Distance Education http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance Fri, 09 Oct 2015 20:23:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 #UmpquaStrong http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/10/umpquastrong/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/10/umpquastrong/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 19:08:15 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5546 It’s my turn to post on the Distance Education Best Practices Blog this morning, but I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like I want to press forth as if nothing has happened and it’s business as usual. Instead, I’m posting with her permission a beautiful letter written internally to our community by our writing instructor Caroline LeGuin last Friday, the day after tragedy hit Umpqua. Caroline’s words really touched me and helped remind me that I too am grateful for our community and it’s shared goals. My faith in our work toward humanity’s betterment overrides my fear because we’re all in this ‘business of hope’ together.

Thank you Carolyn, I echo your sentiments and hope sharing them helps others too.

decorative hrule

To all my colleagues

This morning, not quite 24 hours after a young man walked onto the UCC campus and killed 9 people and was himself killed, I came to work.
I had a couple of conferences scheduled with my writing students, followed by an assessment meeting. I was running a little late thanks to construction on Hwy 43 and arrived to find one young man patiently waiting for me; we jumped in, discussed how to provide stronger evidence for his argument about technology’s role in causing people to lose genuine contact with each other. The next young man was already waiting when we finished, and again we began talking about his paper. It was a story of meeting a homeless man to whom he reacted at first in fear, but when the man followed him,  fear gave way to conversation, a shared meal, a recognition of shared humanity: “You’re a lot like me”.
Conferences ended, I was nearly half an hour late for my meeting but as I was hurrying out to the parking lot, I encountered a group of students in front of the Sylvania bookstore practicing how to work an enormous and fantastic cyclops puppet–some themselves in masks, all joyously and excitedly discussing how to make the cylcops’ arms move along with his legs. I laughed aloud at the sight, thought how often, walking across this campus, I have encountered something equally strange and wonderful.
And suddenly I found myself struggling with tears; grief that deepened as I drove out onto the street and saw the Campus Security vehicle parked at the entry.
I remember how Preston Pulliams used to say “we are in the business of hope” and I how I always thought this struck the perfect balance between the committed idealism that inspires us all and the more practical contractual commitments we have with our students.
It is hard to have hope when you are afraid. It is hard to allow creativity and joy to grow, to experience genuine connection, to celebrate the humanity that binds us each to each, when distrust and fear become the norm.
Hope and humanity surrounds us here at PCC–it is our business and in a deeper sense our vocation. What happened  yesterday at our sister college only deepens my commitment to that work –even as I struggle, as I know so many of us do today, to come to terms with grief and fear.
I am grateful to be part of this work with all of you
Caroline Le Guin



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Fall Faculty Learning Communities: Focus on Rubrics http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/10/fall-faculty-learning-communities-focus-on-rubrics/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/10/fall-faculty-learning-communities-focus-on-rubrics/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:32:02 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5534 Online instructors, you are invited to participate in this 3-part Faculty Learning Community taking place at Rock Creek fall term. The focus is on creating a rubric within D2L as a tool to communicate expectations and feedback to students. The goal is to create a rubric that you can actually use with an assignment fall term, and then discuss the results.

The sessions will be facilitated by Rondi Schei, Instructional Technology Specialist at RC. Here’s a snapshot of each part of the series.

Part I: Overview: The why & how of rubrics

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015, 12pm – 1pm, RC TLC (Bldg 7/117)

This session provides an overview of the value using rubrics brings to the classroom as a teaching tool and time reducing mechanism for grading.

Part II: Create your own rubric

Wednesday, Oct. 28th,12pm – 1:30pm, RC Bldg 2/249

In this lab session, you will develop a rubric for an assignment to be used in your current class. The rubric will be made within the D2L Rubric tool so that it can be linked to your online assignment, ready for implementation.

Part III: Discussion: Using your rubric

TBD: Early December, 12pm- 1:30pm, RC TLC (Bldg 7/117)

We will discuss the results of using a rubric with an assignment. Each participant will share the rubric used for a particular assignment and discuss the results of using a rubric, including benefits, difficulties, and what to adjust for the next use.

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Your Knowledge + Our Production Team = Video Camp! http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/your-knowledge-our-production-team-video-camp/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/your-knowledge-our-production-team-video-camp/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 18:00:52 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5519 Videographer

Congratulations to all of our Video Camp participants so far! We add fresh content to the list each term-

View our Video Camp YouTube playlist to see what’s new!


Do you want to create beautiful and engaging media like this for your online course? Read on!

Applications due to Monica Marlo monica.martinezgallagher@pcc.edu by 5pm on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Distance Learning Faculty:
Do you have an instructional video project you’ve been wanting to create for your distance education course, but you’re not sure where to begin and/or would like design and production assistance?

