In September we had a Speaker Series on Racial Equity and Justice in Southeast Alaska. It was sponsored by the UAS Sitka Campus Title III Grant, and was in partnership with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Social Services Department, SEARHC, the Sitka STEPS Grant, the Sitka Health Summit and Pathways Coalitions.
Today, and each day next week, I am going to share the videos from these events. I believe this was an excellent series, and is important to share in case you didn’t see them live, or if you want to watch them again.
The first video is Beyond Diversity: Steps for Uprooting Racism, Privilege and Institutional Inequity with Speaker Tim Wise.
On Monday, the topic will be Beyond Diversity in Higher Education. Thanks for reading the Faculty Learning Corner!
Here is an important training that was presented by Kristen Handley, who is the Institutional Effectiveness Director at UAS. This hour long training takes you through a number of dashboards that will help get you the data you need on the Institutional Effectiveness – Student Data website.
Here is a breakdown of what you will see, as well as the timing, in case you want to jump to a specific segment.
The UASSitka campus Title III Complete to Compete grant program has a series of Zoom seminars for job seekers. They are for new college graduates, current college students, or anyone considering a job change or looking for work.
The presenter of the first eight is Deborah Rydman, Career Services Coordinator/VA School Certifying Official for the University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau campus. The additional six were produced by the Title III staff with speakers.
Each presentation is approximately one hour in length. Just click on the title to access the seminar.
Job Success – Learn about communication, teamwork, and time management… or get a refresher in time for the new year!
Work Life Balance – This workshop was live streamed and recorded at UAS Sitka Campus and features speakers as well as audience interactions. It covers stress management, mindfulness, and healthy ways to break up the work day.
Female Leadership Panel – This session is a recording of a live panel event featuring University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty Sarah Stanley, PhD. Panelists include Alana Peterson (Executive Director, Spruce Root), Beck Meiers (General Manager, KCAW Sitka), Dani Snyder (Fire Captain, Sitka Fire Department), Tracy Sylvester (Commercial Fisherman & Vessel Owner; Fishery Conservation Network Coordinator, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association), and Trish White (Vice President, White’s Inc.).
Here is the link to the playlist that includes all 14 seminars. You can choose from the list of videos in the collection by clicking on the thumbnail image on the right side of the screen: https://tinyurl.com/c2cCareer
UAS Sitka Campus is in the midst of their series of talks on Racial Equity, and I hope you have taken part. I thought it would be appropriate to continue this very important discussion here in the Faculty Learning Corner.
Racial equity is corrective justice for communities that have suffered oppression through enslavement (African Americans), genocide (Native Americans), colonization (Puerto Rico and Hawaii), and theft of territory (Mexican Americans).
According to Bensimon, equity seeks reparation for those who are denied the same opportunities as whites due to a long history of legislated (e.g., Jim Crow) and institutionalized racism (e.g, definitions of merit that advantage whites).
In education, teachers and administrators may not realize there is an equity problem because of the biases that exist in their education, training and upbringing. This can affect student outcomes, teacher performance, curriculum, admission practices and more.
Equity focuses on “dismantling whiteness.” Whiteness is a culture of values that favor white people at the expense of others. In education, it prevents historically marginalized students from reaching their potential, and professionals from advancing in their career.
(Rather than “historically marginalized”, Bensimon also uses the word “minoritized” to emphasize that people of color do not become minorities of their own accord.)
Check out these seven key takeaways about equity in education.
1. Equity Is Intertwined With Race
While equity is a trending topic in education, the word is often misused, according to Bensimon.
In a post on CUE’s website, she writes, “I now see [equity] in initiatives, articles, and proposals. I hear it in presentations, reports, and speeches. A term that was once viewed as divisive, particularly when associated with racial justice, has become commonplace.”
However, in its current usage, equity is disconnected from its racial justice roots. Schools recognize that they need to include it in policies, but there’s insufficient action behind it. As a result, a culture of whiteness continues to persist. To really invest in equity, schools need to become equity-minded, audit their own practices, and if needed, revise them to be more race conscious.
2. Inequity Is Institutional
The reason that inequity may be a bigger challenge than many schools realize is that academia has blind-spots. “We’ve been socialized to think academia is a place that is race neutral,” says Bensimon.
