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Faculty Newsletter Fall 2013

IN THIS ISSUE Introducing the TLC  2 Faculty Spotlights: Emily Watson and Geoffrey Bagwell  3 Announcing Our Newest Network Partner: Mercer Community College  5 A Peek into Our Classes: Highlighting Our Successes This Fall  5 Teaching Tips: Increasing Student-to-Student Engagement in Live Discussions  7 Student Speak! Meet Lindsey Lumberg  8 Word of the Day: “Open Source”  9 Resource Exchange  9 Notes from Our Support Team  10

Introducing the TLC We’re happy to announce the launch of our Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) and to welcome a new Director - Dr. Benjamin Moritz, who came on board midway through October. Ben joins American Honors from Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he developed an Honors Program focused on first-generation and non-traditional students. He will be working with faculty and Deans to help support the creation of excellent Honors courses. If you haven’t worked with the TLC previously, our team collaborates with faculty, academic leadership,and internal AH groups to provide resources and expertise to ensure the highest quality learning experiences and outcomes. We do this by: • • • •

Providing instructional design and educational technology experts and resources to partner with faculty to evaluate and enhance their course design, development and implementation. Supporting communities of practice to discuss best practices, share pedagogical resources and strategies, and develop a supportive community among peer faculty. Providing hands-on training and development using best practices in design, delivery, and use of instructional technology tools to increase student engagement and support student learning. Collaborating with network colleges and faculty to conduct scholarly research and evaluation on overall course and program quality in order to provide accurate data to faculty and provide clear benchmarks to our progress over time. Providing ongoing professional development opportunities to foster scholarly dialogue around new and emerging theories, tools, trends, and research in teaching and learning in higher education.

We’re excited that with the addition of Dr. Moritz, we will be able to devote more energies to some of these tasks that were under-served in the past, while continuing to partner with faculty to create top-level course materials that engage our students.


Faculty Spotlight Emily Watson, Assistant Professor of English Ivy Tech Community College Emily has taught writing at the college level for seven years, and is currently teaching English Composition (ENGL 111) and Exposition and Persuasion (ENGL 112). Emily is passionate about the arts and community arts education. She developed educational resources at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for six years, and also has served as a program manager and then the executive director at the Writers’ Center of Indiana, working to build a community of writers and an audience for literature in Central Indiana. After earning her MFA in creative nonfiction at West Virginia University, Emily moved with her family back to Indianapolis where she began teaching at Ivy Tech. Emily is crazy about Indy—its access to an engaging arts community, its affordability, and its easy navigation (compared to a mountainous West Virginia terrain!). She spends her free time gardening and cooking enthusiastically (but not particularly well, she claims), touring local garage sales, and running around after a rambunctious three-year-old son. As one of our piloting faculty last Spring, Emily demonstrated a clear passion for students and a flexibility in learning new tools under quick timelines. She has now developed two courses with the program and thoughtfully approaches engagement in all of her classes. When thinking about students and honors, she encourages projects that nudge students to take a leadership role in the classroom as a way of having them take ownership of their ideas, which prepare them for advanced academic and professional communities.


Dr. Geoffrey Bagwell, Professor of Philosophy Spokane Community College Should you find yourself pondering existential questions in the near future, we know a great person to call! Dr. Geoffrey Bagwell is an instructor of philosophy at Spokane Community College (SCC), who teaches several courses including the history of philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, critical thinking, symbolic logic, and philosophy of mind. He has been teaching for nearly ten years. Before coming to SCC, Geoffrey was a visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and held various teaching appointments in Pennsylvania and Maryland. It is also important to note that Geoffrey was once a fairly serious skateboarder (!), but he retired his wheels to focus on his passion for philosophy. As a resident in the beautiful city of Spokane, Geoffrey takes full advantage of the great outdoors. When he’s not discussing philosophy (or possibly while he is discussing philosophy), he enjoys hiking, camping, and the occasional run with his easy access to trails—just minutes away. Geoffrey believes that reasoning is just about the most important skill every student needs to develop, “If every academic program in education could focus on cultivating this skill in various ways, then students would be prepared to solve any problem they might encounter in life—personal or professional.”

