Monday, November 26, 2012

More News About Community and Technical Colleges

If you are interested in more news regarding Washington State Community and Technical Colleges, you may wish to subscribe to the NEWS LINKS, compiled by the WashingtonState Board for Community & Technical Colleges.
Email subscription:  NEWS LINKS | SBCTC News Links blog: |RSS feed subscription: NEWS LINKS BLOG 

Not Just Math and English...Obstacles to Completion

Community College Research Center, November 2012
Not Just Math and English:
Courses That Pose Obstacles to Community College Completion

Matthew Zeidenberg
Davis Jenkins
Community College Research Center

Marc A. Scott
New York University
Discussions of the barriers to completion in community colleges have largely focused on student success in introductory college-level math and English courses, and rightfully so, since these courses are typically required for degrees. However, there is a much broader range of courses that also serve as “gatekeepers” in the sense that they are obstacles to completion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Core to College: Common Core and Smarter Balanced

Bill Moore, Director of the Washington State Core to College project, provided the following information about the Common Core State Standards and SMARTER Balanced.
Washington Core to College
Project Goals
Ø  Build faculty ownership and understanding of the CCSS as meaningful and useful college-readiness standards
Ø  Develop statewide agreement on the use of the CCSS in defining Washington college-readiness standards and the role of the SMARTER Balanced assessment instrument in assessing that readiness
Ø  Promote local use of CCSS framework and Smarter Balanced assessment within higher education in ways that improve student transitions between high school and college
You can see more info about the work as it develops at ttps://

 For more information about the Common Core State Standards, see For additional Common Core resources specifically for teachers, see

For more information about the Smarter Balanced assessment consortium (and to view the web-based released preview items from the assessment), see

Friday, November 16, 2012

ACE Webinars

From Diego Novarro:
Last week, the Academy for College Excellence's
webinar on the
Affective Domain: Precursors to Academic Performance had a record turnout.  This was the first webinar in our series on the affective domain, and we had many requests for a more in-depth exploration of this topic. After hearing your comments, we are excited to announce that we will be holding a two-part webinar on Precursors to Academic Performance beginning later this month!
To give you a sense of participants' feedback from Friday's webinar, the following
are results from those who responded to several of our
99% Strongly Agreed or Agreed (68% said Strongly Agreed) that the academic semester can be used to strengthen the affective precursors to academic performance,
  • 67% said the webinar described between 50-100% of their students; and 92% said between 25-100% of their students when asked: what percentage of students at your college have we described (when describing student needs),
  • 90% chose one of the ACE Solutions or All of the Above (66% chose All of the Above) when asked: what ACE Solutions most likely will help my college strengthen students' affective precursors to academic performance (ACE solutions included: ACE Professional Development, ACE Affective-Oriented Curriculum and Materials, and ACE Affective Measurement Tool).
For those of you who didn't get a chance to attend last week, logged in late, would like a refresher, or know of someone else who would be interested in learning more about this topic, this Precursors to Academic Performance webinar will be split into two 1-hour sessions, allowing us to delve deeper into the subject of precursors. You can learn more and register here or at the links below:  1. Precursors to Academic Performance Part 1: Why Affective Learning is Important & How to Measure Affective Precursors Friday, November 30, 2012 from 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM PST
Part 2: Who Benefits from Affective Learning, Friday, December 7, 2012 from 9 AM - 10 AM PST

In this FREE two-part webinar, ACE founder Diego Navarro will discuss the role of the affective or non-cognitive domain in meeting the needs of developmental education students in higher education and why it is an important precursor to academic performance. Diego will discuss ACE's measurement approach and the evidence collected over two years from six colleges. Register now (for Part 1)! Register now (for Part 2)!

If you haven't yet had a chance to sign up for the last two webinars in our Affective Domain Webinar Series, you can learn more and register here or at the links below:

2. Teaching to the Affective Domain  Friday, December 7, 2012 from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM PST

In this FREE webinar, Navarro will talk about teaching to the affective domain and what you can do in the classroom to meet the needs of your students. Diego will also outline the professional development workshops and curriculum ACE has developed that prepares community college faculty to meet the affective / non-cognitive needs of community college students. Register now!

