Recapping the IUPUI Assessment Institute

As always, attending any conference causes a brain overload, and this year’s Assessment Institute was no exception. Thank goodness for my colleagues who can share the load of joining a variety of sessions. In this blog I will chip away at the large amount of information that I attained, and share it with you. But first let me recap where I’ve been and what has been happening.

The past two years have been busy as the faculty have been tip-toeing, walking, stumbling, and eventually confidently sauntering down the road to assessment. It all began with the Phased Assessment Plan which guided the faculty in adopting our Leadership Model and connecting course goals and objectives to the five leadership principles and their corresponding objectives.

Assessment Phased Plan Graphic

The curriculum mapping phase was a bit difficult, but that was to be expected with this particular faculty. The great thing was that everyone wanted to learn and understand what curriculum mapping was and what it could do. At first, it took a bit of time to generate understanding that each course does NOT cover each and every leadership objective. The phrase “One Course MBA” was coined, and eventually understanding of curriculum mapping was achieved! One of the greatest results of this process was generating cross-discipline conversations, which are on going. In a future post, I will go through the mapping process, and talk about how we got the faculty on board.

Which brings me back to the IUPUI conference, and something that I learned about curriculum mapping. And that is that I need to consider the curriculum map a LIVING document. Never is a map “one and done”, but rather, much like construction in Chicago, it is on going and never ending.

A curriculum map should contain the depth of not only the program (course level), but dig into each individual course, into each individual assignment, and even into each learning objective for each session of the term. Doing this can illustrate the big picture of the program, but also give the course teams insight as to what is taught when, and they will have the opportunity to drill down into individual topics and how they are taught. Sharing this information not only provides continuity and greater understanding of the material, but it will generate conversations to ultimately increase the rigor of the course and curriculum. Win-win-win! Students win because they will learn important concepts that will be applicable immediately; faculty win because they are continuously improving what and how they teach; and administration wins because it now becomes easy to show how the loop is closed.

Sounds like a boat load of work. But wait! Here’s the best part: at the beginning of this process, we created a template that asked the faculty to list out their current objectives, connect those to the leadership objectives, and list out what assignments achieved these objectives. Even though I would like to claim that I originally planned for this, the truth is that I was not sure how to connect all of the information that I knew I wanted to the ultimate output of the curriculum map. But now I do. That is the value of an academic conference, where a gathering of people who have done what you need to do like to share. And in the spirit of sharing, I will pay that forward. Contact me if you would like to see a sample of the templates we used, and for ideas on how to use the template for your own unique mapping project.

Thank you to all of the presenters.


Education of the future….or are we kidding ourselves?

It is always surprising to me to find out that there are academic institutions that have not fully embraced online learning. Or maybe the surprise is that online learning is seen as the “cash cow” that will support the rest of the institution, yet no additional funds are allocated to technology or development. Or, even worse, that creating an online course is a one-and-done effort.

I am very lucky to have entered academia right at the time when technology was just becoming useful in the classroom. Beyond PowerPoint, that is! My background in the graphic arts back then gave me a bit of an edge in that I could easily develop HTML pages and translate my experiences with software (My “first” career began with Photoshop version 1) to the new (at the time) learning management systems.

But I have to step back and think: has technology and online learning truly been the catalyst we think it has? This is one of the questions that I will be exploring over the course of this year. Please join in, leave me a comment, or share some resources. 2015 might just be the tipping point we have been waiting for!

Persistence (and maybe practice) Makes Perfect

I took a look at faculty persistence as it leads to modeling of expected tweeting behavior. By looking at the correlation of faculty tweets to student tweets, it can be easy to draw the conclusion that if the instructor continues to participate in the twitter activities then the students will as well. 

However, my co-researcher (@AuroraReinke) and I have looked a bit deeper into these assumed correlations. There is additional evidence that the quality of the tweets also play a role in encouraging students to continue tweeting. For example, if the only time an instructor tweets is to remind students that homework is due, there will not be continued quality participation on the students’ part. In an examination of these classes with these sorts of tweets, the student participation was low, and only served an an outlet for similar style tweets that would not add quality content to the course or incite outside conversations or engagement.

