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Student Engagement in a Changing World (Presentation)

I presented the following presentation at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, NE this week. My slides and notes are posted below.

Title: Student Engagement in a Changing World * Overall Theme: Student Engagement

I. Introduction: This presentation was designed to demonstrate different ways to engage students using a few technology tools along the way. (Animoto video) + Storytelling: Used to be a track coach, busy all the time, quit, realized I was bored with teaching, students were bored and unmotivated, started using tech to mix it up, went back to school, learned how to do it right, better engage students in their own learning. Student engagement is important in what we as teachers do.

“Students learn more when they are actively involved in their education and have opportunities to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings. Through collaborating with others to solve problems or master challenging content, students develop valuable skills that prepare them to deal with the kinds of situations and problems they will encounter in the workplace, the community, and their personal lives.”

Introduce CCSSE study – purpose.

II. CCSSE Data (Poll Everywhere)

2012 CCSSE Executive Summary (PDF) focuses on the importance of relationships among students, faculty, and staff, and with institutions themselves: how they evolve, the value they add, and the importance of building and sustaining these critical connections. The report offers data about the quality of community college students’ educational experiences and describes how colleges across the country are intentionally making connections with students online, in the classroom, on campus, and beyond.

“Personal connections are the unanticipated success factor — a critical variable that improves the odds of persistence.”

The five benchmarks of effective educational practice in community colleges are active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners.

Show key results from active and collaborative learning – Open a poll (“…79% of entering students report that they plan to earn an associate degree, but just _____ of full-time students meet that goal within six years. What percentage met this goal?) Answers:  35%, 45%, 55%, 75% <–PollEverywhere/ View our results and then the CCSSE results for A and C learning.

One more area possibly – Student/Faculty Interaction – another poll question – Transition -relate to student engagement

III. Student Engagement– occurs when “students make a psychological investment in learning. Read moreRead more


Using Google+ for Teaching, Learning & Building Your PLN (CTLE Workshop)

Last week I did a CTLE workshop to try and share the joy of Google+. The workshop was scheduled a day after an email from Chancellor arrived in our inboxes, instructing us to stop using Google Apps. So I think many faculty may have thought that the workshop didn’t apply any longer, but that is not true. First off, G+ is not a Google App, and secondly, many of the things I shared in this workshop related to student-faculty use in the classroom (online or face-to-face). So we’re good with student use as long as you follow FERPA rules. Below is an outline of what I covered in the workshop. There are videos attached, so you can see the tool in action.

When: Wed, March 20, 12pm – 1pm

Where: GCC CTLE HT2-139 (map)

DescriptionGoogle+ is a social media tool built into our Gmail system, but why should you care about it? Come learn how you can use this new tool for teaching and learning, as well as building your Personal Learning Network (PLN). This session will highlight how G+ is used as a live online classroom tool, online office hours, video chat, blogging, content curation, joining communities, and connecting and sharing with colleagues both on a desktop and on a mobile device.

Tools Covered

  • Google Hangouts: Host face to face chat sessions, virtual online meeting, or broadcast live
    • Chat with students online about progress in class
    • Schedule office hours online in a Hangout
    • Broadcast a live class session for students not in class – Tape if for later viewing
    • Share your desktop, Google Docs, YouTube Video
    • Connect with colleagues in your field from around the world
    • Join public Hangouts on Air for topics you’re interesting in
    • Read moreRead more

Summer Project Proposal – Establishing a Personal Learning Network (PLN)

plntoolMy project involves establishing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) for myself and faculty on our campus. It involves establishing an online presence and building a community on various social media sites for myself and our CTLE. I will research blogs, organizations and professionals to include in this community, as well as produce content for our blog covering the best pedagogical practices in online teaching. The goal of the PLN is to get faculty “to connect, collaborate and contribute so that we can become aware, connected, empowered, and confident learners.” I will spend time researching and learning about creating a successful PLN and how to get others involved. Attending a national conference, researching and reading will help me produce PLN content and connections.

As an online instructor and eCourses Faculty Lead for my college, the general purpose of my project is to increase my knowledge and the knowledge of our ecourses faculty of the best pedagogical practices in online teaching by establishing a Personal Learning Network (PLN). “Personal Learning Networks are systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning.” It’s a system of lifelong learning and provides support for learners to manage their learning and to communicate with others in the process of learning. This PLN will be used for professional development and will help myself and other faculty learn from content-area specialists and each other. In order to create this network, I need to improve my skills and knowledge in the process and learn about best practices for creating such networks, as well as learn how to help and motivate others to join the network. The true value of this project is that the learning doesn’t end after the final report is submitted.

My goal Read moreRead more


SCC TechTalks 2013 Explores Technology’s Impact on Teaching & Learning

Scottsdale Community College hosted SCC TechTalks 2013, a series of live, 18-minute presentations on how technology has impacted teaching and learning on February 1, 2013. The event followed a similar format to the widely popular TEDTalks and was put on by SCC’s Instructional Strategic Technology Advisory Committee (ISTAC).I was honored to be invited to be one the speakers of this inaugural event and had a great time participating.

Event description: “The thought-provoking talks feature presenters from a variety of professional backgrounds covering an array of subjects — from theater and music to math and science. Presenters include faculty members, tech gurus and students.”

Below is a playlist of all the talks featuring Maricopa’s past and present technology leaders. So go grab some popcorn, get comfy and enjoy the show.


