Ask a Professor

with Heather Moulton, English and Literature Instructor

Heather Moulton, Professor of English and Literature

Question: How long have you been teaching at CAC? – Zhade Mitchell

Answer: Thanks for asking, Zhade, though the answer makes me feel…seasoned (we older folks don’t use the word “old”). I was hired at CAC to teach at the Signal Peak Campus in August 2005, so I am working on my eleventh year. Since 2005, I have taught at multiple locations (Maricopa, Corporate Center) and in numerous modalities (F2F, ITV, on-line). I look forward to many more exciting years.

Question: What makes a source credible?  – Anonymous

Answer: This is a very important question as it applies not only to all college classes where research is required, but it should apply to our everyday lives (for example, maybe my Facebook friends are not the most credible sources for my political views; maybe I should do some actual research before I decide who to vote for). I turned to one of our own credible resources at the Signal Peak Campus for an answer: new librarian Melanie Schneeflock, who explained to me about the CRAAP test (which is the greatest acronym of all time):

“CRAAP Test. Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Is the source current and relevant to the research? Does the source have authority? Who is the author and what are their credentials and qualifications? Is the information accurate? One way to check for accuracy is by finding peer-reviewed articles. Also look for whether the article is evidence based or opinion based. What is the purpose of the information? Does the author or publisher have biases that influence the information presented?”

Thanks, Melanie! I’ll be using the CRAAP Test in my classes to help students avoid crap sources.

Question: What are some practical lessons you’ve learned while being a college professor? Did you feel like it was something you wanted to do for a long time? – Diana Abanto

Answer: These are great questions, Diana! I feel like I learn practical lessons all the time while being a college professor. I have learned amazing time-management skills, for example. I teach six classes a semester and grade hundreds of papers, homework assignments, discussion boards, quick-writes, etc. Yet, I still like to visit with friends, walk my dogs, and see a movie sometimes. I work hard on balancing work and life to be fair to the students (quick turn-around on getting graded items back) and myself (I also like sleeping). I’ve also learned how to interact with and value people from all different cultures, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, etc. Not everyone agrees on everything, and not everyone will be happy with everything, but I try to structure my class (and, really, my life philosophy) around respecting others and myself. It’s a great big scary world out there, but we can be kind to each other to get through it. Regarding your second question, YES! I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I was that older sister who used to force her younger brother to play school with her; there he would sit among the stuffed animals and family dog learning the ABCs. Furthermore, my mom was an elementary school teacher, so I think the teaching gene was passed down to me. I didn’t know I wanted to teach college until after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. After that, I had two choices: I could get a teaching certificate (one additional year of college) or my Master’s degree (two additional years of college). I began working as a substitute teacher at local schools. After about eight months of subbing, I realized those levels weren’t the right fit for me, so I went back to school. Two-and-a-half years later, I graduated with an MA, and I’ve been teaching college ever since. How happy I am to be working at my dream job!d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);