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

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

Kellie Toon

Greetings, Pellissippi Colleagues: 

During February, PACE staff made our way to several campuses for coffee, community, and collegial conversations. We learned so much from our colleagues about the faculty and staff professional development needs of each campus and are excited to work together to serve those needs in the coming semesters.  

Did you know that PACE is dedicated to serving the professional development needs of the entire College? In fact, we are currently assisting faculty in the development of trainings in two areas of need: Assessment and Communication. Student assessment is at the core of the teaching and learning process and PACE is working with designated faculty to design professional development around the assessment needs of the College. Assessment is an ever-evolving process and focused professional development will allow us to continue to grow in our teaching in a way that best serves our students.  

The Communication Studies faculty are planning a professional development opportunity that can serve the entire College community. The development of an ongoing Presenter’s Workshop will aim to augment the presentation skills of faculty and staff. A pilot class will run in April with select New Student Orientation presenters before opening it up to the College in Fall 2019. This promises to be a very exciting opportunity. Stay tuned for more information! 

Have you got an idea for a Faculty Fellows project? If so, it’s that time of year again, and applications are being accepted until April 8th. The past two rounds of Faculty Fellows have yielded incredible projects that continue to change the way we approach select High Impact Practice pedagogy. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Fellow, please contact any of the Faculty Advisory Board members, current Faculty Fellows, or the PACE staff for more information.  You can also check out the PACE website to read more about what your current PACE Faculty Fellows are up to! 

P.A.C.E. Events Calendar

  • Friday, March 15 to Monday, April 8th: Applications for Faculty Fellowship being accepted! 
  • Monday, March 25th at 1pm: Assessment Training discussion in PACE classroom
  • Friday, March 29th at 1:30pm at Strawberry Plains:  Internationalizing your syllabus workgroup
  • Friday, March 29th at 2:30pm at Strawberry Plains: New Faculty Academy
  •  Trainings
    • “Rock Star Search Strategies: Using Google and Library Databases”
      • On April 3rd, in the Distance Learning classroom, Goins 251, from 3:05 to 4:00 pm join a few of the librarians to learn about tips and advanced search strategies using both the web and our academic databases.  Not sure if this session is for you, ask yourself these questions: Do your students struggle to find primary or scholarly sources? Or just obtaining quality information on a very specific research topic? If so, come on by to learn a little more about what PSCC has to offer. To participate in this session you may want to bring a laptop or mobile device to access Google search and the library website.
    • Polling Students to Increase Engagement and Gain Feedback”
      • On April 5th in the Distance Learning classroom, Goins 251, from 2 to 3 pm Faculty Fellow Rachel Glazener will host a hands-on training session on using polling software before, during, and after class to gain insight on student learning and feelings about current course topics. The polling software that will be covered is polleverwhere and GoSoapBox.  To participate in the session you’ll need to bring a laptop or mobile device, create a free instructor account on either software platform (or both), and bring a few questions that you would use at the start, during, or end of class to help you gauge student knowledge of the material. This is a relaxed session feel free to drop by between 2 and 3 pm.
    • “Wrapping Up and Locking in Next Semester on Brightspace”
      • On April 24th, in the Distance Learning classroom (Goins 251), from 3:05 to 4pm join Instructional Technology Specialist, Royce Jacomen to take a deeper dive into Brightspace using the end of semester checklist and completing a grade book health check to ensure accuracy when submitting your final grades. Evaluate your course engagement with Instructional Designer, Karen Sorensen and start a plan for easy course upgrades to keep your students on track and engaged for all types of courses. This training session is for all levels of faculty and both face to face and online courses, there will be something for everyone.

Staff Profile: Shanna SmithShanna Smith

Department: Natural and Behavioral Sciences

What do you teach? Psychology

How long have you been teaching at PSCC? 

I taught my first course exactly 10 years ago at PSCC as an adjunct, and I have been a full-time faculty member here since 2013.

Finish this sentence: Successful students _________

are students who have been given a voice and a place of belonging.

What are one or two of your best classroom practices?

Learning all of my students’ names as quickly as possible so they know I care; and engaging them in co-curricular learning activities like service-learning as soon as I can. Through their service-learning presentations at the end of the semester, they always teach me more than I could ever teach them.

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

ASHE – The Association of the Study of Higher Education

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

I love spending time with my family and friends – preferably at a beach or in the mountains.

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

My grandfather, just one more time.

What book is on your bedside table?

Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country by Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy

Tech Talk

by Rachel GlazenerFaculty Fellow Rachel Glazener

So far in Tech Talk, professional development opportunities/training and engaging students using apps have been discussed. But what if you’re new to this techy business and you aren’t sure the easiest ways to start. Learning something new can be intimidating and time-consuming, below are some tips on how to build your techy knowledge in small increments.  

Think about ways you are already using technology. If the answer is, you haven’t used any that is OK too and we’ll cover that too. But many faculty and staff do not give themselves any credit when they are using technology simply because it has been around for a longer period of time than iPads or apps. For example: using a smartphone, creating and using powerpoint presentations, projecting using the document camera. These are techy things! By identifying ways you’re already using technology you can try to find things that build off of those skills already in place.  