Research may partially be to blame. When evaluating student success, researchers tend to regard race as a variable, not an experience or political condition. Or they may ignore it altogether.
Shifting the focus of research could be helpful. Currently, researchers study students to understand how their motivation correlates to academic success. But little research is done on faculty. By surveying teachers’ beliefs and practices, we can better understand how their views on race impact educational outcomes.
3. Teachers Help—and Hurt—Equity
Bensimon notes that evidence shows white students are more likely to speak out in class than students of color. Most teachers aren’t taught to be racially literate. They don’t know how their practices might reinforce inequalities.
However, teachers can promote equity by being more race-conscious. For example, by addressing how a syllabus reflects the experiences of black or Latinx students, they can reach those who may be alienated by traditional curriculum.
Another useful way for teachers to become more equity-minded is to adopt a “first-generation” perspective. First-generation college students of color may have been deprived of the same level of preparation for college as other students.
Similarly, white teachers may not be aware of the challenges of historically minoritized students because they lack the appropriate preparation to teach them. They may also attribute lack of success to deficiencies that they associate with students of color.
4. Graduate Programs Can Train Equity-Minded Leaders
“It’s important to develop leaders of equity-minded competency,” says Bensimon. To that end, graduate programs in education can be a useful tool. Ideally, students graduate from their master’s or doctoral programs ready to drive equity at senior levels of their organization. However, be diligent when doing your research as not all programs are equipped to accomplish this task.
To properly train future practitioners and leaders, the school’s mission should expressly state a commitment to equity, and curriculum needs to be self-conscious about race. “Courses need to address whiteness as an institutional characteristic,” she adds. The takeaway? Find out if your master’s or doctoral program aligns with your interest in advancing equity.
5. Equity Is not the Same as Diversity
In education, equity and diversity are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have some significant differences. While well-intentioned, the initiative to promote diversity in schools has the ironic effect of “whitewashing” equity.
Diversity seeks to increase representation of historically marginalized students, faculty and administrators. However, often it doesn’t focus on correcting the central issue: racial injustice. Equity aims to fix the systemic conditions that cause the exclusion of students of color in education.
Similarly, economics can be persuasive. For example, Latinos now outnumber whites as the largest ethnic group in California. The wealth of the state depends in part on their educational attainment. Therefore it’s in academia’s best interest to create more equitable learning environments.
7. Academia Has Room for Improvement
While academia has made strides in its effort to promote equity in education, it still has a long way to go. Bensimon highlights deeply-rooted problems such as coded language. Words like “merit” and “fit” are sometimes used in the hiring process in ways that discriminate against candidates of color or female candidates.
Systemic problems may take a long time to fix, but there are more actionable methods of advancing equity that can be implemented in the short term by leadership:
Acknowledge that equity is rooted in racial justice
Incentivize admitting and graduating students of color
Value work by faculty done on behalf of racial equity
Hire more faculty of color and faculty who are equity-minded
Prioritize hiring first-generation faculty who are also people of color
Thank you for reading the FLC, and please sign up for the last two sessions of the UAS Racial Justice and Equity series.
Monday evening, September 21, from 7pm – 8pm. Founder of the online literary publication, Natives in America, Megan Red-Shirt Shaw, will present a session called We Are Still Here: On Native Identity and Activism.
Thursday, September 24th, from 7pm to 8pm. Sitka educator and cultural leader, Dionne Brady- Howard, will present Bringing it Home: Reflection on Racial Equity in Southeast.
I know we are doing a lot more online teaching today than ever before, and you might be teaching by distance for the first time (or second if you count Spring semester). Today I want to share information that could help in making your instruction as effective as possible.
Quality course design
The syllabus gives students the course description, learning objectives, course schedule, and materials. It is a comprehensive guide to the course that sets expectations as well as requirements for learners. Because the online environment limits the physical communication between instructors and students, students need a clear course syllabus as a roadmap or guide throughout the learning process.
The course structure plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of online learning. A well-designed course helps learners absorb the ideas quickly, retain the information better, and even enjoy their studying to a greater degree.
A suggestion is to break down the learning content into digestible pieces (chunking). Group the subject matter into modules, then divide those modules into sections. The bite-sized content also allows you to focus on more in-depth topics. This way learners understand the concepts fully before starting on the next subject.
