Month: October 2013

MyGraphicsLab Training with Laura Noah

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MyGraphicsLab Training with Laura Noah of Pearson Education

I was extremely pleased with my test this afternoon (92%) on the Visual Communication with Adobe Photoshop ACA (Adobe Certified Associate) exam. However, no rest for the wicked. I jumped in the car, and jammed back to main campus at Wake Tech Community College to continue my professional development today with MyGraphicsLab training.

Today’s MyGraphicsLab training was conducted by Laura Noah of Pearson Education. We went through the ins and outs of Pearson’s MyGraphicsLab, and it seems as though it might be a winner. Contents include an e-Textbook for students, presentations with videos, selected readings, slide presentations, and built-in quizzes. These, coupled with blackboard’s ability to draw grades from MyGraphicsLab without having to take in too much additional  workload.

Listening to Laura Noah talk, this system will allow us to remove some of the trouble with testing. The material will be adjusted on their end, stopping us from dealing with software updates, and preventing us from having to update our test materials over and over each semester. It will allow us to augment our printed and online materials with enrichment courses, and prepare our students for possible entry into the ACA exams.

We went through a few sample chapters, and the materials seem good to go. I’m for it, and I’ll be looking forward to some materials in our upcoming classes.

Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop ACA Certification Achieved!

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Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop ACA Certification Achieved!

In the middle of the NCCCFA conference, I had to make a detour down to the Office of State Personnel (OSP) to take a scheduled examination. The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification allows you to demonstrate proficiency in Adobe digital communications tools. Become a Certified Associate and stand apart from your peers, boost your confidence, and expand your career opportunities.

The Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop exam validates skills in communication corresponding to Photoshop software. Adobe conducted research to identify the foundational skills needed to effectively communicate using digital media tools. Based on feedback from educators, design professionals, businesses, and educational institutions around the world, the objectives cover skill expectations for professional visual communication.


The following skills were assessed on the Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop exam:

  • Domain 1.0 Setting Project Requirements
    • 1.1 Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for preparing images.
    • 1.2 Demonstrate knowledge of standard copyright rules for images and image use.
    • 1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of project management tasks and responsibilities.
    • 1.4 Communicate with others (such as peers and clients) about design plans.
  • Domain 2.0 Identifying Design Elements When Preparing Images
    • 2.1 Demonstrate knowledge of image resolution, image size, and image file formats for web, video, and print.
    • 2.2 Demonstrate knowledge of design principles, elements, and image composition.
    • 2.3 Demonstrate knowledge of typography.
    • 2.4 Demonstrate knowledge of color correction using Photoshop.
    • 2.5 Demonstrate knowledge of image-generating devices, their resulting image types, and how to access resulting images in Photoshop.
    • 2.6 Understand key terminology when working with digital images.
  • Domain 3.0 Understanding Adobe Photoshop
    • 3.1 Identify elements of the Photoshop user interface and demonstrate knowledge of their functions.
    • 3.2 Demonstrate knowledge of layers and masks.
    • 3.3 Demonstrate knowledge of importing, exporting, organizing, and saving.
    • 3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of producing and reusing images.
    • 3.5 Demonstrate an understanding of and select the appropriate features and options required to implement a color management workflow.
  • Domain 4.0 Manipulating Images by Using Adobe Photoshop
    • 4.1 Demonstrate knowledge of working with selections.
    • 4.2 Use Photoshop guides and rulers.
    • 4.3 Transform images.
    • 4.4 Adjust or correct the tonal range, color, or distortions of an image.
    • 4.5 Demonstrate knowledge of retouching and blending images.
    • 4.6 Demonstrate knowledge of drawing and painting.
    • 4.7 Demonstrate knowledge of type.
    • 4.8 Demonstrate knowledge of filters.
  • Domain 5.0 Publishing Digital Images by Using Adobe Photoshop
    • 5.1 Demonstrate knowledge of preparing images for web, print, and video.

NCCCFA 2013 Keynote: The Future of Community Colleges with Dr. Anita Brown-Graham

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The Future of Community Colleges

This morning’s keynote: The future of community colleges was interesting, but found difficulty bringing motivation. In her defense, Dr. Anita Brown-Graham is the director of the NCSU (North Carolina State University) Institute for Emerging Issues. The problem here really boils down to preaching to the converted. The REAL problem is that Dr. Stephen Scott and the rest of Wake Tech Community College’s administrative staff have been seeing this, telling us about it, preparing our faculty for this, and training us on how to deal with and be prepared for this… every single year I’ve worked here since 2005.

YES, we know about the rise in LMS (learning management systems) and the importance of keeping materials online and confidential for students. YES, we know about the conflagration of smartphones and mobile devices and how this will affect our classrooms. YES, we have been made aware of the possibility of a BYOD (brig your own device) classroom situation. YES, we know and have been experimenting with the rise of social media and how it will affect our classes. YES, we have been prepared for higher numbers of online, out of state online, and overseas online students. YES, we are ready and anticipatory of the rise in technology in the classroom and abroad, and YES we ARE prepared for our students to step from our classes to 4-year institutions and colleges.