Making Online Discussion More Relevant for Students (MIL)


7 Habits of Highly Effective Online Discussion Participants

Most students hate online discussion. It’s true. Ask them. I don’t blame them. I hate it too. Ha! Yep, I just admitted that. It’s not the idea behind asynchronous discussion that I dislike. It’s how it is implemented in most online courses. It’s almost as if it’s an after thought. Oh wait, I need some student to student interaction, so I’ll throw a few questions in a discussion forum and be done with it. There’s no clear purpose. Then 24 students all jump in and try to manage what can quickly become unruly or worse boring and meaningless. First, my horror story. How do 24 students “discuss” this question: What was the theme of the story? Yes, I’ve seen that discussion question in an online course. Well, after the first student nails the answer, and it didn’t take long in this case. Everyone waiting 4 days until the one brave soul responded with the correct answer. Done. What was everyone else supposed to say after that? Not much and the discussion was a flop. Twenty-four students echoing the same response. And I’ve seen worse.

There’s a lot that goes into creating successful asynchronous discussion in online courses. I talk a little about some of it in the video at the end of this post. Instead of elaborating on that further, I’d rather share with you a very rewarding asynchronous discussion going on right now in my ENG102 online course. Discussions don’t have to take place in a traditional discussion forum. That’s the first lesson. In this case, my real goal, aside from getting students to interact with each other, was to have students help each other out with their writing by offering some valuable feedback. This discussion begins in Connect Composition where students submit their latest essays. I set up a peer review assignment and put students in groups of 3. Their goal at this stage is to review the other two papers in their group and offer feedback based on the 6 questions I set up for them to answer.

The objective is twofold: Read moreRead more


SoftChalk Interactive Lesson Builder – Stay or Go?

I can’t remember when I first started using SoftChalk, but it seems like it’s been about 10 years. That’s how long the company has been around (since 2002). I’ve been using the tool to help create interactive lessons for my online and hybrid courses. We’ve had it available to us (Maricopa) for quite a while now, but when our current contract expired, we decided we needed to go out for RFP to make sure we were using the best product and paying the best price. I’d never thought much about it until I realized there might be a possibility of having to use something else. But when I express my concerns to my colleagues, all I ever get in response is: “What is SoftChalk?”

Well, that’s part of the problem, not enough faculty know the answer to that question. So the few of us who do know, may suffer the consequences. There will always be a need for an interactive lesson builder,  and I vote that we keep what we already know.  However, if there is something else out there that will blow me away without causing me stress learning how to use it, I’d be open to that too. In the mean time, here’s hoping others in the district find this video interesting enough to start using Softchalk while we await the verdict.


Conducting Peer Review Assignments in Canvas

At GCC we have another option for conducting online peer review assignments in the composition course. I previously posted about the option I use in Connect Composition, but today I want to share with you a 2nd way that a few of our faculty are using.  Below is the method that Gary Lawrence uses. I posted previously about his heads up about this process, but this post will give a few more details on how it all works. He even shared a video below that he made for students to show them the peer review process.

It’s not a perfect process, but it works well enough if you don’t have access to Connect Composition. It requires that students have MS Word to be able to “track changes” and leave comments on the documents. There are work arounds for that, but it might further complicate the process. Below is an image Gary created for students to explain the peer review process to them. Read moreRead more


Creating Audio for Podcasts Using Audacity (CTLE Workshop)

The following is content from my wiki for a presentation I did in the CTLE on creating audio for a podcast last week. You can visit the original wiki page here:

Creating Audio for Podcasts Using Audacity

Itinerary for Podcasting Series II Learning Lab

  • Overview of recording tools for the Mac, PC and web: (Garageband, Audacity)
  • Developing a plan for the podcast
  • Equipment needed (hardware)
  • Locate and Import Podsafe Audio into Audacity
  • Record voice using Audacity
  • Edit and Save audio using Audacity
  • Export as Mp3 file
  • Import into Canvas

Video of Part of this Workshop: Recording Audio Using Audacity

Read moreRead more


A Heads Up for Creating Peer Review Writing Assignments in Canvas

Below is a guest post from Gary Lawrence, adjunct English faculty member teaching online and hybrid at GCC. He shares his experience with doing peer reviews using Canvas and points out one minor flaw in Canvas that everyone should be aware of to help out this process. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll pass them on to Gary.

This is the way the peer review process works in Canvas: As part of a draft assignment, I usually let Canvas assign the peer reviews automatically. The cleanest way to do that, I think, is to “lock” submissions, so you don’t have a bunch of late contenders to deal with.  So under the draft assignment, I give a due date, and then  I select “more options” (shown in blue box below) and check “require peer reviews,” “automatically assign peer reviews,” pick the number of reviews per student, tell Canvas when to assign the peer reviews (default = assignment due date), and then “lock submits after (date)” to keep it clean.    I also happen to restrict inputs to .doc or .docx files so students can use “track changes” features of MS Word for line comments.


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Peer Review Writing Assignments Online with Connect Composition

Three years ago when we did our last book adoption, one of the features we were looking for was a way to do peer reviews on student essays in an online environment. We chose a McGraw-Hill text because they had a tool that does this well. The tool is called Connect Composition and it comes packaged with our traditional textbook. Also built into our version of Connect is an online handbook, The McGraw-Hill Handbook. But within Connect we have the ability to set up peer review writing assignments. We can schedule the number of drafts we want to have for the writing assignment, choose pre-made review questions or write our own, and choose the size and makeup of the groups. It’s a pretty slick way to do peer reviews, and it’s really easy for students.

Below I created a video for students showing them how to participate in our most recent peer review writing assignment. Feel free to use this video with your own students if you are using Connect in your classes.