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In addition to teaching, Femia also
coached a team of Business & Economics
Club students that entered the College
Fed Challenge, a national economics
competition sponsored by the Federal
Reserve Bank.
The MCC team was named
community college national
champions two years
in a row in 2009 and 2010.
"Those kids were so smart,"
he said, beaming. "I can't tell
you how proud I was of them."
Over the 18+ years Femia has
been teaching "Computer
Applications," things have
dramatically changed.
"Students today are much
more comfortable with
computers," he said. After
a quick 20-mintue review
of basic computer skills,
the class gets right down to
making spreadsheets, writing
resumes, creating an online presence
LinkedIn profiles, personal websites,
ePortfolios, social media and learning
online etiquette.
And when it comes to resumes, Femia
believes every word counts. "We look at
verbiage, and analyze a student's skills
to see how those skills might transfer to
another job in the future," he said.
"Say you're a deli clerk and you want to go
work at a bank. At first, you might describe
your skill set as `took money and made
change.' But you could write, `reconciled
cash receipts accurately in order to prepare
next day's bank deposit.' It's the same
thing, right? But what a difference that
makes on your resume."
Such fine-tuned accuracy applies to
spreadsheets, too. "You can plug numbers
into Excel, but you have to know whether
they're correct. Believe it or not, we're
teaching math and English, but people don't
realize it," he said.
Always open to innovation and
collaboration, several years ago Femia
joined forces with English Professor
Cathleen McCarron to team-teach a
Learning Community. Titled "How to
Succeed in Business," it combines "Intro to
Business" and "English Composition I" into
one, six-credit course.
Teaching with Femia is fun, and combining
their two courses is very helpful for her
writing students, said McCarron. " `English
Composition' is a rigorous course. I have
a higher passing rate for students in our
Learning Community than in my traditional
`Comp 1' courses because students can see
that strong writing skills are necessary for
success in the business world," she said.
Last spring, Femia and McCarron added
another dimension to their Learning
Community by participating in a pilot
program introducing mobile technology
iPads into the curriculum.
After researching local
businesses, their students had
to conduct a video interview
with a business owner,
explained McCarron. They
then wrote papers about the
business, and turned their
interviews into 30-second
commercials as a final project.
Students wrote, filmed and
edited their commercials;
conducted research; and did
in-class writing using the iPads,
she said.
Their pilot was so successful,
said McCarron, who chairs the
English Department, that next
semester the pilot will expand
to put mobile technology in
the hands of more than 300 "English
Composition I" students.
"We believe using the iPads really leveled
the playing field for students who did not
own a computer," said McCarron.
"We used Word, PowerPoint, Excel and the
Internet for research we did every thing
on those iPads," added Femia. "Students
learned how to use iMovie, added music,
photos and graphics to their commercials.
You can't do that without iPads! It was
Kathy Register
Professor John Femia leads an Opening Day info session for new Middlesex students.
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