Faculty of CNM: Larry King Wins Distinguished Faculty Award for Ensuring Student Engagement Both in Class and Online
A screen grab from one of the woodworking videos Larry shot in his garage.

Faculty of CNM: Larry King Wins Distinguished Faculty Award for Ensuring Student Engagement Both in Class and Online

Larry has always found clever ways to make sure students master the material
March 16, 2021

When all of Larry King’s blueprint reading classes were still in-person he wasn’t afraid of letting student questions distract from his lecture. In fact, he was happy to spend a large chunk of class diving in and ensuring students got relevant and in-depth answers. He knew that answering questions ensured engagement, and engagement translated to focus.

But when everything moved online during COVID-19, engagement became harder. He led asynchronous online classes, meaning students didn’t have to show up a certain time but instead worked through class materials on their own time. No face-to-face instruction meant less time to delve into questions. To try and recoup, Larry decided organization and visuals were the way forward. 

For nearly every blueprint class—plus the new woodworking theory class he started—Larry spent hours writing clear, concise scripts and trying to pepper in useful images and videos that would help students learn the material. For the woodworking class alone he shot 18 videos in his garage about the process of joinery.

“Students have to be excited to learn and need purpose,” Larry says. “If I can show them why the skills they’re learning are important and are going to stretch past our class, then I’m doing my job.”

This commitment to his students and to providing high-quality content is why Larry earned the 2020-2021 part-time CNM Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award for the School of Applied Technologies. He says he’s honored by the award and proud to be associated with CNM, which has a long track-record of high-quality training that allows students like his to be successful both in class and after graduation. 

“CNM does a great job of creating mastery in a subject but also understanding that all the training we provide is done with the goal of getting students a job,” he says. “That bridge is something I’ve always wanted to be involved with.”  

A path to employment for students is important for Larry because he enjoyed a long and successful career. Before joining CNM as a part-time instructor, he spent 30 years as a mechanical engineer at Hewlett-Packard in Oregon where he worked on and oversaw parts of the ink cartridge team. He and his wife moved to New Mexico to be closer to their kids and they both got involved at CNM by taking classes themselves. Larry was invited to teach after his cabinetry instructor found out that Larry was a blueprint expert.

Blueprint reading can be hard and Larry says his commitment to students started when he saw students struggling with the subject matter. One student had previously failed but needed the class to graduate. To help, Larry met with that student one-on-one several times until the student was able to pass. Other times Larry saw students struggling with the math sections so he developed voluntary after-class study sessions for anyone who needed help and was pleased to see high and regular attendance. 

Going forward, Larry says he is excited about finding new ways for students to succeed. He’s learned a lot about effective pedagogy during COVID-19 and will take those learnings and apply them to any future online, in-person, or hybrid classes. He’s met with AT and volunteered to help the department however he can to help it evolve to meet both student and workforce needs as the world moves past the pandemic. And in his clases, he looks forward to finding new ways to help students love what they’re studying. 

“I always want to give my students a high-quality experience, no matter if we’re online or in person,” he says.