Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Lessons from the Edge-Vision image

Chris Chairsell

Vice President Academic and Student Affairs

Template Design: Jim Johnstone, Curriculum Support Services

Winter term is off to an interesting start and we are confident of your abilities to fulfill the course outcomes this term. The “snow days” gave me an opportunity to reflect on some activities I have been engaged in over the past few weeks and I would like to share some the information gathered with you. During a college closure, whether a campus or district, there are two processes that are activated. One is the Emergency Operations Group, whose focus is as “incident command,” essentially to assess and stabilize the PCC physical environment. Their priorities are to protect life, the environment and physical property. Once a situation is stable and the college is considered open there is a function called “Business Continuity.” Business Continuity is used to return a campus or the district back into a functioning college providing teaching and learning to our students.

PCC is in an enviable position with existing infrastructure to be capable of delivering teaching and learning even when the physical campus is closed. Although this week, snow closed the district for only two days, there are a number of incidents which could close our campuses for an extended period of time - some physically catastrophic, some dealing with social isolation due to disease. These events may not affect electricity and internet access, which provides us with the opportunity to continue delivering our educational and development services to our students.

Many of our Faculty have access to the internet from home. For our Distance Learning Faculty who have been trained in WebCT, working outside campus is common. All Faculty at PCC have access, through the internet, to MyPCC and the Course Tools options. With some foresight and a little prior training, classroom courses which would otherwise be cancelled could be completed by students who have access to MyPCC either at home or through work...

MyPCC – Course Tools – is turned off by “default,” but faculty can turn Course Tools on for each course section. When this happens, you may post syllabi, lectures, and links to pertinent websites; there is a forum area for class discussions; and an assignment submission tool. Most important, there is an e-mail component so the Faculty member can e-mail the entire class with pertinent information and answers to student questions.

To access MyPCC Course Tools – you will go to the MyPCC Home Page, click on MyCourse Tab and your class sections should be listed there with a switch to activate Course Tools. The following are resources availably to you that might be helpful.

15 second flash demo that shows how to turn on MyPCC Course Tools

All of our training handouts including many on MyPCC

You don’t have to wait until an emergency to use the MyPCC Course Tools. You may wish to explore options to incorporate these valuable resources into your classes right now.

Here are some interesting facts I learned that occurred over the two snow days:

  1. Many, many Faculty were in contact with their students Tuesday and Wednesday – Great job!!
  2. On both Tuesday and Wednesday we experienced a significant increase of people logging onto MyPCC:

    Tuesday: The daily average was 425 with a peak at 10:00am of 725 people
    Wednesday: The daily average was 425 with a peak at 9:30pm of 479 people
    Amazingly, usage did not taper off during the dinner hours, but remained constant well into both nights.

I want to remind you about the Staff & Organizational Development Facilitator Position. At this time, it is an internal search only and this position announcement will close January 26th. I encourage you to consider this opportunity or remind other staff about this.


I hope you have marked your calendars for Friday, January 26th, 9am-12pm, when PCC will hold a forum to discuss Post-Secondary General Education in Oregon. The discussion will be held at Sylvania in CT 201 – the Little Theater.

This discussion will be of particular interest to faculty whose curriculum applies to the AAOT Degree, but the discussion of general education outcomes and statewide transfer is important to all of us.

The goal is the improvement of the transferability of lower division General Education throughout the State through a collaboratively-developed framework that is based on commonly agreed-up learning outcomes and course criteria, thus strengthening the statewide commitment to General Education without compromising the uniqueness of individual institution’s General Education curricula. He effort is being supported by the Joint Boards Articulation Commission.

Information about this General Education initiative and drafts of General Education Outcomes are on the JBAC website: http://www.osu.edu/news_and_information/forums.php. Additionally, information is available from PCC representatives who have been involved in the initial stages of this process: Kendra Cawley and Doris Werkman who participated in faculty curricular work-groups, and Dean of Instruction, Reine Thomas, who sits on the JBAC.

I want to thank everyone for their patience and participation in the implementation of the new Waitlist. I think it was a great success – we still have some observations to make, troubleshooting, and assessing. But I was delighted with the way we were able to very efficiently and effectively move students off the waitlists and into the classrooms. Again, some assessment is in order after Spring Term. Hats off to the TSS staff who made this happen and to LEAN stakeholders and instructional assistants who participated in the design and implementation.

The Winter Pow-Wow takes place January 20tth at Sylvania, 12pm to 11pm. The first grand entry will be at 1pm; community dinner at 5:30pm; and second grand entry will be at 7pm. I hope to see you there!!

FAFSA Day takes place at all campuses January 20th from 9am to 2pm. Community members and their families are welcome to come to PCC and receive information concerning federal and state financial aid opportunities and help with filling out the FAFSA form. Thank you to all volunteers who are participating in this wonderful outreach event!!

This has been a VERY busy two-day week!!! Have a great weekend and a successful Winter Term!!