P.A.C.E. Newsletter for February 2019

From the P.A.C.E. Director, Kellie Toon

Kellie Toon

Greetings Pellissippi Colleagues,

The year got off to an exciting start on January 11th as PACE and Mobile Fellows brought to Pellissippi the Teaching and Learning Conference with Alan November. It was a thought-provoking day filled new insights and approaches to teaching and learning in the online environment. We would be happy to share the recording of the keynote address by Mr. Alan November if you were unable to attend, or if you just want to hear him again. Just send an email to pace@pstcc.edu

This semester the PACE is slowing as we turn our attention to you. During February, the PACE staff, members of the Faculty Advisory Board, and Faculty Fellows will spend time at each campus visiting with you to learn what PACE can do to meet the needs of your unique campus. Even more importantly, we want to learn from you what PACE can do to meet your needs. If faculty development is considered from the perspective of the whole person, what do we do to focus on our personal, academic, and community enrichment? We want to hear what keeps you connected and inspired, and what PACE can do to help you maintain the passion that brought us all here in the first place.

As we make our way to your campus to visit with you, we may ask you the question, “Why do you teach?”  We all know there are moments every semester when we ask ourselves this very question, so I challenge you to reflect on those classroom moments that keep you coming back. Sharing our personal stories can be an inspiring way to not only connect with our students, but with one another as well.

Check out the PACE web site for more information on our campus visits and other upcoming events.

P.A.C.E. Events Calendar

Look for us at your campus! We want to hear from you about what sort of personal, academic and community development you would like to see PACE bring to Pellissippi State.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 12th at Division Street campus
  • Thursday, Feb. 14th at Strawberry Plains campus
  • Tuesday, Feb. 19th at Blount campus
  • TBD at Magnolia Ave. campus

Staff Profile: Cindy ArnoldCynthia Arnold

Department: Business and Computer Technology

What do you teach? Computer Science

How long have you been teaching at PSCC? 

More than 20 years.

Finish this sentence: Successful students _________

take responsibility for their own learning.

What are one or two of your best classroom practices?

I have students work together in pairs that I assign – a different pair each week or so. I survey students at the end of the week about the compatibility and skill level of their partner. I use this survey to make new pairs of compatible members with approximately the same skill level. I shuffle student names and call on the one at the top of the list when I ask the class a question. That person can answer, phone a friend, or pass.

Do you have a favorite professional organization, newsletter, or blog that you follow?

I’m a member of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) because I’m the ACM student group faculty adviser.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Yoga (poses and meditation), tennis, walking (preferably outside), circuit training, cooking, gardening, reading, singing and playing the guitar (although haven’t had much time for the guitar lately), playing Texas Hold ‘Em with friends.

Who is your favorite superhero?

I don’t really have a favorite super hero. There aren’t enough female super heroes. I can only think of two, Wonder Woman and Jessica Jones, and neither could be called my favorite.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? 

It changes very often. Right now, it’s “(I Can’t Keep) Quiet” by MILCK

Which movie or TV show character do you identify with the most? 

I don’t know about identifying with but I do like Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. She has an interesting balance of vulnerability and strength, kindness and ruthlessness.

If you could have dinner with absolutely anyone, living or not, who would it be?

If I have to pick just one, it’s going to be Buddha. Not that I’d get any answers from him.

What book is on your bedside table?

I often have two, one serious, one fluff. Right now the fluff book is “Natural Mage” by K.F. Breene (urban fantasy). I recently finished “Colleges That Change Lives” because my son will be applying to colleges in the fall. The last serious book that I really enjoyed is “Why Buddhism is True”.

SRC Spotlight and how Faculty (and Staff) can get their Wellness on!Student Recreation Center

Faculty and staff may use the Student Recreation Center (SRC) for $16/semester. (Purchase a membership at the cashier’s office located in the Goins building.) That includes use of the facility, staff locker room area, towel service and participation in all of our intramural events. Did you know the SRC has two artificial turf putting greens? Check out all they have on the Student Recreation website!

The SRC also has club sports teams that faculty advise/help and play on as well. They currently have Soccer, Volleyball and Softball this semester. Phil Ems advises the Volleyball club team and there are a group of six faculty and staff who help with the soccer team. Softball may need a new advisor this year. Contact Phil Ems if you might be interested! If there is a different sport that a faculty member would like to initiate a club in, the SRC would be happy to support that as well. In the past, they have had disc golf, fencing, and ultimate frisbee. There are a lot of possibilities.

