Tag Archive for 9x9x25

TYFY Keynote Dr. Kay McClenney

Hi everyone,

I hope your semester is off to a great start. Mine has been rocky, to say the least, but I had a bright moment last week when I went to Denver, CO to the 2016 TYFY Conference: Reaching New Heights: Collaboration, Engagement, Retention.

Dr. Kay McClenney spoke to us at lunch on the first day. She made the case for Pathways explaining the need for organizational change. She described how Behavioral Economics and Decision Theory predicts poor performance when humans are given too many choices. Having too many choices creates a climate of indecision, procrastination, paralysis, and bad choices. I know you have been hearing this rhetoric at Yavapai College recently, and Dr. McClenney was actually sharing the science behind the Pathways movement.
Other scientific research that Dr.McClenney shared is from Cognitive Science. Students benefit when they have clear goals and a concrete sense of how to get there. She identified that scaling up is hard to do. Starting something new is easier than stopping what we've been doing in the past. Dr. McClenney emphasized that faculty engagement is NOT OPTIONAL. Faculty-driven cafeteria style programs must give way to student need. She also emphasized that the administration needs to address the predictable and understandable concerns of the faculty.

Dr. McClenney shared how students long for the message that they belong at our college. They need to connect with staff, faculty, and other students. How often do you have a student ask if s/he can really do the work for your class, for example? I have students every semester practically begging in one way or another to reinforce their fears that they don't belong long enough to drop out, or else begging that I challenge them to prove their ability to succeed. That is the life of an instructor who primarily teaches first semester students. Many if not most of them are insecure when they first arrive.

What is the most important service in Student Development? 93% of students rank their academic advisor as the most important person at the college. Advisors help them set goals, keep them coming back to see progress on their DegreeWorks path. Mandatory advising would be excellent, and yet 45% of students claim they had not seen an advisor prior to the end of first three weeks of class. Dr. McClenney recommended group advising sessions. These build a cohort of students She stated that 70-75% of advising could be done in a group setting.

Another area of interest to Dr. McClenney is Integrated Inescapable Support otherwise know of as Supplemental Instruction (SI). She says that students don't to optional. She highlighted the fact that males of color are too proud to receive tutoring. In their culture, many feel like they are inadequate if they ask for help. She said that instructors can make small group support teams mandatory. Discipline-specific study groups can be part of a grade and written into the syllabus.

In addition, Dr. McClenny spoke in favor of gatekeeper Math and English classes being paired with FYE classes. She said that students enrolled  in FYE classes are significantly more likely to excel in gatekeeper math classes and English classes. Statistics show that more than 60% of community colleges offer FYE programs. Less than 30% of the students participate.

Start with the end in mind!
1. Clarify paths to students' end goals.
2. Help students choose and enter a pathway. To do so we need to accelerate remediation and get students into credit classes during the first year. 80% want to get a degree. 20% do.
3. Help stay on path with advising, Early Alert, and other student support tools.
4. Ensure students are learning at the program-level. (a) learning outcomes, (b) integrated digital and group projects, (c) quality technological tools and infrastructure, (d) strategically targeted professional development.

“it isn’t a course, just a camp…” And that is Brilliant.

potcampbadge2The Program for Online Teaching, or POT as it is affectionately known, has been around since 2005. I think I saw it around 2007 or 2008. Having read some of the writing of Lisa Lane and seeing that it was a class for teachers, run by teachers, with a goal of learning more about how to choreograph learning opportunities, I was hooked.

POT was a gateway drug for me. Shortly after experiences in POT I dabbled with some #ds106. I never tried to mainline a MOOC, but I signed up for a few. Thankfully, I stayed away from Coursera, EdX, and the Kahn Academy. I just wanted friends to talk to and I found them in the Program.

Sometimes it is hard to see the road with the smoky haze created by modern “Learning Management Systems.”  It can feel like a small smoky car while the rest of the glorious internet rolls on by. But from inside the LMS, it is hard to even know if you are on the internet….

Alright, enough LMS bashing. Enough of the drug metaphor. There is more to learning that one book, one lecture, one discussion at a coffee shop or one tool. Right?

What I most admire about Lisa Lane is her commitment to trying to get it right. Or at least closer to right, and not being afraid of trying. She is fearless. She may not agree, but her fearless attitude envelopes the course and the participates feel safer with such an intrepid leader. Or organizer. Or whatever she might call her role in this group of people.

The community has travelled through the mediums of Facebook, G+, WordPress, Google Sites, and now Canvas. It has had conversations in Twitter, Hangouts, Diggo, and about every other tool that might improve experiences for learners. It is a voyage across the internet, not a conversation in a grain silo. And through all of the places and conversations, pedagogy and teaching are always held high and used to guide the travelers.

I learned a lot and I have made valuable connections and friendships through this course. You can too.

The Program is open to all and there is no charge.

You are invited. We start Monday October 3rd. Go here: https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/APJCWL

You might meet someone who can help you. And if you do not want to have to take a class or go to a camp, you can always joing the Facebook page. It is active and you can ask questions that may be answered by the many awesome faculty there. Visit the POT page.