Content that engages
How you format content is a crucial factor in your course design. It may have a great impact on the course’s engagement and learning outcomes. Some instructors might focus on the text and forget that they have an opportunity to have a variety of content types. Here are a few ways you can have content that isn’t just text based:
PowerPoint presentations to easily lay out information
Short (5 minute maximum) talking head videos to represent lecturers and enhance connection to learners
Animated learning videos to explain complicated concepts and improve the graphic experiences
Charts and graphs to visualize data
Games to increase interaction of learners and attract learners’ interest
Interview videos or case-studies to provide best practices and expert advice
Combining all those formats gives learners a broader learning experience.
Be a better learning facilitator and communicator
In many cases face-to-face learning meant students relied on a passive method of taking notes and listening to lectures. In online learning, the instructors become more of a learning facilitator than a lecturer. An effective online instructor must be a part of the learning community, and encourage students to be more involved in the learning process.
Think of yourself as learner
Online learning is much different from the traditional face-to-face education. In online teaching you have availability of teaching time, place, and resources but you are restricted in physical interaction. You may know what works in the classroom, but it may not adapt well to the eLearning environment. Because of this, online educators need the experience of being an online learner to excel. One way to do this is to take an online course. There are various online courses out there for you to choose: credited or non-credited, free or paid. You have so many chances to experience the learning process as a learner. In doing this you gain valuable insights on how to produce an effective course. If you find a good course, you can learn from its structure to apply in your pedagogy. You find a bad one, you also learn what may not work in online classes.
Getting instructor presence without the physical interaction seems to be a tricky challenge. However, you can use various methods to communicate with learners online. An easy one is just a friendly introduction video. In the intro, give your learners the expectation of what they could gain after finishing the course, or how they could apply the ideas in real life. More importantly, the introduction presents you, so students know who they are learning from. It is important that you create a more humanized environment, so students feel like they are a part of the community, rather than being an outsider watching some videos.
Connected learning community
An active and positive community also dispels the isolation of self-paced learning. You should encourage learners to be active in the conversation. Discussion boards and forums are great ways to generate the interaction from learners to lecturers and peers. Learners are then encouraged to be more involved in the courses by asking questions, sharing their ideas and exploring the subjects themselves.
Timely feedback on these online communication tools is also important. It is not always easy to find time answering questions on forums and replying emails daily. You can announce to students the expectation of how soon you will reply to their questions or concerns. Also, give students a chance to answer each other, but be sure to intervene when students go off track.
Last but not least, feedback, whether from your students or colleagues, give you new perceptions of how to improve the quality of the course. Formative assessment is a great way to judge if the students are picking up knowledge. It not only helps students gauge how they are doing, but also gives you a chance to reflect on the effectiveness of your course content. Give low stakes quizzes, or quizzes that they can take numerous times until they get all questions correct.
Feedback is also more effective if learners consider you as a member of the learning community rather than the overlord. It’s always best to stay active in the community as the knowledge bearer.
Online learning does not mean putting traditional lessons on the Internet. The role of the instructor also changes when you go from being a lecturer into a learning facilitator. Going forward in the online environment means presenting yourself in a way that students know they are supported and encouraged in the learning process.
How to be an Effective Online Instructor. (2019, August 15). Retrieved September 4, 2020, from https://www.flearningstudio.com/how-to-be-an-effective-online-instructor/
Thanks for reading the Faculty Learning Corner. Have a great Labor Day weekend!!
There are many ways to help students succeed. Some examples would be week to week consistency within your Blackboard site, using cues to highlight essential elements of each lesson, and chunking material into smaller bite size pieces.
Today I wanted to show you a tool to help students stay organized in Blackboard, especially if your weekly units have many different readings and/or steps. Adding a “Review” button to the items in your weekly modules will help a student know right where they are at in your course.
To add a review button, go to any item item in your course. With Edit Mode “On” click on the arrow next to the title of the content item:
When the menu opens, click on the menu item “Set Review Status.”
Click on the option to “Enable.”
Once you’ve enabled the review status, click on the “Submit” button in the bottom right corner:
You will now see text that says, “Enabled: Review” under the content item (above the content description):
Follow the above steps for all your content items.
