November 27, 2018
Volume 3, Number 8
Looking Ahead to Next Semester:
Wrestling with Content Collaboratively (Part 1)
In the next few weeks, as this semester winds down, it is a good time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Teaching is one of the few professions where every four months, you can put your creativity to work and reinvent your profession. While instructional strategies may be easy to update, one area that is hard to reinvent is assessment. 

One method I have tried is using a group test. This method is not appropriate for every course, but it is good for courses where collaboration or interaction with the material is helpful in knowing how to use it. In the courses where I use this assessment strategy, I have compared collaborative scores from sections that were assessed in the traditional manner. Both methods provided the same range of grades. 

In order to be effective, establishing a good foundation for the collaborative approach is essential. It starts with putting together solid study groups. I collect data on my students by asking them to answer the following questions:
1. Do you commute or live on campus?
2. Do you work? How many hours each week?
3. Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Why?
4. Do you know anyone in the class that you would like to work with?
5. Please explain to me how you feel about your grades:
              A. I want an A and will work hard to get one
              B. I would like an A, but I am happy with a B
              C. I am ok with a B or C, as long as I pass the course.
6. Please tell me something interesting about yourself (It can be anything from liking dogs to hiking)

Although this may seem like useless information, I think of it as eHarmony for learning. It is essential to use data to build solid Professional Learning Communities (PLC). For example, I always put students who prefer to work alone in a group. I assure them that they can turn their backs on each other and work separately if they prefer. These students typically don’t like to work with others because they usually have had to do all the work for the group. They care deeply about getting a good grade and don’t want to be responsible for everyone. Working with likeminded people is a positive experience.

I put commuters or students who work many hours together in a group. Generally, if students commute or work long hours, they are less flexible with meeting times, more serious about their education, and their time is usually limited to the days they drive to campus to meet for a study session.

Next to work ethic, student study ethics are important. Students are matched by their attitude towards grades. Happy to get a C? Heart failure if I miss a point? Willing to work, but accept that an A is not always possible? These groups work well together, with minimum strife because of the study ethic. In addition, I try to place students with at least one friend. Study and work ethic are more important than social connections when building a PLC, but still, social comfort has a place. Students who do not know anyone in the class seem to feel more secure if they are in a group together. Finally, if there are still students to sort, I put them together by what they tell me about themselves: If they have children, if they like dogs, if they skydive, etc.

Creating the PLC takes about an hour, but I have found that taking the time to create PLCs is critical to success. When students are able to choose their own group, it often is not supportive of the assessment model. The groups need to be carefully arranged in order for them to be effective. It minimizes problems throughout the semester. 

– by Kim Nettleton, Ambassador for Excellence in Teaching, Morehead State University

Note: Part 2 of this article will be found in the next Teaching Tuesday newsletter
Blackboard Buzz
Exam Overview (Student)
The exam is important for both the teacher and the student. We hope that this YouTube video will help you and your students make better use of the online exam function.

The blackboard system has a master page to remind the students of the exam time and specific information for each course. Students learn how to take a test online by locating the test in their course, understanding how the timer works for timed tests, saving answers, who to contact if there are problems.

This YouTube video demonstrates how the exam feature works. Email for additional information and on-campus support.
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators!

We are looking for your response to the question "What do you love about teaching?"

Click the link below to share your response:
Communities of Women in Aristophanes
Dr. Arlene Saxonhouse
Wednesday ( TOMORROW ), November 28th, at 4pm in Rader 111

Dr. Arlene Saxonhouse is the Caroline Robbins Collegiate Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies, Adjunct Professor of Classics at the University of Michigan, where she teaches political theory. She has published widely on ancient Greek and early modern political thought.

Sponsored by The Cicero Scoiety, the department of Foundational and Graduate Studies in Education, and the department of History, Philosophy, Politics, International & Legal Studies.
Mini Grants Available for
Alternative Spring Break Trips and Activities
Applications open October 1st

 KyCC has received Volunteer Generation Funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for alternative service activities that:
  • are in Kentucky
  • include reflection for participants
  • include an intergenerational component

For more information, see their website:
Stem+ Monthly Webinar
First Friday of Every Month: 3-4pm EST
The Next Webinar: December 7, 2018

 KyCC has created a monthly webinar for STEM+ faculty to connect with each other and learn about effective practices. The webinar is on the first Friday of the month from 3-4pm EST.  For more information, please see their website:
Teach Abroad
Deadline: March 1, 2019
Faculty are invited to apply to teach a course in a KIIS Summer 2020 program. KIIS operates approximately 22 Summer programs each year. Faculty application materials include:
  • Biographical information
  • CV (PDF)
  • Your proposed course title & a brief course description (For more information please click here.)
  • Details of your teaching & experience
  • Email address for your supervisor (he or she will receive an email to complete this section within 10 days of the faculty deadline)
 The Faculty Summer application deadline is March 1, 2019. Click any “Apply Now” button at to begin your application. For information about your application, visit the “Faculty” dropdown at For information about the Winter programs, see the “Programs” dropdown.
2019 Gateway Course Experience Conference
Atlanta, GA / March 17-19, 2019

 Higher education faculty, professionals, students and educators are invited to:
  • Share innovative ideas and practices you are using to solve problems and enable transformative course redesign at your institution.
  • Connect and collaborate with colleagues from other institutions who are working to integrate active learning and other strategies into how they teach gateway courses.
  • Share evidence about how your course redesign efforts are improving student success and learning and/or advancing more equitable outcomes. 
  • We value your students' perspectives in all aspects of teaching and learning and encourage you to consider having a student(s) as co-presenter(s).
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University