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Rise To The Challenge!

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As we head into the new school year, you may have heard a daunting challenge! Higher education is always charged to be creative and innovative when challenges arise. Jeff Kolnick, professor at professor of history at Southwest Minnesota State University, calls for courage and daring in this recent article.

St. Petersburg College is not only where students can float their business plans, edit their rough drafts, or rehearse their films, but where professors get financial support to test new lessons or presentations  from the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning!

If you have a project that supports innovative teaching, student success, faculty engagement, effective assessment, or academic enrichment, CETL Grant applications are now open! Mini Grant applications are awarded up to $500, Instructional Materials Grants are awarded up to $750, and Travel Grants max out at $1,500. All grant applications are due PRIOR to 11:55pm on Tuesday, October 1, 2013!

Dr. Jennifer R Haber, Ph.D.To kick off our creative thinking, we’re going to review last year’s grants. In our 1st example, Dr. Jennifer Haber (Communications, Tarpon) and Karen Hesting, Instructional Design Technologist, Tarpon) tell us about their Travel Grant:

Ms. Karen  Hesting, M.A.We attended the 10th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference in Milwaukee, WI, between July 8-9. On the 8th at 8:30AM in a 90-minute session (yes, 90 minutes), we presented “Making the Move to Blended Learning – A Faculty Summer Camp Experience.” Our goal for presenting was to share experiences from the WITS 2012 Blended Learning Summer Camp along with general information about blended learning at SPC. We had over 40 people, some from as far away as Egypt, attend and get actively involved. We had a great deal of positive feedback (even Tweets) about our presentation.

After our presentation, we attended a variety of other conference sessions (presented by instructional technologists, media specialists, faculty, and other support people). Jennifer’s favorite session was by an English faculty member who uses social media (specifically Facebook) in her classroom. In fact, Karen and her plan on teaming again and submitting a proposal for All-College Day to share strategies and techniques for using social media in the blended classroom.

Overall, we both agree the conference was great–we liked meeting people from other institutions and talking with them about their experiences with blended learning. We would love to attend next summer’s conference in Denver, Colorado and continuing learning more about the most effective blended learning strategies for student success.

Dr. Anthony  ValentineNext, Dr. Anthony Valentine (Communications, Downtown) shares his experience with a Materials Grant:

As a teacher of Speech Communication courses, I often get deaf students. As part of the course, I show DVDs of student speeches and famous speeches. However, none of the speeches were captioned. Although our translators are excellent, translating speeches, it is a lot to ask of them. Also, according to the translators I’ve worked with, ASL is sometimes sent and received in a different order than traditional sentences.

Consequently, I applied for and received a CETL grant to purchase captioned speeches so my deaf students could read along as they view the speakers. The DVDs are available for any teacher to use.

So far, I have only had one deaf student since I received the DVDs. Both the student and the translators said transcripts and/or captions are a great learning tool for deaf students. However, I would have to test this concept on more than one student and more than one set of translators, which I plan to do as he need arises, in order to measure the true effectiveness.

Hearing students also benefit from captions and transcripts, especially when they view speakers whose voices or speaking patterns may not be clear.

 Start brain-storming now! What have you always wanted to try in class or for class? Don’t miss this opportunity to find out! And if you’ve already tried a grant, share your experience at All College Day this fall. Submit your proposal by Friday, 9/6 to https://www.spcollege.edu/survey/13670.

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