Another week brought another conference, the University College Faculty Institute. This year’s theme, Access+Success, came through in each session.
Early bird presenters Sarah Lucchesi (University of Southern Maine) and Stacey Brownlie (Off-campus Library Services) explored–with audience participation–what adult students need for research success. In her keynote Rena Palloff, PhD spoke of how learning communities contribute to student success and about how we can build community online.
Chelsea Ray (University of Maine at Augusta) showcased ways for making ourselves accessible to online students. Though one of the ideas was the use of videos, the specific technology matters less than does the human connection. Even a follow-up phone call can reach an unengaged student.
John Brandt (Maine CITE Coordinating Center) and Heather Nunez-Olmstead (University College) talked about making documents–including videos–accessible to those with special needs. As technologies change, this goal is a moving target. Still, accessible documents are better indexed, so everyone benefits.
Rucha Modak (University of Southern Maine), Ashley Montgomery (University of Maine Farmington), and Alana Margeson (University of Maine Presque Isle) discussed course evaluations. Each one highlighted a technique that can supplement the traditional end-of-term evaluation. Thoughtful mid-term evaluations give us access to more useful feedback. By not waiting until the end we have time to address student concerns and learning gaps.
BJ Kitchin (University College) talked about using Kaltura to stream homegrown videos. He noted the importance of onboarding for success with Kaltura projects. Low stakes practice can also enhance success. Participants brainstormed possible uses for video: introductions, announcements, role plays, field interviews, etc.
Of course the event was a great chance to get together with colleagues from around the UMaine System. Thanks to the University of Maine Augusta for its hospitality.
Photo Credits: University College, used with permission