Tag Archive for 9x9x25

Giving Thanks



Thank you for the invitation to participate in the Challenge – I’ve always enjoyed reading the posts of the instructors who have done this over the years!  The opportunity to reflect on what we do, share experiences, and see what others do is a true gift.  Many times we are so focused on our own jobs that we don’t get that opportunity to look up and see the amazing stuff being done by our colleagues.  That self-reflection time is also very important to me – it gives me new ideas or gets me thinking in new ways.  

I hope I’ve been able to add a little different perspective to the Challenge, coming from the advising standpoint and overhearing the conversations in my little corner of the Learning Center.  My favorite posts are when folks share other resources, or how they have used certain techniques or tools…I also enjoy seeing all the different disciplines represented.  Yes, it is also reaffirming to see the level of professionalism and commitment to the craft of education…an inspiration!

I’ll take the rest of this last post to tell you a little about our SSS Canvas site, because I just learned from one of my advising colleagues that she had no idea that we had ever had a Blackboard, much less a Canvas site…so I figured maybe others don’t know either.  The SSS TRIO program is a federal program that offers extra services to 300 YC students that meet eligibility requirements.  Our goals are retention, graduation and transfer, but more importantly: student success.  Nationally, we test drive new approaches, strategies and techniques to help students.  So, when we dove into Blackboard many years ago, that was a ‘new thing.’  We offered students a 24/7 place to find some answers to questions they had, resources they needed, or online workshops on a variety of topics from “how to write a scholarship letter” to “how to study for a test.”

With the Canvas training, we were advised to streamline and rethink our purpose and methods.  We did more streamlining and have used the Canvas experiment to test-drive where are students want us to place our time and effort.  Here’s a few things I’ve learned that might be relevant to others: Most students seem to like a reminder of deadlines and where to locate assignments/resources/etc.  Some students will forget no matter what you do, don’t take it personally.  Students do juggle a lot of classes and responsibilities, and sometimes they forget that we do also – I try to remember that when I get a snarky or demanding e-mail.  Overall, I like the cleaner look of the Canvas site – it may be fewer resources there on our site, but those that are there are easier to find for the students.

Lastly, here are a few odd tidbits I’ve learned: A lot of students overcome amazing odds just to be here, to try and improve their employment outlook or their understanding of their world (hopefully both happen!)  Some students are stuck in victim-mode; sometimes I can work with them on this, and sometimes I can’t.  It takes a lot of courage for students to ask a question, so even if they have asked the same question several times, I try really hard to answer it like it is the first time.  So, thank you Todd, for always trying to answer my questions like it’s the first time you’ve heard it and for encouraging such great exchanges!  :)

My 2015 9x9x25 Reflection

 How Each Blog Idea Became a Blog
&
One Thing I Learned From Each Blog

The third year of this challenge is over, and I must admit that it was a challenge, not the writing part but thinking about what to write. So for this year’s reflection, in one sentence, I will explain how each blog’s idea became a blog, and in one sentence, I will explain one thing I learned from writing each blog.


 The Only Online Learning Tool Needed:
Writing, Writing and Writing

The idea for this blog was easy because I had this idea since the 9x9x25 challenge last year.

The one thing I learned from writing this blog is that since writing is the main way of online communication, as teachers, we should keep ‘writing, writing and writing’ as the main learning tool in our online courses.


 What can Faculty and Colleges do
About the Outrageous Costs of Textbooks

The idea for this blog came up during a phone call I had with another faculty from another college.

The one thing I learned from writing this blog is that there are colleges out there making the costs of textbooks cheaper for students and that there are many great non-textbook alternatives.


 No, Multitasking Does NOT Take Away
From Having a Productive Conference Call Meeting

The idea for this blog came up when I was sitting at home in a conference call meeting.

The one thing I learned from writing this blog is that from my research I’m not alone in believing one can multitask during a conference call meeting and still have a productive conference call meeting.


 The Professional way for a Student to Email Their Teacher

The idea for this blog has always been something I wanted to put in my courses’ syllabi.

The one thing I learned from the replies I received to my blog is that there are other professionals who agree that students should learn how to write a professional email, and, now, I have the link to put in my courses’ syllabi so my students will know how to email me.


 Faculty Interview:
Flipped Classroom Model vs. Traditional Classroom Model

This idea for this blog came up after I had a few conversations about the flipped classroom model with a few colleagues.

The one thing I learned from this blog’s survey, which is the blog itself, is that for at least one faculty the flipped classroom is more beneficial for the teacher and the student than the traditional classroom model.


 My 3 Mistakes I had to Fix
When I Made an Onsite Course an Online Course

This idea for this blog has always been a thought because learning from mistakes in general at a teacher has been a 15 year plus process.

The one thing I learned from writing this blog is that I will probably have three more mistakes to write about in another 15 years :-)


 I just wanted to thank you for not giving up on me.
(3 Examples of why I do not Give up on my Students)

This idea for this blog always comes up around this time of the semester because the last 9x9x25 blog is close to the semester’s end when I start getting emails from students asking for help.

