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Title III Grant Project
Enters Its Third Year

By Robin J. Hailstorks, Title III Activity Director

The Title III Grant Project Staff members are pleased to announce that the grant project will enter its third year beginning October 1, 2001. According to Dennis Bartow, project management and evaluation coordinator, the project goals and objectives for Year 2 have been met and expectations have been exceeded. One of the major goals of the grant project is to invigorate the faculty and to impact instruction by transforming the way in which we teach. I believe the faculty development initiatives have had a significant impact on instruction in a number of areas. This would include encouraging faculty reform efforts that infuse technology into instruction and that embrace active learning teaching strategies. Thus far, three faculty teams have been selected to participate in these reform efforts. Please visit the Title III Grant Web site to learn more about the Title III Grant in general and faculty development initiatives in particular: http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/title3

The Title III Grant Project Staff members congratulate the following faculty members for being selected to serve as members of the Phase 3 Faculty Team: Beth Atkins, Jessie Alexander, Tamba Alpha-Kpetewama, Jim Bridger, Eldon Baldwin, Angela Rhoe, Norma Schmidt, and Imogene Zachery. A brief description of each faculty team member’s project is presented below.

Beth Adkins (ALANA) and Jessie Alexander (Career Life Planning)
This project involves developing videotape and a CD-ROM to promote integrated learning across disciplines. The videotape will provide an overview of college majors within a division and possible career options related to areas of study. The initial videotape will provide insights into a specific discipline followed by videotapes, which will include other divisions on campus.

The CD-ROM will serve as a supplemental college orientation tool, which will support the campus resources and study skills manual. The students will be encouraged to use technology to support their learning and enhance their computer research skills.

Tamba Alpha-Kpetewama (Economics)
Many beginning economics students experience great difficulty using graphs and mathematics in their attempt to understand the basic principles of economics. This project will attempt to remove that impediment by the use of a hands-on technological approach utilizing the desktop computer and software developed in-house to demonstrate interactively the construction, the interpretation, and the application of mathematics and graphs in understanding and appreciating basic economic principles. This software will be user-friendly to the students by enabling them to construct and interpret simple graphs. We will also explore and experiment with other interactive modes of instruction such as the use of group work and projects, discussions about current economic issues featured in the news media, informative videos, use of the computer lab and students visiting the board to answer questions.

Eldon Baldwin (Mathematics)
My Title III project is to develop a Blackboard Web site "template" for voluntary use by mathematics faculty who are teaching MAT 104. This application of Blackboard is primarily intended for faculty teaching on-campus sections of the course. Blackboard provides all students and faculty in a class with multiple means of communication via the Internet at any time, day or night. Instructors can send e-mail to individual students, selected groups of students, or the entire class. The announcements section provides an electronic class bulletin board for both class and college announcements. No more Xeroxing multiple copies, forgetting or ignoring announcements that arrive in your campus or electronic mailbox!

Blackboard’s assignment section will provide carefully designed learning sequences that correspond to each unit. Rather than writing brief assignments on the chalkboard, or distributing a semester-long list of study assignments, Blackboard assignments are infinitely flexible. The learning sequences describe important vocabulary and concepts that the students need to learn, recommended study activities and techniques, and provide specific written and computer-based problem solving assignments. The instructor can set "due dates" in advance, but can also modify those dates as needed at any time during the semester. Blackboard can also generate online student surveys, quizzes, and tests that are linked to an online grade book.

Blackboard can also provide a variety of other features including staff information, book information, uploaded course documents, Web links etc. I use these features to provide students with a great deal of additional class orientation information: such as a course outline and calendar; college calendar and information (those "syllabus stuffers" that we receive each semester); a link to my Student Guide (a separate Web site on the academic server that describes basic class policies, student support services, study skills information, etc.); descriptions of required and optional textbooks, calculators, software, and references, and instructions on how to use various types of course software.

I believe that faculty and students who take advantage of these types of resources can benefit in many ways:

  • Enhanced technological literacy for faculty and students.
  • Enhanced learning support for students with stronger visual and kinesthetic vs. auditory learning styles.
  • Enhanced opportunities for faculty to communicate with students both inside and outside the classroom, as well as individually and collectively, about learning expectations, learning techniques, and study skills, etc.
  • Enhanced opportunities for students to communicate with faculty and with each other concerning content questions and learning difficulties.
  • Immediate assessment, feedback, and tutorial support from Internet-based mathematics software as students individually develop and practice mathematics skills using any computer with Internet access.
  • Individualized interactive learning can be more stimulating than paper and pencil-only problem solving for many students and thereby holds the potential to increase individual study time.
  • Immediate diagnosis of errors with supporting learning opportunities can reduce the negative and demoralizing effects of repeatedly practicing skills incorrectly on homework assignments.

I also believe that use of these and similar materials by both full-time and adjunct faculty will help us more clearly communicate standards for instruction and learning in MAT 104.