A Peek Into Our Classes Highlighting Our Successes this Fall For many faculty starting an American Honors course for the first time, we realize that it was a quick learning curve! And even for some of the honors faculty teaching for the second or third time, we know that there continue to be new updates and tools added that you are mastering as well. We want to thank everyone for your flexibility and patience as our support team has been tackling technical issues with Adobe Connect or Quad, and pushing out the updates and user-guides as fast as possible!

In preparation for this first newsletter, we met with Katrina Daiga and Allie Rowan, whom you likely have seen in your classes as ‘Quad Support’. They shared the successful things they’ve seen happening across all classes. Instructional designers Kathy Zellers, Cody House, Jessica Gregg, and Marianne Sheldon—who have worked with many of you on courses prior to, and during, the first weeks of classes— had similar success stories. Here are some of the themes we’ve seen and that you have shared with us:

• Student Preparedness - An Aligned Front: Faculty, along with student advisors and our support team, have all started sending a consistent message to students about preparedness and accountability. While in the initial weeks we wanted to be sensitive to the newness of this whole experience, this has now transitioned to a clear set of expectations to students about proper netiquette in the online space, having their equipment ready, and proactively contacting Quad Support before class if they need help. Thank you, faculty, for reinforcing this message with your students! • Embracing the tools, both in Quad and Adobe Connect: From math tablets and screenshare software changes to break-out rooms and making students “presenters” in the session, faculty across the network are trying new things nearly every week. What’s most impressive is not only the willingness to try something new, but the dedication to improving the learning experience and continuing to increase student engagement. • When something isn’t working well, making a change: This is true for format of delivering live seminars, offering additional office hours to students at academic risk, as well as making adjustments to assignments and course structure based on your experience or student feedback. There is both a clear commitment to making this program work and an openness to creative solutions.


• Once the technology fades away‌ the teaching begins! Aside from all of the learning and adapting to new tools, we also have seen some great pedagogical strategies implemented in classes. Just to name a few: service learning projects in the community, peer learning communities built into course structures, having students take on the role of seminar facilitators,thought-provoking course assignments, development of thoughtful course videos and resources for students, and the list goes on! • Amazing personalities. You are a wonderful group of people! In addition to having expertise in your field, you are wonderful storytellers,passionate debate leaders, engaging public speakers, dynamic discussion facilitators, and even a few potential stand-up comedians (you know who you are!). In summary, thank you, for all you have done and for your continued efforts to improve this program. We realize this is just the very beginning of an initiative that has huge potential to change students lives, and with that comes a bit of trial-anderror.Your dedication, patience, creativity, and flexibility do not go unnoticed!

Announcing our Newest Network Partner: Mercer County Community College!

We are happy to announce the newest member of the American Honors network, Mercer County Community College! Mercer is home to approximately 13,000 students in degree and certificate programs at its West Windsor and Trenton campuses, and through MercerOnline. The college offers more than 100 degree and credit certificate programs.

MCCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Mercer already has an excellent honors program with dedicated faculty, and we are excited to welcome them to the network! Their American Honors program will begin in the fall 2014.


Teaching Tips Increasing Student-to-Student Engagement in Live Discussions Tip #1: Redirect questions to other students Often in classroom discussions, students will direct questions to the instructor (and only to the instructor). Try asking students to direct questions to each other, or redirect the questions yourself. Example: “Great question, Joe. Susan, what do you think about that concept?” In Adobe Connect, try having a select number of students keep their cameras on while others are off (including yours!). It may feel awkwardly intentional, so let students know at the beginning of the class the intention and encourage them to address the group rather than you when discussing the subject.

Tip #2: Change Roles with a Student Use your knowledge of student readiness to select students who would be able to successfully present a concept to the class. Use your expertise to ask questions to direct the learning as the student(s) present the material. Do this formally by having students sign up for a specific lesson to teach, or informally as topics come up during a session.