3. Rethinking Orientation to Community College Friday, February 1, 2013 from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM PST

In this FREE webinar, Navarro will discuss the need for an intensive introduction to community college that shifts the students' mindsets and behaviors towards improved academic performance. He will discuss curriculum that addresses and evidence that shows shifts in student's affective factors. Register now!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cultural Attitudes and Productive Persistence

Here's an NPR story focused on cultural attitudes with respect what matters in terms of learning: "Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning" While the term isn't used in the story, in other settings--including last year's math conference here in Washington--Stigler and his colleagues talk about the critical role of "productive persistence" in student learning, and it's been a particular area of focus for the Re-Thinking Precollege Math project, and in particular a small working group focused on Student Attributes for Math Success; this group has developed some classroom resources that math faculty can use to address issues like productive persistence through the design of classroom activities and environments.

Recent U.W. Study Finds Lecture-Capture Use Contributes to Learning

Use of Tegrity: UW Lecture Capture Tool Report
A large majority of UW students feel that reviewing Tegrity lecture capture recordings contributes to their learning, according to the findings in UW-IT’s just released report. An assessment, undertaken in Winter and Spring Quarters, aimed to learn how Tegrity was being used in courses on all three campuses, identify best practices, uncover any unmet support needs or obstacles, and find out how instructors and students would like to use Tegrity in the future. Read more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mining Data to Help Students

From Campus Technology:

MiningData to Help Students
In the second installment of a two-part series, CT examines how pioneering schools are mining Big Data in hopes of uncovering the ultimate riches: improved student learning and performance.

  • VIDEO: Jeff Borden, VP of instruction and academic strategies at Pearson eCollege, advises institutions not to worry about perfection in Big Data collection and analysis—just get started.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Data Supports Decision to Enroll in Community Colleges

From Education Week:

A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today finds 80 percent of transfer students with an associate degree either graduated or remained in a four-year institution, and 71 percent earned a degree within four years.
Read the full story...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flipping or Inverting the Classroom

What does it mean to flip or invert your classroom?

It means that instructors are providing online resources (text, videos, podcasts, quizzes and so forth) for student learning outside of class, reserving class time for collaborative work, concept mastery and application, and other higher-level learning.

Here's a wonderful graphic depiction of flipping the classroom... 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Real Revolution is Openness

The Real Revolution Is Openness, Clay Shirky Tells Tech Leaders

November 7, 2012, 9:29 pm
Denver — Clay Shirky is one of the country’s most prominent Internet thinkers—“a spiritual guide to the wired set,” as The Chronicle Review put it in a 2010 profile of him. In his latest book, Cognitive Surplus, the New York University professor argues that a flowering of creative production will arise as the Internet turns people “from consumers to collaborators.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Shirky took that message to a group of higher-education-technology leaders who have been buffeted by a rapidly evolving ed-tech landscape. Mr. Shirky, in a keynote speech kicking off this year’s Educause conference, explored how technology was changing everything, from research to publishing to studying. (The talk starts about 20 minutes into this link.)
Read the full article...

The Practice of Writing

From Tomorrow's Professor Digest, Vol 68, Issue 2:
NOTE: Anyone can SUBSCRIBE to the Tomorrows-Professor Mailing List by going to:

In the game of publishing, consistency beats brilliance. This does not mean that brilliant ideas do not matter.Who would not love to develop an innovation in a field that would profoundly affect the lives of others? Practitioners and faculty in the human services fields want to help. We want to have impact and change the world. However, it is important that we not wait until we have a brilliant epiphany before we write. Perhaps brilliant, transformative ideas are not the only ones that should be written down (and perhaps these types of ideas only can come about in the context of writing more routine, ordinary insights). Perhaps the goal should be providing meaningful, valuable contributions to our professions. Expecting anything more may create too much pressure and lead to debilitating blocks and limitations. Besides, more than one brilliant scholar has been denied tenure for not having developed the practice of writing and so not publishing. To be successful in publishing articles, you need to develop writing as a practice or discipline.