I describe my use of Blackboard as a "template" because I intend to freely share it with any of my colleagues, both full-time and adjunct, who wish to adapt it for their own use in future semesters. I am developing the site for use by my own students as I teach MAT 104 this fall. Over the winter break, I will adapt it as a template for use in the spring, and then offer training and support for interested faculty. All faculty users will be free to modify their individual copies of the template in any way they choose. To facilitate learning Blackboard and sharing new materials, I will also set up a companion "faculty-only" Blackboard site through which all faculty users of the template can exchange information, suggestions, questions, revisions, new links, new handouts, etc. Please feel free to contact me for additional information. (Eldon Baldwin, M-3046, x0446)

James Bridger (Biology)
My Title III grant is to develop cooperative learning activities to be used within the context of a Peer Led/Team Learning (PLTL) program in Biology 206. I was awarded a NSF "Workshop Project Associate" grant in 2000 for the development of similar materials in Biology 205. The program, which uses former students as group facilitators, has been used in four sections of Human Anatomy and Physiology (Biology 205) and the results have been very encouraging.

The PLTL concept is currently used in over 30 colleges, universities, and community colleges with over 60 faculty, 7000 students and 900 peer facilitators being involved. In virtually every setting and discipline, the results have been remarkably similar. That is, attrition goes down and grades go up. My experience has been no different. Attrition in my sections, when compared with 20 "pre-PLTL sections", went down by nearly 20 percent while the percent of grades above "D" increased about 10 percent. In addition to this data, the benefit to the peer facilitators is immense. Based on a survey I conducted and on informal statements, it is apparent that the peer leaders think that their increase in knowledge and in interpersonal skills is enormous. As evidence of this, all of my peer leaders have been in the program for multiple semesters and have constructed their personal schedules in order to accommodate their PLTL duties. These results encouraged me to apply for the Title III grant to develop a similar program for Human Anatomy and Physiology II (Biology 206). I will be developing the materials so that the program can be implemented during the fall 2002 semester. In addition to this activity, peer facilitators will be selected and trained.

It is my hope that the results in Biology 206 will be positive and that the program can be incorporated into all sections of Biology 205 and 206.

Diane Finley (Psychology)
This project will target the entire Introduction to Psychology course (PSY 101 – General Psychology) by creating a Web site that will serve as a portal for all General Psychology students as well as for those students in subsequent psychology courses who need to review the concepts from General Psychology. The Web site will provide a review of basic concepts for each of the units of study in General Psychology in addition to providing links to Web sites with interactive quizzes and activities. This site will be available for individual students to strengthen their in-class learning or for instructors during class.

Leela Kapai (English)
Collaborative Inductive Approach to Teaching Grammar and Usage
Teaching editing skills to students enrolled in college courses continues to pose a challenge, for often they can "learn the rules," even do reasonably well on the tests, yet fail to transfer the knowledge to their own writing. Overall performance of students enrolled in EGL 100 classes makes it clear that the currently practiced deductive approach, that is, explanation of the rules, followed by practice exercises, is not working for a large number of students.

An alternative is to use an inductive collaborative approach to teaching grammar and usage, my project for Title III Grant. It calls for students to work collaboratively on specially designed exercises to arrive at the grammar/usage rules by themselves. Time spent in careful observation, analysis, and reaching a conclusion will help them not only to retain the information but also improve their editing skills.

Angela Rhoe (English)
In the new Humanities 123 course, students will not have a final examination. Instead, they will create their own exam by constructing an electronic portfolio of course materials accompanied by reflection, analysis, and self-evaluation. The purpose of the portfolio is for students to integrate, review, and comment on what they have learned, and, in turn, to demonstrate what they have learned to the seminar professor. Creating these portfolios will provide students with meaningful learning opportunities and with material that may be useful to them in job searches and graduate school preparation. The central question to be answered by the student’s portfolio is: " What and how have you learned?"

Beverly Reed (Developmental English)
The goal of my project is to infuse the use of technology into our developmental reading courses and to improve and increase collaborative learning strategies as well. This goal will be accomplished through a series of faculty development workshops and seminars. Additionally, I will create and design generic teaching/learning modules that can be used with both levels of reading.

Norma Schmidt (Library)
The objective of the Library Tutorial is to provide eight online modules for the Library Web site, which will briefly describe the steps in the research process. These will include topic selection, search strategy development, searching the online catalog, finding current articles using the Library's databases, searching the Web, conducting research via the Library Web site, evaluating the information that is found, and correctly citing sources. Assessment will be via online interactive exercises and quizzes. Attaining the objective will ensure that students have access to guidance on conducting research at any time that they need it.

Imogene Zachery (Library)
Learning how to find information effectively can strengthen students’ ability to engage in the research process. This project is intended to be an interactive tutorial that will be developed to teach beginning strategies for effective library research. The tutorial will be designed for individual use, to be used in conjunction with a class assignment, or used collaboratively by faculty and librarians to integrate into a course assignment. It is intended to help students become information literate by learning when information is necessary, how to find information, how to evaluate it, and how to use it.

Title III Grant Update
Phase 3 Faculty Team members attended the 2001 Title III Grant Orientation Workshop that was held on August 15 and at least one faculty team member cluster meeting that was held in September.

Several Phase 2 Faculty Team members have been invited to expand their initial faculty development project this academic year. The Phase 2 Faculty Team members who will be continuing with the Title III Grant Project this year are: Ana Echavarri-Dailey, William Knight, Martha Mathews, William Peirce, Aida Shehata, and Rosemary Smith. To learn more about their projects, please log on the Title III Web page: http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/title3

The Title III Grant Project staff appreciates the continued support of the Technology Resource Center staff -- Bridget Bartlebaugh, Ed Cruz, Oliver Hansen, and Marjani Kane-Morris–and extends a heartfelt thank you to the staff for their commitment to the goals and objectives of the Title III Grant.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 1

Fall 2001