We are delighted to introduce you to Nicole Thramer, the newest member of the Teaching & Learning Center team. Nicole is our new Graduate Assistant and started her duties on August 29.
Nicole graduated from CSC’s business program in May and is currently pursuing her MBA. She has developed a strong work ethic through her previous job working at a 20,000-head feedlot and has gained valuable experience in building community and relationships as well as time management skills at her current job at the Ridgeview Country Club (RCC). If you spend time on the golf course, you may already be acquainted with Nicole in her work-related capacity at RCC or on the course since she enjoys getting out and honing her golfing skills as often as she can!
Nicole has returned to CSC to expand on her education and is interested in eventually applying the knowledge and skills she gains towards a career in the insurance or real estate industry. She has a keen interest in information technologies and hopes to learn as much as she can in her GA position to build her knowledge foundation in technology and instructional applications. Currently, Nicole is helping the TLC group track and document CSC-Online Sakai (and other technology-related) requests and inquiries, update Sharepoint and the TLC blog, and provide assistance with checking out items from the TLC equipment library.
Stop in to the TLC and introduce yourself to Nicole the next time you are in the vicinity of ADM 001. She can also be reached at email@example.com or 308.432.7068.
Get ready for a road trip to discover our shared heritage of teaching & learning at Chadron State College. The Teaching & Learning Center invites you to share your teaching & learning experiences by creating 6 pieces of writing with at least 16 sentences for 6 months during the academic year (September, October, November, February, March, and April). That’s a lot of latitude to write about pedagogy, tools, successes, challenges, or hopes and dreams.
The short term goal of the challenge is to give faculty a space to see what colleagues are doing in courses. These writings will also be in a place for new and seasoned faculty to easily access for years to come. The long term goal of the Reflect & Write Route 6×6 Challenge is to push instructors to be reflective practitioners in the field of education and to share their reflections with colleagues. While these 6 pieces of writing may be a start, we hope that some of the participants will continue to write and share their thoughts about the educational landscape.
We will use the Teaching & Learning Center Blog as a place to write and share reflections. Faculty writing will be posted to the blog where you will also be able to read the work your colleagues create and submit.
The TLC will help you build a place from which to write and support you throughout the writing process and challenge. We encourage you to attend the TLC September Workshop, Reflect & Refine: A Writing Workshop Focused on Pedagogy and Praxis facilitated by Elisabeth Ellington, for guidance in reflective writing about teaching for the blog. Elisabeth hosts the dirigible plum: a Blog about Learning, Teaching, Writing, and Reading and incorporates student blogging into courses to support learning.
What is in it for you besides sharing your thoughts and ideas and learning from your colleagues? Participants will be rewarded with a variety of awesome gifts, such as books about teaching and learning or lunch with CSC’s President Rhine, AVPTLT David Kendrick, or VPAA Charles Snare. To sweeten the deal, we will reward you with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream delivered to your office after completing the first month of the challenge!
So, are you up for the challenge? We know you are busy, and we know you may already be sharing some of your ideas with your department colleagues. But we challenge you to use writing as a way to reflect and share your thoughts about teaching and learning with a broader audience. Imagine if 10 instructors contribute all 6 months–that would produce 60 pieces of writing from Chadron State College instructors about teaching and learning!
Are you wondering what 16 sentences looks like? You just read them!
To sign up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before September 20th. The first writing piece for the challenge is due by Friday, September 22, 2017. Submit your reflection as a Word document, and the Teaching & Learning Center staff will post it to the blog.
Sincere appreciation to Todd Conaway for providing inspiration for the Route 6×6 Challenge and encouraging the reuse of his idea via his Quality Matters conference presentation and Yavapai College’s infamous 9 X 9 X 25.
For the TLC March Faculty Seminar, we would like to invite you to join us in our peaceful, thoughtful “March for Best Practice.” This two-week event is intended to provide an opportunity for sharing and learning from the variety of ways that Chadron State College instructors support teaching and learning.
During the “March for Best Practice,” we encourage peaceful faculty participants to share narrated videos and screencasts to showcase the work they do in their online and face-to-face courses. We will collect these videos and screencasts and build a shared resource–an impressive, revolutionary wall of videos containing stories, strategies, and ideas offered in a way for new faculty and seasoned colleagues to learn from each other.
