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Posts from the ‘CyberSalonAZ’ Category


Gmail to Gmail Migration in Maricopa

Today was go live day for Google Guides at GCC. We are switching our email from an archaic MEMO system to shiny new Gmail. All I can say is finally. I’ve been using Gmail for at least 5 years both with a Gmail address and my own domains (, so I’m very familiar with the perks. So I’ve been waiting for this moment.

My excitement was dampened a bit when the first thing I tried to do didn’t work. What? All I wanted to do was get all of my emails, folders and filters from my existing Gmail account moved over to my new Gmail account. Can’t be that difficult, right? Well, actually it’s not, but I just couldn’t get it to work.

I found instructions for moving from Gmail to Gmail here: and basically it explains that you need to:

  • Download Thunderbird and set up both the Gmail account and the work Gmail account in it.
  • Both accounts would then show in Tbird and then you can just drag folders from one to the other – Easy Peasy.
But I ran into a bit of trouble:
  • The work Gmail account kept giving me an error when I tried to set it up. It said that either my username or password was incorrect. I tried both the alisa.cooper and MEID at the beginning of the email address AND I reset my password in PAT to the same thing and it said it was synchronized in MEMO.
  • I also made sure both accounts had the IMAP option turned on in Gmail.

I was stumped, so I kept playing around with it, asked everyone I knew on Twitter, Facebook and CyberSalon if they had a solution. I even called the Helpdesk. Nothing.

In the mean time, I paid to do the migration for me, but I still wanted to find the answer to the problem. Not everyone is going to be willing to pay $15 to have it done for them, even if it worked great. So after a few more inquires, one of my CyberSalon pals pointed me to the MCC wiki and I found this article: Google Apps – Setting Up Thunderbird on Mac.

The information provided here was much different than the basic directions found elsewhere. The main difference was the need to input both the First.LastName and the MEID parts of the email address in the setup process. Also I had to really change my password first. Doh! Previously I had just updated it by inputting the same password in the PAT tool. Not sure if that worked, but the settings below did after I changed it.

Make sure everything matches what I have entered above and it should work.

If you want to move your filters too, you will need to do this separately, as IMAP doesn’t import/export filters. Just export/import them right in Gmail. That worked flawlessly as well. Don’t forget to turn on “Import Filters” in Labs first. Here’s how to do it.


FEP: Self Assessment of Acquisition of New Skills

In addition to an assessment of these “3 REQUIRED AREAS” (RFP Section , “AT LEAST TWO ELECTED AREAS” (RFP Section, and other “RELATED AREAS” (REP Section  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: Acquisition of New Skills. Something about this requirement makes me want to laugh. I wonder if anyone has trouble with assessing their own acquisition of new skills. Would anyone ever say, “nah, I didn’t learn anything this year”? Just seems funny to me. I’m actually having trouble thinking about how to assess all the things I’ve learned in the past year. I guess the best way to explain it is to just say: Read my blog. Yep, for years I’ve been blogging about all the cool things I’ve learned about teaching and learning with technology.

And although I don’t blog nearly as much as I want to, I’ve managed to post 54 times over the past two year.Mostly I blog about new technology tools I’ve learned about and how I might or have integrated them into my teaching. One of my most popular series on my blog is when I blogged about saying goodbye to Blackboard. This was before we adopted Canvas. I’d had enough and figured out a way to teach all of my online classes in a WordPress blog. I blogged about the challenges and of course to benefits of taking that leap. Part 2 of that series was my 2nd most viewed post: Saying Goodbye to Blackboard Part II – Student Blogs & Privacy – 6,488 views.

I read extensively about teaching and learning with technology and follow numerous blogs online. My RSS feedreader gets used often on my phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers. I love the Google Reader gives you stats. Check this out.

Now I’d say that is some reading. So what have I learned? I read mostly about Android, mobile learning, educational technology, and geek stuff. Below are my reading trends from the past 30 days. All but the first is related to my profession and interests in technology.

Take a look around the blog and I’m sure you’ll learn something. I post my weekly Diigo finds here as well. Essentially what that means is when I read some very interesting things or find great technology tools online, I bookmark them in Diigo and then post the best stuff here. It is continuous learning at it’s best with the system I’ve designed for myself. And the best part is it all works on my phone too, so I can take my learning with me where ever I go. Nice.


