CAE Gazette

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

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Teaching Excellence Update

Recently, CCCOnline revised its Teaching Excellence program (formerly known as QA, or Quality Assurance). The new Teaching Excellence (TE) forms are handled by Program Chairs and provide guidance and mentoring on instructors’ in-class work on discussions, announcements, and grading. All CCCOnline instructors will receive a TE report once a year. For more information, please see our archived webinar here.

New videos to pass along to students

Looking ahead to next semester, we have created a couple of brief new instructional videos for students; please feel free to use in your classes as you see fit:
1) a 2-minute introduction to CCCOnline courses:
2) a 2 ½-minute instructional video on the Dropbox tool in D2L (this includes an Overview, Submitting a File, and Viewing Grades/Feedback):

Webinar Alert: Virtual Brown Bag: Discussions, Announcements, Grades

When: Thursday, February 5, 2015, 1:00-2:30 PM MT
In this webinar, you’re invited to come share your own tips and tricks with colleagues! We will have an open forum on what works with regards to facilitating highly engaging discussions, writing effective news announcements, and offering succinct and useful grading feedback. (Discussions, Announcements, and Grading all are instructor evaluation categories in CCCOnline’s Teaching Excellence – TE – program.) Robust participation encouraged! Facilitators: John Ragan & Liz Dzabic, Center for Academic Excellence

More Information:
Registration for this webinar closes the day prior to the session. You can register for this webinar at the Training and Professional Development Database and find registration details and instructions on the Registration Process page.

Effective Online Discussions

In an August 2014 edition of Faculty Focus (, authors Stephanie Palenque and Meredith DeCosta argue that it is possible to mirror the effectiveness of face-to-face discussions in an online course. To achieve this result, the authors explain that several instructor posting techniques can be employed:

1) Posts which question, interpret, or add information to the discussion.
2) Posts which critique conflicting statements or ideas.
3) Posts which encourage students to interact and collaborate.
4) Posts which encourage students to share information.
5) Touch all students in a discussion (this can be done through individual responses to students, and through group posts which are addressed to several students, etc).
6) Be aware of what each student needs (some students post at a high level; others might express confusion or uncertainty, etc).
7) Know when to lead and when to be led in the discussion, by letting students take charge sometimes.

The discussion techniques established at CCCOnline reflect all of these good suggestions. By making the kinds of posts explained in this article, CCCOnline instructors would automatically be meeting the important goals of having active presence in the discussion, adding new information to the discussion, encouraging students, and engaging students.

DeCosta, M., & Palenque, S. (2014, August 11). The Art and Science of Successful Online Discussions. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

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