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

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

Kellie Toon

Welcome back Pellissippi Colleagues, and I hope you had a calm and restful winter break. There is much to look forward to as we welcome 2019, a year of new beginnings and opportunities to help you.

Last fall, the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) introduced a number of initiatives that kept us all busier than expected, so this spring we would like to slow down and your P.A.C.E.—your Personal, Academic, and Community Enrichment. We invite you to reflect upon your personal and professional development; what is it that you need to help you gain perspective and grow personally and academically within our college community? Over the next four months, PACE will host the equivalent of coffee and conversation (or tea and talking if you prefer), attend meetings, and visit each campus to hear from you. We want to know what we can do to help you accomplish a healthy work/life balance.

PACE is thrilled to start the year off focusing on your academic enrichment with the Winter Teaching and Learning Conference January 11th. PACE, in collaboration with Mobile Fellows and in support of Technology Enhanced Learning Faculty Fellow Rachel Glazener, will host Alan November, an international leader in educational technology. November’s keynote address, “Transforming the Culture of Teaching and Learning,” explores how educators can use technology to harness the power of learning while empowering students to take control of their own learning experience. November has been a keynote presenter at venues as large as Google, and we are very excited to have this unique opportunity to learn from such a renowned expert at Pellissippi. Registration for this event was required and all spots for the keynote address and workshop are now filled; however, if you missed out on the opportunity to get registered, the keynote address will be filmed and shared with those who couldn’t make it.

Spring opportunities are still being sprung, so stay tuned to the PACE website (sites.pstcc.edu/pace) and follow us on Twitter (@psccpace) for updates and more information on opportunities throughout the semester. And please, remember to slow down, take time for yourself, and focus on your own Personal, Academic, and Community Enrichment.

P.A.C.E. Events Calendar

Please join us!

  • Friday, January 11th, 8:30 to 4:30: Conference:  “Transforming the Culture of Teaching and Learning” with keynote and workshops by Alan November, an international leader in educational technology.

Staff Profile: Will Buck

Department: Library Services

What do you teach? Information Literacy Instruction and Reference Skills

How long have you been teaching at PSCC? 

One year.

Finish this sentence: Successful students _________

get back on the horse.

What are one or two of your best classroom practices?

Instruction is performance art. Set the tone for engagement and excitement, you are a champion of the material. Even if they don’t engage directly or immediately with the content, they’ll remember your attitude toward the lesson.

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

Association of College & Research Libraries. Also, Reddit posts.

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

Go to Rock festivals.

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

Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer- not because of the librarianship, but because of the vampire-hunting.

Faculty Project Spotlight: Mobile Fellows

The Mobile Fellows are co-sponsoring the Teaching and Learning conference with P.A.C.E., so we wanted to focus our spotlight on them this month:

In 2013, Pellissippi State began a new effort: the exploration of mobile and emerging technology as a tool for teaching.

Let me be clear from the start: we are not advocates for these tools so much as explorers. We are asking questions and looking for answers. Mobile and emerging technology is simply a tool of teaching, just as chalkboards and overhead projectors are. They can be used effectively, or they can be used badly. We are a) finding out what works, and b) finding out what doesn’t work.

Having said that, we see practical reasons for putting up with the learning curve. No one doubts that students come into our classrooms already using this technology, or that they will use it when they leave our classrooms. We can pretend they’re not there, but that doesn’t make them go away. Our jobs as college teachers, at least in part, involve helping students use available tools in a responsible way, and to use them in lifelong learning and to promote critical thinking. Just as the Web can either be distraction or tool, so can these mobile devices.

We’re here to provide a resource for those who want to explore, and to share outcomes whatever they may be.

Add your email to our list. We promise we won’t spam you. Rather, the email list will simply let you know when new content appears on this blog, including a short bit of the start of the new article so you can decide if you want to see the rest of it. That way, you don’t have to keep coming here to see if there is something new, or worry about missing something if you don’t.

