Learning is a lifelong experience that takes place in many forms and settings. At Whatcom Community College, various modes are available for learning, as well as methods of obtaining credit for learning that occurred elsewhere. The various modes of learning are as follows.
Students attend regularly scheduled class sessions where instruction consists of classroom discussion, presentations, lecture, laboratory, and/or group work. The course may be supplemented through the use of a variety of other learning methods, including online discussion groups, writing assignments, or testing. Face-to-face course sections may require the use of an online course platform or other technological resources. Students with limited access to a computer or the Internet may use the Student Access Lab on campus, or may discuss alternatives with their instructor.
WCC provides a convenient alternative to traditional face-to-face classroom instruction for busy, self-motivated students. Online courses use a variety of technologies, materials, and methods to achieve the same learning outcomes as traditional courses. These courses are conducted solely through an online platform, but may include site-proctored testing. Hybrid courses are conducted partially through an online course platform, and partially face-to-face. For more information, visit the College’s eLearning website at whatcom.edu/elearning.
A learning contract is a mode of learning where a student can earn credit for independent, individualized, college-level experiences outside the classroom. Students can design their own course or use the learning contract as a way to take a course from the WCC catalog. A faculty mentor, an individual with expertise in the subject area, is recruited to facilitate and evaluate the student’s learning. The learning contract broker helps students to develop ideas and put all the elements of the learning experience together. For further information, contact the learning contract coordinator in the entry and advising center.
Cooperative education/internships are experience-based learning courses for credit across disciplines. Students deepen their learning while adding to their resume by applying knowledge and skills in a structured, career-related setting within the employing community. Students also develop the proper work ethics and attitudes, responsibility and personal qualities, along with critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for success in the workplace. Measurable learning outcomes are developed collaboratively by the student, faculty mentor, and employer through a learning contract process. The students complete written and oral reflections of learning throughout the quarter, along with an evaluation process at the end of the quarter. Students interested in cooperative education/internships are encouraged to plan ahead to secure a placement in their field of study.
Service-learning is one vehicle in the College’s curriculum that presents opportunities for learning by experience. Service-learning is an activity — usually an assignment or a set of assignments — within a credit-bearing course in which students participate to address identified community needs. Students reflect on the activity and the value of their own participation to gain further understanding of course content, greater recognition of the applications of disciplinary content, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. Various courses across the disciplines offer a service-learning component. For more information, contact the service-learning coordinator.
Compass 2 Campus (C2C)
Compass 2 Campus is a cooperative education course that is an introduction to mentoring principles while putting “best practices” into action through mentorship experience in a school setting. The course is designed to develop the skills of reflective practice, community service, and active citizenship (social responsibility) through outreach in placements with 5th – 12th grade students from varied cultural, social and economic backgrounds. College students will gain experience in public service, social work, human services and/or teaching to build critical skills necessary for their work in career pathways. Western Washington University leads this course in partnership with Whatcom Community College. For more information, contact WCC’s entry and advising center, Laidlaw Center 116.
Self-Paced Labs/Mediated Learning
This learning mode allows students to progress at an individual pace with assistance from an instructor.
Several opportunities for student learning occur in other regions of the world. These programs are very experiential in nature; students learn subject matter in a unique way and increase their cross-cultural communication skills and global knowledge. Students report that the experiences are often “life changing.” The associate director of international programs can assist students in finding the right program to fit their interests.