FEP: Self Assessment of Professional Development – Conferences & CyberSalon

In addition to an assessment of these “3 REQUIRED AREAS” (RFP Section , “AT LEAST TWO ELECTED AREAS” (RFP Section, and other “RELATED AREAS” (REP Section  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.
Maricopa at et4online (19)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.


eCourses Faculty Evaluation Rubric Now Requires Asynchronous Communication

Last week our eCourses Faculty Facilitator sent out an announcement about a change in the Faculty Evaluation Rubric. The jest of the announcement was that online faculty are now expected to provide synchronous “office hours” in addition to the already required asynchronous communication that may already be provided. Below is an excerpt from the message:

I am sending this email to notify you of a change that has been made to the eCourses Faculty Evaluation Rubric. The modifications were discussed and approved by the eCourses Committee to be in place for Fall ’12. With technology advancements, especially in the area of communication tools, the committee agreed that it was within reason for faculty to be available online (or by phone) to meet with individuals or groups of students in a synchronous setting where real-time discussions could take place. This extends the current asynchronous use of announcements, discussion boards and emails for communication purposes (Lea Neibarger).

I think this is a good move and am surprised that most have not already implemented something to this effect already. As full time faculty, I’m required “to hold a minimum of five (5) scheduled academic support hours reflective of instructors’ teaching schedules;” (RFP). I teach all online and hybrid courses, so I have online office hours for my students. Because most of my students are working adults, I try to have a few hours in the morning and a few in the evening each night. And most of the time in between I’m pretty accessible to my students via email, phone call or text. I permit this because it is easy for me to do and manage. It’s not like I have to sit in my office at school to be accommodating to my students. With technology today, I can spare a few extra hours by simply having my cell phone with me during the scheduled time.

This might seem overwhelming to some, as I’ve heard numerous, “What should I dos?” since the message went out. It’s not as difficult as you might think, especially if you stick to the one hour guideline in the RFP, but I hope you will find that it’s easy enough to include a few more hours each week. Lea even points out in the message:

This does not mean faculty must “be on call 24/7”, but rather have a dedicated time which is announced to students, similar to or in coincidence with face-to-face office hours or have a process where students can ask questions interactively on an as needed basis. This could include office hours where faculty have instant messaging, online conferencing, chat or even a Skype window open and respond immediately to student questions.

What follows is a list of tools I presently use, have used in the past, and plan to use in the future. Hopefully you can find something that works well for you and your students as well.

First, next fall when we officially go live with Canvas (yes, I’m being very optimistic), you will have a built in tool to accommodate your online office hours. The tool is called Tinychat – You can set up your hour time slot and post it on your syllabus letting students know you will be available live to answer questions and discuss anything related to your course. At the designated time, you will need to log into Canvas, go to the Chat tab, and start up a chat session. You can broadcast video or audio, so your students can see or hear you, or you can just use text chat. There is also a whiteboard built in so you can write out information if needed, and you can share a YouTube video if there is a need for that. There is also a way to have private conversations with individual students within the group chat. It’s probably all you would need if you plan to offer an hour a day while sitting in your office each day.

But if you’re like me, and you can’t stand sitting in your office, you can set up some more mobile options for synchronous office hours. Presently I use Google Voice. Basically GV is a free phone number you get from Google that becomes your class number. Students can call or text you on this number, and you can control where and when the number rings. You can set up a window of time where your GV number rings/texts to your cell phone or rings your office phone. When the GV number is not set up to ring to a specific phone, it goes straight to your Google Voice inbox. It’s like an email inbox for phone calls and texts. They are stored up and saved for when you are ready to deal with them. You can set it up to send you an email or text with the message if you like as well. Using GV allows for me to permit my students to call me pretty much all day, but when I don’t want to be bothered, I switch it from sending calls/texts to my cell phone and let them go directly to Voice/Text inbox. Below is an example of a quick text communication with a student that happened on my phone, but was saved in my GV inbox. I have a record of all communications with GV.

Another mobile option is to use Instant Message, but as you all know, there are quite a few options out there. There is AIM, GTalk, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, and even Facebook and MySpace have their own IM programs.