Apply for Video Camp!
Present your ideas to us by 5PM on Tuesday October 6th and come join us this term for Video Camp! We will be selecting a pool of applicants from the project ideas you submit to help you bring your ideas to life from design, scriptwriting and storyboarding on through production and post-editing.

How to apply:
You present the idea in two pages or less and if your idea is selected we will offer funding to pay you for your subject area expertise, and provide services and staff to support you through each step of the experience. Your idea should be for a video or videos that add up to ten minutes or less in length and support an objective in your curriculum. Want to submit an idea as a faculty team? Preference will be given to video projects that include multi-faculty or multi-discipline teams. Have more than one idea? Feel welcome to submit as many ideas as you have.

When writing your project proposal, please include the following:

  • Who are the faculty involved?
  • What are the subject area and instructional concepts covered?
  • What course(s) will the video(s) be part of?
  • Is this video imagined as being filmed on location, or in a studio? (It’s ok if you’re not sure, we can help you decide.)

Want help?
Want some help thinking of a great project? Check out these done by PCC’s Video Production Unit for a great selection of videos produced by our in-house team. Also look here for examples of presentations created at Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) Video Camp (with the assistance of PCC video producer Michael Annus). These feature the work of CGCC philosophy instructor Dr. Bill Noonan who has been building his set of videos over the course of several years.

If you would like assistance getting started or thinking of an idea prior to writing your proposal, please contact Michael Annus (mannus@pcc.edu) on our video production team, or multimedia developer Monica Marlo (monica.martinezgallagher@pcc.edu) in Distance Learning. We like to be in contact with you as early as possible in the process to help support your idea’s successful development.

How will you be notified?
If your project is selected to participate, we will contact you by Friday October 9th to let you know, discuss your project’s scope and budget, and work with you on the next steps of creating your project.

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Introducing a guide for new and experienced online instructors http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/introducing-a-guide-for-new-and-experienced-online-instructors/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/introducing-a-guide-for-new-and-experienced-online-instructors/#comments Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:00:56 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5453 PCC has developed a useful new guide, entitled What Works Well in Online Teaching at PCC, and is now sharing it with the college community. The guidebook gathers effective practices specifically in use at PCC and presents them in an easy-to-use format. The purpose of this guide is to build awareness of useful online teaching practices, spur collegial discussions of online teaching effectiveness, and to inform professional development activities with general examples of good practice. The instructors, deans, and distance learning leaders comprising the Distance Learning Advisory Council (DLAC) worked together to produce this guidebook. The guide was in development for over two years. The DLAC listened to student and faculty feedback about the quality of online courses at PCC and responded to concerns through this guide. One year of painstaking efforts were made to identify, analyze, and describe the best practices and procedures in online teaching and learning, including taking a look at what other institutions do. Following this, a wide-ranging one-year outreach effort was undertaken to develop broad-based support and acceptance of the ideas among the PCC faculty.

Download What Works Well in Online Teaching at PCCThe DLAC has long been proud of the expert knowledge and carefully honed practices of our online instructors and wishes to communicate this information to the institution at large. This document is very much a product by and for the PCC community. The DLAC hopes the document is used to improve the quality of our online courses. How do you, or your department, plan to make use of this new guidebook? How can Distance Education help you enact your plan?

Helping our instructors learn to survive and even thrive online is critical if we are to realize the potential of web-based learning environments to increase access and student success. If you teach online, please take a moment to download this informative booklet.

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Image and video use recommendations for online courses, part 3 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/image-and-video-use-recommendations-for-online-courses-part-3/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/image-and-video-use-recommendations-for-online-courses-part-3/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2015 21:53:19 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5412 image+video

Image by Michael Moss. This work is in the public domain.

Image and video content in D2L can provide several benefits to course design and instruction, but there are some important considerations to make when using such content. Part 1 discussed image use and part 2 discussed image archiving strategies. In part 3, we’ll focus specifically on video.

Video use recommendations

Make sure videos are not longer than necessary. A small amount of clipping in post-production can vastly improve the viewability of a video. The shorter the video is, the more memorable its lesson will likely be. A large topic can be cut into several videos to make it easier to consume in parts and make it easier and faster for a user to review particular parts later. This can also make it easier to substitute in changes later if you only have to rerecord one video of a series rather than one long video.

Include a transcript for alternative learning purposes. Some learners prefer to read text over watching videos, some have ADHD or similar conditions that make focusing on a video difficult, and some users who previously watched the video may want to review the content without having to rewatch it. If someone wants to review a statement they heard in a video, it’s easier to scan the transcript rather than reload the video and click around on the time line trying to find where in the video it was stated. It’s also more convenient to copy and quote if necessary. For instance, if the student wants to ask you a question about something you said in the video, it’s easier for them to find, copy, and paste the text from the transcript as a reference than to have to type it all out themselves.

