CASTpods for Fall 2016

Interested in hearing your colleagues (even if you can’t make the f2f meetings), then please have a listen (if you like) to the fall 2016 CASTpods.

CASTpod #1
In the first CASTpod of the fall 2016 semester, Kristin sits down with John Metoyer. Metoyer discusses his engaging dissertation research. The conversation progresses to wonder about the narrative structures embedded in higher education when it comes to educating for skills for students tacked to particular paths.

CASTpod #2
For CASTpod #2 for the fall 2016 semester, I sat down in my office with reference librarian and fresh-from-his-sabbatical Todd Heldt. We discussed information literacy: what it is, what he did with it, and what you can use it for with your students. I invite you to listen to our discussion and/or visit Todd’s Information Literacy (LIS 101) site.

CASTpod #3
In this week’s CASTpod, Kristin discusses critical reading skills with Dr. Evelyn Murdock. Our discussion presumes critical reading skills are needed beyond developmental courses. During our chat, Evelyn notes to be strong thinkers, students need to develop and practice critical reading and thinking skills. So, are you sold? Of course! But, if you’re not a reading teacher, how do you teach students to read critically? Evelyn discusses strategies you can use to critically engage your students in the readings for your course.

And more CASTpods are to come. These CASTpods will feature VP Armen Sarrafian discussing the HLC visit; Sunny Serres and Jenny Armendarez giving speech tips (for non-speech faculty); Asif Wilson talking about healing and transformative pedagogies; and Doug Rapp providing tips from the writing tutor’s perspective.

Faculty Development Week :: 2016

Kamran and I have put it all together (with a lot of help from many, many good HW folks, like Galina Shevchenko–see her handiwork in the FDW program below)!

Faculty Development Week 2016 starts Tuesday, August 2016 at 9:00 am with President Martyn, Vice President Sarrafian, Kamran, and me to welcome you and kick it all off (academic year 2016-2017, that is).

See you in the basement/student union on Tuesday (if not sooner at MX on Monday)!

Curious about the sessions?

There are nearly 70 presenters this year offering almost 75 sessions, not to mention 4 faculty speakers during lunch talks (each day from 12:00-1:45 pm in the basement/student union).

There are Create a Connection! sessions where you can ask a colleague (or two or six) to join you to discuss a collaboration or an assessment or anything.

There are sabbatical presentations.

There are sessions devoted to listening to CASTpods and reading The Harold Lounge posts to vote for a CASTy award for best CASTpod and best The Harold Lounge post.

There are opportunities for you to Create a Connection (Across a Divide or not). Please hobnob with your colleagues (before the tenor of the semester increases and those opportunities diminish).

Please help CAST honor our part-time colleagues.

And please read more in the FDW Program for 2016!

FDW Program 2016

June 2 Board & Mo’ Problems with Ed Tech?

On Thursday, June 2, there was a press conference in front of 226 W. Jackson regarding Child Development and keeping it available at all colleges. I didn’t attend the press conference, but I did speak (for my new monthly activity!) at the board of trustee meeting.

There were so many addresses from faculty and students (and community members) on June 2. Kim Knutson spoke so eloquently about the new procurement bucket for city purchases and students spoke so powerfully about consolidating child development and the recently changed nursing requirements.

I provide my address below. The clip I refer to is hyperlinked in the text.


Good morning, Chair Middleton, trustees, Chancellor Hyman, esteemed colleagues, and honored guests.

My name is Kristin Bivens; I am faculty member from Harold Washington. My doctorate is in technical communication and rhetoric. And this fall, I will proudly celebrate ten years at HW.

You might remember me from last month. I spoke about the infancy of educational technology and caveat emptor; or being cautious, careful, and conscientious spending taxpayer monies on educational technologies.

Today, I want to further contextualize a framework for decision making regarding educational technology or ed tech.

I am a critic of science and technology. I imagine my mind is critical of technology because of two main factors: my grandma Bivens—who lived through the depression and modeled conscious consumption and spending money wisely; and my background and education in technical communication.

Last month, I invited you to be critics of educational technology with me and to embody, as is our responsibility, the spirit and practice of caveat emptor–let the buyer beware.

It might be that it is June, and my brain is relaxed by the sights and sounds of early summer in our Chicago, but I have been thinking about Clark Griswold a little bit.

Do you know the movies starring Chevy Chase as the patriarch of the Griswold family: the National Lampoons movies? If you remember Clark Griswold and his family, they were Chicagoans, too, who liked to vacation in places like Wally World, Vegas, and Europe. I appreciate a good vacation, too.

