Back to Table of Contents for the On Course I Workshop

1. Strategy: The Late Paper (Case Study)

Application: Professional Development Workshop

Educator: Dick Harrington, Faculty, English, Piedmont Virginia CC, VA

Implementation: The focus here addresses what it means to be a professional, and therefore, what characterizes a “professional” choice. Guide the discussion to Professor Freud’s choice to fail Kim for turning in her paper 15 minutes late. Ask, “Who agrees that Professor Freud made the correct ‘professional’ choice…and who disagrees?” Let those with competing opinions support their views, continuing to highlight (and perhaps record on a flip chart or white board) underlying assumptions of what it means to be “professional.” One possible assumption is, “Professor Freud had to follow the rule that she published in the course syllabus, even if it was extreme. Otherwise she would be unfair to all the students who made sacrifices to follow the rule and get their papers in on time….not to mention the credibility she will lose if she doesn’t hold to the rule.” A competing assumption is, “Professor Freud should have done what was best for the student, even if it meant abandoning a rule. After all, when she wrote the rule, she didn’t know how it would penalize an A student.” While there is no neat conclusion (correct answer), the debate will help participants contemplate and generate informed opinions about what it means to be a “professional” educator.

2. Strategy: The Responsibility Circle (from On Course Facilitator’s Manual)

Application: Professional Development Workshop

Educator: Mark McBride, Faculty, English & Coordinator, Student Success, Eastern Florida State College, FL

Implementation: Use the Responsibility Circle to help faculty members realize what they are and what they are not responsible for with their students. Faculty write four truths about their students, two they’re happy with and two they are not. After doing the Responsibility Circle activity, lead a discussion about where their responsibilities with students lie, what they can influence and what they can’t and why it’s important to know the difference. Have them ponder M. Scott Peck’s opinion that one of the most difficult tasks for human beings is to decide what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for.

3. Strategy: Who Wants This? (from the OC Facilitator’s Guide)

Application: NADE Conference Session

Educator: Tom Hale, Coordinator, Student Success, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, AR

Implementation: A colleague and I presented a session about On Course at the 2005 NADE Conference in Albuquerque. We did several planned On Course strategies, but when I was telling them about the Facilitator’s Manual I decided to adlib one more strategy. I said that I happened to have another copy of the Facilitator’s Manual back home and would be glad to give away the one I was holding if anyone was interested. I held it up and asked, “Who wants this?” Every hand in the room went up immediately. I have seen students catch on much more quickly, but someone finally got out of her chair, walked up front and took it. “Who Wants This?” drives home some excellent points about achieving our desired outcomes and experiences (e.g., wanting something is insufficient; we have to take a positive action). Besides that, it’s a lot of fun.

4. Strategy: Case Study (based on “Popson’s Dilemma”)

Application: Professional Development

Educator: Taunya Paul, Assessment Coordinator, York Technical College, SC

Implementation: We use a case study, “The Tardy Student,” for faculty training. The case study prompts a discussion of academic customer service and putting our core values practice. After we read the case study (appended below), we post the following Core Values:

  • Integrity/Honesty/Credibility
  • Teamwork/Relationships/Friendships
  • Professionalism/Accountability/Dependability/Commitment/Dedication
  • Excellence/Quality
  • Work-Life Balance/Flexibility/Personal/Spirituality
  • Caring/Compassion/Empathy
  • Respect
  • Service/Giving/Charity/Improving students’ lives
  • Community/Student Centered
  • Learning/Professional Development/Growth
  • Ethics/Fairness
  • Motivation/Passion/Inspiring
  • Sense of Accomplishment/Reward for Excellence
  • Creativity/Innovation/Open to new ideas
  • Leadership/Progressive Leadership

Then we ask…

  • Which of our core values is represented by each professor?
  • Is there an approach not mentioned by one of these professors that offers better academic customer service?
  • When values conflict, which value do you choose as the most important? Why?

The Tardy Student
by Taunya Paul
Most of the time, Tim was about five minutes late for class. Sometimes he was outside in the hall talking with friends. Other times he was getting a drink at the vending machine or caught up in some other unnecessary activity. Professor Landon heard him tell his friend that he did not think that being a few minutes late to class should make that much difference. He had paid for the courses, so he could choose when to show up. Fresh out of graduate school, Professor Landon did not know how to handle this, so she asked her more experienced colleagues for advice:

Professor Davis said, “I will not allow anyone in after the class is started. I lock the door. I believe that students need to take responsibility and be on time for their classes. Having direct consequences like being barred from the class in progress would help students learn to be more responsible.”

Professor French disagreed. She said, “I allow the students to come in late but mark them as tardy. Three tardies equals an absence. It is better if they are here for at least part of the lecture. I don’t want them to miss any more than they already have. They need every minute of instruction they can get.”

Professor Herron said, “I don’t even take attendance. Students are adults and should be responsible for all the material and can decide whether or not to attend class. They all still have to take the tests, but if they do not wish to attend classes, I have no problem with that. Treat them like adults and let them decide whether or not to attend.”

