Winter 2006 Issue

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

Published by: OSU Extended Campus
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon; Vol. 1, #3

December 25, 2005
http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu (Ecampus website)
/staff/departments/default.htm (Faculty website)


FEATURE ARTICLES

In this issue:

Online course design

Writing an Online Course

Where’s the Value in Timed Tests?

Interactive Class Development

International Experience for Ecampus Students

Student services nuts and bolts

Have Proctored Exams? Contact us!

Student Petitions to Add Courses Late

Pre-requisite Enforcement

Online Tutoring: Helpful to Both Students & Faculty

When is Assigning a Grade of Incomplete Appropriate?

Is Plagiarism an Epidemic?

Faculty Services Nuts and Bolts

Instructor Manual Available for Download

Making the Switch: Video to DVD

Course Syllabi and Textbook Orders

Updated Instructor Pay Letters

Parting Notes


Online course design

Writing an Online Course

By Juanita Lamley, Assistant Professor, College of Education

One of the most challenging aspects of teaching online is writing a new course. I post the entire course at the beginning of the term, so it is necessary to anticipate all the variables and possible responses to them, before knowing students’ prior knowledge and current needs.

This is contrary to best teaching practice, which requires pre-assessment and using the data collected to design appropriate instruction for individual students.

To compensate, I spend a lot of time planning and holding imaginary discussions with my students, following potential trains of thought to various conclusions, and figuring out alternative routes to the course outcomes. Afterward, I decide how much information to provide in presentations and links and how much to leave to the research of the students. In my program, that ratio is about 50-50. Lastly, I pretend to be a student and search the Web and the virtual library to make sure there are sufficient resources to complete the required research.

If I post too much information, students may get bored with all the postings on information they already know. If I misjudge and don’t post enough information, students may get lost and we have to use discussion time to fill in the gaps. It is a delicate balance to know how much information to post.

It can take me two months to design a course. If done well, once the term starts, it’s a piece of cake to teach it!

Where’s the Value in Timed Tests?

By June Kronholz, Staff reporter of the Wall Street Journal

Should time matter? It does in life and sports and bus schedules. But, increasingly, it doesn’t in standardized tests. A Wall Street Journal article by June Kronholz explores the pitfalls of timed exams and offers a new perspective on the debate of testing for quality, not quantity.

http://www.classroomedition.com/archive/03feb/EDUC.htm

Interactive Class Development

By Dianna Fisher, Assistant Director, Project Development and Training, Ecampus

Did you know that the Ecampus Project Development and Training (PDT) team can help you find a wealth of web resources for use in your class? Want to add some video? Go to http://www.open-video.org/index.php or http://www.archive.org/ where you can find videos on just about any subject. Need a source for free images? A newspaper from Botswana? A virtual frog dissection? A Fresnel Diffraction Applet? An interactive journey through ancient China? Call 541-737-8658 or email us (dianna.fisher@oregonstate.edu) and we can help!

International Experience for Ecampus Students

By Dianna Fisher, Assistant Director, Project Development and Training, Ecampus

Extended Campus has always been known for serving students in other countries. Recently however, the connection has grown even stronger through student-to-student interactions in a Sociology 204 Ecampus course. Drs. Olga Rowe and Becky Warner from the Sociology Department teamed up to provide an international experience for their students. Becky, the Sociology Department Chair, is currently on sabbatical in Bulgaria. With the work of the Ecampus PDT team, Becky was able to set up Blackboard login information for her students on site in Bulgaria to correspond in the discussion groups with Dr. Rowe’s Sociology 204 online students. For more on Becky’s experiences in Bulgaria check out her blog at http://warnersteel.blogspot.com/. This is another way to enhance the educational experience of your students by bringing other perspectives into the course dynamic.


Student services nuts and bolts

Have Proctored Exams? Contact us!

By Amy Folz, Student Services Coordinator and Jenny Bunch, Office Assistant, Student Services

We are gearing up to facilitate winter term proctoring for over 700 OSU students who are located all over the globe; students who will be in your courses! If you will be requiring proctored exams, Ecampus can facilitate the necessary arrangements, but to do so we need specific details as early as possible: preferably before start of the term. Organizing group and individual proctored exams is complex and the earlier we can begin the process the fewer problems will occur when your students attempt to take their exams. Briefly, the process entails: collection of information from both students and/or proctors; test venue arrangements to fit your testing requirements (computer access needs included); collection of your exam copies; distribution of the exams with instructions to the proctors. We schedule a limited number of on-campus proctoring times, and a database is maintained to track the process efficiently.

By submitting your information early, we will be more likely to have a proctoring time that accommodates your testing needs and those of your distance students.

