Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How time flies...

Tomorrow, I'm headed to New Horizons (looking forward to seeing some of you there!). It was at last year's New Horizons that I came up with the idea (thanks to Cathy Simpson and Nan Peck's session) of starting an ELI faculty blog. Can't believe a year has passed already...

(Edited to add: After I posted this, I noticed that this was actually my 100th post! How's that for timing?)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Using Blogs to Improve Writing Skills and Reflection on Learning

We talked briefly a while back about how we might use blogs in our teaching at ELI. This article, although it is about K-12 education, makes some good points about why having students write blogs as they learn can improve their writing skills, their confidence, and their understanding and retention of the material. What do you think--are you convinced? What is the downside to creating this type of assignment?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Revising Your ELI Courses

As you all know, we are currently finalizing our preparations for the Student Success Initiative event coming up on April 7. You'll be leaving that event with a plan for a new strategy you'll try in one of your courses either this summer or fall.

As we've been planning this event, I've been thinking a lot about course revisions at ELI. I know that some of you keep your courses the same semester to semester, only doing a revision when your course is peer reviewed or when a new textbook comes out. Others of you tweak your courses regularly. In some cases, you do that working with ELI, and in others, you make changes without telling us about them.

I would like to better understand how you feel about course revisions in your online courses, and I'd appreciate your comments on any/all of the following questions:
  • How does what you do with revising your ELI courses (in terms of frequency, nature/breadth of changes, etc.) compare with what you do in revising your campus courses? What do you think explains the difference, if there is one?
  • What things prevent you from making revisions to your ELI courses? (Technology skills? ELI policies or processes that deter you? Time? Lack of interest?)
  • If you tend to make changes without working with ELI, why? If you tend to make changes and generally do work with ELI on them, why?
  • What could ELI do to help you keep your courses current, high quality, and exciting for your students?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Learning 2.0

The Learning Journal blog has a recent post, "Learning 2.o," that lays out some interesting ideas about the skills needed to learn (whether in school or in your job) in today's technology-rich world. What do you think of the list? Do your classes teach students these skills (or expect them to know them already), or do you think your class is based on a more traditional model of learning? Do you have all these learning skills yourself?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Launching the ELI Student Blog

Next week, we'll be launching the ELI Student Blog, ELIfe. I'll announce it formally when it's officially available, but for now, I'm soliciting your ideas and participation.

What topics do you think we should post about on the blog? It should be things that students will find both interesting and useful.

And, would you be interested in writing for the student blog now and again?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Social Presence and Having a Little Fun with your Students

I love this idea from Melly's DL Admin Blog! What a great way to give your students a quick, fun activity to engage in. And I know they are interested in what you look like--you'd be surprised how many responses I got from ELI students when I sent them an email with my picture attached.

Friday, March 6, 2009

VA Higher Ed Blog

I've added a new blog to the links on the left--the Virginia Higher Education blog. If you're interested in following the bigger picture of higher ed in Virginia (beyond the VCCS stuff we normally hear about), such as budget concerns and pending legislation, you'll find the blog useful.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Developmental Math Materials Available from VCCS

Continuing on my theme from my last post--for those of you who teach developmental math, you get an added bonus from the work of the Developmental Education Task Force: partly as a result of this group's work, the VCCS has purchased a complete Blackboard course in developmental math topics. The materials in the course, which include learning activities and games, quizzes and tests, and lessons, are freely available to be used in any VCCS course. You can use anything from just one activity to the whole course, and you can use the materials in online courses, hybrid courses, or face-to-face courses. The only restriction is that the materials can only be used by VCCS students, so they must be housed in Blackboard, not posted on a public website.

If you want to have access to the materials, contact Michelle Gee and she can add you to the Blackboard site. If you do take a look, I'd be interested to hear what you think of them, and how they are working once you've put them in place! Post a comment here, or post comments in the ELI Faculty Lounge (hey, remember that?) Blackboard site in the forum specifically dedicated to math instruction.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New VCCS Developmental Education Blog

You may be aware that the VCCS currently has a Developmental Education Task Force hard at work on how we could improve our work in this important aspect of community college education. Those of you who teach developmental courses--or those first credit courses students come to after their developmental courses!--might be interested in following the new VCCS Developmental Education Blog. Here, you can follow the work of the Task Force, see its membership, read articles about developmental education and how it can be improved, and share your thoughts or suggest post topics. I hope you'll get involved--we need to have as much of a voice as possible in this important discussion!