Helen Torigoe

Helen Torigoe, who earned her MEd in Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) at the College of Education, received the 2021 Western Regional Outstanding Service Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA was founded in 1915 and is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education.

An instructional designer at Kapi‘olani Community College (CC), Torigoe developed the Teaching Online Prep Program (TOPP) to promote instructor preparation and online community building through a collaboration between teaching faculty and instructional designers. She was nominated for the service award by her colleagues who submitted a narrative and letters of support. In 2020, the TOPP team also won a national award from UPCEA.

“This recognition is a lovely affirmation of a five-year collaboration and the successes we are beginning to see in online education and faculty support at Kapi‘olani CC,” Torigoe said. “I would like to recognize all of my amazing DE colleagues, faculty, supportive administrators, and last but not least, our students who are thriving in online classes.”

When COVID-19 forced everyone to go online, Torigoe says faculty who participated in TOPP were grateful for the training they had received and generously helped their colleagues who were unprepared in the spring of 2020. Since 2016, the TOPP program has graduated 15 cohorts and is open to anyone preparing to teach online or hybrid for a UH campus.

Of her time as an LTEC student, Torigoe stated, “Every LTEC class I took was eye-opening, exciting, and practical. Almost everything I learned I applied right away in my classrooms and noticed how much the new strategies and tools really helped my students. I learned so much from Dr. Bert Kimura, Dr. Curtis Ho, and Dr. Peter Leong who modeled teaching with kindness and humanity. I changed my teaching approach to be more like them, and I could see how much my students appreciated that. Now I try to share that with the faculty that I support.”

“I’m so happy to hear of Helen’s recent award!” Associate Professor Leong said. “I can think of no one more deserving. Back when she was an LTEC master’s student, she was already a pioneer when she created e-textbooks using iBooks for her students in Hilo. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that she continues to push the envelope of innovation at KCC by creating TOPP. Congratulations Helen! We at LTEC are so proud of your accomplishments.”

Read the UH News story.

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