Professional Development

Giz at the 27th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience – Day Two

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 10:58 am

Monday, February 18, 2008

Poster Sessions:

Building a Digital Library for the Provisioning of Mobile Orientation Presenter, Jim Hahn, Orientation Services Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

This poster session professed that campus orientation professionals can draw on techniques of digital librarianship to deliver digital learning content to their new students. Some of the software used for this task included; LibGuides, Greenstone and iTunes. The focus here was on both orientation and mobility, with all the content being formatted for video cell phones that can support the .3GPP standard. One resource for converting .AVI to .3GPP can be found at

Face-Time: Millennial Perceptions of One-on-One CSI Meetings Presenters, Cathy Warner and Jana Tramper, Central Michigan University

Each year, 6,000 CMU students are asked to participate in the Noel-Levitz College Student Inventory. Results are delivered through a variety of means. When examining this process, it was discovered that if the results are delivered in a one-on-one meeting with a first contact professional like a student affairs administrator, they are more likely to seek support and advice from that individual and other support staff at the University in the future, especially when this meeting occurs in the first 8 weeks of the first semester. While this may seem obvious, for first year students, having a point of contact at the University can be key to their success and student retention.

Session: “Helicopter Parenting”: Stunting or Supporting First-Year Student Growth? Presenters, Deborah Taub, Associate Professor of Higher Education, UNC-Greensboro and Deborah Bennett, Associate Professor, Purdue University.

This session was standing room only! Deborah Taub begin by having the participants shout out words that they thought of when they heard the term “Helicopter Parent” Terms ranged from the very negative such as “co-dependent” to some positive terms like “partner.” She expressed that in addition to the ease of communication created by new technologies (students contact parents an average of 10.4 times per week now!) K-12 schools were also a contributing factor, teaching parents that a good parent is an involved parent. She also shared a few stories with the group and did a great job facilitating a discussion. She made a point to show us that the term “Helicopter Parent” focuses on the parent when we all have a role to play in this behavior, students, staff, and faculty alike. For example, when we act based on a parent’s call but not on a student’s request, we teach students to step aside and let the parent handle the situation. She describe how when parents send kids off the school they are taught at each level of education to give the kids more freedom and decision making opportunities, but often this is not covered at the college level. We talked about how college is a safer than average environment for kids to grow and make decisions that teach them this skill without putting them at undo risk. How various schools attempt to communicate this information to parents was discussed, and some anecdotes from participants shocked the crowd, describing some parents of seniors actively taking a role in the student’s career placement process. In addition to the usual stories of parents contacting housing to complain about a roommate that the student didn’t know was a problem until housing contacted them about the parent’s intervention, there were great stories from parents about how not intervening on a student’s behalf created a very positive learning experience. Finally, how Universities could perhaps leverage these involved parents in a positive way was discussed. For someone like me without kids, this was an enlightening session.

Session: Learning Academic Integrity with Audience Response Technology. Presenters, Christine Bombaro, Coordinator of Information Literacy, Dickinson College and Eleanor Mitchell, Director of Library Services, Dickinson College.

This was the only program on clickers at the conference. It was very well attended! Mitchell quoted a survey that showed up to 80% of high performing high school students admitted to cheating. Dickinson is 2,400 full-time students, 10% abroad at any given time. In the past there was not a consistent message about cheating, passive listening approach, and little concrete information. The goal was to reach the 635 first years students. They wanted to avoid the response “Nobody ever told me that was cheating.” Their approach was to make it NOT BORING! They got the clicker idea from chemistry department that makes all students have a clicker for class participation and attendance. They are using the same TurningPoint system we use at ZSR. Presentation used examples of plagiarism and then how to fix each example. They asked students before and after the program if they thought they had plagiarized and every time once they had been through the program, more of them self-identified as having plagiarized. Included a reading aloud section that shows how easy it is to detect. They also give a matrix of the penalties for plagiarism.

