Summer 2004 Issue

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OSU Faculty News
"Your Electronic Link to Teaching at a Distance"

Published by: OSU Extended Campus
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon; Vol. 1, #1
August 5, 2004
http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu (Ecampus website)
/staff/departments/default.htm (Faculty website)

- Welcome to Your First Issue of Ecampus Faculty News

In the questionnaire completed last winter by Ecampus instructors and departments, a majority of respondents requested more information on training opportunities, teaching techniques, updates, and news items. As a result, we have initiated this Ecampus Faculty Newsletter, which will be delivered to you via email near the middle of each term. If you wish to unsubscribe to this newsletter, subscribe to E-News (our Ecampus general newsletter), or customize your subscription settings, just follow the instructions at the bottom of this newsletter. Thanks for reading!

Vickie Bailey, Ecampus Course Coordinator
Paula Minear, Director of Department and Student Services


IN THIS ISSUE ~ Summer 2004

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

- Upcoming Training Opportunities
- Innovative Methods for Teaching Science Online

BLACKBOARD TIPS

- Tips from Jackson

NEW ECAMPUS FEATURES & SERVICES

- “Ask Ecampus” Goes Live!
- Prompt Connections: Ecampus Communications Center
- Online Learning Effectiveness Webpage

OTHER ECAMPUS NEWS

- Student Survey Results and Feedback for Instructors
- Graduate Student Requests Assistance

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

- Preview Next Year’s Schedule of Classes (SOC)
- Overview Syllabi Online
- Assistance for Your Students: Ecampus Student Services Center
- How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe


TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

- Upcoming Training Opportunities

In the coming months, OSU Extended Campus will be offering a series of clinics that will focus on tips and techniques for developing and delivering distance courses. Each two hour clinic will include a short tutorial for a specific development/delivery technique (15-20 minutes), a demonstration by an experienced Ecampus instructor (15-20 minutes), and one hour of individual, hands-on assistance from Ecampus course developers and Blackboard experts.

September: Efficient and Effective use of Blackboard Communication Tools
Friday, September 17, 2 - 4 pm
Barnard Classroom 5420, 5th floor of The Valley Library

October: Managing the Online Gradebook in Blackboard
Friday, October 15, 2 - 4 pm
Barnard Classroom 5420, 5th floor of The Valley Library

November: Creating Effective Assessments in Blackboard
Friday, November 19, 2 - 4 pm
Barnard Classroom 5420, 5th floor of The Valley Library

Please contact Jackson Cassady (jackson.cassady@oregonstate.edu) with questions, suggested topics, or if you would like to demonstrate a valuable technique you have employed in your courses. Pre-registration is not required

- Innovative Methods for Teaching Science Online

Ecampus hosted an Online Science Forum featuring Dr. Brian Woodfield, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Brigham Young University. The presentations are available on streaming video at http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/staff/departments/crs-dev.htm.

Ecampus plans to sponsor one or more of these large forums during the next academic year. The first topic will probably entail a review and discussions of course evaluation and applicability to promotion and tenure. We will provide more information about upcoming forums in the next newsletter.


BLACKBOARD TIPS

- Tips from Jackson
Asst. Director, Project Development & Training

Jackson CassadyCollecting multiple postings on discussion board. When reviewing comments posted in a Blackboard discussion board, it is not necessary to click each comment individually. To quickly view the content of multiple posts, click the "Show Options" button at the top-right of the comment list. A set of tools will appear across the top of the forum. To view several posts at once, select the posts using the check boxes to the left of the posts. Then click "Collect" in the list of forum tools. All the selected posts will open at once. Reply to any one of the open posts using the "Reply" button for that post.

Spell-checker now available in Blackboard, cleverly disguised as an icon “ABC” with a check over the top. You’ll find it below the textbox where you enter your discussion posts.


NEW ECAMPUS FEATURES & SERVICES

- “Ask Ecampus” Goes Live!

Although we love to talk with our distance students, we know that they have questions long after we have gone home for the day. Whether a student is just visiting, or is already enrolled as an Ecampus student, they will find answers to questions and receive online assistance at our new online communication center, “Ask Ecampus.” Our searchable knowledge base and online forums are designed to provide quality service 24-7; Live Chat sessions are scheduled, usually during regular work hours.

- Knowledge Base (KB): Our KB includes answers to over 1,000 questions and is regularly updated and refined to have the very latest information. You can type in a question, or you can browse the KB category. Currently, the main focus of the KB is to handle questions from students, but we are gradually adding questions/answers of particular interest to faculty and will be increasing capabilities in this area.
- Live Chat: Students and prospective students engage in real-time conversation with Ecampus staff, advisors and instructors. Scheduled sessions are posted at http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/chat/default.htm. Guest Host Chats will feature conversations with experts from Career Services, Admissions, and Program Leaders. Please let us know if you would be willing to host a chat session on programs or careers in your area of expertise.
- Online Forum: Threaded asynchronous discussions with Ecampus staff, instructors, and students include topics such as Getting Started and Technical Support. We plan to add forum topics of special interest to Ecampus instructors. If you have ideas for topics of interest to you or your students, please let us know.