9X9X25 #2 – Pathways and Abilities


As a former 2nd grade teacher, I am accustomed to meeting the needs of a variety of academic levels in my classroom.  While difficult and time consuming, differentiating instruction is important.  In second grade, however, it’s to be expected that you will be teaching students of various abilities, some with disabilities, others learning English, a few with emotional disabilities, etc.  While the difficulties in teaching heterogeneous classes are many, the benefits, in my opinion, outweigh the challenges.  Kids learn to work with one another, see each other struggle, develop empathy, and learn from teaching peers.  Everyone must complete second grade, whether it be at a public, charter, private or home school.  We teach all children, regardless of ability, foundational skills like reading, basic math, and working with others.

The college classroom is a little different in that we don’t expect to have to differentiate as much in non-remedial college level courses.  Students are supposed to have met prerequisites for the course, whether that be a placement test, completion of a prior course, or a high school diploma.  However, that high school diplomat could have been earned twenty years ago, that placement test could be misleading or inaccurate, or the standards in that prior class could have been lower than we expect.  So, college courses are by no means entirely homogeneous, but they do have an expected level of prior knowledge and rigor.  We can modify courses or assignments to meet the needs of students with a documented disability, but in the end the students must meet the learning outcomes to pass the course.

What happens, however, when you get a student in your program, rather than class, that is not well suited for the demands of that degree?  Say that person is able to pass many or even most of the courses, but there are red flags with regard to aptitude and/or physical/mental abilities required.  If we give someone a degree, we are essentially vouching for them… How far along into a program do we let students get before talking to them about aptitude and ability?  Might faculty advising help with this?  Sometimes it’s hard to get to know a student well enough to know when this may be an issue, especially if we only have them for one or two classes.  Some of YC’s programs, like nursing, have entrance exams, but in many of our programs, no such exam or gateway course is required.  Students aren’t even required to go to advising or career counseling. It’s even harder in entirely online programs to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses much less advise them.

In addition to academic support, a big part of helping our students to be successful at the college level is helping them make informed decisions about goals, which means being very clear about what it will take for them to reach those goals.  Personal relationships are imperative in this process, whether that be academic or career advisors or faculty.  It’s more important now than ever for students to choose a pathway sooner rather than later.  Not only do we not want students wasting time taking classes they may not need, but we also don’t want students pursuing careers that aren’t a good fit for their abilities and expectations.


Using Click Analytics To Facilitate Student Success

There are a number of things I’m doing differently for the course I’m teaching this year, from a complete curriculum overhaul, to content delivery and even simplifying “overhead in the classroom” to help students focus on developing skill for the workforce. The course I teach is purely an online class, so it would only make…Read more Using Click Analytics To Facilitate Student Success

Quality does matter…

Well, Karly (http://karlyway.blogspot.com/), I can’t swear that QM glows in the dark, but I believe it can shed some light for our students if given half a chance.

For those of you who might not know, Quality Matters (QM) is an initiative that has a small but mighty group of supporters and users at YC.  Your mission, and we hope you accept it (imagine the Mission Impossible theme playing in the background…https://youtu.be/iq-YeD4L-bg ), is to take a new look at your courses with an eye towards what your students experience.  This look is assisted by a defined set of guidelines that can be applied to each of our online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes.

By participating in this initiative, you will not only create a learning environment where your students move confidently through the content you create, you are also setting them up for success. That success results in student retention and a greater possibility for them registering for another class.  Hmmm… sounds like another initiative at YC…

I thought instead of me waxing poetic about QM, I thought I would let QM answer a few questions you might have:

What is Quality Matters?

Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning.  QM subscribers include community and technical colleges, colleges and universities, K-12 schools and systems, and other academic institutions. Learn More.

Which institutions are best suited for adopting Quality Matters?

Community colleges, technical colleges, liberal-arts colleges, universities, non-traditional online institutions, boards of higher education as well as K-12 school districts, K-12 Statewide Consortiums across the country are subscribing to the Quality Matters Program to supplement their quality assurance efforts and improve the quality and effectiveness of their distance learning programs. Learn more.

How will my institution benefit from implementing Quality Matters?
Quality Matters processes benefit both individual faculty and their institutions in the following ways:

  • Improved student learning outcomes and retention
  • Adoption of a systematic and comprehensive continuous quality assurance process that includes faculty training, course development, and course revisions that are aligned with accreditation standards
  • Incorporation of new technologies and research findings
  • Opportunity to engage in benchmarking activities with peer institutions
  • Ongoing faculty professional development
  • Increased flexibility, creativity, and divergent thinking
  • Increased efficiency in using institutional resources

The QM Mission

To promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning through:

  • Development of research-supported, best practice-based quality standards and appropriate evaluation tools and procedures.
  • Recognition as experts in online education quality assurance and evaluation.
  • Fostering institutional acceptance and integration of QM standards and processes into organizational improvement efforts focused on improving the quality of online education.
  • Provision of faculty development training in the use of QM Rubric(s) and other quality practices to improve the quality of online/blended courses.
  • Provision of quality assurance through the recognition of quality in online education.


Come be part of the QM Taskforce!  We need you!