Below is what your students will see:
When your student has completed a content item, they will now be able to click the “Mark Reviewed” box, and it will toggle to “Reviewed.”
Now your student will not be trying to figure out where they are. They will be able to look at what areas they have reviewed and immediately get to the next content item. This could be a great organizational tool for students who are taking multiple courses, especially if they need to stop for the night, and then come back to the lesson the next day.
I hope this helps your students!! Thank you for reading the Faculty Learning Corner! Have a great weekend!
In one of the strangest years in our lifetime, we are starting classes next week. With many more classes online than normal, and face to face changes due to COVID, I am sure there is anxiety being felt.
Because of that, today I am sharing with you material from Torrey Trust, PhD. Some of the links are aimed at younger learners, but there is something to learn from all of the links.
Enriching remote, online, hyflex, blended, and in-person teaching for fall 2020
Keep High Expectations – Don’t change your expectations, change your approach. Maintain high expectations for all learners but understand that students are struggling more than ever. Students will need extra support and flexible deadlines rather than consequences.
Abandon Surveillance & Control Tools – Without being able to look over students’ shoulders you might want to turn to tools that will allow you to see and control what students are doing on their screens. Instead, focus on building trust, relationships, and respect. Provide clear expectations and transparency for asynchronous learning activities (Transparent teaching and learning framework). Check-in often with formative assessment tools.
Surveillance & Control
The use of surveillance, proctoring, and control tools (e.g., browser lock) reinforces “compliance and submission to authority in an environment that should be emphasizing individual motivation, critical thinking, and internalized ethics.” bit.ly/surveilpedagogy
Torrey Trust is from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is an Associate Professor of Learning Technology in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education.
Infographic by Torrey Trust, Ph.D. is licensed under CC BY SA NC 4.0 | @torreytrust
Well, Convocation has ended and we are now ready to start the new semester …. but, things aren’t the same as any other year. Since we are still in the midst of the pandemic, I wanted to try to help by giving you some resources that will help answer any questions.
One issue we all face is that information changes so quickly. The UAS COVID Team is working to keep everyone updated, so keep an eye on email. Another resource is the UA Covid19 Information site.
And, if you scroll down, you will see a link to a UAS specific site:
Open that site to find information specific to UAS. You will also find the latest communications from Vice Chancellor, Michael Ciri.
Another site to go to when looking for the latest Alaska travel information is the COVID-19 Traveler Information page. This site will help you figure out the mandates and will also help you figure out what needs to happen when coming into Alaska from out of the State. This may also be helpful if you get questions from students or other faculty who are trying to figure this out.
As we start the new school year let’s keep remember to be encouraging and positive. I’ll leave you with this slide from Michael Ciri’s presentation:
If you still have questions, please direct them to the UAS Covid Team. You can email them- email@example.com
Stay safe, wear your mask, and good luck in this new school year. I’ll see you next week!!
The following is from Magna Publication’s “Faculty Focus,” and was written by Rob Kelly. As we move to move more courses online this Fall, I thought this would be a good reminder.
Online instructors need to be intentional about creating a sense of presence in their courses so that students know that somebody is leading their educational experience. According to Larry Ragan, director of instructional design and development for Penn State’s World Campus, this sense of presence consists of three dimensions:
Persona—This consists of the instructor’s personality, teaching style, and interests—all the characteristics that go into the students’ impression of the instructor.
Social—This refers to the connections instructors make with the students and those that students make with each other to build a learning community.
Instructional—This is the role the instructor plays in guiding students through the learning process.
The need for instructor presence
“In the face-to-face classroom, we don’t actually have to think too much about being present because we’re there—it’s a physical thing. In the online space there is no physicality. I’m not there physically. I don’t see people eye to eye. We may not even be in the same time zone. So how do I convey to the students that there is somebody who is participating, who is a leader in this educational experience?” Ragan says.
A lack of presence can have negative consequences for the learner. As an online learner, Kim Eke, director of Teaching and Learning Interactive at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, experienced a lack of instructor presence. “When professors didn’t seem present, it had a big effect on my satisfaction. I thought, well, they don’t care,” says Eke.