If you have specific questions regarding proctored tests, please contact Amy Folz or Jenny Bunch in the Student Services Center by phone, 800-667-1465 or 541-737-9204, or email us at: mailto:ecampustesting@oregonstate.edu.

Student Petitions to Add Courses Late

By Josh Dean, OSU CSSA Intern, Ecampus

For various reasons, students often request to add courses after the term has started. Their reasons for a late course add have included: late notification of financial aid, dropping from other courses, and not being aware of start date of the term. The Student Services Center seeks to facilitate distance students’ needs by assisting them with petition processes. However, we have noticed that many of the students who add courses late in the term are often unable to catch up on the missed course materials/assignments and as a result often find themselves wanting to petition to drop from the course. Some of the issues contributing to these problems in performance are the student’s inability to access the course’s Blackboard site while the late-add petition is being processed, and delays in the student’s receipt of textbooks and course materials due to start of term shipping constraints. In order for students to make a better informed decision to petition for a late-add after the first week of classes, we ask that instructors make their class syllabus available to the student so that he/she will have a better sense of the challenges involved. (See related article on course syllabi and textbook orders below.) After the student has considered the syllabus, consulted with the instructor, and confirmed that they understand the nature and volume of necessary catch-up work, and further, that they can stay on top of the current work as well, then the student may be considered for petition. With the instructor’s consent, the student may then be referred to Ecampus Student Services (800-235-6559 or 541-737-9204) to begin the petition process.

NOTE: Beginning winter term, 2006, the Registrar's Office will be charging a $20 late fee for courses added after the second week of week of classes.

Prerequisite Enforcement

By Amy Folz, Student Services Coordinator

Prerequisites are now being enforced for the College of Liberal Arts, and will be enforced for the rest of OSU beginning fall 2006. Overrides will be required for students wishing to take a course without the required prerequisite or if the prerequisite was transferred in but not put into Banner. Departments can perform these overrides with instructor approval, using the override code of PREQ.

Some instructors may wish to grant an override if the student demonstrates sufficient will and ability to succeed in the course. Others will wish the student to prove that the course they took at a different institution is sufficient to count as the required prerequisite course. In this case it would be up to the student to provide information about that course and the grade they received.

Please do not override or increase the cap of a course. If you have questions about this, please contact Ecampus. Vickie Bailey and Amy Folz are working to make these changes each term, and are happy to notify you once the changes are made. It is very important that we have a chance to monitor all changes including cap increases to these courses so that we can better manage the logistics of instructor pay, multiple offerings, course materials (DVD/VHS) or special computer requirements needed for distance students.

Online Tutoring: Helpful to Both Students & Faculty

By Gayle Logue, E-Learning Systems Analyst and Paula Minear, Director of Department and Student Services

All students registered in Ecampus courses have access to online tutoring. Students may receive 15 hours of free tutoring this year in math, statistics, economics, biology, physics, accounting, chemistry, Spanish and writing. They may also receive constructive critiques of 12 written papers or essays. All tutoring is provided by academic professionals, with over 80% of them holding Master’s degrees or PhDs. Students access this tutoring through a tab in Blackboard. We encourage you to incorporate this new service into your courses to enhance student learning. For further information view our Online Tutoring web page.

When is Assigning a Grade of Incomplete Appropriate?

By Administrative Assistant, Faculty & Department Services, Ecampus

The first thing to consider is that a grade of Incomplete stays on a student’s record indefinitely, or until the grade is officially changed by the instructor. OSU policy states that instructors may grant the student up to one year to complete a course and receive a grade. The decision to grant an Incomplete is up to the instructor. The student must have completed significant course work to obtain an Incomplete. It’s up to each instructor to decide on the time period a student is granted to make up the work and receive a grade. We highly recommend that you document your agreement with the student by email and keep a record. Stipulate exactly what the student is to complete and by what date. After this date, whether the work is submitted or not, you will then calculate and submit the grade. Please check with your department for their policy and clearly state your expectations regarding Incompletes to your students. You may also visit OSU Academic Regulations for more information.

Below you will find a clear example of an Ecampus instructor’s course policy with regard to granting an Incomplete to his/her distance students, which adheres to OSU policy:

"Take this course only if you plan to finish it in a timely manner (during this term). I assign an Incomplete only when there is a strong and compelling case for doing so (e.g., health reasons, military commitment). I will not consider assigning an Incomplete unless the individual has completed over 50% of the course tasks (e.g., the story paper, papers 1 and 2, and the midterm). Please note that students receiving Incompletes are subject to assignment weight reduction (and consequently may not be eligible for A, or A- grades), because some of their work will be submitted late."

It’s an easy process to change an incomplete to another grade if it’s within one year of receiving the Incomplete. The instructor simply fills out the appropriate form and sends it to the Registrar’s Office, 102 Kerr Admin, Corvallis, OR 97331.

