Berry College launches course for student career enhancement

By Yunsu Cho, COM 250 Reporter

Edited by Anna Falkenberry, COM 303 Editor

Berry College launched BCC 300 to help students interact, engage and think about their learning at Berry.

BCC 300, Signature Seminar, was designed for students with various experiences both inside and outside of the classrooms. In this one credit-hour course, students consider the connections between their diverse college experience. BCC 300 allows students to reflect on what they have accomplished during their college years. Through this course, students ultimately can optimize their professional, volunteer, or intern experiences for life after Berry.

BCC 300 is different from other levels of BCC courses. The main content that BCC 300 deals with is each individual’s Signature Learning Experience (SLE). The SLE could be things that students were engaged in during their college years such as a leadership position on campus, an internship, undergraduate research, study abroad or a level 4 or 5 on campus job. Dr. David Elmer, the Interim Director of the Signature Experience Program, and was the Co-chair of the Quality Enhancement Program Committee that created BCC 300. “It’s really a good chance to look back and appreciate how much preparation and experience they gained at Berry, and how that is going to translate into success after college,” Elmer said.

BCC 300 could be broken up into 3 different types of components: reflective papers, discussions and making e-portfolio.

Reflective papers start with self-reflection. With these, students look back at all the learning experiences in and out of class, and how those have helped each individual grow in academics and in their professional career. Throughout these papers, students will be able to think about what they learned, how they connected other Berry students, and how these experiences apply to their future when they graduate into the real world.

BCC 300 is a discussion-based class. To improve the quality of the discussions, the faculty deliberately put students from different majors and with different SLE in the same class so they can learn from each other. Through the discussions, students can practice explaining their field of work to a broad audience. Dr. Daniel Sipocz is a professor in the Communications Department who teaches journalism, and is also a current instructor for the Signature Seminar. “Each person in the class is from a different major, different part of the school,” Sipocz said. “We get a wide variety of interest. We pull on what are the common threads that run throughout all these things.”

BCC 300
BCC 300 instructor Dr. Sipocz and student Aaron Morrison listen to fellow student Sydney Partlow during a BCC 300 group discussion.

Creating the E-portfolio is one of the most significant parts of the course. Students build their own website in order to represent their personal brand. Students gather the reflections from the course, their SLE descriptions, and artifacts from those experiences, such as marketable skills they gained, to upload these on the website. Based on these personal contents, students start to build their story so they can present it to graduate schools or future employers. Aaron Morrison is a senior student who is currently enrolled in BCC 300. Morrison majors in Political Science and plans to work on Capitol Hill after he graduates. He did an internship in the office of Sen. Lamar Alexander during the summer of 2017. “[BCC 300] has equipped me with a website that can be used to showcase not only my internship, but who I am as a whole,” Morrison said.

The first step to get in BCC 300 is creating your own Signature Learning Experience. This is because BCC 300 requires something students can optimize and reflect on in class. The next step in applying for BCC 300 is completing an application, which is mostly explaining your SLE in detail. When the faculty authorizes a student to take BCC 300, then the student can register the course. BCC 300 ultimately creates a stronger connection between students at Berry College, and extends their work experience program.

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