Planning for success in the multigenerational academic workplace

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At 11:00am on 11/12/19 at the Scott North Campus of Wake Technical Community College, I attended the Planning for success in the multigenerational academic workplace presented by Dr. Mark Taylor of Taylor Programs.

Today’s live and on-line classes can be a mix of students from at least three generational cohorts; more mature Baby Boomers, re-careering Generation Xers, and our traditionally aged, digital Generation NeXters. With wildly varying past experiences, academic expectations and learning goals, it can be challenging for faculty to offer each cohort their most effective learning environment and activities. This program describes the traits, learning preferences and needs of each group, and offers a model of instruction proven to help all learners be successful.

How do you get to be a member of a generational cohort: you’re born and raised in the certain time. Socialized with culturally influenced perspectives from the at time. its called pre-evaluative learning. Its called early “programming”. we cannot judge people based on the time of their raising. its not anyone’s fault they’re like they are.

Its not their fault to be that way, it is their opportunity to be the way they want to be.

Generational understanding is not a stereotype, it doesn’t describe everyone and may not describe you. It is just a starting place for understanding. How does those who are attracted to education fits the profile.

If the baby boom after world war 2 went on, this’d be robust. in the 60s and 70s people didnt have to have kids to be families, and women didn’t have to just be a housewife.

As boomers retire, the leadership positions will open up, but there are not enough generation X people to fill those spaces. Boomers and NeXt will get  along.

Traditionals like duty, discipline, sobriety, sacrifice, delay of gratification, thrift. They are not here to have a great time, they are here to do what they’re supposed to do.

Boomers go the other way. 75% had a mom at home. most kids outside playing. If you were in the house, “Go outside and play” was the mission statement. The center of the community moved from the church to the school. From belief to reason- from faith to reason and data. Choices are made from reason and data. Boomers are social, realational, talking just to talk to someone. WIll talk to someone who is not running away from them faster than they can run after them. Boomers are conflict averse, as they have befriended their co-workers. They are mission/Purpose people, moving to change the world. These ideals are blurring with life stages- they are getting less social, do not witsh to be troubled with people. It happens as you get older.

Gen X women were told having kids will mess you up. Women would not get hired if getting pregnant. Exorcist, firestarter, omen, damian, carrie, children of the corn, chucky. Kids were trouble. Growing up was interesting and challenging. 75% of Xers had latchkey houses. Xers want to work alone. They do best on their own, figure things out on their own through experimentation. They will often want to make changes, but want to do things on their own. They are skeptical, cautious. Why should I disclose intrusive questions. They are independent self-sufficient. More pragmatic, task oriented people. Tasks are more important than mission level work. Boomers work to change the world, Xers have to work somewhere. Xers make their children scared. THey are scrappy, tough, adaptable. You like the workplace, expecially heavy lifting. Blunt, direct communications. If you are less interested in relationships, you can be blunt, and relevance and efficiency are important. Culture moved from school to the mall. Commerce is important, what are people’s agenda? every interaction has a reason in their mind

Boomers are changing the world, Xers are a whole different drug. Dominating/independent, untrusting/independent are running most businesses together. Families became small baby-worshiping cults focused on the nuclear family. Women are being convinced to retire early and leave work-oriented to family-oriented is strong.

NeXt they are the wanted, precious, protected, perfected child. They are direct, demanding, don’t bother me style. They need direct criticism, just delicately. Child centric family. Most families 75% are really child-centric family. As parents, we are the problem.

Self-Esteem Parenting Model

People used to parent how they were parented. Since the Boomers, parenting is a reaction to the previous parents. Parents now parent like the parents they wanted to have. Helping kids feel good about themselves became the mission. Making them feeling good about themselves was more important than trying or actually doing. Less critical households bring lots of praise. They are less distant, more close and involved. Less hitting and more hugging are involved. Parents are seen less as authorities and more friends, they are in service to the kids. They are more like friends, and peers. As soon as you tell them they’re “good enough” they stop trying.

