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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
The Teaching and Learning Center and the Office of Assessment are co-sponsoring “Why We Assess: Looking Back on a Century of Continuous Improvement” to bring together CSC faculty, staff, and administrators to discuss scholarly articles about the longer history of successful assessment in the private sector. The conversation will invite critical reflection on the application of assessment to higher education so that CSC can focus on how to best fulfill all aspects of our educational mission — within the classroom, across the campus, and out in the community, region, and world.
When the United States Congress passed the Higher Education Act of 1965, it transformed higher education by designating accreditation agencies as the gatekeepers for institutions that receive federal financial aid. In 1989, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools began mandating outcome-based assessment for accreditation, ushering in a new approach that was rapidly adopted nationwide. Nearly thirty years later, colleges and universities continue to adjust to the new reporting landscape, even as industry and business have embraced the ideal of quality improvement for nearly a century.
The beginnings of statistical quality control are typically traced to Bell Laboratories in the 1920s under the direction of Walter Shewhart. Following World War II, these techniques were introduced systematically to Japanese industry in the radio and communications sector, with Homer Sarasohn and Edward Deming playing important roles.
Two decades later, Japanese industry mounted a serious challenge to United States companies by producing high-quality automobiles and electronic products valued by American consumers. In response, American industry and government re-emphasized the methods pioneered in Bell Labs, represented by Congress instituting the Malcomb Baldrige National Quality Award in 1987 and the profusion of ISO 9000 as a quality management system in the USA and across the globe.
The first symposium of the “Why We Assess” series features CSC President Randy Rhine and will examine the scholarly article “Homer Sarasohn and American Involvement in the Evolution of Quality Management in Japan, 1945-1950.”  This article highlights the unique challenges faced by American officials in communicating with the Japanese people following the destruction of WWII and offers examples of individuals and institutions adapting to nearly overwhelming external pressures while increasing quality by focusing on the “well-being” of personnel.
View the Why We Assess: Looking Back on a Century of Continuous Improvement schedule for complete details regarding symposium series featured speakers and articles.
 Fisher, Nicholas I. “Homer Sarasohn and American Involvement in the Evolution of Quality Management in Japan, 1945-1950.” International Statistical Review / Revue Internationale de Statistique 77, (August 2009): 276-299. Accessed 11 August 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27919728
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.
This year, the TLC did something new. In its first year sans director, it took a page out of Plato’s Apology, and decided to examine a slice of life (2015-2016) – both to get a sense of what it does well and what it could do better. At the core of this self-examination is an important principle: utilization. As a service unit of Academic Affairs, TLC staff want to understand how their services are being used. Simple tracking strategies are able to tell us how often services are used and for what reasons. It’s assessment at its most basic, but it does give us some basis for extrapolating on faculty interests in pedagogical strategies and instructional technologies.
This year the TLC facilitated five mostly faculty-led seminars, with an overall attendance of 40 faculty and staff. There were a variety of topics, including verbal Judo, RSS, active learning, the science of student mindsets, and academic study tables. The nine faculty who led the seminars included Jamie Wada, Ann Buchmann, Joyce Hardy, Wendy Jamison, Beth Wentworth, Jesse Sealey, Josh Ellis, Susan Schaeffer, and Kurt Kinbacher. We were pleased to see participants from so many different disciplines with such a broad range of teaching experience (assistant professors to full professors).
Additionally, six multi-session workshops (some of which ran encore performances) provided hands-on and technology-infused instruction. Topics included Turnitin, high-impact practices, Sakai’s Lesson Builder tool, screencasting, object-based learning, and academic blogging. A total of 30 faculty and staff attended these sessions, while seven staff members from the TLC, LLC, and Sandoz Center facilitated and assisted with the sessions: Matthew Perrie, Susan Hines, Elizabeth Ledbetter, Jereme Patterson, Sarah Polak, Christine Fullerton, and Sam Ballard. The workshops – even the under-enrolled ones – have clearly elevated the skillsets of some faculty, but, more importantly, they have spurred closer connections between faculty and staff, which, we hope, will lead to more productive partnerships.
This August, the TLC will launch its first Summer Institute, a two-day event that focuses on online course revision and e-pedagogy. The author of Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester, Aaron Johnson, will be on hand for “Tuning Up Your Online Courses.” The institute (which is limited to six participants, due to space and workstation restrictions) is currently full, but we’re already considering an encore. If you’re interested, contact the TLC’s ID Specialist, Elizabeth Ledbetter (email@example.com).
Like any sports enthusiast with a Fitbit, the numbers say something about overall health at a given point in time. Now that the TLC knows its numbers for the academic year (a grand total of 16 facilitators and 70 participants), the goal in 2016-2017 is simply to increase them and to expand its multiuse, presentation, media-development, and training spaces so that more faculty and staff can be accommodated. We are also very keen to keep the quality high and are experimenting with seminars that dovetail into publishing, such as Kurt Kinbacher’s “Academic Study Table,” and publishing that dovetails into book-club gatherings, such as the academic Book Review Club recently proposed by Josh Ellis.
While the TLC has been more focused than usual on its program offerings, which in addition to seminars, workshops, and institutes, include New Faculty Orientation and, beginning this summer, a Faculty Fellows program, it checks in on a number of its other numbers as well. These include data on:
- LMS (Sakai) stability and utilization
- LMS (Sakai) support utilization
- instructional design support utilization
- mediated-classroom support utilization
- mediated-classroom utilization
- web-conferencing and lecture-capture utilization
- academic web utilization
- TLC Blog & Website utilization
- subscription service utilization (Quality Matters & Lynda.com)
- TLC Library utilization (books and, beginning this summer, equipment circulation).
