In addition to an assessment of these “3 REQUIRED AREAS” (RFP Section 188.8.131.52.) , “AT LEAST TWO ELECTED AREAS” (RFP Section 184.108.40.206.), and other “RELATED AREAS” (REP Section 220.127.116.11.) may also be selected by the faculty member to review, in order to bring into better focus their full professional involvements at the college or within the District.
This post will focus on an elected area: professional development, which Maricopa provides plenty of opportunities for, both inside and out the district. I make it a habit to attend at least two conferences each year. This year I attended InstructureCon in Park City, Utah. This conference was a great venue for learning more about the new LMS Maricopa has adopted. Many other Maricopians were in attendance and it was nice to talk to them about how their implementations were going and to see their great presentations on how they are using Canvas. It was also nice to be able to ask questions of the Instructure team for trouble spots I’ve experienced with Canvas so far. I attended many sessions, including Hack Night. But the most eye-opening experience from the conference was learning about LTI’s and how we can add tools to Canvas using them. LTI is Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) and they allow remote tools and content to be integrated into a Learning Management System (LMS). For instance, I learned that I could add WordPress blogs into my Canvas class using a LTI. Canvas has a list of current LTI integrations that you can explore for more added functionality.
The biggest professional development for me has always been my interactions with like minded individuals within the district and out. A few years back Shelley Rodrigo started a Maricopa professional development group called CyberSalon. We call it a grass roots professional development and several of us have presented about it at national conferences. Laura Ballard and I did a poster session at the Sloan C conference a few years back. Cheryl Colan from RIO designed the poster and Shelley conducted the survey.
Here is a quote that summarizes what CyberSalon is for one member.
“It’s a casual environment that is more conducive to sharing ideas with everyone instead of the information being delivered by one presenter. It’s a little like speed dating….at face-to-face meetings I can hop around the room chatting with everyone getting specific answers to my questions. I also like the group as professional development because knowledge and ideas are being shared by people in the trenches of teaching and not a presenter that gets paid for speaking to educators.”
I learned so much from the 80+ members of CyberSalon over the years. The way it works is we meet up once a month on a more social level and discuss all things related to teaching and learning with technology. Some of the meetups are theme based. We had one on Canvas and another on VoiceThread this year. We’ve also covered WordPress and gaming, but mostly the meetups are just free flowing – discuss whatever is on your mind. When we’re not meeting, some of us are blogging about technology on the CyberSalonAZ blog site, as well as our own blogs. And the meat of the group is the Google group where we share resources and ask questions of each other.
Since Shelley, the group founder, has moved on from teaching in Maricopa, several of us have stepped up to “manage” the group and keep things rolling.
In addition to an assessment of the “3 REQUIRED AREAS” (RFP Section 18.104.22.168.) , “AT LEAST TWO ELECTED AREAS” (RFP Section 22.214.171.124.), and other “RELATED AREAS” (REP Section 126.96.36.199.) may also be selected by the faculty member to review, in order to bring into better focus their full professional involvements at the college or within the District. Examples include program coordination, research projects, department/division chair responsibilities, student activities-advising/mentoring, professional involvement in the community, professional growth, involvement/projects, professional interaction with colleagues, etc.
In this post I will focus on department/division chair responsibilities. First, I am not a department chair, nor do I ever want to be one. I’m thankful to have a great chair to work under, and somehow I ended up being an assistant chair along the way. In my roll as the eCourses coordinator for the English department, I started out being in charge of further developing the online program in our department. I watch enrollments and makes suggestions for adding additional online courses if all of sections fill up. In order to do this, we have to qualified adjuncts available and ready. I help faculty get trained and to develop both online and hybrid courses. I’m also responsible for mentoring and evaluating new online faculty. This past semester we decided to open it up a bit and get more adjuncts trained in teaching online. I’ve been working with 8 adjuncts and several full-time faculty on developing new online and hybrid classes. Our growth has been tremendous.
English Department eCourses Growth Over the Last 3 years. Fall 2009 – Total of 12 online courses – Don’t have the break down.
This Spring 2012 – 38 total online courses in the department
- 2 CRW170/CRW270 (Creative Writing)
- 4 Developmental Ed Modules (1 credit each)
- 8 ENG101 (Freshman Comp I)
- 1 – 8 week
- 1 – 12 week late start
- 12 ENG102 (Freshman Comp II
- 1 – 8 week
- 1 – 12 week late start
- 1 ENG111 (Technical Writing)
- 2 ESL
ENH: English Humanities/Literature Courses
- 2 ENH110 ( Intro to Lit)
- 1 ENH242 (American Lit)
- 1 ENH285 (Contemporary Women Writers)
- 3 ENH291 (Children’s Lit)
- 1 ENH295 (Banned Books)
- 1 ENH235 (Gothic Lit)
Considering that we offer around 440 sections each semester this is roughly 8%. We’re at 10% with our hybrid courses added in.
