Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Technology Wishes

As you all know, Sue Picard joined the ELI Staff Monday as our new Coordinator of ELI Technology Development. Part of her job at ELI is to help us explore new technologies that meet our instructional needs, wishes, and crazy dreams.

What are the things you wish you could do, technology-wise, that Sue could help us research?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Student Webpages in Blackboard

As many of you probably know, in Blackboard, students can create their "homepage," which is a short profile where they can fill in an introduction, personal interests, favorite websites, a photo of themselves, etc. I have my students do this instead of posting an introductory letter; they seem to find it more fun.

Nancy Hoagland just shared with me a quick video tutorial she made for students on how to create their homepage in your Blackboard site. If you ever want to try requiring this in your course, you might find the video useful to share with students. You can find it at: http://www.nvcc.edu/home/nvhoagn/homepage.html.

Thanks, Nancy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random Bullets Friday

  • Thanks to all of you who have already RSVPed for a session for the ELI Fall Faculty Meeting on eNOVA. If you haven't yet RSVPed, please do so! I thought I'd see whether anyone has particular topics you would like to hear about during the meeting. Any burning issues or questions you want me to be sure to discuss?
  • In the past week, I have given presentations about ELI to NOVA's new full-time faculty and to the LRS Working Group (composed of the Deans of Educational Support Services (formerly called LRS Directors), librarians from across the college, and some instructional technology folks), and have distributed tip sheets on how to advise students about ELI at the Manassas Campus convocation. One of the most important parts of my job is reaching out around the College to be sure that as many people as possible understand ELI. What are the things you most often hear your colleagues misunderstanding about ELI that you want me to work on clarifying around the College?
  • I hope many of you were at yesterday's convocation, or at least viewed it from off site, to see two of our own wonderful ELI faculty, Pat Daron and Walerian Majewski, receive well-deserved honors. Congratulations again to you both!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome Back, and Summer Reading

Today all full-time faculty return to campus. I know that most of you taught this summer, but perhaps some of you are just now returning yourselves. I always enjoyed this week as a faculty member; it was always hectic, but also fun to catch up with friends and get really geared up for fall courses.

Let's take a break from ELI for a moment. What was the best book you read this summer?

After some random browsing at Barnes and Noble, I picked up The Best of Friends, a memoir by Sara James (Dateline correspondent) and Ginger Mauney (wildlife filmmaker), and ended up really enjoying it. It was not the best quality writing, and the cheesy title is a bit alarming, but there was actually a lot of really interesting stuff in there about some of the stories James has covered (child slavery in Sudan, the first Gulf War, the Oklahoma city bombing, etc.) and about the emotional and cultural lives of baboons and elephants as studied and filmed by Mauney. It's also a memoir of a lifelong friendship and the women's experiences with marriage and children alongside their careers--don't read it if you don't like that kind of material, or you will be very bored.

I'm taking a Labor Day Weekend vacation, and I'd love some book suggestions from all you smart and interesting colleagues!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Getting "More" Out of Google

Have you ever clicked the "More" link on Google?

Go to http://www.google.com/ and you'll see, on the top left corner, links to all of Google's special search services. (You'll start out on "Web," which is probably what you normally use.) You can click "Images" to do a Google search only for pictures of various kinds. You can click "Maps" for Google Maps, which has some neat features that MapQuest and other sites don't offer. "News" and "Shopping" provide what you might imagine.

But you can really find some neat stuff if you click "More." You can view video clips like on YouTube, join groups of people with interests similar to yours, preview books, use Google Scholar (a search engine that finds scholarly resources, including finding journal articles and then linking to a list of other articles that cite that article, like the old Web of Science did), or use a search engine specifically designed to find blogs--and that only mentions a few of the searches and tools you'll find there. It's worth exploring! Something to check out this weekend while you avoid finishing your syllabi for your campus classes. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Support Blog for Online Students

Joan Trabandt passed this blog along to me:


It's sponsored by Western Governors University and offers advice for online students on things like healthy eating, writing, and communicating with professors and college staff from a distance. It's pitched at a rather advanced level, in my opinion--I think many ELI students would find it inaccessible or uninteresting. (How many students do you have who would keep reading a post that began with: "What better source than a PhD candidate who has ‘been there, done that’ to help you through the fine points of goal setting?") However, some of your more advanced students, especially returning adults, might enjoy it. Consider passing it along!

And more generally, take a look and tell me what you think. Does it give you any ideas for ways we could better support ELI students? Should WE have a blog for our students, for example?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stupidity, Literacy, and Technology

I was just reading the most recent post over at Geeky Mom (http://geekymom.blogspot.com/), and she's pointed out an article you all might find of interest. "Thomas Benton," Chronicle columnist, has written an essay about several recent books describing the illiteracy, ignorance, etc. of the American public, including some discussion of whether modern technologies are part of the problem. As heavy users of these technologies, of course, we all have a stake in this debate! You can read the article at http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2008/08/2008080101c.htm. What do you think?

And as an aside, you might enjoy reading Geeky Mom's blog in general. From what I can tell, her job is at least fairly similar to that of our instructional designers at ELI, so in addition to her discussions of technologies and tech trends you might find interesting, it can give you a window into how the professionals who help you learn to use technology and design your courses effectively feel about working with faculty, and some of the frustrations faculty (usually inadvertently) give them.

Friday, August 8, 2008

NOVA's Student Handbook and Your Dean of Students

As I hope most of you know, part of my role as Director of ELI is that I serve as the Dean of Students for ELI students/classes. On Monday and Tuesday, I attended the annual retreat of the Deans Working Group, the committee of all the College's Deans of Students (plus some related College Staff). An issue came up that I thought was interesting, and I'd love for you to weigh in with your thoughts and experiences.

Some of the Deans of Students were frustrated by the fact that faculty often send students to them expecting the Dean to resolve the situation based on the student handbook (for example, a faculty member might say, "So-and-so plagiarized this paper, so please punish her according to the Student Handbook"). Often, what the faculty member is asking for is not actually in, or at least not supported by, the Student Handbook. Faculty are also often not aware of the grade grievance and other processes outlined in the Handbook.

I suggested that I don't think that most faculty really have much knowledge of the Student Handbook or of what the Dean of Students does, nor what the Dean of Students can/can't do in particular cases. What do you think? As a faculty member, have you ever read the Student Handbook? Do you feel that you have a good understanding of the student disciplinary process and the role of the Dean of Students? What do you need to know more about, and what would be a good way to convey that information to you and your colleagues? This all applies to ELI but also to your campus, for those of you who teach on campus.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing them with the other Deans of Students!