Disconnecting the praise/reward from talent/effort. Unwillingness to offer or allow critical/corrective feedback. Which can lead to: Them linking themselves and assuming they can do things they haven’t tried, overrating thier own skills, underrating necssary effort for success, entitlement for outcomes, sensitivity/defensiveness to criticism, externality, responsibility issues. These become apparent in the classroom and in the workplace.

NeXters are really great people

generally positive /confident/optimistic, usually very friendly, fewer family issues, like and admire their parents. They should be a rebellious, break with their parents, but there is really nothing to rebel against.

Often they will rebel against the non-objective measures. “why did you tell me I’m a good singer”. “I;m in college and its killing me! Why’d you do my homework in high school?”

They are expressive/direct/honest. They are enthusiastic. Are people cool or enthusiastic? Xers are cool, because they don’t want to give anything away. NeXters are super excited. They like to interact / very social and ready to interact with people who aren’t there via phone. Earlier generations didn’t have these methods, so we had to connect.

Culture has moved to the internet. Xers are upset that the internet is trying to sell you something. NeXters have come to expect it. NeXters are comfortable with and value diversity. NeXters expect to help the world through their work. How will success in your class help them change the world?

NeXter Expectations

  • General friendliness from everyone
  • Lots of JIT assistance
  • Concern for their well being
  • Options & Flexibility
  • Forgiveness expected rapidly
  • Lots of praise and thanks


  • realistic appraisals of their abilities
  • Engagement and motivations to increase time and effort
  • clear identification of the benefits and value of learning
  • clear message that learning and success are up to them.

Opening General Session: From Teaching to Learning: A Best Practices Instructional Model

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At 9:30am on 11/12/19 at the Scott North Campus of Wake Technical Community College, I attended the Opening General Session: From Teaching to Learning: A Best Practices Instructional Model presented by Dr. Mark Taylor of Taylor Programs.

Opening General Session: From Teaching to Learning: A Best Practices Instructional Model

Dr. Taylor is dedicated to helping faculty and staff better understand and improve their skills in working with students for learning, development, persistence and workplace readiness. While he makes his literature available and offer links to other resources, he feels he is most effective when offering programs and workshops at schools and conferences. He has visited community and technical colleges, universities, private and professional schools from Massachusetts to California, Minnesota to Texas, and in Canada, as well as presenting at conferences across the country and in Australia, Canada, Ireland and Denmark.

This workshop intends to help faculty understand and transition to a researched, informed, best practices model of teaching and learning designed to help students more effectively reach learning outcomes across a range of cognitive and affective domains, especially around higher order reasoning skills. Methods to increase student activity, engagement, investment, responsibility for their own learning and ownership of desired class outcomes will be discussed, described, and demonstrated. The focus on improving persistence and workplace readiness, as well as learning will be paramount to this presentation.

Our presentation will be a summation of a full-day presentation. It will be the best lecture on not giving lectures that we may ever hear. Milenials initial press was so wrong. Current Millenials are entitled and teaching is our responsibility while learning is not their responsibility.

The Generation NeXt writings have been very well received by people. They might be worth reading.

Many millenials graduates find that school is hard, and some need 8 months to sit and recover. Children who grow up being told they’re important only want to work for companies that say that they are important, and changing the world.

His latest pieces on pedagogy of milennial theories and practices constitute a single idea but was broken into 3 pieces to be effective.


What is Our Place?

Community college is required to the ecosystem of education. We are the statue of liberty of education: give us the poor, academically weak or unready, your first generation, your EFL & ESL… we will meet them and help them to achieve.