In this sense, writing is similar to meditation. It is very hard to meditate well if you only do so once in awhile. Meditating only when you want to reduce stress may provide some benefits, yet many of the most powerful effects demand daily practice. When you meditate daily, meditation becomes integrated into the core of your life. Over time it becomes both easier and more beneficial. Having a daily meditation practice forces you to be disciplined, consistent, and focused. Over time, you experience new depths, insights, and benefits. If you miss more than a day or two, you come to feel as if something were missing, as if something were not right.

The same is true with writing. When you are out of practice, the blank sheet is daunting. However, when writing has become a central part of your life, words and ideas tend to flow, if not effortlessly, at least more smoothly. Daily or near-daily writing can even become like a meditation practice, something that takes you out of yourself, connects you to different parts of your personality, and helps you let go. When writing becomes a friend, a daily routine, it loses much of its anxiety-producing qualities.When you do not have to worry whether you will be able to produce because you already are producing on a consistent basis you are free to consider what you want to write about and who you want to become as a scholar. What we are suggesting is that we treat writing as a creative, life-inspiring practice. This clearly demands an attitude shift for many of us. It is not enough to wish this relationship into existence: it requires practice and work, including work on the psychological and emotional barriers that you identify in yourself. It also can mean learning to view writing as a vehicle for becoming more fully who you are. For some, this may be an extreme and unhelpful goal. For those of you who do not wish to see writing in this almost spiritual light, at the very least you nevertheless will need to develop a practice of writing.

Developing rituals is a valuable way to create a practice of writing. Rituals mark the end of one period or event and the beginning of another. Developing rituals around writing says, "Now I move from this past activity to writing, which is all I will do with this time." This book-marking of time will help you view your writing time as something special, and signals that other activities can wait until you are done with your writing.

Whereas I (Rich) sometimes write in my office at the college or in cafes during the day, I do my best writing at home, late at night. I like to write in my oversized leather easy chair. It has a good large footrest and two very wide stuffed armrests. On each armrest I can place four or five articles. My laptop fits easily into my lap and my arms rest comfortably by my side. Before I sit down to work, I brew myself a cup of green tea (or even pour myself a very small snifter of single malt scotch). I sit in my chair and drink about half a cup (this would be the tea), savoring the gentle tastes and aromas. Almost ritualistically, I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to have this time to write and enjoy my tea. I remind myself that my goal is to write either one page or for one hour, and anything beyond that is pure gravy.

We strongly encourage you to develop your own writing ritual, one that helps you to see writing as an enjoyable and enriching activity. Try to incorporate objects and experiences that you enjoy into your writing.

Rich Furman is also a writing and publishing coach. Further information about his services can be found at: You can also check out his blog, Write, Publish and Thrive! at:


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Progress on Prior Learning Work in WA

More than 130 participants from 50 Washington State institutions of higher education (both public and private) participated in the second annual Prior Learning Assessment workshop, held on November 2, 2012. Participating institutions demonstrated substantial progress and improvements in PLA awareness and implementation of practices.

These improvements are aimed at helping the state meet the legislative mandate to increase the number of students receiving PLA credit that applies toward degrees and certificates, achieve its degree completion goals, reduce the need for required courses which might be waived for students who earn prior learning credits, give credit where credit is due for returning military veterans and other students with prior learning knowledge and skills, and reduce time and cost to complete certificates and degrees.

A statewide PLA work group has been meeting since June of 2010. Since then, colleges have identified a single point of contact on each campus (completed in fall of 2011), adopted reciprocity agreements to ensure the portability of prior learning credits (completed in spring of 2012), adopted a common coding system to accurately track prior learning credit activity (completed in summer of 2012), and published prior learning assessment information in college class schedules and on college websites (completed in fall of 2012).

In addition, the statewide prior learning workgroup has provided online prior learning assessment resources (ongoing since 2010), created a prior learning handbook for faculty and staff (distributed in fall of 2012), and held two statewide Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) workshops for college and university teams (fall of 2011 and 2012).