience for students is enhanced, ”said Chancellor Louise Pagotto. “I applaud not only a teacher’s empathy for students, but also the promise of inclusion in how we teach and prepare our students for the future.”

Since the beginning of summer 2016, TOPP has trained over 75 faculty members. They include seasoned tenured professors, new tenured professors and lecturers from all disciplines to Kapi’olani CC as well as other campuses in the community college network. Distance education has developed with more qualified teachers. In the fall of 2015, 36.9% of Kapi’olani the students took distance learning courses. In spring 2019, 45.5% of students registered for distance education.

Participants in the eight-week professional development program (or six-week summer program) learn, practice and develop a strong and balanced training program. Faculty registered at TOPP also earn teaching credits or equivalencies.

—By Louise Yamamoto