We’ve added 5 more online ENG101 for this fall and 5 more ENG102’s for Spring 2013, although we’re starting to see a drop off in enrollment, so our growth might be slowed moving forward. However, if we need to continue to grow, we now have adjuncts trained and ready to teach new online courses.
As eCourses Coordinator I’m now responsible for book orders for all online courses, so I’ve done that for that last two semesters. I’ve been meeting on my own time this summer to work with faculty who are finishing up course development on classes they will teach this fall. And I’ve scheduled for technology training for our text book online supplement – Connect Composition 2.0. We had a session last week with 15 people in attendance. We have another training scheduled for July.
To complete an FEP each faculty member must engage in a self-examination of “THREE REQUIRED AREAS”:
- GOVERNANCE AND/OR COMMITTEE PARTICIPATION AT THE COLLEGE AND/OR DISTRICT LEVELS
I currently serve as an assistant chair/eCourses coordinator for the English Department and work with faculty to create and/or improve their online/hybrid courses. I also evaluate all online/hybrid instructors and courses in the English department. I serve on the eCourse Committee and the CTLE Advisory Committee on campus. As part of the duties of the CTLE Advisory committee, I’m currently serving on a hiring committee to hire a Coordinator of Technology Training for the CTLE. Yes, we are still working on this – round 2. This group was also responsible for writing the job description for the new Faculty Lead for the CTLE and hiring the new Instructional Designer.
For eCourses, I volunteered to help create an eCourses Student Orientation (what was I thinking?) and am slowing working on that. We have a few modules already completed and hope to finish before fall. I helped Leah with the HLC paperwork for our online courses in the fall. I also helped by doing 3 online course reviews for the eGCC Gold Reviews.
I serve on a district committee, Academic Technology Alliance (ATA), that meets monthly in addition to smaller subcommittee activities. The main objective of the ATA is to identify and strategically implement effective learning technologies across all ten colleges in the district. I’m on a subcommittee looking at Reusable Learning Object creation tools, like Softchalk (interactive lesson authoring). The ATA submitted three proposals to ITTGC that were accepted and are in process of going out for RFP.
- Plagiarism Detection Tools (RFP process) recently presented to IITGC by ATA for RFP Funding has been approved.
- Interactive Lessons Authoring (RFP process) recently presented to IITGC by ATA for RFP Funding has been approved.
- HD Standards and Services (RFP process) recently presented to IITGC by ITLC for RFP Funding has been approved.
We were told that our committee was the most active and accomplished the most in the first year of this new IT governance model. It feels good to know that we are doing things to help make teaching and learning better for all faculty in the district.
I have the motto of “no meetings where nothing gets done.” I hate to sit around and listen to people to talk about doing stuff and doing nothing. I chose my committee assignments based on the knowledge that these committees do and don’t just talk. I was present for most of the meetings this semester and actually looked forward to going.
To complete an FEP each faculty member must engage in a self-examination of “THREE REQUIRED AREAS”:
- TEACHING (OR OTHER PRIMARY DUTIES). For example, instructional or service delivery, content expertise, classroom or program management, instruction/program design.
This is the first of my three required areas for self-examination. Teaching. I will focus on content expertise. I’ve been teaching online for 14 years, so I’ve become somewhat of an expert in online course development. One of the good things about becoming involved with online teaching is it brings me back to the basics of teaching and learning and course design. What I mean by that is that so much scrutiny has been placed on online teaching and online classes. For instance, in order to teach online, one must be properly trained in Quality Matters standards and have a course review after their course is developed. This is not expected of any other instructor teaching at the college, only online instructors. As a result I’ve been able to master instructional design and online course development. One of the projects I’ve been working on since transferring over to GCC is building ENG101 and ENG102 course shells and teaching guides for adjunct instructors. The course shells have been a work in progress for several years now, but the gist of the project is to make available full courses for adjuncts to use as guides for teaching their own courses.
The course shells and teaching guides include full syllabi and full course modules with included assignments, readings, class activities, and quizzes. The course shells can be used in whole or in part depending on what the instructors need. When I designed the courses, I used my knowledge of instructional design for online, hybrid and face-to-face instruction, so no matter what the mode an instructor may teach, the course shells will be a good place to start.