Professor Green said, “I don’t like the distractions that late arrivals create like unzipping bags, rattling pencils, getting out books – too much noise and distraction. I require that students wait in the hall until there is a break in the discussion. After all, it is not fair to all the other students. They will be distracted by the noise and commotion created by late arrivals. Make them wait until you are ready to let them in.”

Professor Henry said, “I’d talk with the student privately after class. Find out if there are any mitigating circumstances. Let him know the importance of arriving in a timely manner and not disturbing the class. Maybe he just doesn’t know that it is inappropriate to arrive late. Find out their reasons and work with them to find the best solution”

Professor Crane said, “Humiliate him! The only thing that gets to these students and will make them change their behavior is to put them in their place. When a student arrives late to my class, I stop everything and in my most sarcastic voice say, ‘We are so delighted that you have decided to grace us with your presence.’”

Based on your experience, rank the quality of each professor’s advice on a scale of 1- 6 with 1 being the best academic customer service. Give each professor a different score and be prepared to defend your ranking.

Best Advice…1 2 3 4 5 6…Worst Advice

_____Professor Davis
_____Professor Herron
_____Professor French
_____Professor Green
_____Professor Henry
_____Professor Crane

5. Strategy: Case Study (based on “The Late Paper”)

Application: Professional Development & Student Success

Educator: Taunya Paul, Assessment Coordinator, York Technical College, SC

Implementation: We use a case study “The Test Not Taken” for faculty training. The story shows points of decision in various life events and prompts discussion of the importance of keeping one’s goals in mind and making wise choices that move one toward those goals.

The Test Not Taken
by Taunya Paul
Professor Herron teaches an online history class and all the tests must be taken in the Assessment Center. He posted the Assessment Center hours – 8AM-9PM Monday-Thursday and 8AM-2PM on Friday and Saturday – in his course handouts. He gives 3 tests a semester and allows one week to take each test. He said that he would not allow any make-up tests and he clearly emphasized that if a test is missed, the grade for that test would be a zero. Jane had already taken two of the tests and had an 89% on each. She wasn’t too worried about the final test. She had studied hard and knew the material.

On Monday, the first day of the week for taking the test, Jane’s son Sammy wasn’t feeling well. She asked her husband Don if he would stay home with their son because she needed to take her history test and she had to work 12 hour shifts for the next 3 days. Her husband said “No way. I have had this golf day scheduled for over a month. My friends are counting on me to be there.” Jane decided to try to take her son to the doctor and take the test Thursday evening after work. [DECISION POINT 1]

On Thursday evening, Susan, Jane’s boss, asked Jane to stay late and finish up a project. Jane said that she really needed to take a test for her class, but her boss asked her, “What is more important, your job or your test?” Jane stayed at work to finish the project. [DECISION POINT 2]

Friday morning Don reminded Jane that they had to go watch Sammy’s baseball team play in the finals. The game was being played in a town 2 hours away. They needed to be there at 9:30. Sammy really wanted his mom and dad to be at the game, so Jane called Toni, the secretary for the history department, to confirm the Assessment Center hours. Toni told Jane that she thought that the Assessment Center would be open until 3 on Saturday, so Jane went to the game thinking that there would be plenty of time to take the test on Saturday. [DECISION POINT 3]

Don’s car broke down on the way home from the game that evening. The mechanic at the garage told them that he would have the car ready first thing in the morning. Jane figured that she would have plenty of time to get back home and take the test if the car was ready in the morning. Don, Jane, and Sammy left the car in a garage and stayed overnight at a hotel. [DECISION POINT 4]

The next morning the car was ready by 11AM. When they got home, Jane fixed lunch for Don and Sammy. Then she went to see her friend Jill to see how Jill did on the test and to ask for some hints and last minute study tips. [DECISION POINT 5]

By the time Jane got to the Assessment Center, it was 2PM and it was just closing for the week. Jane did not get to take her test, Professor Herron would not extend the deadline, and Jane earned an F in the course.

Listed below are the characters in this story. Rank them in order of their responsibility for Jane’s failing grade. Give a different score to each character.

Most Responsible…1 2 3 4 5 6…Least Responsible

_____ Professor Herron, the teacher
_____ Susan, Jane’s boss
_____ Jane, the online student
_____ Don, Jane’s husband
_____Toni, the division secretary
_____ Sammy, Jane’s son

Is anyone else responsible for Jane’s grade?
Jane faced five important decision points; what other choices could she have made at each one? [See examples below] What is the life lesson that Jane should draw from this experience?

Example responses for Jane’s five Decision Points:

DECISION POINT 1—Other choices Jane had:

  1. Jane could have cried because her husband would not stay with their son for an hour while she took the test.
  2. Jane could have called a friend or relative to sit with her son while she went to take the test.
  3. Jane could have left her son alone at home while she took the test.
  4. Jane could have locked her son in the car while she took the test.
  5. Jane could have brought her son to the college and asked Toni to watch him while she took the test.