  1. Access to higher education
    1. open admissions / welcoming to all / affordable
    2. this place or no place
  2. High expectations / academic rigor
    1. comparable academic standards
    2. workplace readiness
  3. support / nurturing environment
    1. They need to hear it. They need to know it
    2. They need services that meet their needs
    3. Then need people who care about their needs

Colleges are structured to provide instructions. They should not be. They should be structured to bring about learning. we need to switch our thinking from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. Its less about us, and more about the students

College teaching is the strangest profession. We train people to do so many different tasks, but then we ask some of them to teach what they have learned. When hired, we’re often asked to “give us a show”. We do what we’re not trained to do. we do what teaching looked like when they were taught. Faculty people are folks of good will who want students to learn, and doing their best to bring about that learning.

We are not discussing what most classes do. MOst classes are an active teacher talking to a passive student. WHo does the work and learns the material? the faculty person. It is not a traditional “faith-based instruction”, but instead do what research tells us works.

If a doctor said: “You have the flu, and I’m gonna bleed ya!” we’d want to know if that’s really the most effective way to solve it. In higher ed, the most effective instruction is happening in Community colleges. Because we care and act passionately. lowest learning comes from research-based institutions, because best teachers are researching.

Most learning is just regurgitation. We need students who do more reasoning and less remembering.


“Whoever Does The Work, Does The Learning”

Teaching is not delivery or transfer. we cannot put learning in the head, but in fact we can only give it to students. We must direct, help, and motivate students to do the hard, cognitive work of their own learning. If improves responsibility, agency, efficacy.

Millenials feel its our job to teach them, and that its not their job to learn. Learning is their job. They develop the traits from recipient to active learner. From extrinsic learner to intrinsic learning.

vocational education is so skills based that youre probably putting the responsibility on the student already. However, the learning and knowledge portion should enjoy as much informative learning.

  • Learning based on student activity / Engagement. What work or activity did you do to come to class today?
  • Efforts to develop student investment.
  • Everything is in the service of higher level outcomes. I teach beyond the context of what you need to do a single skill
  • Learning should look like the outcome.
  • Non-negotiable compliance. Everybody plays, opting out is not a n option or choice. there are academic expectations.
  • Leverage a range of tools to keep learning active and up to date.

Some teachers say that teaching is not a priority. some classes are actively resisting new teaching and methods.


Pedagogy of Formation

takeaway knowledge information (remembering understanding)

skills should be improved or professional (apply, analyze, evaluate)

values should be achieved and held dear (producing quality protfolio-level work, self-worth, caring about these and willing to do this)


What the workplace wants

Looking at what workplaces want/need. You won’t see remember on here anywhere. Hart research for aacu 2016. All items wanted are higher order thinking.

  1. critical thinking and analytical reasonsing
  2. apply knolwedge and skill to real work provlems
  3. effective oral communication
  4. work effectively in teams
  5. communicate effectively in writing…


Why Best Practices?

  • lasting remembering.
  • skills development
  • reasoning evluation and critical thinking
  • increases student persistence
  • from static to growth mindset

NeXT Pedagogy for today’s learners

  1. improve students future orientation
    1. Don’t talk to students; talk to the professional they aspire to become
  2. identify class goals/link to students’ goals
    1. help student understand the why/benefits fo the course
    2. affective engagement/investments/motivation
    3. menu of benefits. Write what you want to do for a living. Find 3 items that are important to you. add 1 that isn’t on the list. Turn to your neighbor, find out what you agree on, and come to an agreement. They will talk themselves into valuing your class.
    4. Come to the understanding of cognizance dissonance. Activity in learning allows our students to value the course and believe more.
  3. improve student understanding of class expectations
    1. Teach each student how to be effective, self-responsive learning
  4. Move the learning out of class
    1. I cannot do the work for you, but I will help you to do the work and learn the skills so that you succeed.
    2. Any reading or remembering component can be moved out of the classroom. Any video can be created and given to students
    3. The easiest way to get started is to just get started.
  5. Create the necessity of preparing for and attending class
    1. student must prepare for my class
    2. students are mostly prepared
    3. students can succeed without preparation
    4. I check homework for completion

Ensuring preparation and attendance

Check student’s preparation before each class. Check materials at the door, give points for preparation.