You can see the problem here; not every student will be on the same program. In order for you to use this effectively, you’ll need to sign up for an account on several. I would go with at least the four major ones. Then you can use a generic IM – All in One client, like Trillian – or Meebo – What these two clients will do for you is give you an easy way to log into all four or more IM clients using one log in. So you open up Meebo and login. See photo to the right. You are now available to chat on AIM, GTalk, MSN and Yahoo! Students then can use whatever client they like without having to sign up for a new one. And both Trillian and Meebo have mobile apps, so you can log on on your phone and be available for IM chat wherever you are. I just list all my IM usernames on my syllabus, and students can decide for themselves if they want to go that route. They don’t need Meebo to IM with you. Only you need it.  They will use whatever client they already use. I only get about 2-3 IMers these days. Most prefer texting. One added bonus to Meebo is you can embed the chat window into your current LMS and students can chat with you from that window without having an account on any IM client.

One final honorable mention is Google+ Hangout –

Google+ Hangouts with extras offers a sneak preview of new Hangouts features. It’s available for a limited time, so it’s not clear what the long term availability will be. Also Maricopa has yet to switch on this tool in our student Google Apps accounts. Please! But I’m using this with students now using just regular Gmail accounts. They are blogging and “hanging out” as part of the class, but Google+ Hangouts can be used for synchronous communication as well. It makes it easy for students to start a video or audio chat with you or you can schedule a hangout with extras. The extras include: Named hangouts, Shared notes and sketchpad, Google Docs integration and Screensharing. Imagine hanging out with a student who wants to go over an essay with you. You can share a Google Doc with the students essay in it in the hangout, meaning everyone present can view the document, see what you mark on it, and hear what you have to say about in real time. Below you can see Leo is hangout with 10 people (limit) who are all on webcam and are text chatting to the left. It’s similar to Skype, but it’s free. Skype charges for group video chat.

So don’t fret the new guidelines coming down the pike. Embrace change and progress, and utilize the tools available to you to make it work for both you and your students. It’s all good!


Automating the Process of Grading Essays on a Tablet

When the first iPad came out, I remember saying, “that would be cool if I could grade my essays on it.” But I was thinking of the whole tablet PC method where you could use a stylus and mark up a word document with your own scribbles as well as highlights and what not. It took a few months before there was an app that could do something similar, but it never felt intuitive and never worked on Word docs, only pdf files. This process is clearly still evolving. Since then the major book publishers have improved their online offerings to provide some pretty good grading tools for grading papers online. McGraw-Hill has Connect Composition 2.0, Cengage has Enhanced InSite with the suite of tools built in, and Pearson has MyCompLab. I’ve used all three of these tools, and quite frankly they are all pretty good for grading papers online. I couldn’t always say that, but I’ve watch them all evolve into tools I couldn’t live with out. But I digress. You can’t use these tools on a tablet (yet).

So back to this grading on a tablet idea. Some people still want to be able to do this on their tablets. I don’t, not with Connect, InSite and MyCompLab available. I’d much rather grab my Macbook Air and grade on that in a browser than on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Nevertheless, I’ve come up with a pretty good solution for those of you who would like to do just that – grade on your tablet with a stylus or your finger for that matter. So here goes.

First you need to choose the right annotation app for your preferred device. When I had an iPad, I played with and liked iAnnotate. On my Android devices, I’ve been using ezPDF Reader. There is an iOS app too. Both of these apps work well, although the stylus interaction could be improved, and it might already have been. My finger works well too for what it’s worth. The key is that both integrate with DropBox, so you can access files from your dropBox and/or save annotated pdf’s to your dropbox. More on that later. But here’s the problem. Both apps are pdf annotation tools. I don’t know about you, but my students have a hard enough time submitting .doc files to me. PDF files just might send them over the edge, so in order to grade on my tablet, I would need to convert all the essays to pdf files. I can do that in several ways. Here are a few options.

Option 1: Open every essay and re-save as pdf using Word. Not! Too time consuming.

Option 2: Use Wappwolf Automator for Dropbox. If you have a Dropbox account, set up Wappwolf to automate this process for you. Choose the folder in Dropbox that you plan to put the essays in, and then choose convert to pdf when you set up your automation in Wappwolf. That’s it. It will convert pretty much everything but Apple’s iWorks pages files. Does anyone even use Pages? Anyway, Wappwolf will convert and put the original doc files into a new “processed” folder. It will also auto-convert all the files already in the folder if you’re not starting from scratch.