For more information about the Mobile Fellows program, see their blog at: https://blogs.pstcc.edu/mobilefellows/

Tech Talk

by Rachel GlazenerFaculty Fellow Rachel Glazener

Welcome to 2019! In the spring of 2019, there will be face-to-face techy events to help reach faculty where they are at when it comes to technology. The kick-off event is the “Teaching and Learning Conference” hosted by P.A.C.E. and the mobile fellows program on January 11th. The day will begin with the keynote speaker, Alan November an international leader in educational technology. Didn’t have a chance to sign up or are you not available that day? Check out a few of the pre-reading materials available after registration to start to explore the types of topics Alan will cover, especially the “Crafting a New Vision for Empowered Learning.” Alan will challenge the way we think about using technology for education, techy or not he has ideas that can be used in most of our courses.  

If you were able to sign up for the full day of events remember to come prepared with an assignment picked out to work on in small groups during the hands-on session. Research projects, group projects, projects that connect the subject material to real life, and presentations all lend themselves to be useful for the hands-on workshops. If you would like some help choosing your assignment, making your assignment digital to work on the computers during the hands-on session, learning about some of the techy resources we have on campus that you might want to incorporate into your assignment, or making your assignment more accessible join us on January 10th at 10 am in the ERC open computer labs. Feel free to email Rachel Glazener, rlglazener@pstcc.edu, with any questions concerning the conference and hands-on sessions.  

Want to learn more about what techy things we have to offer at Pellissippi while working at home? Check out the Grow Your Skills Tech Challenge. Several faculty participated in the fall with level 1 covering the basics of setting up a D2L course, setting up your mobile device, getting students set up, starting with Microsoft 365 and the bonus application section. Most the items covered in the challenge involve engaging students, getting connected, increasing productivity and give tips on best practices for teaching.  

Level 2 will be coming out in January and expand on the basics. If you feel like you’re already “techy” be sure to jump to the bonus application section.  Want to officially join the challenge? Complete 5 tasks in each level and complete the short “I’ve Grown” survey at the end of the level. At the end of the spring semester you’ll receive a certificate with what level you’ve completed.  

Keep an eye out for monthly sessions hosted by P.A.C.E. in the spring to continue the discussion of ideas presented by Alan November.  Some will be additional hands-on sessions to move the power of learning in the student’s hands and maximizing the use of technology for educational purposes. Do you have a particular topic you’d like for us to cover in a session? Please let us know what you’re interested in and think faculty would benefit by us hosting a group session on the topic by filling out this short form. Both P.A.C.E. and mobile fellows are here to support you in your teaching and professional development needs.  

Dear Instructional Designer

Dear Instructional Designer,

How can I use technology to improve student success rates in my courses?


Searching for Student Success

Dear Searching,

Karen Sorensen

This is a great question! There are many ways you can utilize technology to improve student success rates. For example, there are many apps and software that may benefit students, and there’s a lot of support at Pellissippi State to help you with them. Rachel Glazener and Rebecca Glatt, our P.A.C.E. Mobile and Emerging Technology Faculty Fellows, the Mobile Fellows (profiled above), Instructional Technology Specialists, Royce Jacomen and Josh Dean and I can help you explore apps and software for teaching. As a starter, I would recommend Rachel Glazener’s Grow Your Skills challenge. You could also attend the January 11 Teaching and Learning conference hosted by P.A.C.E. and the Mobile Fellows.

While there are many apps and software that you could use to improve student success rates in the classroom, I also want to suggest a tool we often overlook. The use of data. Examining student grades disaggregated by selected criteria can be very informative. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness can help you run a report of your previous courses student grades based on race, age, or gender. If you see serious differences in course success between the chosen criteria, you may want to employ something called “Inclusive Teaching”, an approach that provides more structure for all students (including what students should be doing outside of class) and facilitate course discussions in a way that every student feels included. Check out this Chronicle of Higher Education article called, “Traditional Teaching May Deepen Inequality: Can a Different Approach Fix It?” for more information on the issue. I would be happy to look over the data with you and help you strategize on ways to employ inclusive teaching techniques in your spring semester classes. We can check the data after spring term to see if the techniques helped.

Data tools inside of Brightspace can also help you to determine how well students are meeting the course learning outcomes. Come see me to learn how to employ this Outcomes (or Competencies) tool.

Data can’t tell the whole story, but it can be a powerful, technological tool to monitor student success. Take advantage of it.


Karen Sorensen, PACE Instructional Designer

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