In the coming weeks, we will be visiting with faculty members on campus to extend personal invitations to join the cause as well as to provide complete march details and materials.
To participate, we request that you create at least one video or screencast, between one- to three-minutes long, in which you describe how you address a best practice in your online or face-to-face course. In your video or screencast introduction, please identify the specific standard (as stated in a quality course standards rubric) that you are addressing to provide those who view your video with this key information. Where can you reference a quality course standards rubric? Contact the Teaching & Learning Center staff (email@example.com) for quality course standards rubrics. Jereme, Sam, and Elizabeth are also on hand to discuss ideas, to recommend screencast and video creation tools, and to assist with steps for creating your video or screencast.
Although this is the first “March for Best Practice” organized at CSC, marchers at other institutions have previously engaged in peaceful efforts to share and learn from colleagues. We are modeling our march after those who have gone before us, and we recommend viewing examples of their work to learn from what they are doing and to find inspiration for creating your own best practice video or screencast to share. Check out the best practice videos posted at Yavapai College, Northwestern Michigan College, and Glendale Community College. Then join our cause and contribute to the revolutionary collection of videos showcasing efforts underway to support teaching and learning at CSC.
Video wall construction will take place from March 13-27, 2017, at which time you may view the shared resources posted on the Best Practice Video Wall.
Sincere appreciation to Todd Conaway for providing inspiration and an invitation to march via his Quality Matters conference presentation.
In your online course development process, do you take specific steps aimed at addressing accessibility? How do you ensure that the course is accessible to students with a wide range of differing abilities?
General Standard 8 of the Quality Matters Rubric expects that “course design should reflect a commitment to accessibility so that all learners can access all course content and activities and to usability, so that all learners can easily navigate and interact with course components.” (Quality Matters ™ Higher Education Rubric Workbook, 2014).
Why Standard 8?
Several federal laws support the rights of individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) supports students with disabilities and is the foundational piece of legislation for ensuring equal access to programs and services in higher education. Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are also pertinent. Section 504 states that institutions are required to provide equal access to programs and services receiving federal funding, while Section 508 requires that federal websites have minimum benchmarks for website accessibility.
What Do These Laws Mean for CSC Online-Sakai Courses?
Because CSC is a public institution which receives federal funding, the online courses CSC provides to students are required to comply with these laws and ensure that course materials are accessible. The major portion of content created in CSC Sakai-Online course sites is generally accessible. However, materials developed using external applications such as Microsoft Word documents, Adobe PDFs, and multimedia may not be accessible for all students.
Incorporating accessible design enhances the learning experience for all students, not just students with disabilities. For example, selecting a font which is easy to read on a computer and mobile devices makes content more accessible for students with visual impairments, but it also provides all learners with content that is easier to read. Similarly, providing transcripts and captions for videos allows hearing impaired students to access content. However, providing multiple ways to engage with course activities and instructional materials provides an enhanced learning experience for all students.
This Accessibility Basics Handout provides guidelines for improving the accessibility and usability of your online course as per QM General Standard 8.
Are you taking specific measures to develop online course environments for students with different abilities? Post a comment below and let us know!
Quality Matters™ Higher Education Rubric Workbook (5th ed.). (2014). Annapolis, MD: MarylandOnline, Inc.
In early August, the Teaching & Learning Center hosted a 2-day Summer Institute with professional development sessions aimed at tuning up online courses. Elizabeth Ledbetter, Dr. Tracy Nobiling, Dr. Nathaniel Gallegos, and Sam Ballard delivered event sessions featuring tips for making online courses accessible, exploring ways to make a syllabus more learner-centered, delving into copyright, and providing a hands-on introductory experience with Virtual Reality. Aaron Johnson, author of Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester Online, facilitated several sessions highlighting strategies for developing robust online discussions, tips for time management, and top ingredients for effective lecturettes.
Faculty members offered these comments to describe what they liked most about the event:
- The VR (Virtual Reality) tutorial hands down…. it gave me a potential idea about directions that VR may go in relation to (my discipline) in particular, which I may propose as a panel topic for a future conference.