Here’s the process for grading those essays now. Download the essays in bulk from your LMS. This works in both Canvas and Blackboard. Open the essay folder, select all files, and drag them to the Dropbox folder you chose in the first steps. Now all your essays are in that folder in your dropbox, and they are automatically converted to pdf files. Go to your tablet, open your Dropbox app, choose the folder with the essays, open a file using your pdf annotation app and start annotating. Usually when you choose a pdf file to open your device will give you a few options if you have several apps installed. Be sure to choose the annotation app to be the default. Annotate the essay and save it back to the dropbox. When you’re finished, upload the essays back to your LMS for students to view. Now what’s really cool is if you don’t change the names of the original files, Canvas will let you upload them back to Canvas in bulk. This is the only step I’m not sure about, as I’m not sure if Canvas counts changing the file type from doc to pdf counts as changing the file name. If it does, then the bulk upload back to Canvas won’t work. You’ll have to do it individually as you add the grade, like you probably do now.

*BONUS: Here’s a way to automate this even further. Skip the whole download the class essays from the LMS part and automatically add to Dropbox by using a JotForm.

Instead of having students upload their essays to the LMS, create a form for them to use to submit their essays. Embed the form on the assignment page in your LMS. Students fill out the form, attach their essay file and done. A whole bunch of cool stuff happens next. Students can get an email verification that you indeed received their essay. You too can get an email if you want. The file that was submitted gets added to a folder in, yep you got it, your Dropbox account. Then you just follow the steps above. Pretty sweet, no?

Here’s what I haven’t tested. JotForm creates a folder automatically for you in your dropbox, so when you set up Wappwolf Automator you need to be sure to choose the JotForm folder. Now what I don’t know is if Wappwolf will convert files in a subfolder inside the folder you set up, as JotForm creates a new folder for each form you create. So I have a folder named Final Paper Submission (from the form above) inside my JotForm folder in Dropbox. If it doesn’t work that way, you would need to create a separate automation for each essay/form you create. Still not bad.

So there you go. Now you have no excuse not to grade those essays. You can grade them on your tablet or your phone for that matter. Ugh, no thank you. 😉 Let me know if you give this a try.



MIL Proposal 2012- Statement of Project Goals

So I’m finally getting around to applying for the Maricopa Institute of Learning (MIL) Fellowship Program in the district. MIL is a “Fellowship for six 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.” I’ve wanted to apply for about five years now, but I’ve never gotten around to it. Well, this is the year, and here is my statement of project goals. I’ll post the rest once I’m accepted (fingers crossed).

With the growing popularity of online courses in the district, more students are opting for an online course of study. And as we rush to provide these online courses, we continue to look for more effective online instructional practices. Online asynchronous discussion seems to be the most prevalent practice in online courses. Online asynchronous discussions are discussions through an online media where participants are responding to each other, but not simultaneously. Online discussions are good practice because the discussion is happening in an asynchronous manner, participants have time to think about the question and others’ responses before posting their response. They are able to develop their thoughts more fully, rather than responding immediately after the question is asked. The discussion groups also provide an opportunity for participants to hear feedback from members who may be reluctant to share information in a face-to-face group setting. It is an effective online instructional practice. However, in most cases asynchronous discussions, despite their good points, more often than not are the least favorite aspect of the online course according to students. This is the case mostly because online discussions are not implemented effectively by instructors. My goal for this project is to research effective ways to structure online asynchronous discussions with particular emphasis on student led small group interaction. Discussions in online and hybrid courses as an instructional technique are integral to using cooperative learning structures, so that will be the focus of my research.


Giving Back to Future Teachers

FEA BadgeLast week I was asked to present at the Future Educators Association (FEA) State Conference at Grand Canyon University (March 1-2, 2012). I’ve been asked in the past to do workshops for students, adjunct faculty and residential faculty, and I always take the opportunity to teach technology skills. So this opportunity was no different. The focus of the 45 minutes session which I presented with my colleague Sue Glascoe, MCC math faculty, was our three favorite tools. I use many software tools just to help me organize and manage my online teaching life. So this workshop focused on my 3 most valuable tools that help me do just that. I demonstrated how to use Google Apps, including Gmail, to create forms, contact groups and filters for classes to create a well managed teaching environment. A second tool that I shared was Google Voice, a tool that allows for me to give students a phone number where they can both call and send text messages and allow for me to manage who, what, when, where, and how I receive those messages. The last tool I covered was audio podcasting tools for reminders and brief updates for classes using AudioBoo and iPadio. My workshop demo page is located on my wiki:

I was surprised that there were only two technology sessions during the conference, but I guess that’s better than none. We did our session three times, so we touched a good number of future teachers. I had a great time presenting with Sue, and we both know that being examples and modeling how we teach with technology will fuel future teachers to be creative and step outside the box and try new things in the classroom.