If you’re using a smartphone you could explore using a digital calendar through Microsoft 365. You can also download the Brightspace pulse app to access course materials and easily post announcements on the go for your students. This will get you used to using your phone for personal and professional use and later you can explore additional apps that you could use on your phone for your course. If you use powerpoint presentations in class, you could look at adding a Microsoft form to your powerpoint or put your powerpoint into Nearpod. Interactive questions will give you feedback on your students learning and increase engagement. If you project using the document camera you could look into using an iPad to wirelessly project using airserver while presenting your notes.  

Another way to start getting techier with digital devices is to consider going paperless when attending meetings to take notes or when presenting to your class. There are two popular apps, and each has different benefits, Notability and Goodnotes. Another major benefit to using apps to take notes is they are stored in the cloud, you have access to them all the time on all your devices. There are free apps out there but these two have so many great features they are worth the small fee.  

The goal is to take something you’re already doing and move to doing it in a techy fashion. By doing so you could increase productivity, student engagement, decrease paper costs, have easier access to materials, and so much more.  

These are all great suggestions for someone who is techy on some level but what about people who do not use a smartphone or powerpoint. What if computers and devices feel scary but you want to try them out? You can check out a laptop or iPad from ETS to try programs out. The awesome ETS staff can help show you how to turn them on and navigate the devices. Royce and Josh can help with using Brightspace. Then, set a goal of why you want to use the device. If it seems like you need a program outside of Brightspace contact Rachel Glazener, rlglazener@pstcc.edu, one of the app gurus on campus. If you have an idea of what you want to use it for, she can point you in the right direction on what app would be best. For training you can do at home, Pellissippi State offers free access to the Microsoft IT Academy and Lynda.com 

Then, you’ll want to head over the faculty fellow Rachel Glazener’s Grow Your Skills Tech Challenge to learn more about building your tech readiness and learn more about what is available here at Pellissippi State. Keep an eye out for up and coming face to face trainings based on some of the topics in the Grow Your Skills Tech Challenge hosted by P.A.C.E., the library, ETS, and faculty fellow Rachel Glazener.  

Dear Instructional Designer

Dear Instructional Designer,

Can you recommend some good resources on assessment?


Accessing Assessment

Dear Accessing,

Karen Sorensen

Sure thing! Let me break them up into a few categories:

Writing Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Objectives and Outcomes are often used interchangeably, but Objectives are a target, an intended state and Outcomes are specific and measurable.

Writing Learning Objectives for eLearning (but equally good for face2face courses): What needs to be included in a learning objective and how to build meaningful and measurable outcomes using Bloom’s taxonomy.

Writing SMART Learning Objectives: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-framed. This handout gives you a 5 step system for writing a SMART learning outcome.

Formative Assessments

Are your students learning what you hoped they would? Check in frequently using formative assessments.

Classroom Assessment Techniques compiled by Vanderbilt University’s Teaching and Learning Center: non-graded, anonymous ways to check in with your students on their learning.

Polling is another way to check in on your students learning. See Rachel Glazener’s post on types of polling applications.


Are you evaluating student work based on the learning outcomes? Rubrics are a great way to ensure you are evaluating students equally on the learning outcomes. They also are a great tool to provide students before an assignment, so they understand what you are looking for. If you use Brightspace, try out the Rubric tool!

VALUE Rubrics.  A project of the AAC&U, the VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) project resulted in 16 rubrics developed by teams of faculty and other educational professionals from 2 and 4 year higher education institutions across the country. The rubrics are on essential outcomes, as determined by faculty and employers. Their topics include Civic Engagement, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, etc. Check them out for some great evaluative tools on these essential outcomes.

Univ of Wisconsin resource for Creating and Using Rubrics for Assessment on projects, presentations, discussion and teamwork, research, writing, etc.

Summative Assessments

Ensure that summative assessments like tests, final projects and papers, and e-portfolios are aligned to evaluate the stated learning outcomes. Create rubrics to help you evaluate projects and papers in line with the learning outcomes.

Toward Better Assessments in Online Learning is a Q & A with authors of a book entitled “Assessment Strategies for Online Learning: Engagement and Authenticity”. They discuss making assessment a meaningful learning experience for students rather than a hoop that students have to jump through.

Program Level Assessment

In addition, assessment (and remediation) need to be done at the program level to see how courses fit together and if students are making adequate progress in their pathway through a college program and/or towards graduation.

Mapping Learning Outcomes: What you map is what you see is a PPT from the National Institute of Assessment on how to develop a Curriculum Map to ensure your program provides a path that scaffolds student learning to the program outcomes.

The Five Easy A’s of Assessment is the PPT from Drs. Norton and Ramsey’s in-service presentation in 2018. This presentation reviews aligning programs to the TBR general education outcomes and to program level outcomes.


If I can be of any assistance with any of these assessment pieces, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.


Karen Sorensen, PACE Instructional Designer

Request instructional design support