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KCEL’s Playing To Your Strengths as an Instructor Session – April 30th

On April 30th, 2020 KCeL offered its first Playing to your Strengths as an Instructor session. The session description is

Faculty have a wealth of experience in teaching dynamic, face to face classes that include active learning experiences to engage students. Now, you might be wondering how to create these same experiences online. In this interactive session, we will work through how to recreate your strongest face to face activity into an online activity through a collaborative, knowledge sharing process. Please answer the three questions in this form prior to the session, so we can provide you with ideas. The ideas we collectively develop will be shared with all participants. Come to the session with your headset and microphone ready, so we can talk through your ideas.

During the session we reviewed the activities faculty submitted and then came up with ideas on how to convert them to online activities, thinking about the features students have available to them in Blackboard.

Here is the Playing to your Strengths April 30.2020 Powerpoint we used during the session.  The ideas we came up with have been added. Thanks for your participation.



Teaching with Technology- last meeting for spring 2019 semester- May 28 & 29

There was discussion about an event during the fall 2019 semester for faculty to showcase their online courses and/or to learn about online courses.  We brainstormed about what would be of greatest interest to faculty.  Some ideas were:

  • a speaker from a community college
  • a presentation including data about online course success statistics
  • what skills should we be incorporating into online courses that address future employment opportunities for our students.
  • a practical, “how to” piece
  • food

We also reviewed a sheet on technology tools that can be used with our classes. The sheet was developed for the composition faculty.  Some of the tools we tested included hypothes.is (for annotation) and Microsoft Office 365 Teams for collaboration on a single document.

Sharing Technology Tools

Teaching with Technology FIG

Meeting 2 of Spring 2019 Semester- May 7 and May 8, 2019

At our meetings, we reviewed various tools people have been using with their classes.  Most were Blackboard tools.  Here is a summary of the tools we shared with one another:

  1. Zoom:  KCC has a zoom account for conducting video-conferences.  With zoom, you can record a lecture or meeting.  The recording is saved and a shareable link is created. The recordings are large files but with the shareable link, you are able to post it on Blackboard for your students to easily access.
  2. Youtube live: always you to live stream so you can work with learners in real time

Blackboard Tools

  1. Adaptive Release:  a BB feature that restricts access to content until a learner has completed a certain task, such as a reading quiz.
  2. Blackboard Organizations:  similar to a course shell. Organizations can be set up by KCC’s IT Office.  You can then add any CUNY user.  Organizations are great if you are working with colleagues on a project and need a space to collaborate.
  3. Tests: Tests can be set up in Blackboard. As you are setting up a test, you can use the pools selections so that questions can be stored and randomized. As you set up you test, you should think the date and time you would like to deploy the test as well as the  amount of time you will give students to complete the test.
  4. Safeassign:  a BB feature that detects plagiarism.

Our next meetings will be on May 28 at 11:30 and May 29 at 1:50 in KCeL (L705)

Teaching with Technology Spring 2019 Meeting 1

Teaching with Technology FIG

Meeting 1 of Spring 2019 Semester- April 2 and April 3, 2019


We discussed the article, Gavassa, S., Benebentos, R,. Kravec, M., Colllins, T., and Eddy ,S. 2019.  “Closing the Achievement Gap in a Large Introductory Course by Balancing Reduced In-Person Contact with Increased Course Structure” CBE-Life Sciences Education 18ar8: 1-10


The study compared a three delivery formats, online, face-to-face and hybrid, of a General Biology course at a large Hispanic serving institution. Course structure was defined as the presence of pre-class assignments, in class engagement (clicker questions) and review assignments.  The hybrid format had all three of the aforementioned structure elements.  The online course did not have in class engagement; the face-to-face course did not have required pre class assignments. Student performance was measured using the course exams.  Linear regression analysis was performed to determine if course format could be correlated with exam performance. The regression model predicted performance using SAT Math score, course format, college level and race ethnicity as control and predictive variables and examined interaction between course format and race/ethnicity.

The findings were:

  • SAT math score predicted variation in student performance.
  • No difference between male and female performance after accounting for SAT Math score
  • College level was a predictor of exam performance with juniors & seniors out performing freshmen and sophomores
  • Comparing performance of Hispanic students, those in the hybrid format scored higher than those in the f2f or online formats
  • Black students had the lowest exam scores in all three formats
  • Hybrid format had the highest scores for all racial/ethnic groups. Only the online format had significant differences based on race/ethnic groups.  Black and Hispanic students had the highest scores in the hybrid format; whites students had the highest scores in the hybrid and online formats


Discussion questions

  1. Even though the f2f format had the most contact time, it resulted in the lowest performance. Why do you think this is so?

Possibly, students presume lecture is a passive activity whereas for online assignments, they invest more time.

In the study, most of the students in the f2f version were freshmen and sophomores, probably with less time management skills than juniors and seniors. This might explain why the online and hybrid format, which was dominated by juniors and seniors, had better performance.

  1. Why do you think the hybrid format was the most successful?

In the study, the course was highly structured and required students to complete pre class work, engage in in class activities and complete a post class assessment.