In National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation, Clark Griswold takes his family to the Hoover Dam. While on the Hoover dam tour, which included getting inside of the actual Hoover dam structure, Clark wanders away from the tour group, and notices there’s a leak in the actual dam.

He pulls chewing gum out of his mouth and seemingly and benevolently, he plugs the leak with his chewing gum in the wall.

For a moment, he stops the leak. Then, suddenly the leaking water is redistributed and  more leaks emerge.

Uh-oh.

As you can imagine the scene is quite humorous, and I remember laughing quite a bit when I viewed this movie as a younger woman because Clark pulls out more gum, chews it quickly, and plugs up the latest leaks.

For a moment, again, he stops those new leaks, but yet again, the leaking water is redistributed, and creates new leaks.

Clark ends up sneaking away from the mess he has created, leaving it for someone else to fix.

Sometimes, solving one problem creates new problems.

The takeaway from Clark’s Hoover Dam scene is we should endeavor to not create more problems with our solutions.

And if we don’t know, we should ask. I am sure if an engineer was standing next to Clark on the Hoover dam tour, he could have advised him to keep his gum in his mouth.

Chair Middleton and trustees: I hope you think about Clark Griswold when educational technology “solutions” are presented to you.

Thanks for your time and attention.

 

Caveat Emptor with Ed Tech

I signed up to address the Board of Trustees this week. I thought I’d share what I talked about in the four minutes I was allotted to speak:


Good morning, chair Middleton, trustees, Chancellor Hyman, esteemed colleagues, honored guests and to all those known and unknown to me: hello.

Today, I want to provide information for you to consider applying to the decision making process as the board of the City Colleges of Chicago regarding educational technology.

I am Kristin Bivens; a faculty member from Harold Washington. I teach writing there. I have for ten years. My doctorate is in technical communication and rhetoric.

Around HW, I am known as a tech-savvy teacher on my campus where I coordinate the committee on the art and science of teaching. I create videos, podcasts, and digitize content. [For confirmation, see President Martyn.]

But, I am a critic of technology. [I am also skeptical of 3-D printers. Honestly, they freak me out for reasons I cannot elaborate on in four minutes.]

For the past fifteen weeks, I have proudly and dutifully served as one of several HW representatives on the district placement team. [The fruits of the placement teams’ labor, I am told, you will become aware of soon.]

I will use two qualifiers to describe my experience on the district placement team: valuable and worthwhile.

Because of my work on the district placement team I have thought deeply about the role of educational technology in my own, my institution’s, and our district’s pedagogical practices.

And I have thought deeply about what role educational technology should have in our district.

To think more deeply, I used ideas from the Roman M.A.C. Also known as Marcus Aurelius Cicero, or more plainly just Cicero [more than just a street name in our fair city].

Cicero wrote three books, essentially letters to his son, who was studying in Athens. By “studying,” I mean partying and carrying on, obviously to Cicero’s chagrin and displeasure.

Cicero wrote De Officiis or On Duty to his son as a moral treatise about decision making.

I use Cicero’s framework for decision making because I find us — all of us– at a similar stage of moving from adolescence to maturity regarding our use of educational technology.

Difficult decisions regarding educational technology are certain. Cicero reminds us of growing pains, like those I mention here regarding educational technologies:

Above all we must decide who and what manner . . . we wish to be and what calling . . . we would follow; and this is the most difficult problem in the world. For it is in the early years . . . when our judgment is most immature, that each of us decides” (De Officiis, I.XXXII)

We can make choices that serve us in the moment — expedient decisions, which tend to be costly (and sadly, wasteful) when it comes to educational technology.

Or, we can make ethical decisions — those that reflect best pedagogical practices, rooted in empirical, peer reviewed, scholarly research, not white papers, trends, and manufactured educational crises.

Decisions we make — all of us—, but chair Middleton and trustees: you approve or deny purchases that dictate practice for the 110,000 students in a city of nearly 3 million who depend on us to be critical, reflective, and smart.

And best practices in education resoundingly indicate pedagogical needs dictate the technology we use and not vice versa.

[Note: due to time constraints the *next few paragraphs were left out of the four-minute talk.]

*Although a myth, the lesson of the space pen is an important one, as told on snopes.com:

*During the space race back in the 1960’s, NASA was faced with a major problem. The astronaut needed a pen that would write in the vacuum of space. NASA went to work. At a cost of $1.5 million they developed the “Astronaut Pen.” Some of you may remember. It enjoyed minor success on the commercial market.