They also host a few special events throughout the year like Goat Yoga, Finals week massages and an Egg Hunt. They encourage faculty to take advantage of these as well and interact with students outside the classroom in a more relaxed setting.

We are lucky to have such a great staff and facility here at Pellissippi State!

Tech Talk

by Rachel GlazenerFaculty Fellow Rachel Glazener

Were you able to attend the January Teaching and Learning Conference hosted by P.A.C.E. and the mobile fellows program? If you missed it but would like to view the keynote address shoot Rachel Glazener an email, rlglazener@pstcc.edu to get a link to the recording. Alan November highlighted some of the techy tools that we should be familiar with as instructors as these are tools our students are using for preparing for class, studying, researching for assignments, and in the dreaded case of possible cheating. Some of the highlights of the keynote and workshops are listed with a brief description.  

Wolfram alpha, http://wolframalpha.com/ , started as a computational search engine for completing math problems. Now it has grown to cover a large amount of knowledge and subject areas from math to science to the humanities. This isn’t a static search engine like google, it is a knowledge engine. This creates a live feed of information based on a vast collection of databases on the question you search for on their website. This can tell you the answer to a complex math problem or tell you how many times the name Romeo is mentioned in Romeo and Juliet. If you have the question, Wolfram alpha is working to have an answer.  

Using the appropriate search operators for Google. We all know that if students are unsure or not confident in a topic their first resource is typically google. Great! At least they are looking for the answers. But if you are familiar with google search operators, we can help our students look for answers better and to hopefully minimize bias in the results too. This is one of Rachel’s favorite lists of the search operators: https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/ .The “site:” and “refine:” operators are two you might want to check out right away!  

A big theme for the day besides harnessing the power of technology to work for us in our classrooms was how to make learning visible and collaborative. One of Rachel’s favorite tools that was discussed was Prism. http://prism.scholarslab.org/ . Prism is a tool for “crowdsourcing interpretation.” The instructor posts a document or an assignment, and the students highlight the words. What do they highlight?  Whatever the instructors asks them to highlight. It could be what is tricky in this assignment, what are the most important sections of the syllabus, or the highlights can answer a specific question. This creates a visualization giving the interpretation of anyone who participated in the highlighting of the document. This can help generate conversations about assignments in class, give the instructor feedback on what pieces of the documents the students find helpful or confusing, and give students the power to interact with assignments making them less static.   

Another tool to visualize data is using polling software. By using polling in your class, you can get real time feedback on students understanding of the material, their opinions on difficult topics, or just gauge if the students are engaging with class that day. There are several applications that can accomplish polling on several device platforms. One of the oldies but goodies is “Poll Everywhere”.  https://www.polleverywhere.com/ . This program is marketed as being able to incorporate live audience participation. Every question is given as a poll or short answer, can be used on any device with the internet and can even be used with a code on flip phones. This can be a powerful tool to help meet students where they are at in their learning.  

Several other techy tools were discussed. If there is a techy tool you’d like training on, let us know! Keep an eye out for additional deeper dive trainings to be held throughout the semester on some of these hot topics.  

Dear Instructional Designer

Dear Instructional Designer,

Social media is so popular with my students. Can it be used for something educational?


Seeking educational use of social media

Dear Seeking,

Karen Sorensen

This is a great question! While we probably could come up with ways to make all social media applications work for educational purposes, one of the best applications for education is Twitter. Alan November, who came to Pellissippi State on January 11th, shared how searching for any topic on twitter can open up a multitude of resources, just by adding a simple hashtag (#) before the topic. For example, you can search for “#wellness” and find information and links about wellness. Or you can get very specific by using the Twitter Advanced Search. Students don’t even have to have a Twitter account to search Twitter. But they do need one if they want to follow any of the links they find.

You can even add a Twitter feed on a topic to your Brightspace course! You don’t need to, but you might even want to create your own Twitter channel that you share with students! If you need help, let me know!

And speaking of Twitter, check out the PACE Twitter channel either in Twitter or on our About page .


Karen Sorensen, PACE Instructional Designer

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