eLearning Technology Blog

Meet Ruth....New Emerging Technology & Multimedia Specialist

by WSU Online 14. August 2014 12:24


This post comes from the desk of Ruth Gregory, the new Emerging Technology & Multimedia Specialist at the Global Campus. 

I come to Pullman having spent the last decade on the watery side of Washington.  I have twenty years of experience in the creative industries and my career path has been filled with all sorts of adventures.  I worked for a time at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles as a Page (like Kenneth from 30 Rock) on shows like Soul Train and Dharma and Greg.  I also spent several years working on a documentary about female ski jumpers trying to get their sport included in the Winter Olympic line-up (they finally got to jump at the 2014 games in Sochi).  For the past decade I’ve been collaborating with my Seattle-based colleagues on a series of short documentaries.  The most recent, Maikaru, is about a young man looking towards a bright future having survived a childhood filled with violence and human trafficking.  Although the film was completed just last March it has already won several prestigious awards including Best Documentary Short at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.  If you are interested in seeing more of what I have done you can check out some of my media work on my personal website: ruthmakesmedia.com.

I’ve also spent a good amount of time in higher education as a student and faculty member.  I earned my Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College, my Master of Fine Arts in Film from Ohio University, and my Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington Bothell.  I taught for five years as an adjunct faculty member at Shoreline Community College in the Digital Filmmaking where I transitioned the department into a degree-granting program and developed the first online courses.  I also worked for two years at the University of Washington Bothell in their pre-major program (CUSP) where I taught interdisciplinary courses centered on art, media, business, and technology.

I am excited to be relocating to the Palouse with my husband, Geoff, our lovable lab mix Layla, and two cats, Darryl and Michonne (yes, they are name after popular characters on The Walking Dead).  In my off time you’ll probably find me at one of the local movie theaters, walking my dog on the great trails we have here, or in a swimming pool.

As the Emerging Technology & Multimedia Specialist my job is all about exploring different ways we can use technology in higher education and supporting faculty in the implementation of that tech in their classes.  I also supervise the amazing media crew at the Global Campus.  Feel free to contact me at ruth.gregory@wsu.edu or (509)335-2105 if you want to discuss the technical possibilities in your online, hybrid, or face-to-face classes.

I look forward to meeting more of the WSU community real soon… preferably at Ferdinand’s. :)

Ruth Gregory

Becoming a Virtual Mentor at the WSU Global Campus

by WSU Online 31. July 2014 09:24

Throughout the academic year I receive inquiries from people interested in becoming a Virtual Mentor (VM), some of whom are recommended by instructors and faculty, but others are familiar with the program based on having had a VM in one or more of their courses. Existing VMs also identify students who appear to have the skills to become a VM.  Becoming a VM has turned out to be quite a competitive process for two reasons.  First, there are usually more applicants than positions available and, secondly, there is only one training workshop offered each year—usually in the summer.  Therefore, those who apply the earliest or have been on the waiting list for a considerable period of time (months), have the best shot at being accepted into the Workshop.

Training to become a VM is an intense process. During the workshop, which is offered to potential VMs for free and runs for approximately 5 weeks, participants are faced with several tasks and obstacles to overcome as a group. The workshop begins with introductions and quickly moves into the first unit which covers the importance of community building in an online environment and successful methods to emulate.

The next unit focuses specifically on the role of the VM in a course. There are often misconceptions about the role from both the instructor and students regarding what a VM can and cannot do. In order to be a successful VM it is important to know the boundaries and the best way to offer assistance when asked.

The next activity focuses on scenarios, and we feel this is the most integral part of the workshop. It gives potential VMs a chance to resolve real issues that can come up in a course, offer solutions and receive feedback in a safe environment from experienced VMs who also participate each year.

Our final activity involves a reflection piece and is one of the few things a potential VM will do on their own. They will take a look back through the workshop discussion forum and review the posts they have made along with the feedback received from the workshop coordinators and the experienced VMs. This exercise requires them to reflect on their experiences in this workshop and to be open to receiving feedback from peers.

Some of the participants who successfully complete the workshop will be offered a VM position.  They will shadow an experienced VM during the fall semester and then take on their own courses in the spring.  Those who are not offered a position right away are often able to join the program at some date due to attrition.

A Note about Blackboard:
In order to be prepared for the new platform VMs will be given access in order to look around and become comfortable with the navigation and tools available. Several VMs have had experience in Blackboard before and will share their knowledge with the group as well. Our goal is to be well versed in the navigation and tools of the platform by the time students have access in spring of 2015.

Margy Fotopolous

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