Did you know WHAT to do? Are you ABLE to do it? are you WILLING to do what it takes to be successful?

Email absent students. Anything we can do to make you successful in the classroom?

When you get to class, get them working. Guide students to the hard work of their own learning. They need to actively learn, apply analyze and evaluate, and then cover affective worthy choices. Practice effectively, and demonstrate that activity and/or procedure. They will have more understanding, especially if they see how it will effect them in the future.

Great Teacher’s Innovations Session

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On 11/10/18 at 8:55am, I attended the Great Teacher’s Conference Innovation Session at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC presented by Wake Technical Community College

Our team joined up in a group of 4 individuals and a facilitator. We began the session by revisiting a sheet of materials sent to us: Outlining a success we’ve achieved through innovation in the classroom, and a problem we’re facing in the classroom.

I started the session off with my innovation.

I had found problems in the past because several students had found themselves withdrawing from classes because they felt “alone and cut off from others.” Based on this qualitative data from students, I implemented several changes in 2017 across my online courses.

Introduction discussion boards were created where students were asked to share their preferred activities and photos of themselves. This encouraged personal connections in online courses, and allowed students to recognize those people they had in previous classes or who they knew from seated courses.

To seem more available, I began calling each student prior to the first week of class to let them know that I will be their teacher and they can contact me with any problems they have during the semester

To encourage more discussion, I also implemented a mandatory discussion feature into my courses in at least 9 out of 16 weeks, requiring a 50+ word minimum original post, and 3 student responses with 50+ words for credit. This encourages deeper thinking about our work, more in-depth responses about other students’ work, and more constructive criticism.

Mark Monsky went next. The Innovation that made the biggest difference in classroom was making a connection with students early. In seated sections, he found that students were not engaged. Learning names early makes the biggest innovations. Going out of his way, Mark found that students really like it. The problem here was one with numbers of impressions. Students only have to remember the name of a single teacher. Teachers have to remember the names and faces of 20-40 students.

Leighton Ford Went third. His Innovation was to include a review session and do problems on the white board in hopes that his students would learn. Students however, did not learn. PD suggests that the use of video media and screen captures would garner attention. He segmented questions in video files- concentrating on frequently missed questions with timestamps. Very few students clicked on the material and very few bothered to use the jump links. He went back to the in-class review, and had students instruct one another in a flipped classroom style. This was well received, and he is pursuing this to see how he might split up the questions and hyperlink each question to get immediate feedback.

Exams are taken seated in class, and 15 minutes set aside afterwards to revisit the most frequently missed questions. At first, reviewing the classes in person was a drain. Good students would tune out, and the energy in the room would be sapped. Leighton noted that he goes over every question as soon as the test is returned. Instead, he opted to move the review until the week of the final exam. All 4 tests were covered in a single day prior to the final exam. All students who showed up were engaged. After the test people may have had too many other things to do, and not paying attention. Before the final exam, students very helped. Striking while the iron is hot is the best way to keep them interested. Right after the test they are tired and burned out, however, talking to partners is always a great idea.

Leighton teaches a Gateway course in math. Most people are not ready, and failure rate is really, really high. Students show up in math and act like its a regular class requiring they listen and give a small effort, but math doesn’t really work like that. Very few students ask questions: they are not comfortable, and don’t want to show they don’t know the required knowledge. So he, breaks his class into groups. He starts his class with a quiz of basic skills and uses this quiz to organize the class. His top 8 students start the groups, with next 8 grades distributed, and so on until there are 4 people in each group. They practice in groups during class time, and this allows students to work the problems together. As a teacher, he is in class moving around to help, but will only assist students after they have asked everyone in the group and one person from another group. Environment is really a friendly room, and questions in class are low. But requiring students to ask questions before moving on allows for a more collaborative environment. You have to talk in class. This is a nice way to get confident in class, especially math. Gradewise there are improvements showing in the class and retention rates are higher. Student withdrawals are not so much about lazy students, but now more about personal issues. His division is looking to redesign this class in 2019, so he is hoping this idea will catch on. Is there lecture? Yes, some. Most info is online, and standard lecture that allows students to take notes and explain concepts. However, if he does 100 problems in 1 hour as a teacher, you  will learn very little. If students do the classwork, the retention of ideas is better and understanding is higher. Seats are permanent seats. How do they like it? Students choose the seats when they sit down. Have a perm group seat is the same as a standard perm seat. In classes without groups, they are forced to move so they can connect with one another. I applaud him for question method. They work together. Some students who come in shy end up being talkative, competitive, working together.

