Newsletter Presentation


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Newsletter Presentation

  1. 1. Faculty Initiative in Creating an e-Learning Newsletter L a n d L L o n i n e A Story about Community Elaine McCullough, Ph.D. Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan
  2. 2. The Setting Ferris State University Department of Languages and Literature  Big Rapids, Michigan  Fall, 2008
  3. 3. The Characters Jody Ollenquist Ph.D., M.A., B.A., Northern Illinois University Katherine Harris Lynn Chrenka Ph.D. Florida State University Newly elected members Ph.D. Michigan State University M.A. University of Nebraska of the department’s newly created M. A. University of Michigan B.A. St. Mary's College of California Online Teaching Committee B.A. University of Michigan Elaine McCullough Dan Noren Ph.D. University of New Mexico D.M.L. Middlebury College M.A. California State University, Sacramento Linda Sherwood M.A. University of Wisconsin Visiting Assistant Professor and B.A. North Park College B.A. Northeastern State University all-around techno-whiz
  4. 4. The Precipitating Incident What to make of a committee that is only the second of its kind on campus and that has no precedent in Languages and Literature? We are free to create the story of The Online Teaching Committee…
  5. 5. The story begins…  As the newly elected committee chair, I walk to the second meeting, still percolating ideas about how the committee might define itself.  I do know we need to gather and disseminate information about online issues.  Jody, Katherine, and I are on other online learning committees around campus, so we are in a good position to gather information.  It also occurs to me that almost everyone in Languages and Literature is a writer….
  6. 6.  Therefore, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get people in the department to write about online issues….but how should we disseminate the information?  Hummm… Not everyone in L&L is fully onboard with the idea of fully online teaching.  So to appeal to everyone, the committee should choose a familiar, somewhat conservative medium, I decide.  I am almost to the meeting room before I put it all together.  The newsletter has such a format.  I know newsletters. I once had a small desktop publishing company and have successfully created, edited, and published newsletters.
  7. 7.  During the second meeting of the OTC, the members quickly agree to the publication of a newsletter three times a semester. And thus….. L a n d L L o n i n e is born.
  8. 8. As the committee and department members begin writing newsletter articles, we soon realize we are also writing a story of community… At the bottom of this and the next few slides, you may click on the link to see the five editions of the newsletter the OTC has published so far.
  9. 9. The newsletter results in a marked increase of faculty- to faculty communication within the department about online learning.  Dr. Robbie Teahen Associate VP for Academic Affairs, is the first to call us in Languages and Literature a ―community of learners‖ when she announces she is distributing our third newsletter at a mid-April Higher Learning Commission Conference.  In two peer-review sessions attended by over 500 participants from 19 states, she uses L and L on Line as an example of what HLC teams should look for in terms of good university practices.
  10. 10. The newsletter also helps the OTC see the need for more lateral—vs. top-down—communication about online issues across campus.  After I mention the OTC’s interest in promoting lateral communication throughout campus about online issues, Dr. Teahen asks me to discuss the newsletter with chairs of the other departments, some of whom then implement ways their own faculty can communicate about online issues. (Not all departments are full of writers!)
  11. 11. The OTC now invites members of other departments and colleges to submit articles to L and L onLine.  Charles Bacon, PhD, Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Physical Sciences Department, inaugurates the guest column with an article whose tongue-in-cheek title is… ―YOU CAN’T DO LABORATORY SCIENCE ONLINE!‖
  12. 12. The OTC’s interest in increased campus-wide communication among faculty who teach online leads to the OTC’s initiative, Let’s Get It Together, a series of workshops in which faculty help each other go through Ferris’ Online Instructor Certification process.
  13. 13. The OTC advertises Let’s Get It Together in the newsletter and across campus.