Plenary Session: Meeting Students Where They Are: Adventures in Experimental Instruction, Jacqueline Fleming, Texas Southern University

Meeting the needs of Urban Millennials is very challenging. They have all the expectations of their middle class peers, but without the benefit of helicopter parents or the technology skills of their more affluent peers. Texas Southern University is attempting to fix these issues through a variety of methods run through the Experimental Instructional Laboratory that brings students to campus in the summer to prep them for college and follows them after. Methods used with those students included having faculty follow a more Socratic approach where students were guaranteed to be called on and perform, the inclusion of multicultural content which helped the less academically inclined students, but not the more academically inclined students, and a motivation method of a subliminal CD (yes, I just typed “subliminal CD”) which rated highest in improved performance results with Socratic method coming in second. (Many at the session had questions after about the subliminal CD approach and the methodology of the study. Was it the CD, or some kind a placebo effect?) More help in the classroom to offer individualized support also generated a positive effect.

Session: First-Year Programs and Information Literacy: Challenges and Opportunities, Presenters, Ann Grafstein, Coordinator of Library Instruction, Alan Bailin, Assistant Professor of Library Services, Hofstra University

The session began Describing a collaboration that began in September 2003 at Hofstra between the first-year program and library course (like WFU’s Lib100, but pass/fail). These programs developed independently. FYP program wanted to promote social cohesiveness, Library 001 wanted to students to succeed and fulfill the expectations of future employers who wanted graduates with better research and critical thinking skills. In the beginning most Library 001 students were Juniors and Seniors who needed 1 credit to graduate. (Thought of as the failures of the advising system.) Administration recommended attaching Library 001 to FYP clusters. This removed the issue of having upperclassmen in the class and removed the artificially of the annotated bibliography project. Over time the school is getting it more right, but never getting it perfect according to the evaluations. It is a moving target. The timing of the Library 001 and FYP was a challenge. After the pilot, the pass/fail was changed to a letter grade to encourage taking the class more seriously. In 2007 they tried embedding the Library 001 course in the First-Year class. Basically, it was a tough road no matter how you sliced it. Their model really focuses just on the annotated bibliography as the deliverable. Administration wants to see all students getting a research component to the First-Year experience. The school is looking at hiring adjuncts to allow for more sections to be taught or to use Blackboard or some other technology to allow more sections to be taught in a blended approach, not an exclusively online approach. They are looking ahead to potentially offer the Lib 001 course that does not focus on an annotated bibliography deliverable.

Session: Incorporating High-Impact, Low-Cost Technology in FYE Classes: A Beginner’s Guide. Presenters, Robert Feldman, Associate Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Feldman began by reminding us technology is just a tool. First-year students are different now and he wanted to show us technology that could help us engage them. Students now have a broader range of ethnicity and of age range. Students are often more aware of their learning style and often are a varying levels of cognitive development. Why use instructional technology? Well, there is theoretical support for technology as a means of information transmission. Additionally most students want a moderate amount of technology in their classes.

The Basics:

  • Powerpoint
  • Electronic Whiteboards
  • E-mail
  • Course Management Systems (Blackboard)

Advantages of Virtual Interaction

  • Greater accessibility
  • Allows more contact
  • Permits the shy to participate

Disadvantages of Virtual Interaction

  • Reduction in face time
  • Heavy reliance on technology
  • Puts demands on their time management skills
  • May increase the digital divide if the students don’t all have the same level of access.

Interactive Classroom Technologies

  • Clickers

Other Technologies

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Podcasts

While this session did not introduce any new technologies to me, (I would have enjoyed hearing more about incorporating RSS or even Twitter into a class.) it was interesting to see these technologies presented from a faculty member’s perspective.

One Response to “Giz at the 27th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience – Day Two”

  1. For clickers, everybody should know about Poll Everywhere. No hardware (students vote by sending text messages on their cell phones), so it’s about 100x cheaper than Turning Point (also fewer features, but only the ones educators actually use).

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