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PITTSBURGH—A team at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) that developed a way to expand classroom technology has been recognized with the Innovation of the Year award from the League for Innovation.
CCAC–Boyce Campus Physical Therapy faculty members Norman Johnson, Carol Stokes and Stephen Bannister devised and implemented computerized testing that incorporated Blackboard instructional technology for the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Blackboard is popular educational software that permits instructors to conduct online courses and enhance traditional courses with online communication, access to course materials, projects and other features.
The computerized testing has resulted in measurable benefits, including an 11 percent increase in retention among first-year Physical Therapist Assistant students and a 94.5 percent average pass rate on the physical therapist licensure exam. CCAC’s computerized tests were designed to model the national licensure exam. In addition, the computerized tests have significantly reduced the costs and resources of copying printed exams—a savings of 25,000 sheets of paper.
The Innovation of the Year award, now in its 29th year, was devised as a way to recognize significant innovations reflecting capstone achievements and the continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League for Innovation was founded. The award is designed to recognize faculty, staff and administrators at member colleges who have designed and implemented a significant innovation. Granting this award provides a venue for showcasing these innovations and the dedicated community college educators who are working to create new programs, improve processes and enhance the opportunities available in their communities.
The League for Innovation is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The organization hosts conferences and institutes, develops web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services and leads projects and initiatives with its member colleges, corporate partners and other agencies in its continuing efforts to make a positive difference for students and communities.
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.