Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I'd like to call your attention to an event to be held this spring, organized by our own Laura Franklin and funded through a VCCS grant. It's a presentation by Jim Kain, an expert on universal design for instruction, titled, “Teaching Diverse Learners: Principles of Universal Design for Instruction.” In case you're not familiar with the concept, universal design is an approach to designing instruction so that it is flexible enough to meet the needs of students with many different learning styles. The more we can design our courses this way, the more easily our students will be able to succeed!
The event will be held on Friday, February 13. Save the date now and look for further information when we return to work for the spring semester.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I’ve just returned from the SACS annual conference, where many of the sessions were presentations of the results from other colleges’ QEP efforts. The most interesting one I saw was from a North Carolina community college that had chosen to focus on student writing skills for their QEP. They worked to improve student writing skills by creating a Writing Center, using paired courses (like the learning communities we have in place at NOVA for our Achieving the Dream project), and, most interestingly, implementing a digital storytelling component in their English composition courses.
In the selected courses, students were required to complete a final project where they told a personal, cultural, historical, or social narrative in a 3-4 minute digital story (a video with photos, music, and script read by the student). The presenters provided strong preliminary evidence of how much the project increases student engagement, teaches strong writing skills (such as brevity, audience, and the drafting and revision process), improves students’ understanding of citing sources, increases technology skills and critical thinking abilities, and helps students gain self-confidence. It was a pretty impressive project! You might want to read more about their work and how they guide students through the process (maybe you’d even like to get your students working on projects like this!). It’s inspiring, and surely the type of engaging and challenging project we want our students to do.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I just saw an interesting piece in Inside Higher Ed about a recent report by the College Board about how we could improve education by 2025 to keep the U.S. competitive. One of the key points was a goal for 55% of Americans aged 25-34 to hold at least an Associate's Degree by 2025. Reaching that goal would require a 1% increase every year--which means we at the community college have got our work cut out for us! It's one thing to bring students in, but it requires different sorts of work, attention, and student services to get that many more students each year to graduate with a credential.
And although the piece does not mention distance learning or other technology-based solutions, they will surely have to play a major role if we're going to meet this goal. Many of these students will be working and will need flexibility while they complete their courses. And, we simply don't have the classroom space to hold enough face-to-face classes for that many more students to complete degrees over the coming 17 years.
As always, it is an exciting and challenging time to be in higher education!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
If you're interested, you need to begin the registration process soon so that you can take advantage of free NOVA tuition. Contact Bob Loser (firstname.lastname@example.org), who will be one of the instructors for the course, for more information.