The Russians were faced with the same dilemma.

They used a pencil.

*According to NASA, Fisher Space Pens eventually went to space; but they were not a NASA-funded project. Although a myth, snopes.com helpfully explains the lesson of the false metaphor: “sometimes we expend a great deal of time, effort, and money to create a “high-tech” solution to a problem, when a perfectly good, cheap, and simple answer is right before our eyes” (para. 4).

I invite you to be critics of educational technology with me and to embody, as is our responsibility, the spirit and practice of caveat emptor–let the buyer beware.  Lest the we be subject to all the undocumented and withheld defects of those educational technological products.

We buy what we buy. So, let’s buy well.

UP-UPDATED: CASTpods: listen, if you like

UPDATED: March 31, 2016  May 3, 2016

In an active attempt to hybridize CAST content, Kamran and I decided to take a two-prong delivery approach for CASTivities this spring: we’ve kept traditional meetings, but we have actively sought to CAST (pun, absolutely and totally, intended) a wider net.

I have been working to diversify and digitize content via podcasts or what Kamran coined: CASTpods. Currently, we’re housing the CASTpods on Sound Cloud. You can take a listen there, which 0ver 150 almost 275 300 400 of you have.  Here’s a rundown of the first six current nine fourteen for the spring 2016 semester. Due to space constraints, some of the earlier CASTpods have been archived on Dropbox.

CASTpod #1 (archived)
In the inaugural CASTpod, Kristin and Kamran talk about the preliminary questionnaire results; bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress; and what historical figure Kristin identifies with and how Kamran would choose to die.

CASTpod #2 (archived)
In the second CASTpod of the spring 2016 semester, Kristin talks about the spaces where we learn with faculty member Elisabeth Heard Greer. Elisabeth also serves as the academic online coordinator for the English department. From Malcolm X’s car sitting on a platform at the newly opened MXC to Foucault, Elisabeth and Kristin chat about the physical and virtual places where we teach and our students learn.

CASTpod #3 (archived)
For the third CASTpod of the spring 2016 semester, Kristin talks about math education with faculty member Chris Sabino. As an impetus for our discussion, we reference Conrad Wolfram’s TED Talk: “Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers.” Chris waxes mathematical about why we teach students math, numeracy, the value of math education, and the conceptual and practical realities of math education.

CASTpod #4 (archived)
The fourth CASTpod of the semester is a conversation between Kristin Bivens and Youth Work scholar and teacher Michael Heathfield.  Mike is a youth work and assessment scholar who has an impressive publication and speaking record on both accounts. In our discussion, one that emotionally and intellectually engaged me as a Chicagoan, teacher, and scholar, we discuss the role of violence, social justice, and a staggering 47% statistic that you need to listen to Mike speak about.  There are changes underfoot and Mike most eloquently shows the impact of those changes on our students while suggesting privileging the recruitment of a certain kind of student at CCC.

CASTpod #5 (archived)
For the fifth CASTpod of the semester, assessment gurus Carrie Nepstad and Erica McCormack join me for a conversation about the Assessment Committee’s integral role at HW. At the end of the discussion, I draw the conclusion regarding apt disciplinary positioning that makes Child Development (CD) faculty the leaders in assessment. At the end of our CASTpod, we share worries about our CD colleagues, as well as wonder about the HLC’s next visit.

CASTpod #6 (archived)
One CASTpod just wasn’t enough for talking assessment with Carrie Nepstad. So, Carrie joins me again this week for CASTpod #6 to discuss “Closing the Loop”–the Assessment Committee’s effort to take what we learn via assessment to improve our teaching and our students’ learning. Want to get involved? Check out the Assessment Committee’s page: www.ccc.edu/colleges/washington…ges/Assessment.aspx

CASTpod #7
Frank Wang, in the 7th CASTpod of the semester, discusses his National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education (NICHE) during his recent visit from La Guardia Community College (CUNY) to Harold Washington College (CCC) with Kristin. Dr. Wang defines numeracy as the “contextualized use of numbers and data in a manner that requires critical thinking.” Further, he explains how NICHE is similar to Writing Across the Curriculum programs on many higher education campuses, while explaining the importance of quantitative reasoning across curriculum in community colleges.

CASTpod #8
The mid-term and CASTpod 8 are here. And in keeping with being in the middle of things, in this week’s CASTpod Kristin talk about embodiment, quantitative data in context, and post-humanism. She calls on our colleagues to be aware of how you use technology in the classroom and she suggests the potential repercussions that go hand-in-hand with technology–disembodied decision making.

