MEd KnOWLedge Newsletter

Western Governors University Volume 1, Issue 3

Message from Paige Morabito, Evaluation Supervisor

Synergy is a word that is often used when describing teams that are high functioning. One of the first aspects I noticed about the MEd team is the synergy; the interactions you shared with me and the positive effect of your feedback for our students. Like all things synergy ebbs and flows, not unlike the queue recently. In my first few weeks, I have had a glimpse into the great things you all can do, but I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. You all have strong backgrounds in education and unique experiences, and together I think our team has, even more, opportunities for synergy.

There are many ways we can share our talents with each other and hone our areas of expertise without infringing on the flexibility our environment affords here at WGU. It won’t be long before our busy season begins, so I want to focus at least a portion of our time in March, April, and May to reflect on our practice and continue the Task-specific discussions. I have a few ideas to help us connect and create an even stronger synergy within our team, but I want to hear your ideas too.

I would like you to consider how we can all participate in the professional development beyond presenting at the team meetings. You all have so much to offer, and I look forward to developing a synergistic approach to our professional development.

Words of Wisdom from Lisa Cantrell

While mastering stress is a life-long task, it can badly interfere with both the intellectual and emotional attractions of teaching. The important virtue to remember about being an educator and managing stress is that we must not get carried away with our passion, but we should seek balance in our lives, and remember to reserve a part of our love we extend to others for ourselves.


Find comfort in the awesome role you are playing in many people's lives. The world is a much better place because of the works and gifts of educators.


  • Celebrate the high points. If you can't seem to find any high points, then it is probably time to reassess where you need to be.
  • Remember to stay in touch with your inner self. Be forever mindful of who you are and the reasons you hold teaching in high esteem.

  • Manage the pedagogical stressors positively and keep in the forefront of your thinking those things which are true, beautiful and good about being an educator.


Quick Tips:

  • Find your Balance
  • Reward Yourself--Do not move immediately from one task to another, reward yourself with things you consider as incentives.
  • Establish Meaning and Relevance
  • Develop Short- and Long-Term Goals: Where do I want to be in five years and what must I do to get there?
  • Connect with Colleagues
  • Manage Time--Do not attempt to accomplish too many tasks in a day. Prioritize and leave a bit of time for yourself.
  • Control Your Schedule
  • Maintain a Positive Attitude--Don’t let things consume you.

Source : http://www.psychologicalscience.org/teaching/tips/tips_0102.cfm

MEd Submission-Related Data

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Important Information about ARTICULATION

Articulation Policy & Procedure:

Evaluators Do Not Fail Submissions for Articulation.

The Articulation team does.


If you think the writing is below college-level and the student will benefit from working with the writing center, send the submission to Articulation for review. Here’s how: Score and add feedback to all CONTENT areas and the overall comment, and leave the Articulation areas blank (articulation, mechanics, communication holistic). Save your evaluation, then, click the Taskstream referral button on the evaluation, and complete the student concern form that pops up. (Our team code is PA_TE_MEd.) Stay stuck in the task. The Articulation team will take the submission from your queue, handle the articulation aspect as needed, and release it to the candidate. You will not need to do anything else once you make the referral.

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The four traits of articulation evaluators review

1. Organization. 2. Word Choice 3. Sentence Fluency 4. Conventions/Mechanics


Common errors to refer to the Articulation team (also called ARG):


· Subject-verb disagreement

· Noun-pronoun disagreement

· Sentence fragments

· Shifts in verb tense

· Verb conjugation errors

· Word choice errors

· Missing words

· Apostrophe misuse – plural versus possessive

· Problems with tone


Some additional Considerations

  • A task may fail for articulation concerns alone.

  • If articulation has already received a passing score, but the submission still has problems, leave comments in the articulation area of the rubric and return the task to the student. (Of course, you cannot lower the score.) Then, fill out the student concern form for articulation saying in the comments section that the task has already passed articulation. The student will be referred to the writing center.

  • If a task must be referred to Articulation AND Originality, do not score the submission or add any feedback. STAY STUCK in the submission and complete student concern forms—one for Articulation and one for Originality. State in the comments section that the task has been referred to both. If the submission passes Originality, the Articulation team will review the submission and let you know how to proceed.

  • Do not submit a student concern form to Articulation when a submission is missing all or part of the required information. Instead, contact the evaluation supervisor and team leads for instructions on how to proceed.

  • When the work submitted is not substantial enough to allow you to evaluate fairly, fail for articulation and include the following boilerplate language in the appropriate articulation rubric aspect: "The articulation aspect can be fairly assessed once the[specify what is missing] is in place." When the student resubmits with the full complement of work, the next evaluator can then fairly judge the artifacts for articulation. If a style aspect is part of the rubric, score it a “3” and leave no comments.

Snipits and Reminders from the January 2016 Eval Pal

Tech Tip by Hannah Federico

Did you know you could DIY technology? There is a resource available to Evaluation that guides you through many technical processes, step-by-step! You don't have to be a "techie" to follow these guides. Check them out for yourself today!

Open Document by Barbara Seelye

Here are a few tips from the Open Team:

1. Please do not click the referral button or add Open@wgu.edu to the list of recipients when submitting a General Referral - Open Request. Open@wgu.edu is automatically added to the recipient list when requesting a General Referral - Open. Doing either of these will result in two requests to Open.

2. To open a zipped file submitted by a student, right click on the file, select extract file, and then identify where you want to save the file. A folder will be created that includes all the files included in the zip file.