Although this is outside my 6 hours of accountability for my Friday, I think my time was well spent and more valuable than anything I could have done while on campus sitting in my office.



Follow Up Questions from Cloud Based Technology Webinar

Today I did a webinar for Academic Impressions: Using Cloud-Based Technology for Learning and Engagement. The webinar lasted an hour and forty-five minutes, which means I had to talk for that long. This isn’t generally a problem for me if I’m talking about and sharing about what I love to do: teaching and learning with technology, so the time flew by. I was really surprised that I was able to keep to my planned timeline. I got everything in but a few questions at the end, so I’m hear to address them now.

One of the tools I used in the presentation to help give every participant a voice was GoSoapBox. I blogged about it in my last post about what I’d do with a $300 grant. I was able to address the remaining questions in there, since participants had posted them in the webinar and in GoSoapBox. Below is a list of a few questions I answered for participants.

I had a great time talking about cloud based technologies, and I really hope it was helpful for others. And I hope they get out there and give it a try. Remember to start small and play around with it before you make it a major assignment for a course.



What Could You Do With a $300 Grant?

Three hundred dollars isn’t a lot of money; nevertheless, this question is kind of a mute point anyway since my college doesn’t currently encourage us to be innovative with teaching and learning by offering grants. We have nothing, so most teachers do nothing. The district offers learning grants, but you can’t use any of the funding to buy software or tools, so you basically have to write the grant to pay you for your time, and then use the money you earn to buy software or tools. It’s not a very sustainable solution considering some of the tools are web apps, and you’re paying a yearly subscription, not a one time fee.

So I’m going to do a little dreaming. If I had just $300 to spend on teaching and learning each year, this is what I would buy.

First, I teach Freshman Composition and all my courses are eCourses, 4 online and 1 hybrid. In keeping with the Quality Matters standards for online courses, I try to use technology and instructional materials in accordance with the recommendations from the QM rubric. Here are the QM Standards I try to meet with the tools I select to use in my courses

  • Assessment & Measurement
    • 3.1 The types of assessments selected measure the stated learning objectives and are consistent with course activities and resources.
    • 3.5 Students have multiple opportunities to measure their own learning progress.
  • Instructional Materials
    • 4.1 The instructional materials contribute to the achievement of the stated course and module/unit learning objectives.
    • 4.4 The instructional materials are current.
  • Learning Interaction & Engagement
    • 5.1 The learning activities promote the achievement of the stated learning objectives.
    • 5.2 Learning activities provide opportunities for interaction that support active learning.
  • Course Technology
      • 6.2 Course tools and media support student engagement and guide the student to become an active learner.
      • 6.5 The course technologies are current.

As I spend my imaginary $300, I will tie in how each tools helps me meet the QM standard listed above for added benefit. I will also discuss how would use the tool to help my students meet the objectives of the course.

My first purchase would be VoiceThread. The Manager account costs $99/year and comes with 1 Pro account and 50 Basic accounts (student accounts).

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.

In my online courses I like to have class discussions to “provide opportunities for interaction that supports active learning.” Each module includes at least one discussion forum. These forums, especially when I used Blackboard, where boring, dry and full of meaningless text from students. I’ve tried for years to come up with ways to make these interactions more meaningful and engaging for students. VoiceThread (VT) is a simple answer. VT gives students 5 ways to participate in the discussion and it gives the instructor a way to focus on several different points within one discussion.

Not only can I use this tool for class discussions, I can also use it for content delivery (think boring PowerPoint presentations). VT “supports student engagement and guides the student to become an active learner.” This is so because students are invited to participate in the presentation by adding comments and feedback about their understanding while they watch the presentation.

My second purchase ($201 left) would be for GoSoapBox for $90/year for up to 100 concurrent student users. GoSoapBox is a new instant student response system (think boring and expensive clickers). It allows teachers to gauge student understanding or confusion levels throughout a lesson, poll students and track the data for future reference. It can be used on laptops, tablets and smart phones, which sets it apart from some other clicker/student response systems.

GoSoapBox is used during class to break down participation barriers, keeping students engaged, and giving teachers insight into student comprehension that was never before possible.