The one thing I learned writing this blog is that my empathy for my students extends from my personal experiences with the emphatic college teachers I’ve had in the past, and this empathy for my students has not wavered because I have a daughter and wife in college, which allows me to see and feel the students’ perspective.

Click here for all my posts on the webletter!

Writing About Writing

        There is a lecture I give to my GED students as I prepare them for the essays they must write as a part of the exam. It begins, "There are three ways to write about someone else's writing." I go on to explain the concepts of paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting. Today I've been asked to write about my own writing experience in the last 9 weeks.
        A summary, I explain to my classes, is an explanation of just the author's main ideas in your own words. It condenses a piece of text and gets straight to the point. I would sum up my writing in the last few weeks as a strong start with poor follow-through (how typical of me and my average student!) and more negative than I wanted it to be. When they asked me if I wanted to do the 9x9x25 challenge, I honestly thought it would be simple, not really a challenge at all. After all, I love to write, I already blog and I'm a storyteller by nature. It hasn't been the experience I expected, however. I have fallen short of my 9 posts because I got stuck good and deep in the seventh week. Somewhere 7 or 8 paragraphs into a blog post/rant, I came to the realization that my writing has been overwhelmingly whiny, a laundry list of complaints about the system- from testing, to former teachers, to other professors, to my students- and I didn't know how to dig myself out of that hole. Because that really isn't how I feel. I love teaching. It's not infrequent for me to leave class singing. My students energize me and infuse me and I invariably leave them in a better mood than I walked in with. So why the preachy passages each week?
        A quote, I go on to tell my students, is the author's ideas in the author's own words. However, I always warn, quotes should be used sparingly and only when the author's words are so beautiful, powerful, or vivid that you could not say it any better yourself. The latest blog began by explaining my long history of getting emotional about education like this, "When it comes to learning, I've always had what could best be described as an overdeveloped sense of self-righteous indignation." It went on to describe in detail incidents where I have lost my cool at various teachers over the years as a result of letting that indignation win out over my common sense and finally settled into my latest diatribe against a certain large publishing group's online learning program that my students were struggling to use. 
         I define a paraphrase as all the author's ideas in your own words, clarifying that since this method gives you roughly the same amount of text as the original, it's best suited to writing about short pieces of writing or for supporting details you'd like to use to back up your points. According to that probably never-to-be published post of mine, the mandatory pretests meant to assess students current levels were poorly designed; the content was organized and presented in such a way that is would only overwhelm and bore my students; and the body of material covered was unlike that which is tested on the actual GED. Because of all this, I went on to say, this program should not be mandated for use in our adult education program (which it is.)

       Can you see why I got stuck? I just had nowhere to go from there. For two weeks, long after the post was due, I kept coming back to that lengthy diatribe and rereading and editing what I had already written but couldn't seem to finish it on a positive note. Personally, I despise a whiner who complains and complains but has no better solution. Ask my students; I scold them for it. There I was, moaning about a problem, with no solution at all. Finally, I realized I needed to do something more productive about my problem than a blog rant.
        So, don't expect anymore posts from me for a while. If you need me, I'll be in my office, busily typing away. I'm working on a new project- YC GED classes in Canvas with my own assessments and my own content- an online class that actually aligns with the GED. And you can quote me on that!


Over and Out

Last fall, Todd came to my office to tell me about a project that he called the 9x9x25. Would I be interested? At the time I was neck deep in problems with Blackboard and a new instructor. I thought that it would be too much for me at that time. Stop by next time and I will do it, I said.

This fall, Todd stopped by my office to tell me about this project he had called 9x9x25. I told him yes. I think his jaw hit the floor when I told him. After I said I would do it, I felt unsure. So as any good nurse will tell you, if you do not know… research it.

I viewed the previous Tels webletter looking at the blogs that were posted. My first thought was how can I ever be as good as any of those other writers? I am simply a nurse who is an educator. I found words and phrases that I had to look up with my internet enabled device. I had dictionary.com as a favorite. As I perused the entries I discovered it was not the big words that kept my attention, it was the ideas behind it. I loved looking at what worked or didn’t through the eyes of other instructors.

I never have been good at reflecting. This 9x9x25 encouraged me to look critically and reflect on myself and my teaching practices. There were things that I discovered along the way that I feel I did well and practices that could use some (a lot of) improvement.  I have also discovered when reading other posts that students are the same whether they are in Spanish, Math, English or Nursing. My breed of students are like all of the others and we all have basically the same problems. What a relief! I thought I was unique!

Now to move forward, there are many ideas rolling around in my cranium. Teach students how to use the textbook, think critically, improve test scores and most importantly, be caring for their patients and colleagues. I have a lot to do and not much time before the next semester starts. My new goal is to make students life long learners and not review and flush the information. Prospect-Mortgage