Research Brief

Exploring Adult Learners Perceptions of Technology Competence and Retention in Web-Based Courses

Jennifer Calvin and Beth Winfrey Freeburg


Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the self-reported technology competencies of adult online learners and whether self-reported technology competence was related to students' intent to continue learning via web-based courses. The results indicated that there was no relationship between self-reported level of computer competence and intent to continue taking web-based courses. However, adult learners participating in the study indicated that they continue to struggle with completion of assignments and managing time when taking web-based courses, and that students want more technical training.

To read the entire study, follow this link:


http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.wgu.idm.oclc.org/eds/detail/detail?sid=626dfc06-08c1-45f1-b3fd-3b046c75c5a9%40sessionmgr113&vid=0&hid=122&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d&preview=false#AN=EJ914158&db=eric

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The "Whys." Why did You Come to Work for WGU?

Terry Rawlinson: 1. Because I teach full time for a community college in Psychology, evaluating WGU coursework provides a nice contrast for me personally and professionally. I am able to still utilize all those skills developed in graduate school in terms of research design and proposal development.

2. The competency model! 10 years ago, a fellow graduate student became a mentor at WGU and we discussed the competency model over coffee. I was so impressed! The objectivity of the evaluation piece of the model really intrigued me. A few phone calls later, and I was hired and started my journey with WGU.

3. Learning from the students of WGU! I take away so many innovative ideas for my classroom and my wife's classroom (8th grade Algebra) from the fantastic papers, articles, and presentations by WGU students. The community of learners is an amazing thing to be a part of at WGU.

Those are my 3 big 'Whys'!”

Jack Avella: “I retired after a little over 30 years in public education as a special education teacher, principal, and superintendent in the New Jersey public education system in 2010. I was looking, after 6 months of freedom, for a new challenge in education and had never heard of WGU or the competency-based model of education though I had experience with online education. I was the driving force as superintendent in starting the New Jersey Virtual School in 2003 and had served as a doctoral level adjunct for University of Phoenix, online venue. I came across WGU's website after a search for online colleges and reviewed the job listings. I applied and became a part time contract evaluator, moving to full-time several years later. I have been with WGU over 5 years.

I am married, have 2 adult daughters, 3 "dog children", live in central, coastal New Jersey, and I love sports, the Yankees, Rangers, and Giants. I play the guitar, piano, and organ and love to both engage in music and listen. I also love to read, write, and travel. I have published in peer review journals, presented at scholarly conferences, and am presently engaged in several new research projects.”

Christine Celestino: "Back when I completed my PhD research in neuroscience, I found myself more interested in the public outreach part of science than in the actual research (sitting alone in a little room with electrophysiology equipment all day turned out to be not as fun as I anticipated). I initially looked for jobs in public outreach or education and was offered a high school teaching position. Since I was about to defend, and had no other prospects, I took the job with the idea of trying it out for a year and seeing how I liked it. Well, I loved it. Ten years later, I am still teaching at that same school and now department chair, with several local and national teaching awards under my belt. But a few years in, my school started bugging me about this thing called a "license" because they wanted to maintain "accreditation". So, working full time with two step-kids in middle school, and lots going on at home, I looked for alternative ways to earn a degree in education and found WGU. I enrolled, accelerated my studies as much as I could, finishing most courses in about two weeks, and earned my Master's degree in just 10 months. Given how well I had taken to the competency-based model, my student mentor, Purisima Capadocia, encouraged me to consider employment at WGU, and I was definitely in need of some extra income. Our son was becoming an amazing musician, playing the upright bass in the state youth orchestra, and needed a better instrument at the tune of thousands of dollars. And our daughter was following in my shoes with a burgeoning love for horseback riding, also not a cheap activity! I applied and was hired initially as a temporary employee evaluating Teacher Performance Assessments under Mollie Davidson. After three months, I was offered a regular employee position with the MEd team. That was in 2012 and I've enjoyed working with WGU ever since. WGU gives me the chance to stay current on the teaching field, get ideas from our students that I can use in my own classroom, collaborate with amazing professionals, and earn extra income that I use to pay for a little herd of three horses plus the cost of horse shows AND the cost of college for our now graduated kids! And, in a sense, having that extra income allows me to continue as a classroom teacher, without a strong need to move on to a more lucrative career, which I'm sure my school appreciates. I look forward to many more years both in the classroom and at WGU!"
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MEd Evaluators in the Spotlight

Gabrielle Bruce's Bundle of Joy!

"Luna was born 2 months early, but you wouldn't know it by looking at her now. She was a fighter from day one. Even though she spent 20 days in the NICU, she was breathing on her own immediately after birth and continued to surprise the doctors with her progress. She came home 3 weeks earlier than they anticipated! We are very lucky to live within driving distance from one of the best children's hospitals in the country. My husband and I have so much to be thankful for and are getting used to having two little ones at home. We have a son, Cassano, who was 18 months old when Luna was born. Needless to say it's been a fun and energized start to 2016."

Christine Celestino's New House!

"We moved this weekend during a snowstorm, just up the street from our previous home. We are very excited to be homeowners again after renting for five years. We have tons of space, a brand new kitchen, and an additional downstairs living space so nice that I'm starting to think our college-aged daughter might never leave!"

Sakema Porterfield's New House!

"My husband and I decided to downsize. There are only three of us. We also were looking at several private schools for our son as he is approaching middle school. This will allow us to pay his tuition without stress. We specifically looked for homes with a basement. We live in an area that has been hit by tornadoes in the past. We looked at some homes and ended up seeing this one as we were out cruising one Sunday. We met with the real estate agent that same week. Approval, closing and everything went so smoothly and quickly that I knew God was working overtime on our behalf."

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