- ….learning more about learner-centered syllabi!
- I really liked the part about online discussions. It has changed the way I’m going to participate, grade, and present them to my students.
- …..bringing in Aaron (Johnson) was great!
- I really appreciated the new technology and resources! (The institute was) a great way to get started for a new year —so much great information as well as support.
New faculty gathered at the Bean Broker for the final meeting of the New Faculty Orientation (NFO). Tracy Nobiling, NFO facilitator, led a discussion with the now not-so-new faculty to identify what they considered most useful and least useful aspects of this year’s program experience. The new faculty members shared their perspectives and offered suggestions for ways to improve the program for next year’s new faculty cohort.
The discussion expanded upon feedback the NFO participants submitted via an anonymous, online evaluation of the program’s full-day orientation held prior to the start of fall semester and the hour-length, bi-monthly meetings scheduled during the fall and spring semesters. Points taken from the survey framed the candid discussion.
Survey responses and the subsequent conversation suggest that new faculty have many things in common, that they appreciate and benefit from having structured, collegial opportunities to meet with each other, and that the program is not perceived as overly time-consuming.
Faculty expressed general agreement that the most useful meetings are those focused on explaining college planning, policies, processes, and
procedures as well as those which identify resources (individuals and offices) that support students.
Opinion was split on the value of meetings focused on teaching-related topics. Given the varied levels of new faculty teaching experience, these meetings were considered greatly beneficial to some, but less valuable to others.
The informal discussion underscored the challenges of providing the right balance of topics relevant to all new faculty while coordinating perfectly timed delivery of information just when faculty need it.
The group discussion prompted several suggestions to enhance future NFO experiences and/or CSC teaching overall. Some ideas proposed are:
- Add an agenda item to every meeting to increase time allotted to unstructured discussion and sharing of challenges and successes faculty are experiencing at the moment.
- Add a meeting or event in which a panel of experienced CSC faculty members address what to expect when teaching CSC students and how best to engage them.
- Schedule and promote a regularly scheduled “Teaching Table” to support both new and experienced faculty informal discussions regarding teaching strategies, ideas, and conundrums.
The NFO Program is designed to assist incoming faculty who are new to teaching and/or new to campus with just-in-time guidance and resources for getting settled on campus. Meeting topics aim to introduce new faculty to CSC and support them in navigating college processes, developing a support network, and fostering plans for improving teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and professional service.
One new faculty member expressed that the NFO experience was very helpful and provided some great information that could be used throughout the semesters.
“It was refreshing to be part of a group of faculty that was in the same boat as me, being in the first year of teaching here at CSC, and it helped provide a non-biased look at happenings around the campus. Often times, our views can be distorted and we can get cliqued into our own department and not have to travel outside of it. This was a nice way to branch out and meet new individuals and learn about campus.”
The Teaching & Learning Center will host a Summer Institute designed to assist faculty members in “tuning up” their online, hybrid, or web-enhanced courses. The two-day event (proposed for August 2016) offers interactive, hands-on sessions that guide participants in assessing, revising, and reinvigorating instructional components to make courses road-ready and to boost student performance. Read Full Post
We are excited to announce Sam Ballard as the newest member of the TLC team. Sam stepped into his role as IT Specialist on October 12. He is responsible for CSC Online-Sakai, the academic web, and web log (blog) support. In coming months, he will expand services to include instructional media production and post-production services. Read Full Post
The online learning company, lynda.com, provides opportunities to advance professional and personal development goals and acquire new skills in a wide range of topics from business and technology to art and design. The company’s extensive online library of courses and tutorials is a valuable resource for faculty and staff interested in exploring academic areas of interest, seeking professional development, or looking to fulfill a MAP or PAR goal.
Currently, this service is free and available to CSC faculty and staff in Academic Affairs. The Teaching & Learning Center (TLC) has a limited number of lynda.com licenses available for use, so leap at this chance to “check out” a license and learn something new at your own pace!
We will offer three workshops during the fall semester that are designed to accommodate busy faculty schedules, to expose faculty to new instructional technologies, to engage faculty in MAP priorities and goals, and to provide faculty members with a useful product they can incorporate immediately into their teaching. Some of the defining features of the overhauled workshops are explained below: