CAE Gazette

News you can use from CCCO's Center for Academic Excellence

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Webinar Reminder: "Brainfuse: An Introduction to Our New Tutoring Service"

Thursday, Jan. 22nd, 1pm

This is an online event.

Our first webinar of 2015 will provide an overview of CCCOnline’s new tutoring service: Brainfuse. Participants will get an overview of Brainfuse as well as learn some of the unique aspects of using the wide range of services offered. Register here!
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Webinar Reminder: "Virtual Brown Bag: Discussions, Announcements, Grades"

Thursday, Feb. 5th, 1pm

This is an online event.

This will be an open forum on what works with regards to facilitating highly engaging discussions, writing effective news announcements, and offering succinct and useful grading feedback. Register here!
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And finally . . . a few words on student engagement

Student engagement is one of the critical elements of a successful online course, as discussed in many professional articles, surveys and studies regarding online education*. Engagement can be carried out in several ways: through discussion posts which acknowledge student input, ask further questions, etc. It also can be accomplished thorough announcements in the News section of the course which add further information about the subject being studied, or about the specific assignment in the current unit of the course. Grading comments can even be an opportunity for further engagement, when they provide the student with specific information about their work in an assignment.

From a Fall, 2014, CCCOnline course in Colorado History, here is just one example of good engagement with a student in a discussion. In this example, the student's input is acknowledged, further information is provided by the instructor, and the student is asked a question:

"Bob: There were actually people in Colorado prior to the proto Puebloans, namely the Clovis and perhaps others who followed the herds south from the Alaskan land bridge, and whose weapons and implements we find from time to time in Colorado. But, you are right, the oldest long-term settlements are found in the Mesa Verde and other so-called Anasazi areas. Why did the Indians live in the cliffs, do you think?"

*One of those articles is summarized below:

Student engagement in online courses does not require one specific activity by the instructor; instead, multiple means of interactivity should be used. This was one of the findings of M.D. Dixson when she conducted a survey which was completed by 186 online students, from a broad cross-section of online college courses. Dixson's study, published in the Indiana University Journal of the Scholarship and Teaching of Learning, found that student-student, and instructor-student communication are strongly correlated with higher student engagement with the course. And, students in the survey who reported that they had multiple methods of interacting with other students, and of communicating with instructors, had significantly higher levels of engagement with the course. The methods of interactivity noted were discussions with good instructor interaction, email messages to students, announcements on the homepage of the course, and required student interactions, such as group projects or peer reviews.

Dixson, M. D. (2010). Creating effective student engagement in online courses: what do students find engaging? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), 1-13. Retrieved from

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We hope your 2015 is off to a great start!

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