If the student needs more than one year to make up the Incomplete grade, the student must petition within that first year to be granted more time. The student can request a petition form from either the Registrar’s Office or Ecampus. The student must then gather appropriate signatures; faxed signatures are acceptable. If all required signatures can be obtained on campus, Ecampus can help gather the signatures.

For every Incomplete you grant, we ask that you enter into a written agreement with the student, giving them a clear and precise deadline to finish. If they fail to meet your requirements, we ask that you then do a removal of incomplete form for each student, giving them their appropriate grade.

A final consideration when advising students: if a student is debating whether to withdraw from a course versus taking an Incomplete grade, there are considerations beyond strictly academic advising on the likelihood of the student’s successful completion of the course, namely financial considerations. If a student takes a grade of Incomplete the student does not pay additional tuition to complete the course within the allowed time period; on the other hand, the student who withdraws must instead pay full tuition to complete the course if they choose to take it at a later date. In addition, the later a student decides to withdraw from a course, the less tuition will be reimbursed based on the fee reduction schedule. A student who is deciding to leave a course later in the term might be better off financially to opt for an Incomplete rather than withdrawing and loosing all or part of the tuition that have already been paid.

Is Plagiarism an Epidemic?

In the Fall 2004 edition of the E-Faculty News we posted an article discussing plagiarism: it’s definition, how it starts, with advice on how to detect it and how to control its incidence. The article, "Is Plagiarism an Epidemic," is still timely and still viewable on our Faculty website. We also invite your discussion on plagiarism at the Ecampus on line forum: http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/ask-ecampus/


Faculty Services Nuts and Bolts

Instructor Manual Available for Download

By Alfonso Bradoch, Assistant Director, Department Services, Ecampus

The updated Instructor Manual is now available on the Web on the Faculty and Department Services page: http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/faculty/. A PDF version is also posted for instructors wishing to print the entire manual.

Making the Switch: Video to DVD

By Vickie Bailey, Course Coordinator, Ecampus

Ecampus is in the process of converting all their tapes to DVD format. The goal is to eventually use only DVDs, which most students prefer.

Currently, Ecampus is checking with Media Services and other vendors about producing DVDs that can’t be duplicated, in enforcement of copyright protection.

If your course is currently using VHS videos through Ecampus and you would like to convert to DVDs, here are the guidelines for the conversion:

Provide or work with Ecampus to create a digital master;

Provide evidence that copyright approval has been or can be obtained;

The course must demonstrate enrollment of at least 30 students for the year;

The converted DVD must be valid for three years of use before revision.

Please contact Vickie Bailey, 541-737-9813 or Vickie.bailey@oregonstate.edu, if you would like to convert your VHS tapes to DVDs.

Course Syllabi and Textbook Orders

By Vickie Bailey, Course Coordinator, Ecampus

You might ask yourself "why does the Ecampus course coordinator bug us so much about syllabi and textbook orders?" Because it saves the student money and time!

When textbook orders are in early, the OSU Bookstore knows whether to buy the textbooks back from the student, thus offering a "used" book price instead of a "new" book price. Most of the Extended Campus students are not on the main campus. When students order their textbooks, the postage can add a substantial sum to their already large textbook bill. When students have one package shipped, it is less costly than having several packages mailed as orders from instructors come in!

An up-to-date syllabus for posting on the Ecampus Schedule of Classes allows students to get an overview of your course, including expected learning outcomes and major assignments, before they register for classes. A current syllabus is also important to help the student decide if the course will fulfill their learning needs and the structure of their degree program before they register. If after reviewing the syllabus a student has questions, they can call for clarification, thus avoiding problems after they have registered and begun the course.

Updated Instructor Pay Letters

By Alfonso Bradoch, Assistant Director, Department Services, Ecampus

Approximately two weeks prior to the start of each academic term a letter to each Ecampus instructor confirms an instructor’s teaching assignment for that term. Beginning winter term, 2006, we will be including brief information of a critical nature regarding policy and procedural changes that could impact you or your course. When this letter arrives, entitled "Ecampus Critical Updates," please be sure to review the content carefully and contact Ecampus should you have questions.

Parting Notes

Thank you for taking the time to read this issue of Ecampus Faculty E-News. We hope you found the information informative. If there is a topic you would like addressed in future issues, feel free to let us know: alfonso.bradoch@oregonstate.edu. We would like this newsletter to be helpful and informative for you.

OSU Extended Campus Main Office

4943 The Valley Library
Corvallis, OR 97331-4504
ecampus.oregonstate.edu
800-235-6559 or 541-737-9204
fax 541-737-2734

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