DCCC Engineering Club

DCCC Mechanical Engineering majors Joe Iademarco and Zaid Hawatmeh show their latest project at the Engineering Club held on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Center. Photo by Victoria Lavelle

Engineering Club at DCCC

PTK honor society seeks eligible students

Phi Theta Kappa 3

ATTENTION DCCC HONORS STUDENTS:

Phi Theta Kappa was founded in 1918 and is recognized as the official honor society for two-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges.

Students have many opportunities to be involved in scholarly research, fellowship, community service, and leadership roles, in addition to scholarships at nearby colleges and universities.

To be eligible for membership:

• you must be enrolled in a regionally accredited institution offering an associate degree program;

• you must have completed at least 12 hours of coursework that may be applied to an associate degree (part-time students may be eligible);

• you must have a grade point average of 3.5;

• you must receive an invitation to membership;
PTK honor society seeks stellar students

• you should adhere to the moral standards of the society.

If students think they are eligible, but they did not receive an invitation letter, they should contact PTK faculty adviser Professor Tanya Franklin by e-mail  with their names and P00 numbers.

There is a one-time membership fee of $100. The induction ceremony will occur on Tuesday,  March 5,  2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Large Auditorium, Room 2225.

Students who have questions should not hesitate to visit http://www.ptk.org and contact Professor Franklin. Tanya H. Franklin Associate Professor of English Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Delaware County Community College  610-325-2752 tfranklin@dccc.edu

Don’t forget to check out http://www.PTK.org

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Cafeteria food truth

By Daniel Brusilovsky

Raché Carter eats a burger and fries in the cafeteria onMarple campus. Photo by Daniel Brusilovsky

CafeteriaMaster

“Nearly 100,000 schools/ institutions serve school lunches to 30 million students each day,” according to School Nutrition Association, an organization that specializes in advancing the quality of school meal programs through education and advocacy.

According to the same source, the annual cost of lunches is $13.6 billion. At Marple campus, there is one small cafeteria operated by Tara Ruggeri, head of dining services.

The cafeteria food comes from Canteen, a sub-company of Compass USA, established in 1929 in Charlotte, NC.

“We serve 9.4 million meals a day and are in a position to make some real change,” wrote Amy Keister, VP of Consumer Engagement on Compass USA website.

Cafeteria food mostly comes from a third party that produces copious amounts of processed foods. The only problem with having such a large amount of pre-made food is quality control.

Experts say not everything that comes out of the processing plant is guaranteed to always be safe to consume.

Canteen assures high quality food which they stand behind on their website by stating that their chicken and turkey is produced without the aid of human antibiotics. They also promise fresh produce when possible as well as cage free eggs.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The existing Nutrition Standards were put into place in 1995 through a policy initiative and related regulation known as the School Meals Initiative.” This standard forced meal companies that were supplying schools with food to list amounts of calories, trans fats and saturated fats.

According to the same source, the Nutrition Standards also ensure that cafeteria food meets certain standards in the protein, calcium and vitamin areas to help with brain development in children and young adults.

Experts say that the standards put into place helped, but 15 states were reported for illnesses that started from Nov. 5, 2017 to Dec. 12, 2017,” according to National Center for Biotechnology Information.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of Jan. 9, the E. coli outbreak seems to be over. Another issue raising concern among experts is food waste.

Along with providing fresh, healthy food, Compass USA recognizes the issue of food waste and announced their commitment to reduce 25 percent of its food waste by 2020.

According to The National Resource Defense Council, an estimated 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes uneaten.

The employees at the Marple campus cafeteria seem focused on the work they do.

“I’ve been working here for two years now,” said food and deli service worker Phyllis Gavaghan.

The students at the cafeteria had some mixed opinions about the food. “I was eating the food since the beginning of last semester and thought it was garbage,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous. “I bring my own food now, such as chips and a boiled egg.”

Another review was not about food quality, but about variety. “It would be good to have a larger variety of food instead of having just one main dish,” said communications major Raché Carter.

“[They need to] have more variety than just pizza and chicken.” “Some of the food is good, some is not,” said student Daiki Ito. “I think it’s a little expensive. I recommend the pizza. Good variety of drinks.”

Contact Daniel Brusilovsky with questions  at communitarian@mail. dccc.edu.

Phyllis Gavaghan works at the deli at the Marple campus cafeteria. Photo by Daniel Brusilovsky.