If you do include a transcript but there is also visual content in the video that cannot be conveyed well through the transcript, include a note about where in the video that content appears so that students who prefer to read the transcript can skip to that particular part of the video.

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Image and video use recommendations for online courses, part 2 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/image-and-video-use-recommendations-for-online-courses-part-2/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/09/image-and-video-use-recommendations-for-online-courses-part-2/#comments Tue, 15 Sep 2015 21:41:00 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5411 image+video

Image by Michael Moss. This work is in the public domain.

Image and video content in D2L can provide several benefits to course design and instruction, but there are some important considerations to make when using such content. The following is a list of suggestions for using media content wisely and effectively. Part 2 discusses image archiving. Part 1 discussed image use and the final in the series will cover video use.

Image archiving recommendations

Keep a log of image files used, where they originated, and how they are licensed. This can coincide with keeping a folder of the original, unedited images separate from edited images so that you can always go back to the source images in case you need to, such as when your LMS theme might change and thus necessitate image size or cropping changes.

One method of keeping track of image metadata is to keep a folder of images with a text file or spreadsheet listing the original file names, website URLs, and licenses. If this is too time consuming, you can organize images into folders where the name of the folder is the URL of the website from which they originated and the license that they’re all licensed under.

If you modify the images to insert them into a course, give the file a file name that is meaningful to you and that is consistent in its naming scheme. A description is often helpful for finding the image when you might only see the file name in a file listing rather than a preview of the image itself. If your images are used for specific modules or learning activities in your course, you could include that in the naming scheme.

For instance:

  • module_1_red_car_300_x_400_banner.jpg
  • module_1_blue_car_250_x_300.jpg
  • quiz_1_question_1_green_car.jpg

You might include the image dimensions in the file name if you have multiple sizes or particular uses for different versions of the image, such as a banner image for an HTML content page versus a banner image for a widget on the course home page.

Portland Community College uses Google Apps for Education, which features an unlimited amount of cloud storage space, so this can be used for storing the original images so you always have access to them and don’t have to save them to every instance of your course and needlessly copy them over every term. It’s also helpful to have a backup on your hard drive in case your internet access is down or the cloud storage is otherwise inaccessible.

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Image and video use recommendations for online courses, part 1 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/08/image-and-video-use-recommendations-for-online-courses-part-1/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/08/image-and-video-use-recommendations-for-online-courses-part-1/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 21:49:46 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5385 A vector icon of a Polaroid picture, a plus sign, and a film strip icon with a play button symbol.

Image by Michael Moss. This work is in the public domain.

Image and video content in Desire2Learn can provide several benefits to course design and instruction, but there are some important considerations to make when using such content. The following is a list of suggestions for using media content wisely and effectively. Part 1 discusses image usage, and subsequent posts will cover image archiving and video use.

Image use recommendations

Don’t overuse images. Images are great for adding color, style, and tying in visual aids to support the written content of the course, but too many images can be distracting and take up too much space. Too many images can lead to users having to scroll a lot depending on the size of the screens on their devices.

It is preferable that images are related to the content of the course. If they aren’t related to the content, they should be neutral and not distracting. Don’t sacrifice a good layout just to include an image. If it doesn’t fit the page or breaks the flow of the experience, don’t include it.

If you want to include multiple images as examples of a concept, reduce their size so that they aren’t taking up too much screen real estate. If one will do, don’t bother including the others. Another option is to link to the source images with a note saying something like: “To view more examples, visit this page on online underwater basket-weaving.” If you know how to make image thumbnails that open in a new window, that can be a helpful method for keeping the images small on the page but allowing the users to view them at full size if they want to.

If you are going to resize an image, it’s preferable to resize it in an image editing program such as Photoshop or even Microsoft Paint. Resizing within the HTML editor in Desire2Learn is only preferable if the size adjustment is minor. Reducing a large image in the HTML editor in Desire2Learn doesn’t reduce the file size, so it will still take longer to load even when displaying at a smaller size.

Be aware that different users will view your content on different size screens. If you use one particular device to work on your course, also test it on other devices of varying size. Some users may use widescreen or dual monitors on a desktop computer and others may view it on a tablet or phone in profile view. The size of the images on a page may look fine to you when working on your 17″ laptop screen, but it’s helpful to be aware what it will look like on a 10″ tablet screen or a 24″ desktop monitor.

Don’t check the box indicating that the image is purely decorative if there is any association between the image and the written content. This will remove any alt text that you may have entered describing the image. A visually-impaired user should be able to know what images you’re posting in the content.

