Friday, January 25, 2013

Learner's Bill of Rights

Global learning and teaching has a growing voice in our human culture.  Here is an online document that seeks to clarify a vision for this digital age.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2 million views

The CGCC You Tube site just reached 2 million views of more than 500 academic videos.   Thank you to our fantastic faculty for reaching out to students with a creative use of technology.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival

Over the weekend I attended the first ever Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival.  What a treat to have such an incredible event in our little town of Hood River!  The festival accepted the CGCC production of "Immanuel Kant", so I also got to attend as a filmmaker.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting Ready for QM conference

We will be heading south next week to present the Columbia Gorge Community College Quality Matters Manual as a poster session.    It is the first time that the college will be represented at the annual conference.  Looking forward to it!

Monday, August 13, 2012


At Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC), the number of courses offered online and partially online (hybrid) increases every year.  At last count, they were  about 27% of credit classes.  This is fairly typical nationwide in higher education.  What may surprise you is that in a recent poll, 91% of students said that they are local residents and 62% indicated that they had not taken an online class at another college or university.  A likely factor for not "shopping around" is that financial aid is not easily shared between institutions.  And of course, students have challenging time constraints balancing work, family, sports, and study.  But I also wonder how widespread the skill set needed to surf educational opportunities state-wide, much less nation-wide, is among community college students.

I am taking a MOOC MOOC this week, i.e., a massively open online course (MOOC) about massively open online courses.  MOOCs have been in the news lately and one colleague even looked concerned when we discussed them the other day.  The reason I am taking the course is that I am interested in what it takes to teach a student how to be a world-class online student.  At CGCC, we have an online student orientation, a helpdesk, and instructor introductions to help students succeed.   Enrolling in a MOOC involves degree of sophistication in online learning that transcends your local institution, and it also requires a larger skill set.  So what can we learn from MOOCs to help our students navigate the wider world of learning?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Final Review Season? Try Jeopardy!

Searching for a way to do final review in a way that wouldn't put everyone right to sleep, I came across this excellent site: Jeopardy Labs. It is a free and easy classroom jeopardy template (I write jeopardy in lower-case letters because it is not affiliated with the TV show), where you simply input the category headings, questions, and answers. When it comes time to play the game, simply project your personalized game onto the classroom screen. Click on the box to view the clue, and after the student answers, click on the "Correct Answer" button to show the answer. It even has a scorecard feature.

Important note: You must save or bookmark the url for your template after you create and save it! The site kindly does not force you to create an account, but that means you have to keep track of your own url.

Of course, an in-class jeopardy game sounds cute here, but what do the students think? As any teacher knows, students are amazingly immune to (what we think are) interesting and engaging activities. Well, my own finicky consumers seemed to love it. Since I made an effort to stop and have a brief discussion about each question, the game prompted a lively review of the concepts we learned over the term. A healthy dose of competition is a good way to get a person involved :) You can check out my version of the game, for a WR 122 class, here.

You'll also have to think up some basic rules for the game-- the site doesn't provide those for you. Mine worked pretty well, so I'll enclose them here.

Jeopardy Rules:

1. Divide the class into three teams. From each team, someone will stand up. This is the designated question answerer (QA). The first team’s QA will select a question (“Fallacies for 300”).

2. The QA will have 30 seconds to answer. If she gets it right, that team gets the points, and it’s Team 2’s turn to pick.

3. If QA does not get the answer right, that team loses the points, and the second team will have the chance to answer. If team 2 does not get the answer right, they too will lose their points, but they will not lose their next turn.

4. Each team gets a turn in order; no losing turns. If a student does not attempt a question, then she remains standing for the next turn. Anyone who attempts a question (successfully or not) must sit down until it becomes their turn again.

5. NO talking while QA’s are contemplating their questions. Only one QA at a time may answer.

6. This is Jeopardy-- you are being presented with an answer, and you must supply the question. All “answers” will be in the form of a question; if not, you lose your points and the chance goes to the next QA. Eg,

A: Thing you type on to send emails and write essays.
Q: What is a computer?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


At the Instructional Technology Council's eLearning conference this year, Barry Dahl gave a talk about Zoho, a suite of free online tools.  You can get an account at  There are a lot of nice features including a document writer, wiki, spreadsheet, chat etc..  The document application will save in a wide variety of formats and automatically shares on the web, which can be helpful for online instructors who could update from Zoho and link to the document in Moodle.