November 13, 2018
Volume 3, Number 7
One Way to Help Students Become
Knowledge Creators
Being a professor comes with a certain amount of authority. But  some instructors have found that  letting go in the classroom and finding ways for students to  construct their own knowledg e can create a richer experience for them.

Robin Paige, associate director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice University, wrote in to share how she’s experimenting with this idea in her “Sociology of Gender” course.

Using a  project created by Robin DeRosa, a professor of interdisciplinary studies at Plymouth State University, as a model, Paige is having her students create a “resource book” for the course. This kind of project, Paige said, decentralizes power. “I tell students I don’t have complete ownership of this knowledge,” she said.

In Paige’s version, which she’s doing for the first time this semester, the 16 students in her class spent the first few weeks reading the theory that the rest of the course will rely on and practicing, with her guidance, the sort of work she will be asking them to do.
During the first several weeks, Paige broke them into four groups of four. She gave each group responsibility for two weeks of the course, with each week devoted to a topic, like the social construction of gender, or gender and work.

Each group has been completing its weeks’ readings – which are academic articles – far in advance. The groups have been coming up with with in-class activities based on the readings, which they run past Paige, who helps refine them – say by pushing them to include good discussion prompts if they want to show a video, and by steering them away from asking comprehension questions and toward ones that probe more deeply.

The groups have also been writing a short summary and analysis of the week’s readings, weaving them together much the way a textbook might.

Paige has also set up a rotation for the groups to take turns evaluating one another’s work, which can also serve as a way to bring in additional ideas on the topic.
Both the activities and the summary readings will go into the resource book, along with a list, compiled by students, of actions someone interested in combating the problems studied that week might take.

Paige plans to make the resource book available to other professors – and to keep building it, too. When she next teaches the course, she expects to assign different readings on similar topics. That will allow the new group of students to craft different assignments – and add new material to the summary texts the current group of students will have started.

One benefit of the project, Paige hopes, is that students take it seriously. It makes them realize, she said, “I’m not just writing a paper for Robin to read.”

It also gives them a deeper understanding of scholarship, Paige said. Academics know that research literature will continue to evolve over time, but students often view what the textbook says as the final word. The project, Paige said, helps convey that the “creation of knowledge is an ongoing process.”

In college, many people say, students are supposed to transition from being knowledge consumers to knowledge creators. How do you help your students make this shift? Tell me about it at and I may mention it in a future newsletter.

– Becky Supiano, Teaching Newsletter: The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Blackboard Buzz
How to Create an Item Statistics Report
Do you know that your students have not looked at the material as required? Do you want to know how popular is your course information? Create an item statistics report and see the situation.

Item statistics provide detailed usage information about your content. You can enable statistics tracking at any time, and begin collecting data from that moment on.

This tutorial video on YouTube will show you how to access statistics tracking, turn it on for a content item, and view the statistics report. Email for additional information and on-campus support.
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:
2019 Gateway Course Experience Conference
Atlanta, GA / March 17-19, 2019
Proposal Due Date: November 26, 2018

 Higher education faculty, professionals, students and educators are invited to  submit proposals  on a topic addressing:
  • 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).

Early submissions are welcomed and appreciated.
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.
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University