eLearning Technology Blog

To help first-gen students, increase access—and reduce acronyms

by Ruth Gregory 14. April 2015 15:33

By Richard H. Miller/WSU Global Campus

Four out of 10 undergraduates at WSU Pullman are first generation. How can faculty help them succeed?

The answer, said Professor Gregory Eiselein, founding director of Kansas State University’s first-year experience program, is more about access than identity.

“Things that work for most students work particularly well for first-generation students,” he said. “We just need to make sure they have access to those educational opportunities.”

So what works for most students? Get students involved in their own learning, Eiselsein told a crowd of about 60 WSU faculty, staff and administrators at April 8th’s “First-year, First-generation Pedagogies That Work” presentation in the CUB Junior Ballroom.

Combine challenge with support

Students do best when they are equally challenged and supported, and when they feel connected to a community, he said.  Examples are first-year experience programs, common learning experiences—such as WSU’s Common Reading program—affirmation from faculty, and service learning opportunities. The first-year seminar program at Kansas State, he said, increased first-year retention by 6 percent and the four-year graduation rate by 14 percent.

A few tips were quite specific. Avoid confusing acronyms. Be as obvious as possible—“teach them how to do what it is you want them to do”—and use such highly effective classroom techniques as group discussions and having students teach others, as opposed to lectures and reading, which, he said, have lower learning retention rates.

“We are the people’s university”

Eiselsein was introduced by Melynda Huskey, interim vice present of student affairs and dean of students. Her father was a first-generation student, she said, and her personal commitment to reaching new students matches the university’s commitment to its land-grant mission.

“We are the people’s university,” Huskey said. “We bring students who might not otherwise have access to a four-year education here, and we expose them to an incredible range of gifted faculty members.”

Eiselsein’s presentation shows how WSU can harness its research capabilities to its land-grant-mission, she said: “There’s a kind of dizzying quality to using top-notch research to extend access. It folds the two together in a beautiful origami way.”

April 8th’s presentation was hosted by the WSU Office for Access, Equity & Achievement, Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program, Department of English, First Scholars Program, Office of the Provost, Suder Initiative for Faculty Professional Development, Student Affairs, Teaching Academy and WSU Global Campus. It was live-streamed by the Global Campus. The video is available on YouTube

An Insider's Look at Course Verification

by WSU Online 25. June 2014 12:34

How do I submit changes to my online course? What format should I submit my changes in?

I frequently hear these questions from instructors, and since they are such common questions, I wanted to share the answers with all of you.

Global Campus uses the Course Verification system to communicate with instructors. Course Verification is a great tool because it allows us to communicate back and forth with the instructor about their course, keeps a running log of the conversation, and allows anyone on our team to view the conversation.

This visibility is a great benefit because if your course designer is out of the office, another member of our team can still log in to view the changes you are requesting. It also helps us keep a record of the changes that were made to a course.

Course Verification is also the perfect way to communicate changes you want to have completed in your course space. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing a few specific types of changes you would request through the General Maintenance tab (General Maintenance is where you’ll request any changes that are not related to media, textbooks or proctored exam requirements).

If you want us to make large changes in your course, the best way to communicate those changes to us is to copy and paste your course content into a Microsoft Word document, then use the Track Changes feature in Word to make your changes. This will show us exactly where you want to make changes and exactly what those changes will be. You can upload this Word document directly to the General Maintenance tab within Course Verification. In the comment box, just let us know that you’ve attached a document with the changes you want our team to make.

However, you may have small changes to make such as a word or a phrase on a page, it is simplest to type this request into the comment box. You can tell us something such as, “In Lessons > Week Two: Overview, the second paragraph has the following sentence: “Using this process, we start by looking at the the assignment.” Please delete the duplicate the.”

If you have any questions about the best format to submit your particular changes in, please don’t hesitate to ask us! A simple way to ask a question is to type it into the comment box in the General Maintenance tab. There is someone assigned to your course who can give you great suggestions and help you work through the process.

Still interested in how instructors use Course Verification? Check out this recent posting by Dr. Moe: Now on an Island.

Celisse Ellis

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