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“Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” online workshop http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/08/applying-the-quality-matters-rubric-online-workshop-2/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/08/applying-the-quality-matters-rubric-online-workshop-2/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:21:50 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5377 Date: Tuesday, November 3rd – Thursday, November 19thQM Logo

•    Greg Kaminski (PCC)
•    Tani McBeth (PCC/Clark)
•    GwenEllyn Anderson (Chemeketa)

This workshop explores the Quality Matters Rubric and provides a framework to improve the quality of online course design. This is the QM foundation workshop for anyone who might be interested in participating on a peer review team in the future, and participants will be able to apply the strategies to their own online course design. During this workshop participants have the opportunity to explore many standards of the Quality Matters rubric in depth, and to apply those standards to a demo course.

The workshop workshop is for Oregon Community College online instructors. It is totally online, so you’ll plan your own schedule. There are numerous engaging online activities, so you do need to be able to dedicate time during that 2 week period, about 20 hours total.


Contact Greg Kaminski (gkaminsk@pcc.edu). All you need to do is create a “MyQM” account at https://www.qmprogram.org/myqm/   I will do the rest. The cost of this workshop is covered through our statewide OCCDLA grant. We initially have space for up to 5 PCC instructors in this workshop, and others will be placed on a waiting list.

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Instructor presence: It can be ‘ruff’ for your online students… http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/08/instructor-presence-it-can-be-ruff-for-your-online-students/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/08/instructor-presence-it-can-be-ruff-for-your-online-students/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 18:24:38 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5370 Yes, it was a cheap shot of me to use an image of an adorable dog to get your attention. Did it work? :)

Joe Parks, Berkeley, CA 2012. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reclining_black_dog.jpg

We’re deep in the dog days of summer, which means we’ve still got half a season to casually prepare for fall classes. One of the simplest and effective things you can do to improve your presence for your students in your upcoming online courses is to include a personal introduction with media. This excellent article by Emmet Dulaney of THE Journal presents research on the importance of creating a quality introduction for your online course. As it’s such a beautiful summer here in the Northwest, here are a few highlights in summary to get you back out into our record-breaking sunshine:

  • In a study on the impact of the presence of an instructor introductory video, students who did not have access to an introductory video responded 80 percent to 83 percent positive for survey questions pertaining to the instructor. Students who did have an introductory video responded 100 percent positive toward questions pertaining to the instructor. The latter set of students responded on average 6 percent more and had approximately 20 percent more postings per student than the former.
  • Students in the course with the introduction video initially (during the first two weeks of the course) contributed more often to the weekly discussion boards, and the end of course evaluations were more positive.

Need ninety more seconds in the shade? Watch this video from Ohio State University’s EHE-EdTech team and pick up some great tips on what to include in your introduction video. (Thanks OSU EHE-ET for the #OER share!)

By the way, summer is also an excellent time to engage with our instructional media production team if you would like assistance creating media for your online courses, including a brief introduction. Just let us know with our Media Production Request form and a member of our team will connect with you.

One more thing- Use your “News” widget on your course home page to post your introduction video so that your welcoming message is the first thing students see when they log into your course. Need help with this step? Contact your campus Instructional Technology Support Specialist.

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Inoculate before school starts! http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/07/inoculate-before-school-starts/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/07/inoculate-before-school-starts/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:03:40 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=5314 germ

Prevent accessibility germs from spreading. Public Domain image from Pixabay.

Remember getting shots before school started? I know it’s a controversial topic these days, and many folks don’t believe it’s important. I won’t take sides on that debate. But in most areas, I do believe in prevention over intervention. Intervention is usually way more work than prevention.

But instead of shots, I’m talking about accessibility of your online course content and exposure to outside (of D2L and PCC) tools and websites. Whenever you link to outside resources, you risk exposure to a slew of inaccessible “germs”. But like going to school or day care, it’s often a necessary risk.

To minimize the risk to disease, many choose to inoculate their kids. To minimize the risk of inaccessible content, we encourage you to have your content tested to make sure it is accessible to students using assistive technologies.

What should be tested for accessibility?

We encourage you to contact Distance Education’s accessibility advocate, Karen Sorensen to have these sort of items tested for accessibility:

  • Publisher websites
  • Software or web apps that aren’t essential functions of the course  (No need to test Photoshop if the course is on Photoshop for example.)
  • Any forms or widgets that would normally require a mouse

What happens if it’s inaccessible?

No worries. You won’t have to remove the inaccessible tool. Instead, we will work with you to create an accessible option, so everyone will have an equally effective path to the learning outcomes.

Be prepared

I know it’s scary to worry about accessibility on top of everything else you have to think about, but isn’t it better to be prepared? Otherwise you open yourself and the institution up to serious risk that could have been prevented.

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