Steven Hill went last. “I love my discipline,” he noted, “and history can bore students. I go into character to deliver speeches and talks from moments in history”. He does impressions on day one: Winston Churchill doing a speech. They may start serious and end funny, but will always be fact. “Mr. Hill makes those dead people sound interesting!” a student remarks. He tries to make things as interesting as possible for students. Another thing is he uses is props. A stereooptic to show what 3D was like in the past, for example. In the classes, reviews are mostly positive. he mention that on the first day: “I do not give A’s in this class. You may want to drop this, but I don’t give A’s in the class.” after a long pause, a student will ask “You mean we’ll have to earn them?” “Of course,” he will reply, “But I don’t give F’s either”. Enthusiasm builds the class. Monotone is too boring and the student is encouraged and emphasized to learn on their own. A seated class should not force students to find their own focus. A teacher is only a click away. He sets it the first day- enthusiasm, expectations, I manage them all every day. Leighton related that students do not react in monotone classes, do not care. However, laughing, joking in the class, allows us all to find things lighter and more exciting. Steven suggests that high energy and positive expectations make for an excellent class and great set of materials. The least little thing can bring you down. Struggle to ensure that you are upholding that level of energy and enthusiasm. You’ll have to overlook and combat the idea that students may try to bring down the energy level in the class.

From this point on, we talked about issues and joys we face in the classroom.

If facing numerous ringtones in the class, I suggested grabbing the BBC ringtone “Sound 30yr olds cannot hear”. if nobody knows- who’s got the cellphone out? look it up! For the most part, students wish to succeed, and keep cell phones out of the way. was discussed.

Cell phone policies: what is the policy, what should we do when its out of policy? Discussing this in class keeps stress off teacher and requires buy-in from students.

Rather than having serious homework, offer 10 topics due on the day before test. If you finish 8, you get full credit. Still you may face students who never enter the course materials in the seated classroom. Its real bad in math 171. Not as bad in 153 taught in computer lab.

All in all, it was nice to hear about the level of accomplishment in the classroom. A lot of these points can have bearing for later in the session and when talking with other teachers.

Great Teachers Conference Session 1 and 2

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On 11/10/18 at 7:00pm, I attended the Great Teacher’s Conference presentation Skills, Skills, Skills Session at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC presented by Wake Technical Community College

Skills Skills Skills

Study skills

Study skills are an integral part of teaching and learning. In this session, we covered ways in which we could encourage students to work hard, study hard, and improve their study skills.

Birds of A Feather

Grouping people together allow study skills and results to move together. Students can teach one another, pointing out flaws in thinking and expanding knowledge with examples which make sense to other students. You will find that students almost always cluster together, but that can be hurtful.

Some people take the limelight or try to remove themselves from the group, or will work alone. Try to combat this by assigning groups or by building in a contract. Prior to assigning groups, have your students take a free DISC assessment or Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Use the scores from the test first to talk about what the students learned and how accurate it was, and last to use it to help put your groups together. Just like you wouldn’t want a group of all followers, you don’t want a group of all leaders either. You know your students, so split them into groups with at least one strong leader and don’t double up if you have students who drag behind. Use a contract to clearly point out who will be doing what jobs. There is not a question as to who is responsible for what items, and encourage your students to help one another or “vote a member off the island”. Make it known that a member voted off the island by their teammates can make a maximum of 70%. Many will step up their game.