What I get for my hard earned $90 is:

  • Student-ranked Questions
  • Discussions
  • Confusion Barometer
  • Polls & Quizzes
  • Advanced Data
  • 24/7 Access
  • 15 GoSoapBox Events

My third purchase ($111 left) would be for CreateDebate which runs for $99. I’m starting to see a trend here in educational pricing for web tools. Anyway, CreateDebate is “a user-driven social debating website which serves to facilitate discourse on topics of users’ choosing. CreateDebate combines social networking technologies with debating and voting in a social and democratic nature” (Wikipedia).

CreateDebate is an integrated and dynamic virtual learning environment that will stoke the discussion and participation in your classroom!

Since I teach argumentative writing, this site works well for getting students engaged in active debates about current events. They can demonstrate use of rhetorical devices and identification of logical fallacies in the arguments presented.  This course activity and resource would be the “type of assessment selected to measure the stated learning objectives” for the course, which is to “organize writing to support a central idea through unity, coherence, and logical development appropriate to a specific writing context.” CreateDebate increases participation, promotes critical thinking, and improves the vocabulary and persuasive writing skills of my students.

So with $12 left, there’s not really much I can buy with that, so I could just not spend it. The point is for under $300 I can get some valuable tools to help me engage my students in the learning process, as well as teach them using current technologies that also teach 21st Century Skills that help students to learn to think and work creatively and collaboratively. I can see the value in these tools, so as there is no such thing as the $300 grant at GCC, I’ll probably be digging into my own pockets like I always do to fund my innovative ideas for teaching and learning. I think my students are worth it.


Hey! What Are You Doing Here? (6 Hours Accountability)

It’s time to address the usual greeting I get when my co-workers in the English department see me in the 05 Building on campus. “Hey! What are you doing here?” I hear it just about every day. I don’t get this response elsewhere on campus because I have a pretty good track record for meeting my college obligations. If there’s a committee meeting, I’m there. But I don’t spend much time in one spot, and my office doesn’t get much use. Well, not the 6-8 hours a day use that some offices get. I’m not into sitting anywhere for too long. I’m not learning anything new sitting in my office, so I like to get out and do stuff. I would rather be on a hiring committee than sit in my office and do nothing, but don’t tell too many people that. I’ve been at GCC for only 3 years, and I’ve already been on four hiring committees. Crazy.

My point is there is so much to do and learn and so many people to talk to and learn from that if you limit yourself  to one small space on campus or the district for that matter, you’re missing out on many opportunities to make a difference for your students, the college and the district. “A rolling stone grows no moss.” Although I like the analogy of a snowball that is rolled around in the snow to make the base of a snowman better. That’s me, always moving and learning and teaching and sharing and growing. My knowledge and experience grows by interacting with as many people, projects and ideas as possible.

Here’s a brief snapshot of all that I’m involved in currently in and outside of Maricopa. 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 this last committee, I’m currently serving on a hiring committee to hire a Coordinator of Technology Training for the CTLE. For eCourses, I just volunteered to help create an eCourses Student Orientation (what was I thinking?).

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. I’m a Quality Matters certified reviewer and conduct QM reviews on hybrid and online courses in the district. I’m currently reviewing a Lit class at SCC. I’m also working on a district learning grant that helps online and hybrid instructors infuse Challenged Based Learning modules into the freshman composition curriculum. I’m a member of the Teaching & Learning with Technology Conference Planning Team currently planning the conference for this May. In addition, I work with the National Center for Teacher Education (NCTE) at the district as a technology trainer on two grants: The Achieving Technological Literacy in Arizona for Students and Teachers (ATLAST) and Student and Teacher Technology Transformation Teams (ST4).

Outside the district, I serve on the advisory group for the ELI 7 Things publication and conduct webinars and in person workshops on Blended Course Design, Social Media and Cloud Based Technologies for Academic Impressions.

Whew, I’m tired just from typing all that. Sometimes I feel like I need a secretary to keep it all straight, but I seem to manage. I’d rather be busy than bored. So when my colleagues in the English department jokingly greet me with “Hey! What are you doing here?” I just grin and say “I work here,” but truth be told I’m there to hang out with them. I work with an awesome group of teachers, and I love learning from and collaborating with them too. I never have trouble meeting my six hours of accountability, I just have a difficult time doing it in one spot.