G*STEP, Professional Development

G*STEP: Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program

As part of the “Professional Development” section for my portfolio requirements (in lieu of comprehensive exams, I will defend a professional portfolio in order to become a PhD. Candidate before the semester over – I will blog about this in the near future), I am completing a variety of professional workshops, pre-conferences, colloquiums, and training events in my field to enhance my doctoral course work. I was just accepted to the Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program (G*STEP) program, with approximately 85 other University of North Texas graduate students, who will complete the G*STEP certificate over the next 12 months.

As indicated by the image, the goal of the G*STEP program is to initiate mentoring, encourage personal growth, and support effective teaching and learning practices for graduate students. This non-credit certificate program was developed by the Toulouse Graduate School, the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR),the Provost’s office, Undergraduate Studies, UNT Libraries, and the UNT Program of Higher Education to promote effective teaching in higher education at UNT.

UNT would like to reach their FOUR BOLD GOALS for teaching effectiveness, which can be grouped into these three key factors:

  1. Providing organized and clear instruction that contributes to understanding and promotes learning
  2. Creating a learning environment that is inclusive, respectful and engaging
  3. Guiding and encouraging self-directed learning resulting in a wider understanding and contribution to the learning process.

Although I already have teaching experience, in both the K-12 and higher education classroom, I thought the G*STEP program would improve my instructional craft, enhance my pedagogical methods, and connect me to other graduate students in various disciplines – to learn about their teaching practices, challenges and resources. The only cost to the program is purchasing Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers and committing my time/effort to the program for the duration of the twelve months.  As I plug through the online modules (8 total) and face-to-face meetings (6 total), I will be sure to share my contributions, reflections and progress here.

Learning Community, MOOC, Professional Development, Social Media

Open Learning Courses: EC&I 831 and CCK09

Summer always leads to much needed time outdoors and away from the computer. It’s nice to be off the grid, but also good to plug in and reconnect with friends and learning ideas online.

To kick off the new academic year, online education, and career development I have signed up for a couple of online, open education courses to compliment the grad program I start this fall.


Here are the two courses that I am connecting with mid-September:

1. Connectivism & Connective Knowledge 2009 (CCK09)

This course is led by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. The CCK08 Syllabus and supporting content can be found on the CCK09 Wiki.

You can register to receive course information here. Learners can also get formal credit as part of the Certificate in Emerging Technologies for Learning can enroll through University of Manitoba’s Extended Education Faculty. The course will begin on September 14, 2009.

2. EC & I 831: Social Media & Open Education

This is an open access graduate course from the Faculty of Education, University of Regina by Dr. Alec Couros. Although this courses is for credit, there is also an opportunity for participation from non-credit students. All lectures in this course, from September 15/09 to December 8/09 will be publicly available. To access the lectures, look for the appropriate date under “Synchronous Sessions“, then look for the weekly Elluminate link. I will also offer the appropriate Elluminate link via tweet via @courosa.

If you’re looking to learn from interesting and experienced educators, while connecting to peers and resources online, than one or both of these courses may be of interest to you. Sign up & join in the fun. Although I’ll be busy with work & school, I’ll be sure to continue to share my thoughts, ideas and resources that I learn here.

If you are currently interacting and learning from another open course… please share. Happy open learning!

Collaboration, Conference, Learning Community, Professional Development, Social Media

AACE Global U – Social Media Seminars


AACE Global U will be hosting a series of seminars around “Social Media: Trends and Implications for Learning.” I was able to listen to the archived seminar for July, however I hope to participate in a future monthly online seminar:

August 10, 2009, 9:00 PM Eastern USA
September 8, 2009: 3:00 PM Eastern USA
October 13, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA
November 10, 2009: 3:00 PM Eastern USA
December 8, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA

The seminar series, led by George Siemens and David Cormier, is without fee and will include live interactive sessions, in addition to discussions with guest speakers and participants. All sessions are co-sponsored by and will be archived in the Education & Information Technology Library (EdITLib). And you can join in the discussion on AACE Connect.

During these Elluminate sessions, the conversations will be active in the webinar and recorded for those who cannot participate at these specific times.  By using the #SMTI hash tag you can find conversations on Twitter, archives in blogs and resources in Delicious.

Here were a few key discussion pieces I found useful from the first social media seminar:

Conference, Learning Community, Professional Development

Wiki Summer Camp

Thinking about using a wiki for your learning environment? If so, you might want to head to PBWorks Summer Camp. This interactive, online forum is a great professional development opportunity for educators who wish to engage in discussion, complete assignments, watch virtual presentations and learn from other wiki mentors some best practices in the wiki-world.

happy logoHere is the PBWorks camp syllabus:

Week One: June 22-26

How to set up your wiki:

  • Wiki Structure
  • What lesson plans to wikify and how
  • Upload files – like your syllabus- and make it accessible from the front page
  • Important features used for this course
    • Folders
    • Tagging
    • Tables
  • Beginner tips from our Mentors!

Register for this week’s webinar on June 23rd at 10:00PST: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/497735667

Week Two: June 29- July 3

Interactive Media and How to use it: Review the media options on our educator site

  • Chat rooms – when they work and when not to use them
  • Videos – tips on video recording software for teachers, and how to quickly embedd videos on your wiki page
  • Images
  • What video and image services are there for educators to use for free

Round Table Chat with Kristine and the PBwiki Mentors

  • Hear from Mentors and find out where they struggled and where they succeeded with interactive media on their wiki.
  • What to be aware of when using photos, video and podcasts (aka – no personal photos on a public wiki!)
  • Learn step by step how to use the interactive media features.

Homework week two: (This should take 1.5 hours)


Register for this week’s webinar on June 30th at 10:00PST: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/913182851

Week Three: July 6 -10

Security features in PBwiki 2.0 — keep your work private!

  • User Permission levels and how to make changes
  • Folders & Folder security
  • Page level security

Demonstration of the PBwiki Security Features

  • The most important webinar of all — learn how to set security controls BEFORE your students join the wiki.

Homework week three: This should take 20 minutes

  • Create a new homework Week Three page & place it in the Week Three folder.
  • Go to the page on PBwiki Permission levels.  Read over the PBwiki permission levels and answer the questions. Respond to the questions on your week three homework page.
  • Go to the page on Folder Security.  Watch the three short videos and respond to the questions about folder security.  Respond to the questions on your week three homework page.
  • Go to the page on Page Security.   Watch the short videos and respond to the questions about page level security. Respond to the questions on your week three homework page.

Register for this week’s webinar on July 7th at 10:00PST: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/333808003

Week Four: July 13 – 17

Three ways to invite your students — including the BRAND NEW Classroom Accounts

  • Request Access
  • Upload email address
  • Automatically create accounts without email address (for students under 13)
  • How to introduce your wiki to students so it works
    • Parent permission forms
    • FAQ page
    • Sandbox
  • What to expect when your students take over
    • Wiki management

Live Discussion on inviting students and the suprising results

Homework week four: this should take 30 minutes

  • Set your notification setting in my.pbwiki.com to make sure you receive notifications of student changes
  • Upload your student email address, or print out your student accounts
  • Determine what invite menthod works for your class and discuss it on the forum

Register for this week’s webinar on July 14th at 10:00PST: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/983510451

Final:  Webinar Wrap up on July 21st

  • Review and new features for educators.

No Homework — Just new features for your workspace!

Register for this week’s webinar on July 21st at 10:00PST: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/756888211

Sounds intriguing? Then sign up HERE.