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The salad bar selection at the Marple campus cafeteria. Photo by Daniel Brusilovsky

Students experiment with online science labs

A portable telescope in the DCCC astronomy observatory. Photo by David M. Delloso Jr.

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Students experiment with online science labs images provided by David M. Delloso Jr.

Students experiment with online science labs

By David M. Delloso Jr. 

In the days of yesteryear, collegiate institutions had science laboratories for students on campus.

Today, students may have more than one resource for completing science labs and courses, thanks to virtual laboratories and simulations.

Website and app development companies, like Pearson Education, Inc., have created interactive online laboratory software to be purchased by students at the cost of traditional textbooks, around $100. Teachers can then assign the artificially generated experiments and grade accordingly.

DCCC has used this technology to expand their curriculums. The technology allows students who wish to stay home to complete their science requirements at their convenience.

Still, some wonder: Although certainly more convenient and accessible, are the online labs really as effective as learning the skills taught in the real laboratories?

Daniel Childers, a DCCC professor of physical sciences who has taught at the college for 26 years, admits he has adapted to teaching online courses; he also acknowledges there is a benefit to online laboratory apps.

“For some students that are highly motivated to learn on their own, it is an easier course than coming here to DCCC,” Childers explained.

Yet, Childers believes some students miss out on learning tangible skills and team building abilities when they are removed from doing physical lab work in DCCC science classrooms.

“The lab is as important as anything else in the course,” Childers said. “Laboratories are the learning environment. [The lecture] is just where you learn the ideas.”

According to Childers, faculty at DCCC are continually improving and polishing on-campus lessons, online classes and hybrid courses. The courses are planned and developed by DCCC, but the technology is not.

For classes, such as the one-credit, two-hour course ESS 103 – Introduction to Astronomy Laboratory, the accessibility of online apps, like Stellarium, allows students to do nighttime sky observations at any time.

Without the program, students would have to use the Marple Campus observatory for their telescopic laboratory work. However, some students say DCCC Catalog course descriptions do not always make it clear that students will need a specific computer to run virtual laboratory programs associated with a course.

For instance, the ESS 103 course description on DCCC’s website reads: “This laboratory course introduces students to astronomical observations through the use of telescopes and star charts to study objects in the night sky…. Observations of the night sky with telescopes and the unaided eye will be conducted. Students will explore the constellations, moon, planets, and other objects of our universe.”

The description does not mention that the course includes a virtual lab instead of an on-site lab. Furthermore, not every student registering for the course may have read the following statement on DCCC’s website regarding requirements for online learning, such as the “ability to install plugins and related minor software upgrades (as/if needed).” Brock Danunnzio, a third-year student at DCCC, experienced semester long issues associated with the app, Stellarium, when enrolled in the astronomy lab.

Danunnzio uses a Google computer for his school work, but the app was not compatible with the browsers provided. He believes getting support with troubleshooting is an issue for both teachers and students.

“The computer I had did not offer the program for [Stellarium],” Danunnzio explained. “The problem was Stellarium doesn’t have its own call desk, so I took my problems to the professor, but she routed me to another call center. It was a never ending cycle of ‘This should work’.”

In some cases, DCCC students have failed or nearly failed their courses over these unresolved issues, despite the encourging words from Stellarium’s own website, which claim the product “…shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope.”

Fortunately for Danunnzio, he and his professor resolved the issue of the unreliable tech support by coordinating a redo on his lab work. If Danunnzio had not had the accessibility to a friend’s compatible computer, he believes he may have failed the course.

Other students also had mixed feelings about virtual science laboratories. Joanna Scali, a former DCCC student now attending West Chester University, said she would have benefited more from using the college’s on campus observatory when she was taking the astronomy lab course last fall.

“I believe most students, like myself, are visual learners,” Scali said. “As a visual learner, I think labs, especially, should be kept in the physical classroom due to the lack of hands-on participation online.”

Danunnzio and Scali both passed their courses, but agreed the lab work would have been easier and more efficient if done in person because the online laboratory was their only problematic issue. They seldom had issues understanding the lectures.

Childers and some students hope that by voicing their experiences they can help the college to create a more well-rounded and better science curriculum.

For now, it seems that although some experts may agree that online laboratories offer easy access, there will always be some students and professors who prefer the real thing. Contact David M. Delloso Jr. at communitarian@mail. dccc.edu