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Teaching Excellence Center

Circle Summaries November 1999

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Monday 4:00 Session

Monday, Nov. 15, 1999 at 4 pm in HPE, Room 207

ATTENDANCE: Linda White, Sam Copeland, Sharon Templeman, Donna Hunt, and DawnElla Rust

The focus of today's discussion was facilitating group discussion. Points discussed included:

We will not meet in December.

Tuesday 9:00 Session

Notes for Teaching Circle

Nov. 8, Javajacks

M.E.Pierce, Tom Segady, and Rachel Galan

Topic: Diversity in Research Projects

Rachel Galan presented some good ideas for using the East Texas Research Center for students' research projects. She is beginning to organize all the personal manuscript collections by academic departments so that we can quickly see what ETRC has to offer our field. To introduce faculty to these collections, she has already hosted an Archive Week and sent out mass emails tailored for each department. She is now targeting some of the faculty who might not ordinarily think about using the ETRC for research projects, such as military science, geography, and nursing. For example, she can offer the school of nursing information about nurses who served during WWII. Some of the items available are letters, photos, oral histories, scrapbooks, and maps.

The ETRC website which can be found on the library's homepage can offer further ideas for how our students and ourselves might use ETRC.

Our conversation about contemporary research concerning the local area prompted Tom Segady to pose some thought-provoking questions about the changing face of religion. He noted how the diversity of religion is growing in this area and wondered how that might effect the sociology of Nacogdoches in the future. We enjoyed a lively discussion about this topic. We also acknowledged that the development of such issues in our community could give us new ideas for the research projects we assign in class.

We agreed that when considering research projects we should probably give students some choice of both historical topics and contemporary issues.

As this was our last TC meeting for the semester, we expressed the desire to reconvene next semester.

Tuesday 3:15 Session

The Tuesday afternoon Teaching Circle met on Tuesday, November 16, from 3:15-4:20 p.m. in Room 162 of the McGee Business Building. The topic for the circle was Grades and Teaching.

In discussing Grades and Teaching we considered several aspects of the grading process. One theme discussed was the idea of editing papers and assigning a grade. Papers were then returned to students who had the option of revising the paper for a better grade. This strategy seemed to work well in classes of manageable size. Ideas relating to grades and course construction were also discussed.

One suggestion was that as students will usually want to know their semester grade points shortly after Thanksgiving, the teacher might want to have some plan in mind for conveying this information. One idea was to use either an Excel Spreadsheet or a combination of Excel Spreadsheet and Word Document to generate an individual sheet that would list each student's current points. These individual totals would be distributed to students some time during dead week. They would then have the opportunity to see if their records agreed with the points determined by the teacher. Any differences could then be resolved before the final exam.

Another suggestion related to make-up exams or work for students who may have missed a test or assignment. One member indicated that she scheduled make-up for tests on a one-hour period on the Friday of final exams week. Students could only make up one test and could only do it at that time. Another idea was to double the score earned on the final exam to replace a missing test.

Also mentioned was the fact that your testing and grading policies should be outlined in your course syllabus. Several circle members indicated that they found themselves revising the course syllabus significantly after each semester to make appropriate adjustments in the design of the course.

The circle agreed to spend time on grading, etc., and decided not to meet in December. All agreed that the circle had been of assistance during the semester.

Wednesday 3:00 Session

Karen Wielhorski came to our meeting to talk about the library's CLUE program. We discussed various ways of integrating infomation literacy in classes at various levels. We also discussed how to get students to do research, that is to be more independent learners, other than having them produce a reseach paper, which is not a viable option in everyclass. Some of the things that we talked about included having students gather information from the internet, or read reviews of books being read and discussed in class so that students can compare different scholarly points of view, or simply to browse articles in professional journals and have students write short abstracts or summaries of articles that are relavent to the course topic. With respect to internet assignments, we mentioned that it is often best if the instructor points the students to specific sites.

Thursday 3:15 Session (no summary)

Friday 12:00 Session

My original teaching circle group were too busy to meet this month, but I created a distance education teaching circle and had a great response. Below is a summary of our discussion.

Distance Education Teaching Circle -

Thank you all for coming last Friday to the newly organized teaching circle. The following summary hits some of the highlights during the time we talked:

1. Issues in distance education that we want to talk about are teaching workloads; ownership and royalties; Powerpoint presentations; authoring tools; criteria to be a successful online student; D.E. learning policies and security; why teach web courses; instructor response time to online students; proctored exams; ADA compliance; and, online discussion starters.

2. Norm Markworth, who is currently teaching a successful distance education course,answered many developmental questions posed by other faculty.

3. Proctored exams seem straight forward but recently a couple taking a web based course were trying to get around the set up that the teacher had in place. Discussion about WebCt's ability to rotate several tests after a student invokes the enter key could help with the problem except that WebCt is not used on campus any longer.

4. For many faculty, coursework for web based classes incorporates Powerpoint and video stream.

5. Chat rooms were discussed when someone wanted to know how to schedule it and how many can a teacher handle using it. A suggestion was telling the students when the teacher will be there at a specific time and how long it will last. Sometimes the teacher initiates the discussion and sometimes the students take over with the teacher moderating. A Bulletin Board arrangement is not as dynamic .

6. Teaching workload - be sure your department head understands that a distance education class counts for as much workload credit as a traditional class. Preparation time is often more intense for a distance education class. If you teach f2f one class a day on the subject, often with another method of delivery (video, internet) the numbers of classes will increase as well as the number of students. Often internet courses will take longer to develop and faculty feel that they should get compensation for the development stages.

7. What if students from Saudi Arabia enroll in an internet course? Do they have to pay out of state fees or are they exempt? Do they pay other fees and enroll in SFA? Can they also enroll in another university at the same time?

8. How do we make our web pages ADA compliant. Anyone can check their pages using the program on the web called Bobby { HYPERLINK } It analyzes web pages for accessibility to people with disabilities. But, it was also mentioned that if you keep your pages simple, that is the best way to be compliant.

9. Many in the group wanted workshops on Java Script. OIT and the Library will be contacted to get these workshops started.

I will contact everyone for the next meeting in December


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