Which of these choices would probably have best consequences?_____

DECISION POINT 2—Other choices Jane had:

  1. Jane could have taken the test earlier in the week.
  2. Jane could have gone into work late.
  3. Jane could have called in sick.
  4. Jane could have quit her job.
  5. Jane could have negotiated time off by offering to work extra hours for no pay.

Which of these choices would probably have best consequences?_____

DECISION POINT 3—Other choices Jane had:

  1. Jane could have taken the test and gone separately to the game.
  2. Jane could have told her son she couldn’t go to this game.
  3. Jane could have checked online to see the Assessment Center hours that Professor Herron had posted.
  4. Jane could have called the Assessment Center to confirm the hours.
  5. Jane could have called Professor Herron, tell him the problem, and ask for an extension.

Which of these choices would probably have the best consequences?_____

DECISION POINT 4 – Other choices Jane had:

  1. Jane could have rented a car.
  2. Jane could have called a friend or relative to give her a ride early in the morning.
  3. Jane could have called a taxi to take her to the college.
  4. Jane could have screamed and yelled at her husband for not taking better care of the car.
  5. Jane could have offered the mechanic extra money to stay late and fix the car that evening.

Which of these choices would probably have the best consequences?_____

DECISION POINT 5—Other choices Jane had:

  1. Jane could have driven directly to the Assessment Center to take the test and had her husband and son wait for her.
  2. Jane could have dropped off her husband and son and let them fix their own lunch.
  3. Jane could have checked the Assessment Center hours as soon as she got home.
  4. Jane could have emailed the professor and asked him to extend the test deadline.
  5. Jane could have blamed her problem on her husband.

Which of these choices would probably have the best consequences?_____

6 Strategy: Language of Responsibility

Application: Staff Development Workshop

Educator: Robin Middleton, Coordinator of Advisement, Jamestown Community College, NY

Implementation: Given that modeling is one of the 7 Domains of Influence that we have in student development, our front line staff become key role models for students. We offered a workshop for all front line staff in the Student Development area on campus (Financial Aid, Registrar’s, Admissions, Counseling, Advisement, Health Center, etc.) based on On Course concepts. After discussing the Responsibility Model, we asked participants to do the Language of Responsibility translation exercise, using Victim comments made by front line staff. This activity prompted a great deal of discussion (and laughter) and had lasting effects. Staff members loved catching each other using Victim Language, and there were a number of times I received phone calls from staff members saying, “This happened to me, and I’m trying to figure out how a Creator would respond.” That gave us a opportunity for discussion and a learning opportunity at this Fork in the Road.

7. Strategy: Eagles & Hawks

Application: Meetings of Student Success/FYE instructors (or instructors in any department)

Educator: No Name Given

Implementation: In order to provide support for student success course instructors, hold regular meetings. Use the Eagles & Hawks structure as a warm up for any number of discussions, such as “What has worked well for me this semester?” or “What is a challenge I’m facing this semester?” or “What’s a great resource I have found for the course?” or “What improvement could we make in the course?”  Ask one question as a prompt and have instructors write an answer.  Then do Eagles & Hawks. Then open the floor for discussion and, where appropriate, suggestions for next actions.

8. Strategy: Jigsaw

Application: Staff Retreat Regarding Alumni

Educator: Sabrina Giordano, Manager, Advancement Services, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, CN

Implementation: The advancement services office is the NAIT Foundation charged with developing relationships with alumni and industry partners that will benefit the institution. As a number of these relationships involve monetary gifts and gifts of equipment, it is important that staff in this area have a general understanding of the program areas and their funding needs.  As a training exercise, we divided the college divisions into four information/expert areas (science, technology, and the environment; business; health care; and trades).  Each person in the home group became the ‘expert’ in one of those areas. They then exchanged knowledge with another individual in the expert group, and then with another. Finally, they returned to their home group and reported back on what they learned.

9. Strategy: The Puzzle

Application: Professional Development/Leadership Workshop

Educator: Karen Wollard, Corporate and Continuing Education, Broward College, FL

Implementation: The Puzzle activity is a great early activity for a leadership or teamwork training. Have groups of 10-12 complete a puzzle and debrief with questions such as 1) What roles did you observe? 2) How effective was the team? 3) How did everyone contribute? 4) Who helped the team complete the task? 5) Who held back? Why? 6) How could the team have been more functional? 7) If you could do the puzzle over, what would you do differently? 8) How do you feel about your performance?

10. Strategy: Eight Choices of Successful Students

Application: Professional Development (bringing On Course to campus)

Educator: Kathleen Kirkpatrick, Coordinator, Staff Development, College of Marin, CA

Implementation: Goal: To plant seeds of interest in On Course on my campus with the larger goal of bringing an On Course professional development workshop to my college.  I used our weekly newsletter to highlight one of the principles/choices each week with a related quote from the Teaching and Learning list. I also selected a related student success strategy from the On Course website that can be used/adapted by faculty in various disciplines and published the link with my newsletter blurb as a way for faculty to explore further. I used the first eight weeks of the spring semester for this as a lead up to promoting attendance at the National Conference as a 1st step to later bringing a one-day workshop (and more!) to COM.

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