Participate Actively in the Profession

  • Identifies and participates in communities of practice within the field of Educational Technology

Artifacts

Description

I am currently the Manager of Support Services for John Jay Online, the distance education office at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Working at John Jay and in the larger CUNY system has afforded me a wealth of opportunities to participate in our University’s community of practice, and has opened doors at a larger level as well. I have been fortunate to participate in the last three annual CUNY IT Conferences as a panel speaker with my colleagues at John Jay.

In a FIPSE grant-funded project (2010), my collaborators and I investigated the feasibility of a Kindle rental program as a means of increasing student access to course materials while also improving academic outcomes. Although the Kindles were well received by the students, we were unable to design a rental program due to limitations in the Amazon distribution system and the project was discontinued. Our results were presented as Kindles in the Classroom: Challenges, Successes and New Directions.  In this project, I facilitated the use of Kindles to access course materials posted to the Blackboard learning management system.

More recently, I have become involved with the CUNY Committee on Academic Technology Research and Development Group (CAT-R&D, http://commons.gc.cuny.edu/groups/skunkworks/). Commonly referred to as the Skunkworks, I have presented twice at the CUNY IT Conference with my collaborators. In my first presentation with the group (2011), SkunkWorks: Past, Present and Future, we held an open discussion introducing the group to the larger CUNY community, which resulted in a growth of our membership. At this session, Dr. Adam Wandt and I discussed our evaluation of Blackboard Mobile for its uses in the classroom, its advantages with students who have access to smartphones, and whether it increased student – instructor interaction. On this project, I coordinated the donation of server resources for the project with Blackboard, Inc., served as the Blackboard Administrator throughout the evaluation, and assisted Dr. Wandt with course design issues.

Our most recent presentation (2012), Evaluating New Academic Technologies, reported on the evaluative and support processes Skunkworks members have developed. For my part of the presentation, I discussed how the planning and support processes developed for the recently completed CUNY Blackboard 9.1 used information gained from evaluations of previous upgrades. I discussed the upgrade from my perspective as a member of the Upgrade Steering Committee and as co-chair of the Upgrade Communications Sub-committee. One of the key support processes the Communications Sub-committee produced was a Blackboard Resources website for use by the university community, located at www.cuny.edu/blackboard.  Since the committees proved extremely effective, they were kept post-upgrade. I continue to serve on the Steering Committee and now chair the Communications Sub-committee.

I have also participated in a number of activities with the larger Blackboard community. I presented a poster with staff from Rutgers and Montclair State at BbWorld 2012, Survivor SP8: Best Practices to plan, test and upgrade to Blackboard 9.1 SP8, that detailed our respective Blackboard upgrades. Additionally, I presented the results of the Blackboard Mobile research discussed above as Engaging Non-traditional Students with Mobile Learning: CUNY John Jay and Cleveland State University, at Bb World in July 2011.  Although we conducted independent projects, the John Jay research was paired by Blackboard, Inc. with that done at Cleveland State due to their similarities.  Lastly, last year I participated in the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program as a course reviewer, in which I evaluated courses for the Blackboard Catalyst Awards.  The Blackboard Catalyst Awards recognize well-designed courses in a variety of categories and are open to all Blackboard clients, worldwide.  The course I reviewed was submitted by a university in Saudi Arabia, allowing me to experience instructional styles that I would not have had access to in any other way.  I will be participating again as a course reviewer this year, but also plan to submit for awards review a course I am currently designing with Dr. Wandt.

Meeting the Competency

The artifacts demonstrate a high degree of engagement with communities of practice at a local, national, and international level.

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