CASTpod #9
For the 9th CASTpod of the spring 2016 semester, Kristin interviews esteemed colleague Jen Asimow from Applied Sciences. In the interview, Jen offers practical, expert, and preliminary advice for thinking about re-designing courses using universal backward design principles. During the conversation, Kristin queries where should someone begin if they’re interested in re-vamping an inherited course? Or designing a new one? Spoiler alert: start with SPAS and SLOs. Teaser: you’re going to have to listen to Jen explain how and why.

CASTpod #10
Joining me for the first CASTpod post-spring break is Associate Dean of Instruction Cindy Cerrentano and co-chair of the department of English, Speech, Theater, and Journalism Sarah Liston. In a longer CASTpod, Cindy, Sarah, and Kristin discuss some data regarding high risk courses at HW, the importance of contextualizing these (and all) statistics, and connections between success, learning, and embodiment.

Kristin begins by asking a tough question: aren’t we always going to have high risk courses? If you accept the premise of that question, you’ll enjoy the dialogue that ensued.

Want to know more? You can read an article Cindy mentions: “On the path to Graduation, Life Intervenes” (chronicle.com/article/On-the-Pat…-Graduation/235603; and an article Kristin refers to “The Home that Me Doesn’t Exist Anymore” (www.buzzfeed.com/sandersjasmine19…nQVNEay)(written for Buzzfeed by an HW student, Jasmine Sanders).

CASTpod #11
If you’ve been at HW long enough, you know that my guest for CASTpod 11 has worn many hats: faculty member, department chair, dean of instruction, vice president, and primary HLC self-study author, Dr. John Hader. Hader has superbly served many roles in his more than 20 years at HW. In this week’s CASTpod, I pick Hader’s brain about his experience writing the self-study report from the last HLC visit nearly (gasp!) ten years ago.

We discuss what he learned, how he managed it, and expertise according to Barbara Oakley. Oakley uses neuroscience to explain experts as “mak[ing] complex decisions rapidly, shut[ing] down their conscious system and rely[ing] on their well-trained intuition and deeply engrained repertoire of [learned] chunks [of knowledge].” Experts wear many hats, and in our conversation, Hader explores some of his.
CASTpod #12

Did you know there are many spaces where students can work with a tutor? In this week’s podcast—the twelfth of the spring 2016 semester—BriAnne Nichols sat down with me to discuss the work the office of academic support does.

Teaching face-to-face? There are tutoring opportunities for your students. Teaching online? There are tutoring opportunities for your students. Teaching hybrid? There are tutoring opportunities for your students.

See the trend? There are numerous opportunities for you to work with academic support to further enhance your students’ learning. You can listen to BriAnne explain how you can get involved and what we currently offer. (And don’t worry, I think she’ll present more during FDW.)

CASTpod #13
Thinking about teaching without a textbook? In the #13 CASTpod of the spring semester, Math Department’s Jeff Swigart eloquently explains his choices to seek out alternatives to textbooks for the math courses he instructs using Open Education Resources (OER). When asked about the essential question faculty should consider before choosing an OER, he responded: evaluate the text before you choose it.

Whatever your position on OERs versus traditional textbooks from for-profit publishers, OER’s are current alternatives for faculty and students to deliver content in traditional classroom spaces. Further, an important and pivotal question for teachers and teaching: do we use technology to close or open learning opportunities?

CASTpod #14
Whether you can believe it or not, it’s almost the end of the 2016 spring semester. Looking forward, in a solo CASTpod #14, Kristin talks about the soon-to-be-in if not-already-in-your-inbox Faculty Development Week (FDW) proposal request for presentations.

The theme of FDW 2016 is Creating Connections Across Divides. FDW will be held at HWC from Tuesday, August 16 to Friday, August 19 (9am to 3pm each day).

Please submit your proposal by May 20.

To submit, follow the Google Form link in the CCC email announcement.

Compensation for Presenting: Part time faculty are paid $25 per 1 hour of presentation (a maximum of $100). This is in addition to any compensation administration offers for attendance. For example, if a PT faculty member presents two, 2-hour sessions they will be paid $100.

Full time faculty are comped 1 hour of registration duties for each hour of FDW presentation. Presenting does not count as additional attendance for required FDW time. For example, if an FT faculty member with standard registration duties provides two one-hour presentations, they will only be required to complete 28 registration hours.

