Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Moving into the 3D Internet

Here's an interesting piece from the E-Learning Queen about the next stage of web browsing--a 3D interface. Has anyone used the Cooliris product she's discussing?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are you using SafeAssign to detect plagiarism?

I was just reading an entry on Professing Mama about plagiarism, and I'm wondering: are you using SafeAssign (the Blackboard utility for plagiarism detection) in your ELI courses? How is it going? Do students find it easy to use? Have you gotten any of the kinds of protests from students that we heard with the use of TurnItIn? Do you use it as part of your grading process, or is it learning tool for students before they submit a paper?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Reading about Community Colleges

This summer, Beth Harper and I are co-teaching a graduate course on community colleges for UVa. We're on the hunt for additional materials we might use in the course. Does anyone have a favorite book or article, or film, about community colleges that you'd recommend?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Instant Messaging and Teaching Online, & ELI Chat

Do you use instant messaging of any kind with your students, whether during live online lecture sessions or for office hours or tutoring help? What platform do you use? (I know at least some of you have been experimenting with Google chat, now available through the new student email accounts.) If you're interested in thinking about this, or refining how you use instant messaging with your students, here's a short article with a few strategies.

And as an aside, I want to make sure (since I just talked to an ELI faculty member who didn't know this) that you are all aware that ELI offers students a chat service during regular business hours (including our Saturday hours). Chat duty rotates among the Course Specialists, counselors, registration staff, Jana, and Barbara. Using chat, we can help students quickly with simple questions (where to find certain information on the website, when classes start, how to pay for classes, etc.) or set up a time to talk to them in more depth when they have more complicated questions. Students can access chat from the ELI website by clicking the chat button on the bottom left. If you are curious about what it's like, log on yourself and chat for a moment with a staff member!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Did you notice the EMPL IDs in Blackboard?

Here's some Friday good news: In case you haven't noticed yet, student EMPL IDs now appear in the Blackboard Grade Center. (When you click on a student's user details, you'll see it.) This should make your lives easier when you are reporting W's or grade changes to the Course Specialists--you'll no longer have to look at another roster or log into PeopleSoft to get the EMPL ID. You can thank your fellow ELI faculty member Diane Thompson for asking me to raise this request at the state level. I did so, we discussed it at a VCCS committee meeting, approved it, and it was implemented the next day! It's nice when things work out so smoothly. Now, if we can only get that BB/SIS integration thing taken care of...

Monday, February 9, 2009

More community colleges in the news

Beth Harper shared with me this LA Times article about the challenges facing community colleges in California as a result of the economic downturn. Although there are some differences between Virginia and California in higher ed system structure, I see a lot more commonalities here than I do differences.

Enrollments are very strong this semester, and I suspect we can only expect even more of a surge this summer and fall as students who planned to go elsewhere suddenly need to save money by staying home and coming to NOVA. We are in for some challenging times ahead as we try to help all these students achieve their academic goals.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

CUNY makes plans to launch an innovative new community college

Take a look at this short Chronicle piece on CUNY's plans for a new kind of community college they believe will better support student success. What do you think? What could NOVA learn from these ideas?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thank you, WaPo!

Larry Linville sent me a link to this Washington Post article from Sunday's paper. It's nice to see media coverage of online learning that addresses realistically the challenges of online learning. (In fact, I'd have liked to see the author describe the ways that online learning is HARDER than classroom learning--but of course, we also don't want to scare people off!) It was also great to see that the author pointed out that students may get more interaction with their professor and fellow students than in a face-to-face classes, since many people assume the opposite.