Tip #3: Use Break-Out Groups If you don’t already use this activity during class, try planning discussions in both small groups and together as a class. The small groups give quieter students a chance to speak up. Provide structure around the small group discussions/activities as you see fit.

A cool project: Students taking Introduction to Psychology at Lafayette with Dr. Stan Alexander completed a project in which they researched the new Ivy Tech joint venture with the YMCA (building a shared fitness facility on campus). Based on their study of developmental and health psychology, students created proposals for potential programs that could be offered at the new Y that would serve needs of the community.

Students Speak! In this month’s student profile, we catch up with Lindsey Lumberg, a Running Start student at the Community Colleges of Spokane, and campus coordinator for To Write Love on Her Arms, a student mental health campaign. This is Lindsey’s second year at community college and her first in American Honors. What is your favorite aspect of the Honors program? I had a few friends in the program last year who showed me the lounge, and I thought that the fact they had their own mini fridge and comfy chairs was awesome. I love how many friends I have made through the program to whom I can relate; it’s nice having this community. What is your biggest dream right now? My biggest dream right now is to go into a career which involves helping people and saving lives. To accomplish this, I hope to transfer to a university in a big city where I can study psychology to focus on mental health awareness. What’s your favorite study tune this quarter? Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man. What’s the most surprising thing you learned this week? It is almost humanly impossible to eat an entire box of Little Debby Swiss Rolls in under 3 minutes. What are you most excited about for next quarter? Finally taking a psychology class! What inspires you the most? My two best friends inspire me every single day. They are both in Running Start and American Honors as well, and they never let me get down on myself. Even if our “study sessions” take a lot longer than necessary, we always have a good time and get something done.

Did You Know? Take a look at some American Honors Statistics from 2012-13 year (overall): Retention rate: 85% Graduation rate of 2nd years: 96% % of 2nd years admitted for transfer: 91% % admitted to Top 100 college or university: 60%

Word of the Day “Open Source” There are so many new terms floating around and we thought it might be helpful to break down a few key words each issue. This issue looks at the term “open source.” “Open source” refers to learning items being “open” or available and free to use from their “source,” meaning their author or original point of creation. It also refers to the licensing agreement that the creator has decided to implement for the material. Many open source materials are free to use with attribution, others are free to use as long as they maintain their format, and a third category are free to use and adapt as you see fit. A great example of open source materials are Ted talks (

These videos can be used freely in any of your courses. Other videos available through a publishing company would be copyrighted and you would need permission (and possibly need to pay a licensing fee) to use. Therefore those are sometimes referred to as “closed” or private materials. WikiMedia Commons is another spot for open source content like images or video clips.

Resource Exchange Each issue we will post a few resources for you to check out here. Have suggestions? Let us know and we can add them to the list! “Open Source” Resources: Ted Talks: Khan Academy: MIT OpenCourseware: OpenCourseWare Consortium: General Resources: Teachers College Community College Research Center: Interesting Blog about Hybrid Pedagogy: Chronicle of Higher Ed Blog:


Notes from Quad Support Adobe Connect Sessions

Announcements: •

First, the Quad Support team (Katrina and Allie above) would like to thank you for your patience with student tech difficulties as our inaugural classes get up-to-speed with their own technical requirements.

Given difficulties with our audio provider, we are currently piloting a different provider in half of our Adobe classes and are seeing improvement. We realize the audio issue presents challenges to classes and we are dedicated to improving this experience for both you and your students.

The overall support requests have significantly decreased in the past few months.

By popular demand, our newest feature to Quad (notifications) was launched this Fall.

An additional new feature, Crocodoc, will soon be available. This tool allows faculty to annotate on assignments that are submitted online. Learn more at:

Quick reminders •

Create class sessions as early as possible

Check and use course stream as one option for communication

Start recordings at beginning and formally end audio at end of session

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Requests for Submissions

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American Honors Faculty Newsletter FALL2013  
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