As always, we invite a wide variety of useful and/or stimulating breakaway sessions from faculty, including both full-time and part-time. To help you frame (but not limit) your proposal submission, you might find it helpful to consider Creating Connections Across Divides–the FDW 2016 theme.

Some suggestions for sessions might include, but are not limited to:

+ Discipline Exhibitions: Past sessions like the Cadaver Lab Tour, Architecture Walk, and Creative Writing Workshops provide a sample of all the amazing activities and inquiries going on throughout the rest of our building. Our community is filled with experts from a wide variety of disciplines. It is often a pleasure to learn something from our colleagues’ expertise, and these experiences can often have unexpected benefits in our own classrooms. We are interested both in reprisals of past sessions and new ideas.

+Semester Preparation: Sessions that help faculty setup their Blackboard sites, re-design a syllabus, or think of a new plan for assignments and tests are useful to many faculty. We are interested in presenters who wish to provide a tutorial on different design strategies, lead a workshop, or facilitate a showcase of completed syllabi, Blackboard sites, or assignments.

+Science of Teaching: If you have been doing research on the science of teaching, it may be useful for our community for you to disseminate and share what you’ve learned.

+Technologies in Pedagogy: As technology changes, faculty will find more applications for various programs and devices within the classroom. If you have something you would like to share, we would be happy to put you on the program.

+Seminar Discussions: Are you interested in hosting a seminar discussion around a particular pedagogical question or topic? This year, we are encouraging proposals for open-ended seminar discussions in the hopes of fostering more exchanges of ideas and perspectives between faculty.

+Support System Tutorials: Everybody loves filling out travel reimbursement forms, but sometimes a tutorial on our various support systems can be useful. If you feel comfortable and experienced with a particular set of support systems, we encourage you to share your knowledge.

Again, these are merely suggestions, and we will be happy to consider proposals that fall outside the above topics and within or outside the FDW theme: Creating Connections Across Divides.

See you at FDW 2016!

 

Thanks for continuing to listen listening!

I have had the most worthwhile experiences talking with our colleagues about different topics. The discussions in CASTpods #4 and #5 haunt me still.

Have a listen, and look for a mid-term end of the semester survey about CAST in a few weeks in your inbox over spring break around finals week, as well as our new CAST space on the HWC/CCC webpage: http://www.ccc.edu/colleges/washington/departments/Pages/CAST.aspx.

On Twitter? Follow us there, too: @CASThwc

The End of the Summer Session (and so much more)

“It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today” began the email message from our FC4 President, and Child Development faculty member from Daley College, Jennifer Alexander.

Here’s the rest of her message:

In the interest of time, I will only speak briefly to this matter.

Last Thursday, July 16th, the Presidents of the 6 City Colleges that currently offer Child Development classes (all except Wright) and any faculty who happened to check their email (sent at 6 pm the evening before) participated in a very short conference call with district officers.

In this conference call, we were informed that the Child Development programs at all of the colleges will be closed and are “consolidating” at Truman College for the Fall of 2016.

This notion of “consolidation” completely undermines the mission of a COMMUNITY College.

Further, the conference- call delivery of a top-down decision that significantly impacts faculty and students at 6 colleges, with no faculty having ever been included in the decision-making process, is the OPPOSITE of shared governance.

There is so much more to say about this and so many other issues that have arisen this summer: tuition hikes, registration changes….. If I wrote to you everything I want to say, this email would be 10 pages long and not ready until next week. And so I decided to send out this shorter, quick communication just to make sure you knew this is happening and also how it happened.

More to come, soon. Take heart though: we’re taking action.


Perusing a recent Chronicle summary of “How Great Colleges Distinguish Themselves,” four areas were identified as contributing to collegiate greatness: leadership, communication, alignment, and respect.

I’ll just leave that there.

LGBTQ Ally Training

Yesterday, from 3:30 pm-6:00 pm in the CASTle on the 10th floor, the excellent Joe Hinton led a workshop and training to become an ally of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) folks on our campus at HW.

At the end of the training, Joe recommended we come out as allies. With this post, I am doing so.

And I would highly recommend the training to anyone interested in becoming an ally. During the training, in a comfortable and an open environment, we discussed our expectations, LGBTQ terminology, homophobia, heterosexism, heteronormativity, LGBTQ rights, bullying, harassment, and other LGBTQ-related topics and issues.

It was an informative and worthwhile workshop, and I am a proud ally, now.

Perhaps there is space on the Lounge for LGBTQAlly resources for our faculty?