Last Minute Mastery?

Cramming in some courses is a really big problem. If this continues to be an issue, consider watching the videos by Dr. Chew about using metacognition. Integrating these into your classes can be a one-shot assignment or it can be part of your course resources section and available to all students.

Guided questions are very helpful as a reflective assignment. Asking students what they’ve learned, and what was difficult is fairly boilerplate. That doesn’t leave you without other solid questions like: How will you adjust your plan to avoid this next time? How can you do better? What study methods will you use to do better next time?

Consider using scaffolding. Rather than a single paper worth 30% of their grade, break it into sections under review. Also revisiting the study habits about a week after the exam— what did you do to study for the exam, how long did you study, and based on your grade, did it help you? Mixing this with Metacognition will be a strong asset for you.

Quizzes are used to gauge student understanding. Consider a consistent delivery methods, such as having a quiz every Friday, and always over the same material— things covered in the class that week. With 10% of your final grade based on homework and another 10% set for quizzes, students are not engaged to push themselves. Failing these, a student can always get a B- or pass. Consider bumping up these items. Often, its great to point out that 3-4 hours of study time over the semester will save you 4 months of your time by not having to take the whole class again. Sometimes you can revisit the idea that low stakes doesn’t exactly mean “low stakes”. Every missed item is like a missing block in a jenga tower. (It could end up getting you right in the face, see below).

Soft skills

Many people in the business industries we serve feel that students are missing soft skills— the unspoken items and ideas which are part of every person’s working world. What do our students know? What don’t they know? What do they know they don’t quite know well enough? What do then not know that they don’t know? It is often the Unknown Unknowns that bite us the hardest, because we cannot conceive that we have a gap in our knowledge.

What do they need to know?

What’s the workplace-appropriate attire for the industry and for the workplace? Are they the same? What soft skills will be appropriate for students to have? Career Services are called in to assist students when writing cover letters, conducting mock interviews in later classes, working with us on online and hardcopy portfolios. What does a designer or worker do in the classroom, and how can we work in those preparations in our own classrooms?

What About in YOUR Classes?

For students in my classes personally, they are pushed very hard. Their work needs to include technical mastery as well as strong conceptual work, a high attention to detail, and an excellent understanding of how these things are done. Many students consider me to be an arch-nemesis in early classes, and when they notice their level of control and understanding in later classes, consider me to have been right on schedule. In my mind, if a student is pushed to the brink, but delivers… they’re exactly in the right spot. If the workplace is as bad as a “bad day in a Dockery Class”… for them its just another day on the job. On the other hand, when an employer expects some good work, but they consistently provide above-excellent level care and performance… you have an employee who’ll be moving up in the world.

How Can We Be More Helpful?

Sometimes failure is the best thing that we can do for our students—we need to value these items more in the classroom. Business Administration has a course called “People Skills”. (in discussing this with Mark Monsky later, that program had already been discontinued). English 114 has a business writing class which can be used to enrich our students’ business vocabulary. Culinary has an etiquette class that outlines how to talk to others and clients, etc. Consider mock interviews with clients, and how do you phrase questions and things to help clients be clearer without overdoing it and upsetting people. Communicating clearly in collegiate environment is key. Speaking to them about emails titled “Question, Um…” are not appropriately, and materials need to be easy to read and very easy to communicate the materials. If you’re squinting at your own notes, you have some serious problems. We can stress the importance of writing and readable notes. One teacher noted that in low-stakes assignment she clearly says that “any pieces not using common writing conventions will lose AT LEAST half credit. Its a good wake up call in a low-stakes environment.