This sense of presence is particularly important for students enrolled solely in online programs, as opposed to on-campus students who take occasional online courses. “For those individuals who are pursuing a degree or certificate in a wholly online environment, the faculty member becomes the connection to that institution. The faculty member is the glue that holds this system together, and so for a student it’s really important to get to know the faculty member at some level. I say at some level because it may vary,” Ragan says. “Maybe the 18-to-22-year-olds aren’t really interested in this idea of learning community. They might say ‘I’ve got that covered. I’ve got my friends. I don’t need my instructional experience to also contain that dimension.’ Whereas the [solely, often adult] online learner may feel isolated from the experience, from the physical dimension of your university.”
Designing for presence
The sense of instructor presence is created through a combination of instructional design and delivery. Videos, photos, narratives—depending on one’s comfort level with the medium—can help create this sense of presence in advance of course delivery. “You can invest a little bit of time and energy in the design phase, say, in the summer prior to putting your course online, developing a nice introduction—this is who I am. Maybe it’s a video. Maybe it’s just a narrative. Whatever vehicle you are most comfortable using. You can invest the time and energy to get the photos right or get a video clip done right and so forth so that when you’re in teaching mode you’re not saying, ‘Shoot, I’d better create something that establishes my persona,’” Ragan says.
Eke cautions against getting enamored of too much technology. “Keep things simple. I would never advocate using all the technologies… The idea is to identify the gaps in your course. Is there something I can do to add a little bit to the community? You don’t have to go whole hog and overboard. Just figure out what makes sense for you and your course.”
Ragan says that faculty members can make technology decisions on their own, but it helps to get input from others, preferably an IT professional or an instructional designer, on what is appropriate for the course and how it might contribute to the learning experience.
Evidence of engagement
When a course is in session, students need to see “evidence of engagement” such as announcements, discussion board posts, and uploads of photos or videos on the part of the instructor, Ragan says. It’s not enough to log in and monitor a course. Instructors need to show that they are active in the course.
Learning management systems can provide some useful data an instructor can use to gauge his or her presence, such as frequency and duration of logging in to a course. Ragan envisions an LMS dashboard that provides instructors (and perhaps a mentor or supervisor) with this data on a regular basis to help the instructor manage his or her presence. “It’s a little Big Brotherish, but I think the capabilities are there for us to begin doing that. I think we’re called as good teachers to be more aware of establishing that teaching presence and making sure that we’re [serving] the need of the students to have us visible,” Ragan says.
Using data analytics in this manner can provide some useful quantitative feedback, but it’s also important to look at qualitative data as well. An indirect way of gauging instructors’ presence is the type of questions coming from students.
More directly, instructors can ask students for feedback throughout the course. “I think in the online environment we have to be more intentional about reaching out and asking those questions, such as ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘How am I doing?’” Ragan says.
You can build in low-stakes evaluation feedback and higher-stakes elements as well. Feedback can be anonymous. For example, at the end of a unit you might ask, “Was this information clear, or were there any points you didn’t understand?”
You also can ask questions specifically about your role as instructor, such as:
Is the timeliness of my responses helpful?
Are the types of responses you’re getting helpful?
Is there anything else I could be doing to help you?
“The students so much appreciate just being asked,” Ragan says.
Excerpted from Creating a Sense of Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom, Online Classroom, 12.10 (2012): 1,3,5.
Due to some training obligations next week, I am going to take a week off from FLC. Thank you for reading the Faculty Learning Corner, and I’ll see you in two weeks!
I know right now we are all going through a number of emotions as we try to make our way in the world. These are tough times, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our passion.
This week I thought I would let actor Ethan Hawke bring us some thoughts about Creativity. This is his June 2020 Ted Talk. You can also click on the picture below to watch! (It will open in a new tab.)
Remember that your creativity matters and helps make sense of your life. Doing something of quality, something that the world considers good, is actually not what we need to strive for. We become better people by getting to know ourselves and doing what we love. Our world expands exponentially when we do this.
In finding your creativity you will find commonalities with others you didn’t know existed, and find how connected we all are. That’s important to moving forward. Our creativity is vital!
You need to spend your time doing what’s important to you. Follow your love…there is no path until you start walking it! (And make sure you “play the fool.”)
Thank you for reading the FLC! Have a great weekend!!!