Interestingly, at the #BbWorld13 Clay Shirky (@cshirky) gave a keynote address about the phenomenon of using social media in unintended ways. He encouraged this, stating that there are no “silly” uses of a tool, and this leads to serious uses (academic uses in my world). His keynote (and his latest book Cognitive Surplus) addressed the fact that our society today seeks out ways to collaborate and contribute to the ever expanding creative body of knowledge. 

So, the big takeaway needs to be “keep on tweetin'”! You might find something interesting that piques your curiosity, and you may just make some interesting connections and discoveries!



BbWorld 2013: Speaker handouts

For all of those that were interested in getting a copy of our presentation and the Twitter assignment, I have attached the documents here. Please feel free to modify the Twitter assignment in any way that fits your specific institution, but be sure to let me know how it works! You can tweet any results to the hashtag: #teachwithtwitter, or drop me a note via this website. I look forward to hearing from you.

BbW13_PPT_Content_50178_Speaker Support_Boncuore-Reinke

Twitter Assignment

You can also follow me on Twitter: @cherylbonc



Twitter. Results.

The twitter study has concluded (several weeks ago, but who is counting?). As I expected, the results were very mixed…and the results were determined by several things:

1. Experience level of the instructor
2. Persistence of the instructor
3. Type of class that twitter was implemented in

My colleague (@AuroraReinke) and I will be presenting full results at Blackboard World 13 (#BbWorld13), so I hope to see you there. I will also be blogging about the conference, so check back regularly, or follow my tweets: @cherylbonc. Read More

276 students… 13 hashtags… 10 professors… The Twitter Experiment has begun!

276 students…
13 hashtags…
10 professors…

The Twitter Experiment has begun! This experiment began innocently enough – if you read my last blog post, you will know that it was basically a simple transition from me doing the work for my students, to my students finding their own interests and resources. My thought was that students would be more engaged in making connections to the outside world and would enjoy contributing to their own learning. The class I teach is a freshman class that covers the institution’s core academic competencies, plus our value competency of environmental stewardship. Read More

Student Engagement: Twitter as a Research Tool?

OK, so we all know that most teachers tell students that “Wikipedia is not a credible source, and you should never use it”….(I actually disagree with this statement, but that will be a different blog post.) But what about using Twitter as a tool to “crowd-source” relevant information about assignment topics?

Everyday, I check out my Twitter feed to see what people like me are looking at in the world. If I find something interesting, relevant, or intriguing, I pursue that lead. I can read the information or save it for later, pass it on to my twitter followers, or share it with co-workers who may not follow me (but they should). Read More

2013 Topic: Engagement

Throughout 2013, I will be leading the Center for Teaching and Learning at Kendall College through an exploration of the topic of “Engagement”. Throughout the institution, we will all be working with students, staff, and faculty to discover what it really means to be engaged: with courses, content, communities, and each other. How do we foster engagement, increase engagement, become engaging? To increase engagement, do we need to use technology and Web 2.0 tools? Do we hold and attend campus “un-conferences”? What about book clubs? Coffee chats? E-Newsletters? There are many ideas coming from all departments. It is time to share them, participate, and see what happens.

I invite you to watch our progress – no, I invite you to JOIN us in this process! Follow my blog, add your comments, tweet about what you are doing to increase engagement at your institution (use the hashtag #engagement). Who says it has to be an isolated experiment? I look forward to hearing and reading about some engaging ideas throughout the year!

Engaging Today’s Student

I have heard from many faculty that our students don’t ever seem to read the textbook. While I would argue that this is true beyond my institution’s walls (and in some cases hold true for faculty and administrators – I know I am guilty too), the norm seems to be to lecture to students to make sure they “get it”. Well, if you think about it, why should students read, if we’re going to go over the entire text in class?

Most lectures, whether F2F or online, should be spent explaining those particular concepts/ideas/procedures/rules/problems that we, as content experts, know our students will have problems with. Read More