Rapid Fire Session

At this point, we had to break through with a rapid-fire session. The rapid-fire session went over some of the minor points while empowering teachers. I was talking and listening, and failed to take accurate notes, but we touched on:

  • success skills


  • student respect issues


  • instructor boredom
  • death by powerpoint
  • games

Can you hear me now?

  • collaboration
  • lack of community

Techie-tech at Wake TEch

  • teaching with video
  • tech tricks


Walk the line


How can you manage the amount of work coming home? Use the leeway the school has given you to ensure the amount of work you do.

You Lost Me

This was very vague. One of these items: Use the leeway the school gives us really seems to have missed the mark. Many of us teach 5+ classes in a semester, and have contracts with high numbers. Mine has 52 contact hours on the schedule and I’m not the only one maxed out in our department. We are paid for 5 office hours, but required to have many more which are unpaid.  We attend some school events as a courtesy and others as a volunteer and are required to attend other events annually (such as recruiting efforts, open houses, booths, and industry events). We undertake involved benchmarking projects, go to several conventions each year, and take well over 100 hours of professional development hours. Our classes take time, prepping old classes to reflect new software and new trends in the industry takes time, committee work takes time, answering email takes time, and we’re forced to work nights and weekends.

When I see that the school is giving us leeway, but I see that the school is really trying to have us seated 30 hours a week in our office, taking away our vacation and break days, it seems like you’re talking about something which isn’t accurate. This might be like saying “Eat all the cake your students bring you.” If there is no cake coming in, it doesn’t make much sense…

Back On Target

Use the time you need. Email is a rabbit hole, but it can easily be a problem. If you schedule the grading and email to certain times of the day, you may find you have more time than you thought. Consider not even looking at email until 3pm (cannot happen as I know it). Consider turning things off as soon as you walk out the door.

One Person noted (name redacted): Its in the policy that you do not have to contact with students on the weekend.

Multiple People responded: Evenings and weekends are par for the course in online classes. Weekend and night emails or often appeals and questions. If those go unanswered, its a complaint to the dean, and so should be answered. Online students with problems and blackboard issues are not easy to answer. Ensure students that you will address the issue after you have talked with IT or BB and give us the trouble ticket and response.

Another responder: If students cannot go on board with solving the problem themselves, why should we look into these issues.

Should we have 2 due dates per week or 1 due date per week? There is no standard. Many people find that emailing at a certain time is healthy and sets a good balance. Students must have concise efforts. Anything which is too drastic gets pushed off too late, and has a chance of failing.

Be Open and Honest About Responsivitiy— Especially with yourself.

Perhaps taking a 10 minute walk every 50 minutes can reset your productivity. Don’t be afraid to tell students that you will not be responding. Share and be open. Students will be available and open to give you some space. After all, that’s what they want too!

Great Teacher’s Conference Keynote

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On 11/10/18 at 8:55am, I attended the Great Teacher’s Conference Opening Keynote at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC presented by Wake Technical Community College

Great Teacher’s Conference Keynote

3rd annual Kelly markson, caralyn house, meghan macintyre, alison consol,  lead coordinator from RTP Campus.

After a short Intro with our group facilitators and team members, we began the discovery process. We paired up with one another based on our years of experience. We began by creating a line with members at one end (half a year) and in the other end with the longest teachers (27.5 years!). We then paired up. Rather than folding the line in half, in a method similar to DNA replication, the line split and moved in opposite directions around the room, meeting again on the far side of the room. Both halves of the line met in a handshake, reconnecting to learn about one another. My partner was Mark DeCain.

Mark DeCain, Assistant Professor at Wake Technical Community College
Mark DeCain

After getting to know one another, we then had to introduce each other in a fashion similar to a tweet format in 160 characters.

Mark has my same birthday. His tweet intro was “Tinkerer, Father, Insatiably Curious.” My introduction was “Father, Standard Nerd, No Hobbies”. We later Learned that our partners would then be our lunch dates.