Visit http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/ask-ecampus/ for these special online services.

- Prompt Connections: Ecampus Communications CenterMoina McMath-Walton

In addition to the online communication center (“Ask Ecampus”) described above, OSU Extended Campus has reorganized the way we handle incoming phone calls to our three (yes, 3!) toll free 800 numbers: 800-235-6559 for general Ecampus, 800-667-1465 for Student Services, and 800-375-9359 for Summer Session. Each of the three numbers used to ring to separate desks, with various forwarding and backup arrangements. Now all 800 numbers and general local numbers ring into our Ecampus Communications Center, coordinated by Moina McMath-Walton. Moina and student workers answer general questions about OSU Extended Campus and transfer calls to the appropriate person when students or faculty need more detailed answers. The Communications Center also answers general e-mail inquiries coming from Ecampus websites and will handle follow-up and mailings to prospective students.

- Online Learning Effectiveness Webpage

Has anyone ever expressed doubt that “real” learning is taking place in your online course? Check out our new webpages dedicated to Online Learning Effectiveness, http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/about/welcome/online-learning.htm. You can view research that has been conducted to investigate learning effectiveness as it relates to modality (online vs. face-to-face). You can also listen to OSU Ecampus instructors’ comments via streaming video to discover more about the learning that takes place in their online classrooms.


OTHER ECAMPUS NEWS

- Student Survey Results and Feedback for Instructors

We recently sent an online survey to nearly 1,200 students to help us evaluate the quality and effectiveness of our services at OSU Extended Campus. The 25% of students who responded rated and commented on their experiences with the revised Ecampus website, e-mail communications and phone interactions. Also evaluated were the online assessment of teaching, proctored exams, problems with course completion, and incomplete grades (received and resolved). When asked to rank new services, the students’ top choices were career advising, tutoring, knowledge base, live chat, orientation courses, and tutorials on the web.

We did not ask questions about student experiences within courses, as that is handled through OSU departmental evaluations. Our main goal was to ascertain how well we are supporting students in adapting to their online learning environment and in accessing available services at OSU.

It was apparent from many comments that students value clear instructions, consistent statements about expectations and requirements, and correct information in the syllabus. Some students stressed the importance of receiving the required materials lists and updated syllabi before the course begins, allowing enough time to obtain those materials before the start of class.

Many students prefer to take exams online, because of the logistics and added expense of exams that are proctored at a testing center. (Our newsletter next term will address the pros and cons of various testing options.)

Students strongly value timely correspondence from their instructors. Where students in a face-to-face course have the constant evidence that an instructor is working with them, students in online courses tend to worry when instructors are “off-line” for days at a time or do not answer their e-mails within a couple of days. The number one way to increase student satisfaction is to be responsive to students. Many students were extremely satisfied with the communication with their instructor. Others recommended improvement in this area.

If you are interested in a more complete review of these survey results, please let us know.

- Graduate Student Requests Assistance

Are you interested in exploring the frontier of new teaching and learning models in distance-based instruction? My dissertation research will study the development of higher-order thinking skills in distance-delivered courses. I will provide models of learning theories and critical thinking to instructors to enhance the design of instruction. Data collection will include online questionnaire(s), online observations, and interviews to determine the nature of instruction that supports student learning. You will benefit by experiencing enhanced design of existing online courses, and contributing to the research literature on distance-delivered instructional media. Courses delivered Fall 2004 are preferred.

Please contact Ruey Shieh at shiehr@onid.orst.edu for more information.


IMPORTANT REMINDERS

- Preview Next Year’s Schedule of Classes (SOC)

Please review your course offerings for the entire academic year at http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/soc/ecatalog/subjectcourses.aspx?term=all. If you would like to offer your course for additional terms, please fill out the CRN Request form at http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/forms/crnrequest.aspx. Questions or corrections? Please contact Vickie Bailey (541-737-9813).

- Overview Syllabi Online

"Sample" course syllabi are linked from each course listing on the Schedule of Classes http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/soc/default.htm. Previewing these syllabi allows prospective students to get an overview of your course, determine whether it fits their needs, learn what major exams and projects will be required, and obtain advance notice of learning materials you will be using. If your online syllabus needs to be updated, please send your syllabus in Word format to vickie.bailey@oregonstate.edu.

- Assistance for Your Students: Ecampus Student Services Center

If at any time your distance students need assistance in connecting to the main campus or have questions outside of your course information, you can refer them to the Ecampus Student Services Center: 800-667-1465 (541-737-9204) or by email: Ecampus@oregonstate.edu.

- How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe

To unsubscribe from our Faculty E-News, check or change your password, customize your email client, or sign up for additional Ecampus newsletters, please go to http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/newsletter/Login.aspx.


Please make this YOUR newsletter by requesting information or suggesting topics that most interest you as distance instructors and department chairs. Repeating features of this newsletter will include Blackboard tips, training opportunities, reminders, research synopses, and information on new services or projects at Ecampus that may affect you or your students.

Thank you!

OSU Ecampus Department & Student Services
http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu
800-667-1465

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