CVC 4 Leads The Online Track At Technology Institute 2000
Paul Meyers, project director of the California Virtual Campus Statewide/Rural Regional Center (CVC4), and a team of assistants led the Online Courses track at the Technology for Teaching 2000 Summer Institute sponsored by the Academic Senate and @ONE. This annual event was held at CSU/Monterey Bay in Seaside, California on June 5-9. Fourteen enthusiastic faculty members from all over California attended the Online track and left for home with a solid foundation for creating their own courses.
The Online track began Monday morning with Yvonne Maller, faculty coordinator for the CVC4. Yvonne presented a session on pedagogy and the principles of good practice in teaching. The ensuing discussion covered such topics as: faculty-student interaction, collaborative learning, active learning, tracking and reporting student progress, quality time on task, high standards of student performance, and learning styles.
Later in the day, Paul Meyers introduced the participants to Microsoft FrontPage and to course Web sites that had been set up on the CVC4 server. These Web sites came with a number of template pages, including a syllabus, glossary, site map, resources, weekly discussions, lectures, quizzes, and an area for students to upload their homework. After leading the participants through an overview of the template pages, Paul continued into more detail and some hands-on exercises
Tuesday was a hard-working and mostly hands-on day. In the morning session, participant Linda Mendez of Fresno City College demonstrated document management techniques by showing classmates how to use a scanner and an optical character recognition (OCR) application.
For the afternoon sessions, Yvonne Maller facilitated an overview of assessment techniques, both online and on-campus. The discussion started with a question on what to measure and how, and continued with a review of assessment and testing online. A substantial amount of time was devoted to the issues of concern such as security and integrity of online testing, student authentication, and plagiarism. Yvonne also stressed the importance of using classroom assessment techniques throughout the term as well final course evaluation.
Finally, she demonstrated online quiz-maker programs that can be helpful in building and assessing quizzes and exams. Participants all signed up for one online service called QuizCenter, offered free to educational institutions and their faculty by the Maui Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (http://motted.hawaii.edu). The site touts easy-to-create quizzes; students can see the correct answers as soon as they submit their quiz, and teachers receive student scores via email.
Wednesday morning Wayne Chenoweth of the High Tech Center Training Unit, demonstrated Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred (http://www.naturalspeech.com). Using a headset or microphone, the application can understand both dictation into a regular word processing file and general verbal directions on running a computer (i.e."Open Netscape" and "Type Address"). Wayne talked about the advantages of this product for both faculty who have limited typing skills and for people with disabilities. As an extension, Wayne also suggested different ways to make a Web site accessible to the disabled, and discussed sites such as Bobby (http://www.cast.org/bobby/) that can be used to rate accessibility.
After introducing herself via an audio clip embedded in her session outline, Heidi Larson, educational media design specialist of the CVC4, discussed the use of audio in an instructional Web site. She cited several reasons why audio might be helpful: as an instructor introduction device; as a student introduction device, thereby giving a more "classroom-like" feel and enhancing student-student interaction; as a device for teaching materials like music or spoken language; as a way of bringing a historical figure more prescient in the minds of the students (i.e. using clips of FDR or JFK); as a way of bringing an event to life, such as the sounds of a volcano or the launching of a space shuttle; and as a way of reaching visually impaired students (along with a text transcription for the hearing impaired).
She proceeded to give a demonstration of the free RealProducer software to record audio and then link the audio to a Web site. Her outline of audio resources, which she hopes to expand, is available at: http://host.cvc4.org/institute/audio/audio.htm.
On Wednesday afternoon Matt Hightower, Director of Cerro Coso Online and instructor for several Cerro Coso online teaching certificate courses, revealed to the participants a number of time-saving tips for incorporating Microsoft office documents into their course Web sites.
Matt also demonstrated how to keep track of students' grades using Microsoft Excel, then how to keep those grades in a password-protected part of a Web site for faculty access from anywhere. He demonstrated how to post the students' progress on the Web using just their IDs so they can check their progress at all times.
A representative from Tegrity demonstrated how to incorporate the Tegrity EduCart into a class. For more information about the cart, visit the Tegrity Web site (http://www.tegrity.com). Paul pointed out that the CVC4 has two carts available for loan to Region 4 campuses. See the CVC4 Web site for details (http://www.cvc4.org).
Matt and Paul continued the day's program first with a demonstration of Microsoft NetMeeting and then a class project using the application. NetMeeting is free software that allows video conferencing from the desktop, shared files and a whiteboard, as well as chat via text and voice (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/netmeeting/). NetMeeting could be useful in a class or during "office hours" to give students help or to explain something in real time.
The final session of the week was a comparison of two online course management systems, WebCT and Blackboard. Rick Mathews of San Diego Miramar College highlighted the features of the two systems and demonstrated how instructors use these systems to build and deliver their online courses. This session also provided an opportunity for Paul Meyers to explain online course hosting options provided by the California Virtual Campus.
By noon Friday everybody in the Online Courses track had acquired the skills to create their own basic classes. The final institute certificates were well earned and much deserved.