  14. 14. By completing this process, faculty add to not only the quality but the quantity of those teaching online at Ferris.  Let’s Get It Together, October 2, 2009. 32 attendees and 8 facilitators, from various departments and colleges
  15. 15. At Let’s Get It Together (back to front) Rebecca Sammel, PhD from Languages and Literature, David Aiken, PhD from Humanities Department, and Bill Smith, PhD from the College of Business
  16. 16. As Land L on Line continues, it also becomes clear that a vibrant community of faculty who are teaching online is essential if the interface between online technology and the pedagogy of a particular field is to be understood and shared.  Here and there, faculty within Ferris departments have been sharing ideas for how to best teach their courses effectively within the constraints of Ferris’ online course program, FerrisConnect (a version of Blackboard), but we do not find a concerted effort to bring particular pedagogies to bear on the available technology, except where our sister committee resides, in the Humanities Department.
  17. 17. In the Humanities Department, History Area’s Online Learning Committee has been exemplary in making the pedagogy-technology connection…..  Under the guidance of Dr. Kimn Carlton-Smith, the OLC was formed in September, 2006.  The committee’s charge reads, in part: ―Any faculty interested in teaching online should approach the committee as a means to ask for advice about any questions concerning instructors’ workload, online pedagogy, Best Practices, as well as asking for mentoring advice while they develop their online course. ―
  18. 18. With increased communication among faculty, as has occurred in History and is now occurring in L&L….  Faculty can learn how to teach certain courses using FerrisConnect from other faculty who teach the course—in addition to how to teach online courses in general from Ferris’ Faculty Bill Knapp, Coordinator of Instructional Center for Teaching and Technology, FCTL, and co-facilitator of Let’s Get It Together Learning (FCTL).
  19. 19. In an outstanding example of how faculty help faculty apply technology to their own pedagogy, Jody Ollenquist, OTC’s workshop coordinator, presents the workshop “Responding to Student Writing Online.”  In L and L on Line, Jody writes, ―We discussed a variety of ways to respond to student work electronically–including scanning hand-graded work into PDF files and using MS Word review functions such as comment, track changes, and highlighter.  ―We also covered using onscreen scoring sheets and rubrics, both within and outside FerrisConnect, and shared rubric samples/templates as well as links to rubric creation websites.‖
  20. 20. The Continuing Story…  The OTC believes that we in the emerging community of online learners at Ferris have a heightened awareness of how our own online teaching contributes to the overall success of Ferris: with our new sense of community, our sense as stakeholders in the university has increased.  But for us in L&L, a lot of the story is about the writing….  Please read on for excerpts from the newsletter.
  21. 21. Douglas Haneline, PhD  As I see it, the Internet provides us teachers with a great opportunity to extend our teaching skills and expand the learning experience of our students. No medium is perfect, or always faultlessly reliable. But we know that anyway—it’s why we take handouts to class along with our memory sticks. By starting with mixed delivery courses and constantly experimenting, I was able to develop an Internet pedagogy. I learned to use multiple and complementary instructional media, and not just for back-up purposes. And finally, learning to use new instructional technology has been fun as well as useful. At whatever stage you are in your teaching career, it’s worthwhile to expand your teaching repertoire.
  22. 22. Katherine Harris, OTC Past Member  A student powers up her computer in anticipation of taking a test for her online class. After the operating system initializes, she logs on to her class site and navigates to the test module. Before she can take the exam, she must “certify” her identity with a thumbprint reader. Then the timed test opens while software prevents her from opening any other browser windows. The pièce de résistance? A 360˚ camera records everything in the room, making sure she is unaided in her efforts for class.  This scene is not from a bad science fiction novel doing its 1984 Big Brother impersonation. A “biometric” system very much like this is being used to ensure student identity with some of Troy University’s online classes, and still other systems are being deployed at similar institutions with a large online presence.
  23. 23. Rebecca Sammel, PhD  “The Trails and Tribulations of Technology Users at Ferris”  I once got a student paper that mentioned repeatedly the “trails and tribulations” of the protagonist. I liked that spin on the threadbare cliché so much that I use it now, often in conjunction with that other cliché, “back in the saddle.” For the struggle with FerrisConnect and MyFSU is a torturous trail fraught with tribulations… (“Forum”)
  24. 24. Jody Ollenquist, OTC Member  How much work does Internet teaching take compared to face-to-face courses? Most Lang. and Lit. faculty who teach online estimate that, compared to an on-ground class of 23, a fully- online class of 15 requires roughly the same time and effort — or somewhat more. However, they also agree that managing the workload of online teaching is less about the general amount of labor we invest than about significant changes in how and when we work.