We are a very diverse group on individuals, and have a lot to learn about one another over the next two days. We were encouraged to turn off and put away our cell phones, and to visit the reading library at the back of the classroom. We were also further encouraged to take notes between sessions in addition to the materials in session.

Learn from one another.

We’ll have a final examination at the end, and we’ll want to jot down “which things make a great teacher” so you can use that to complete your final exam

Great Teachers

David Godfrey started in the 1970. He did not know how to teach effectively and he has built a program like this to learn more. It is all over the nation, and has been adapted to an international movement. The Council of Excellence was charged by Bryan Ryan to “increase excellence” at the college. The Great Teachers Conference was an existing item that they visited in 2016 and found how excellent the idea was. This is the third annual seminar, and is funded moving forward for several years. This “energizes faculty” as noted by dr. Gayle Green.

Teaching is difficult and you’ll only learn as set of working best practices from one another. This conference is for teachers only, those down in the trenches. Experts are not invited. They are not welcome here. The keynote today is not a single idea. The power is in diversity. We’ll be kicking around outside of our departments. We have Professional Development to learn different ideas, but we can use this opportunity to get to know a larger more diverse group of people within the school, and get to know them better.

You Are Encouraged To Write Thank You Letters.

While we are here, we have been encouraged to think deeply about our situation, our performance in the classroom, what we’ve learned while we’re here, and what we’ll be able to bring back to the classroom. We are also encouraged- if we feel the spirit- to write letters if we like it. It can be forwarded on, compiled, etc. to the powers that be which make this a reality. They appreciate the feedback and this really keeps the conference going.

Less is more.

The following was given to us from Jason Whitehead

“There is no pre-planned agenda. It is made as simple as possible so that we can have a flowing agenda. There is no “this is what you need” keynote. It has to be uncovered as you go. We’ll let you know where to go and what you’ll do. Food is here, rooms are here. How can we teach a little bit made well? If we all increase a small amount each week, we’ll do better.

“This seminar is about you, and every one of us has their own flavors. Pick and choose. Today we’ll share our innovations, lunch will follow at 11:30 in Debose Hall, and then back here at 12:30pm. Tonight we’ll be working on tricks of the trade, but for now, lets live in the moment.

We come from different parts of the college, but we can share ideas, stealing like a ninja. Adjust ideas to share in your class. There is NO need for humble apologies. We’ll run in 10 minute increments, so be ready to talk and listen.”


Our Commandments:

  • Thou shalt provide equal time- if you drone on, shut up. You can always continue conversations with others. Talk often, but do not dominate.
  • No whining, griping, or telling war stories. Whining is complaining, griping is when two people are complaining together. War Stories are told trying to outdo one another.
  • Thou shalt mutually enforce these commandments. We police ourselves. Don’t take things personally.


Remember, this conference is about you. Our facilitators will be doing the listening and not talking. You cannot listen and talk at the same time. They are listening, teachers should be talking and discussing. Don’t engage the facilitators, focus on the groups and group members.


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At 2:00pm On 11/15/16 I attended 10 SECRETS TO CREATING WEBINAR CONTENT presented by Mark Bornstein at the Communication On 24 Webinar.


Webinars have become the most important tool that marketers have for generating leads and driving sales. But many companies struggle with creating enough high-quality content to produce a steady pulse of webinars to drive their demand generation programs.

On November 15th, I attended “10 Secrets for Creating Great Webinar Content” to learn tips for creating great webinar content and themes from scratch. In this live, interactive webinar, I hope to will learn how to:

  • Create content for each stage of the buying cycle
  • Create webinars from existing content
  • Find great content from outside sources
  • Create great webinar content themes


Mark Bornstein
Vice President, Content Marketing
ON24, Inc.

As Vice President of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark manages content strategy and marketing communications in support of webcasting and virtual event solutions. Mark brings over 20 years of content marketing, account management and communications experience with leading technology firms, including: Cisco, GE Access and Compatible Systems.