Currently, our utilization reports are monthly, but data will be aggregated into semester and annual reports. So, if you’ve ever been curious about Sakai’s uptime vs downtime or would like to know more about LMS user and ticket statistics, the reports are now available on the Reports page of the TLC Blog. There’s a bevy of other interesting facts to glean, such as how many people use Vidyo and how often or what MAP sub-priorities are advanced through TLC seminars, workshops, and institutes. You can even find out about hot-ticket TLC Blog posts or learn what percentage of faculty have received basic training in Quality Matters.
The idea of hosting an academic study table came back to CSC from a session at a Higher Learning Commission Conference. The principle is that students who might benefit most from visiting faculty during office hours to discuss class material, study habits, and writing are unlikely to do so. First-generation college students are reportedly the least likely to visit with faculty in a one-on-one situation. In theory, moving office hours out of the office and into a more public space that accommodates group meetings encourages greater contact between students and faculty. Presumably, greater contact facilitates improved student success.
Although study table is a common practice at colleges and universities, there is not a significant body of scholarship on the topic. Many athletic departments at Division I and II schools set aside library time – labeled study table – for student athletes, but they are not usually moderated by either faculty or tutors. While the rationale for mandated study time for athletes appears to be continued eligibility, there is a small body of literature that addresses the importance of scheduling times for study when student athletes are not exhausted from their practice sessions.
Many institutions also schedule study table as part of their supplemental instruction programs, which are generally hosted by peer tutors. Some engineering programs set aside time and space for unmoderated group study on a drop-in basis. Modern language programs still host tables that focus on language immersion. Faculty-led study tables are either uncommon or have received little scholarly attention. The promise of improved student success and the dearth of information about study tables is what compelled me to experiment throughout the 2015-16 academic year. I cannot ascertain at this time whether holding a study table in the Library Learning Commons is holistically successful or not, but I feel it is worth continuing – with some modifications – in 2016-17. I have come to this decision not because I collected much data on the practice (a quantitative approach) but because of my general impressions about student engagement (a qualitative approach).
In fall 2015, I started a study table for my freshman-level World History survey sections. Combined enrollment in the two courses was about 95. In addition to presenting historical content, the study table is designed to help students read and write at a college level. All exams and in-class assignments are in essay format, and there is a formal essay based on an ancillary monograph. I hosted my study table in a main-floor study room in the library every Monday at 1 pm and every Tuesday at 6 pm. Attendance at the 6 pm session, I feel, was acceptable, although a large number of the regulars were student athletes who would have been in the library anyway. Three to four students attended most evening sessions. The largest groups were about a dozen students, but this only happened in sessions just prior to exams.
Student success was likely improved, although those in most frequent attendance were individuals who would have succeeded anyway. There were also students who utilized study table to pass the course. Three of my study table students were in the Transitional Studies program, and they attended (at least in part) because other professors and tutors asked them to do so. They all earned Cs, and their work improved dramatically as the semester moved forward. Availability of study table was noted positively on student evaluations.
I expanded my sessions to Wednesdays at 6 pm for spring 2016 and opened up study table to students in all of my courses, as requested by several seniors. Up until mid-term, attendance had been markedly down. My spring course load, however, is less focused on freshmen; I have only one large survey section, and most students were already successful for at least one semester. However, I regularly see both of my independent study students during the evening hours. I read essay drafts for about ten students prior to the first deadlines, but spring term has not been as active as fall.
In 2016-17 I will likely continue the 1 pm Monday sessions. In the fall term, I will schedule two evening times, one at 6 pm Tuesdays and one other to be determined, in part, by library usage statistics. Spring term, I will reduce the hours to just 6 pm on Tuesdays. I opt for the Tuesday slot to encourage students to attend the Graves Lecture Series at 7 pm. I will reevaluate after next academic year.
If you would like to learn more about my study table experiment, please attend the TLC Seminar “Academic Study Table” on April 14 (3-4 pm, ADM 030). If you are a faculty member interested in starting a study table of your own, the librarians in the LLC are happy to assist you. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 308.432.6271.
Teaching & Learning Center (TLC) staffers turned out in force at this year’s Information Fair Luncheon (Student Center Ballroom, February 11, 2016) sponsored by Academic Affairs. Read Full Post
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
The Teaching & Learning Center is happy to announce its 2016 TLC Fellows: Read Full Post
Today’s virtual reality (VR) is not to be confused with Second Life, the virtual worlds program developed more than a decade ago by Linden Labs. Today’s VR may represent, however, a second life for all things Internet. An elaborate claim, I know, but I’m dead serious.
While it’s still decidedly experimental, VR today is no longer cost prohibitive. People don’t have to invest in high-end computers and elaborate headgear to experience fully immersive, 360 degree VR. They need nothing more than a smartphone and a viewing device that can be purchased for $10. Read Full Post
Application Announcement: November 4, 2015
Application Deadline: December 4, 2015
Award Announcement: December 18, 2015
TLC Fellowship Application Download URL:
http://academic.csc.edu/tlc/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/TLCFellowshipApplication.pdf Read Full Post