We shared the items we include in our classes (both f2f and online) that make them highly structured.  They included:

  • A “start here” tab on BB that explains how to navigate the course site and find material
  • A course calendar that includes all of the semester’s work and due dates
  • Having assignments due on the same day and at the same time each week, particular for online submissions.
  • Pre class quizzes on readings. Students are given multiple attempts so they continue to review course content.

We also shared items that makes classes engaging (in class as well as online:

In class

  • Discussions
  • Group work
  • Clicker questions using poll everywhere or Socrative: although these questions are engaging for students, they do required a strong wifi connection in classrooms, which we do not have. Students are reluctant to use their data plan.

Online Versions

  • Discussion forums
  • Group work using the groups feature of Blackboard
  • Having students watch videos and use other multimedia instead of reading text

TWT fall 2018 meeting 3

12.5. 18TWT FIG

We talked about how to create engaging materials for students using Toondoo and Adobe Spark.

Since this was our last meeting of the fall semester, we thought about what we would like to do for spring 2019.  Some ideas were:

  • conduct working sessions to create course materials
  • Read a book together-
    iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Jean M. Twenge
  • Gather data across classes

The group deiced they would like to have working sessions and gather data across FIGS. The spring 2019 TWT working sessions  will be held in KCeL (L705) so we can work at computers.

Meeting 2- SCORMs

At today’s Teaching with technology meeting, John Acosta gave us an introduction to SCORMs, shareable content object reference model.  As John described it, a SCORM is like a box that you place all of your materials in so that they can be viewed together.  The benefit of a SCORM is it allows you to organize learning materials, such as a powerpoint, video, and multiple choice questions into one learning object.  In this way, a student can see the materials for a learning module with one “click” within Blackboard.  The SCORMs John developed for his online course are truly high quality.

Meeting 1- October 2, 2018: Using Blackboard Reports to Gather Data about Student Progress

Dorina Tila showed the group the various ways data can be gathered about students using Blackboard analytics. We reviewed:

Course reports:  one option is user activity. A report can be generated for each student that shows the number of times that have looked at different areas on the course’s BB site

Course Activity Overview: provides a summary of overall Blackboard activity for all students.

Retention Center: Retention reports are another useful feature.  You can create settings so that at-risk students can be notified of their course progress.

More detailed information about the steps to generate these reports can be found at:


Our next meeting will be on November 7th at 12:40 in M391. John Acosta will show us how to run SCORM reports.

Accessibility and Technology

The TWT FIG meeting on May 30th was presented by KCeL and Peter Santiago of Accessibility Services. Peter described how certain materials can be inaccessible to some learners. Tsubasa demonstrated how to make your course documents accessible.

Click on Preparing accessible course materials for tips.

How has technology changed education?

The TWT FIG met on April 25th.  We worked on an activity about how technology has changed education.  TWT s18 worksheet how tech has changed ed

Technology has definitely impacted how we teach and students learn, both positively and negatively. These include:

  • access to information:  students are now able to access information at almost anytime and anywhere.
  • assessment:  instructors can use online quizzes and easily give students multiple opportunities to take quizzes.  However, these quizzes to take time to set up in our lms.
  • communication (between students and instructor; between students): using discussion boards, students are able to communicate their ideas and have time to think about what they want to post before making it available to others to read.  Also, students that are more shy might find posting their thoughts less intimidating than speaking in class.  For an instructor, reading all of the posts and commenting might take more time than an in-class discussion.

Thinking about email communication, sometimes students expect an instant response regardless of the day or time.  To alleviate this issue, it’s important to be clear at the start of the class what a typical email response time will be.  For example, the instructor checks twice a day on weekdays only and will send a response within 24 hours.

  • accessibility:  availability of all class materials to all learners is important.  Videos with captions, word docs that use the heading features in word make your materials more accessible to all learners.  The next TWT meeting will focus on accessibility.
  • time:  students and faculty are spending more time on classes that have less face to face time!  Students have more reading to do and faculty are reading and grading/commenting on  more student work.  Thinking about the assignments and the amount of time it will take students to complete the work and faculty to grade it is an important consideration when developing your course.

Digital Tools- 3/28 & 4/17

The TWT FIG held its first meeting on March 28th and April 17th in order to try to accommodate as many interested colleagues as possible. Here is a list of tools we discussed:

Time toast – creates timelines

Timelines can be created to digitally represent a series of historical events as a way to present course content or used as a way to visually illustrate when class assignments, drafts of papers, and quizzes will take place.


Vialogues- use a video and have people discuss it

Students can view an assigned video and add then have an online discuss and comment on the video.


Kahoot!- games 

great to use as icebreakers in your class


Edureations- short videos created by users

Educreations allows you to draw and talk and record a short presentation.


We also talked about e-learning at KCC.  A townhall meeting is being organized so that the KCC community has the opportunity to discuss online learning at KCC. A report about online learning at KCC and national trends in community college distance education and student success has been written by Dean Cathy Leaker and distributed to the college community. KCC’s plan is to increase the number of hybrid and online courses offered. In addition, the college would like to attract a different audience of students, such as adult learners, by offering an AA Liberal Arts online starting Fall 2019.