One key concept of designing good online classes is modularization. You can read more about how A Modular Course Design Benefits Online Instructors and Students. I figured if it works for online, why wouldn’t it work for face-to-face classes as well. So I designed the course shells using modules that incorporate the same types of components in each course module. Faculty could then pick and choose which modules they wanted to use. Modules were developed around a 3-4 week period. In the ENG101 each module included 2 assignments, handbook activity (grammar practice), journal posts, discussion forum, an essay and a module quiz. Have a look at the complete modules overview page for ENG101. Below is a screenshot of Module II from the fall semester.
The course shells were designed in Word documents as well as placed in a Blackboard course shell and shared with both full-time and adjunct faculty in the department. So if someone wanted to use the course management system if was already set up and organized for him/her. We currently have 22 people who have access to the Blackboard course shell. This semester I spend considerable time converting the Bb course shells over to Canvas. ENG102 is ready, but I’m still working on ENG101. With the move to Canvas, I’ve been working on rewriting/writing better learning objectives for both courses.
So this past week we had a two day retreat for new and old MIL fellows. On the first day we got to spend the day getting to know each other and learning the ins and outs from the exiting fellows. The first thing I noticed was the comradeship of the five exiting fellows. They lost one fellow at the start, so they only had five. These five individuals sounded like they truly had a good time and supported each other throughout the process. They shared their experiences, as well as their research projects, and I felt overall very comfortable with the expectations of the program. I left excited to get started on my own project.
For those of you who are not familiar, “The Maricopa Institute for Learning (MIL) is a fellowship for residential faculty in any discipline who are interested in examining significant issues in their teaching fields and contributing to the scholarship of teaching and learning through classroom research projects. Its secondary purpose is to create a community of scholars that will engage in conversations about the scholarship of teaching and learning.” The program is weighted heavily in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), hence my stolen logo from some other institution.
The best part of the retreat this past week was getting to know my own group of fellows. We are a very diverse group coming from only 3 of the 10 colleges: GCC (me), MCC (3) and EMCC (2). Only two of our disciplines overlap; myself and Annie both teach English, but Annie’s project dips into dev ed and accelerated learning and my project deals with online learning and is not discipline specific. It will be relevant to all courses that can be taught online. It was really interesting to hear what each participant is planning to study during our time together. I know I will learn as much about their projects as I will about my own. I’m excited to get started.
So our first steps, as recommended by the out going fellows, are to get the project sured up so I can get my IRB submitted and hopefully approved by the end of summer. And secondly get the literature review completed during the summer when you have fewer obligations to get in the way. I think this is good advice, and I plan to do just that. I’m not intimidated by the IRB process. For one, I’ve been through this all before with my doctoral dissertation, and I stressed enough then to cover any I may have now. Also my current project is pretty basic. I’m not doing anything outside of normal teaching practices. I’m just asking to collect the results of how my students do with these practices. It should go through easily (knock on wood).
We were also given some summer reading, so I’ll probably start with that. We’re reading Enhancing Learning Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning by Kathleen McKinney (left) and Blueprint for Learning: Constructing College Courses to Facilitate, Assess, and Document learning by Laurie Richlin. I’m going to enjoy this next week of break before I jump in full force June 1st. I’ll be back then to report out on how it’s going.
So for my FEP (Faculty Evaluation Plan) this year, I decided to work on improving instruction in my online courses. It seemed appropriate and easy to measure, so I went for it. You can learn more about the FEP in future posts, as it is due June 30th, and I’ll be posting it all here. For now, I just want to jump to the end and talk briefly about the results.
The plan involves creating more podcasts (video and audio) and screencasts to provide additional instruction for students in the online course. I had a few of each in the past, but I didn’t have something for every assignment. This semester I committed to at least one visual/audio aide per lesson and a weekly podcast. I wanted to see if students found them helpful to their success in the class. The screencasts usually walk students through the process of doing the week’s assignment. An example of this is when students are assigned to search the databases in the library for periodical articles, I created a screencast that shows them how to access the databases, log in from home and search successfully using the advanced search tool. Other instructional videos included how to write opposing views and counter arguments and other such skills needed to write an argumentative essay.
The weekly podcasts were weekly updates and guidance announcements that let students know where they should be in the process, as well as updates about upcoming assignments and due dates. Here is an example of a weekly podcast from my ENG102 online class.
Students were exposed to these podcasts and screencasts all semester long, so at the end of the class I surveyed them to see how useful they found them to be. The results were not surprising, as you can see below.When asked if the weekly podcasts in the course were helpful, 56% strongly agree and 37% agree that they were helpful. Only 6% responded that they neither agreed or disagreed with that statement. When asked if the screencasts in the course were helpful, 62% said they strongly agreed and 18% agreed that the screencasts were helpful. Six percent didn’t feel the need to watch them and 12% neither agreed or disagreed that they were helpful.
Nintey-three percent also stated that they preferred Canvas over Blackboard.