  25. 25. Elizabeth Stolarek, PhD  The first time I actually considered looking into online teaching was while driving to Flint in a blizzard to give a two-hour essay exam. I realized that all my students were driving in the same blizzard—all of us risking our lives for the opportunity to sit together in a computer lab, completing a task that could easily have been done in the comfort and safety of our own homes.
  26. 26. Linda Sherwood, OTC Member  Without a set day and time to meet, students can easily forget about an online course, but features built into Ferris Connect, and most course management systems, can help professors track down those missing students with just a few clicks of the button.  ….Tracking tools can help instructors determine when students are logging into class, how long they are spending, and where they are going. These tracking tools can do more than help instructors make sure students are attending their virtual classrooms. Analyzing student patterns can help instructors improve delivery and organizational methods.
  27. 27. Jonathan Taylor  It's an exciting time to be teaching online at Ferris because we are answering hard questions and discovering new possibilities while technology continues to advance. With the advent of conferencing software such as WebEx and lecture recording software such as Tegrity, the question ultimately may end up being not "Online or face to face?" but "What blend do you prefer?"
  28. 28. Dan Noren, OTC Member  “Language was invented so that men [people] could conceal their thoughts.” Some might be inclined to say that Michel de Montaigne came to that conclusion after teaching a totally online world language course and was giving his students the benefit of the doubt concerning their real language acquisition.  Teaching a totally online language course seems to be pushing the envelope, like teaching a pilot how to fly in a simulator, but never letting the pilot get into a real airplane.
  29. 29. Roxanne Cullen, PhD  When we have the luxury of being able to decide ourselves to say yes or no to adding a course to our fully online curriculum, I hope we will first consider what the benefit is to student learning, and I phrase that specifically in opposition to saying the benefit to the student. There are some very obvious benefits to student learning that can be inherent to fully online courses. We need to consider what the differences are between the fully online versus the mixed delivery or face-to-face in relation to student learning objectives. Are there outcomes that are better achieved in the online environment? Student convenience is different from student learning, and I suspect we’d all agree that our first concern should be student learning.
  30. 30. Lynn Chrenka, OTC Member  Confession, I’ve heard, is good for the soul. So here goes. . . . When I returned to the classroom full time four years ago, I knew very little about the digital course management tools Ferris made available to faculty. I had heard of WebCT, but I had never used it (or anything like it). Along with my Ph.D., I had earned a “humanities computing certificate” that introduced me to the wonders of the Web-based instruction. I had created a digital portfolio and an “online” assignment for an imaginary course, but that’s it. I also learned that the adage “use it or lose it” applies more to digital tools than almost anything else, so when a Ferris colleague offered to show me the basics of WebCT, I jumped at the opportunity. She assured me that she could show me what I needed to know in a couple of hours, and she added me to one of her current online courses so I could watch it operate. This “low impact” exposure turned out to be just what I needed to take the next step.
  31. 31. Robert von der Osten, PhD  I love hybrids. I don’t mean the cars; I mean werewolves, graphic novels, and mixed media art installations. Frankly, I get a little squeamish at the idea of being squeezed into ticky-tacky little boxes such as face-to-face, online, blended, and enhanced. As a result, I wasn’t especially disturbed when I learned that to graduate with a degree from our program, an English B.A. student who had relocated to San Francisco needed to complete the LITR 416: Literary Theory course I was teaching as a face-to- face class. Since it seemed unreasonable to expect the student to commute (Do they have plane- pools?) and I didn’t really want to teach an independent study online, I sought a way to integrate Amanda, the San Francisco student, into my current class.  ….Instead of five students in a face-to-face class and five online, with the inevitable administrative consequence that everyone would be shoved into the online class, we could have a face-to-face/online hybrid.
  32. 32. Cheers!  Elaine
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