In short, I was disappointed by the talk, because it seemed less about leading our students into the future, and more about getting us prepared for the present… even though we had already been prepared by initiatives started years back.

NCCCFA 2013 Keynote: Unlocking Your Leadership Potential with Pat Akers

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NCCCFA 2013 Keynote Presentation: Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

Pat Akers has been training leadership in the business and the community college communities for over 30 years.

This presentation began by discussion different leadership styles and the effectiveness of those styles. Various leadership styles can be effective in different situations. A leader needs to evaluate a particular situation and choose the style that best fits that situation.

Style Characteristics When Effective When Ineffective
  1. Tells others what to do
  2. Limits discussion on ideas and creativity.
  3. Keeps group from experiencing teamwork
  • Time is limited
  • Individuals lack skill or knowledge
  • Group does not know each other
  • Control is important
  • Goal is to develop sense of team
  • Members have some degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group desires spontaneity in work
  • Goal is to develop sense of team
  • Members have some degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group desires spontaneity in work
  1. Involves group in planning and carrying out activities
  2. Asks before tells
  3. Promotes teamwork
  4. Leader makes final decision with input.
  • Time is available
  • Group is motivated
  • Sense of team exists
  • Some degree of skill or knowledge exists
  • Group is unmotivated
  • No skill or knowledge
  • High degree of conflict present
  • Group is unmotivated
  • No skill or knowledge
  • High degree of conflict present
  1. Assigns tasks
  2. Offer little or no opinion
  3. Trust employees
  4. Leader does not seem to be in charge
  • Team possesses high degree of skill and motivation
  • Sense of team exists
  • Routine is familiar
  • Low sense of team or interdependence
  • Low degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group expects to be told what to do
  • Low sense of team or interdependence
  • Low degree of skill or knowledge
  • Group expects to be told what to do
Examples and Factors Affecting the Choice of Style
Factors that effect the choice of a style TimeKnowledge and skills of you and your staff



Type of task

Using all three Student Services VP tells his/her staff that the process for handing out Pell Checks is not working efficiently and a new one must be established (Authoritative). The VP give them the new process to implement. OR Ask for their ideas and input on creating a new process(Participative). OR Delegate tasks in order to implement the new procedure (Delegative).


In setting aside these materials, Pat Akers stressed the importance of becoming a transformative leader, someone who crosses the issues and builds the team into something more than the sum of the parts. Together, we discussed 10 characteristics of a transformative leader, and the steps that might be required to achieve these characteristics.


Characteristics Of A Transformative Leader

1. Let go of things others can do.

  1. Let go of tasks and responsibilities that will help others develop.
  2. Let go of authority to make decisions about the work.
  3. Know what others in the group can do and want to do.
  4. Build people’s skills to take over by involving them in the work.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve


2. Encourage initiative, ideas, and risk taking.

  1. Actively seek ideas and suggestions from the work group.
  2. Allow people to run with an idea, even if it might involve some risk.
  3. Reward and recognize ideas and initiative through compliments, formal recognition, and, whenever possible, tangible rewards.
  4. Are careful not to put down or discount ideas.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.


3. Ensure that people have goals and know how they’re doing.

  1. Encourage the work group to take a lead role in setting goals and assessing their own performance.
  2. Ensure that goals are clear and understandable.
  3. Let people know how they’re doing in meeting goals and provide the guidance and support they need to meet them.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

4. Delegate to challenge, develop, and empower.

  1. Delegate to challenge and develop people.
  2. Delegate authority to make decisions about the work.
  3. Provide a clear understanding of the responsibility, amount of authority, expectations, and constraints.
  4. Support the delegation within and outside the work group.
  5. Set up controls that keep themselves apprised of progress but aren’t seen as restrictive.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

5. Coach to ensure success.

  1. Coach before the person begins the task or assumes the responsibility and along the way as needed.
  2. Make coaching a regular part of their jobs.
  3. Are good coaches-their coaching sessions guide and instruct, while maintaining or enhancing the self-esteem of the person being coached.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve

6. Reinforce good work and good attempts.

  1. Use verbal praise frequently.
  2. Know the kind of reinforcement that works best for each person.
  3. Provide tangible reinforcement whenever possible (for example, recognition letters, awards, or gifts).
  4. Remember to reinforce what someone does well even when his or her work has a few flaws.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve

7. Share information, knowledge, and skills.

  1. Meet with the group regularly to share and update information.
  2. Make sure people have the information they need to succeed in a task or responsibility or know where and how to get it.
  3. Share their insights, knowledge, expertise, and skills.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve

8. Value, trust, and respect each individual.

  1. Show, that they trust and respect people by encouraging them to take control of their jobs with the authority to take action.
  2. Take every opportunity to compliment people for good work, creative ideas, and contributions to the group.
  3. Listen to people and empathize with their problems and concerns.
  4. Are careful never to put people down or minimize their contributions.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

9. Provide support without taking over.

  1. Understand that support is essential and know when it’s needed.
  2. Know techniques for supporting others, such as coaching, reinforcing, preparing for resistance, and gaining others’ commitment.
  3. Resist the temptation to take over when things go wrong.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.

 10. Practice what you preach. 

  1. Let go, but also support people through the rough spots of a new assignment instead of punishing them for mistakes or taking over.
  2. Ask for ideas, but also empower people to implement their ideas– especially those that involve some risk.
  3. Tell people they’re important and show them through actions.

Area of strength for me          Area in which I would like to improve.


Just like there are several characteristics of a transformative leaders, there are several types of team players. Finding out which one you might be and how you can best affect the team in a positive manner


Team Player Styles

Style Seen as… Behaviors
CONTRIBUTOR Information Focus



  1. Enjoys providing the team with good technical information and data
  2. Does his or her homework
  3. Pushes the team to set high performance standards and to use their resources wisely
  4. Is dependable, responsible and organized
  5. Has a clear set of priorities
COLLABORATOR Big Picture PersonGoal


  1. Focuses on the vision, mission or goal of the team
  2. Is flexible and open to new ideas
  3. Is willing to pitch in and work outside his or her defined role
  4. Is able to share the limelight with other team members
  5. Is visionary and cooperative
COMMUNICATOR Positive People PersonProcess Oriented
  1. Is an effective listener and facilitator of involvement, conflict resolution, consensus building and feedback
  2. Builds an informal, relaxed climate
  3. Communicates with enthusiasm
  4. Helps team members get to know each other
  5. Receives feedback without becoming defensive
CHALLENGER Candid and OpenQuestioner


  1. Questions the goals, methods and even the ethics of the team
  2. Is willing to disagree openly with the leader or higher authority
  3. Encourages the team to take well-conceived risks.
  4. Raises questions about the teams’ goals
  5. Outspoken, ethical and principled

Pat Akers spent the remaining portion of our professional development discussing how leaders “connect” with their team members.


Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.”


Leaders today face the challenge of influencing people from all sides of an organization. Yet, many managers with leadership responsibilities feel that because they are not the main leader, they cannot influence their bosses, peers and subordinates. From this comes the understanding of 360 degree leadership. Becoming a 360 Degree Leader is not easy. By becoming a better leader… one who can influence others… you add tremendous value to your organization.


“The true measure of leaders is not the number of people who serve them but the number of people they serve.”
John Maxwell


Pat ended by requesting that we identify the people in “our” college environment whom we will influence in working to become a 360 Degree leader. Identify ways that you connect with these people in your environment, and make our changes to improve things.

Faculty Ranking Q&A

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Faculty Ranking Q&A

I came to this NCCFA 2013 session, but unfortunately showed up after some of the opening remarks. The main thing which I was able to glean from this was simple: The faculty rank system was available NOW to increase rank and give new titles so that administrators and those close to administrators would get raises.

It was made clear that

  • Only a certain number would be chosen every year to receive the new rank and new raise status.
  • There would be a cap on rank increases at once
  • You would need approval from your superiors to receive this
  • There was no training which could be given to help prepare staff for this
  • There would not be money forever.
  • Rank increases would be based on activities going above and beyond the duties required for your job
  • Adjunct years would not count towards faculty ranking years of service
  • Faculty ranking would not be available to staff members on a regular basis
  • My next ranking adjustment would not be until 2016.


I still feel this is a bad idea. It seems like those who are in close with the bosses will be given ranking, while those who might be worthy will be tossed over due to one small infraction or being frowned upon. It seems like money will run out in a few years, and people will end up being shut out, or left with no drive to achieve this designation. However, I probably need to see this in terms of needs and opportunities.

Grand Canyon University’s Doctoral Programs

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Grand Canyon University’s Doctoral Programs

The speaker from Grand Canyon University at NCCFA 2013 was very knowledgeable about their programs, and also about the pricing guidelines in comparison with local schools. There was a great deal of information handed out, although the amount of people in the program room was less than I would have liked to see.

My major disappointment here, was that the teacher lead off his big sales pitch for the college by saying: “When you’re looking for a doctoral degree, it doesn’t matter where you get one- it only matters that you get one.”

I felt this set his program up as a last-ditch effort, or a “never-heard-of-you-but-it-sounds-legit” kind of business. I’m still going to give them the benefit of the doubt and consider them while looking at doctoral programs.

I am considering doctoral programs, although cost and convenience of the program is certainly a concern of mine. Perhaps this summer I’ll make a better effort to look into the pros and cons of the situation.

Digital Publishing for Mobile Learning Initiatives

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Digital Publishing for Mobile Learning Initiatives

This presentation at the NCCFA 2013 was run by Apple, and outlined the uses and working of the iTunes U (iTunes University).

It was an interesting presentation, but I am unsure if it would work out very well for us. The books in many cases were a limited variety, not available with every publisher and most certainly not with a great deal of the books we’re currently using. Of a similar issue was the fact that iTunes University required every student to have iTunes installed as well as an active iTunes account. Online books were moderately expensive, and would only be available when students were connected to the internet.

In short, this system is expensive, computer-dependent, internet dependent, and requires accounts with systems students may not enjoy. Also, iTunes is constantly… and I mean CONSTANTLY demanding updates. I think our students might be getting themselves into a system requiring numerous updates and security issues.

Could not give me recommendation on this.