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“Guru” of Distance Education and Online Technologies

(article by Bridget Fischer, Distance Education Coordinator)


Friday afternoon, May 9, The CTTL hosted the dynamic “Guru” of Distance Education and Online technologies, Michelle Pacansky-Brock. The 3-hour workshop, entitled “Humanizing your Online Classroom,” treated faculty and staff to an inspiring afternoon filled with engaging and thoughtful dialogue.  Michelle relayed to CTTL staff and administration afterwards that she “was impressed with the level of commitment and support for innovation through technology at Skyline.”

Some faculty participants reported, “It was a very useful workshop, and something I hope we get to do more of.”  Other attendees immediately applied what they learned and created short video e-mails by using one of the new technology tools that Michelle demonstrated.  All who attended agreed the workshop inspired a renewed vigor and provided them with exciting new tools that will help them to engage students in their classes.

As a special treat, Michelle put together a page of resources just for Skyline.  It can be accessed here: Copies of Michelle’s book, Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies, are available for loan from the CTTL.  More information about Michelle and the work she is doing can be found at her Website:

CTTL Workshops and Support

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The CTTL has been busy hosting a number of successful WebAccess workshops and has provided one-on-one support.  Instructional Technologist, Ricardo Flores, and Distance Education Coordinator, Bridget Fischer, have been instrumental in guiding faculty in the transition to WebAccess 2.5.  Most recently, the CTTL hosted Google-themed activities.  Among them were Ricardo Flores’ “Google 101” workshops, and “Tips & Strategies for Active Learning with Google Drive,” a Google Hangout led by distance education expert, Michelle Pacansky-Brock.

In March and April, the CTTL offered two workshops to assist adjunct faculty in their search for full-time faculty positions.  Each of the workshops, “Unravel the Mystery of the Faculty Job Application Process” and “Unravel the Mystery of the First-Round Job Interview,” were led by Deans Mary Gutierrez and Ray Hernandez and Professional Development Coordinator, Nina Floro.  Recently hired full-time faculty, Carmen Velez, Michelle Hawkins, and Paul Bridenbaugh served as panelists for the first-round job interview workshop.  Additionally, the workshop, “Understanding Adjunct Evaluations—The Portfolio,” was offered to address specifics about the faculty portfolio and other components of the evaluation process.

The CTTL staff would like to build on the successes of past activities and learn from those experiences, with the intention of offering future workshops that will be of benefit to both faculty and staff. This summer, Ricardo Flores will continue to be available to those who require DE and WebAccess-related assistance. Ricardo can be contacted at ext. 7147 or

Boot-Up Camp Wrap-Up

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2013-2014 BootUp Camp participants completed the program in February 2014.  With the support of their deans, new full-time faculty committed to setting aside two Friday afternoons devoted to activities designed to facilitate and encourage use of of WebAccess 2.5, and to introduce them to technologies and pedagogies that have the potential to transform teaching and learning.  In addition to the technological and pedagogical components of BootUp Camp, new faculty received information helpful in raising their awareness and understanding of campus resources, policies/guidelines/procedures, programs, and support staff.

BootUp Camp participants agree that among their most positive experiences are the connections and relationships they established with colleagues across disciplines.  Over the past months, they have also become more connected with the campus and have become active contributors to the Skyline College communitythrough leading workshops, designing curriculum, serving on committees, and more.

Amir Esfahani, Paul Bridenbaugh, Greenstein, Bruce, Calderon, Tammy, Younga Choi, Chu, Serena, Hawkins, Michelle, Jackson, Kym, Williams, Phillip, Richardson, Carmen, Silva, Paula, Williams, Rob, Windham, Adam, Ijaz Ahmed, Anttila-Suarez, Carina, Varona, Alina

Amir Esfahani, Paul Bridenbaugh, Carina Antila-Suarez, Ijaz Ahmed, Phillip Williams, Carmen Richardson, Kym Jackson, Paula Silva, Tammy Calderon, Serena Chu; not in picture–Younga Choi, Michelle Hawkins, Rob Williams, Rob, Alina Varona.

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Skyline College continues to place great value in developing the skills and talents of its faculty and staff, and believes well-prepared and well-equipped faculty are essential to student success. CTTL staff is now in the planning stages of the BootUp Camp program for the 2014-2015 new full-time faculty cohort, and looking forward to meeting and working with new faculty in the Fall.

Skyline College Gathers for Shakti Butler, March Flex Day Events

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On Wednesday, March 5, faculty and staff gathered for workshops, including FERPA, Universal Design for Learning, and Reading Across the Curriculum training. More than one hundred twenty Skyline College employees–faculty, staff, and managers–attended the event.

Shakti Butler

The main event of the day featured Dr. Shakti Butler, racial justice advocate and educator. Dr. Butler used her latest film, Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality,” as a way to invite the Skyline College audience to grapple with the intellectual and emotional complexities of race.

During the presentation, Dr. Butler conveyed the interconnection between internal and external/structural components of racial inequity, and revealed how self-perpetuating systems reinforce disparities in institutions. This framing, along with the use of her film,  set the context for dialogue among participants.

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CTTL-Sponsored Spring Conference Summary

Forging a General Education Program EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR 2030: AAC&U Conference Review—General Education and Assessment: Disruption, Innovations, and Opportunities
(article by Karen Wong, Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness/PRIE) 

I love conferences because I’m able to confer with colleagues who share a passionate commitment to strengthening higher education. At this conference hosted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, I had the additional perk of being part of a national conversation to enhance general education and assessment. This conference came at a good time since Skyline College is in the process of refining our newly minted General Education program. Attendee Dennis Wolbers further explains why Skyline College sent a team, which included Sarah Perkins and Mary Gutierrez, “For several years, efforts have been underway nationwide to reform General Education programs in higher education to make them more coherent and meaningful to students, and provide students with the skills necessary to meet the work and citizenship challenges of the 21st century.  Faculty nationwide have implemented a wide variety of innovations in General Education, ranging from enhanced GE learning outcomes, community based learning, capstone courses and projects, GE learning communities, and e-portfolios.  Some of these approaches may become opportunities for Skyline.”

The conference was kick-started by keynote presenter Randy Bass, Georgetown University’s Vice Provost of Education, who made a compelling argument for why we need to reconceive GE beyond random groups of courses students take to fulfill degree requirements. For one, significant changes in the labor market are underway that will require us to examine how we teach: we will need to design courses and programs for context, not solely content dissemination. If not confined to service oriented jobs, students will be entering a competitive labor market that requires them to solve unstructured problems, to work with new information and processes, and to carry out non-routine manual tasks, among other responsibilities. Given these changes, how can we best prepare students? There are multiple ways. We need to provide: (a) opportunities for students to apply what they’re learning (hence the shift from what we cover – objectives– to what students do with that information—SLOs), (b) time on task to practice what they’re learning, (c) frequent and meaningful feedback, (d) prompts in which they reflect on their learning, and (e) opportunities to integrate and synthesize what they’re learning. This last one can be on the course or on the program level. If on the program level, we can work with colleagues across the disciplines to forge thematic “pathways,” a coherent set of courses on topics such as sustainability, social justice, and…__________ (insert your idea here!). In short, we need to empower our students to function now and well in to the future.

As the campus assessment coordinator, I also was interested in how assessment complements general education. Skyline College’s GE program SLOs are essentially our Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs): effective communication, critical thinking, information literacy, citizenship, and lifelong wellness. Skyline College’s purpose for assessing was validated when Terry Rhodes, AACU’s Vice President of the Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, asserted that “assessment…is a high impact practice.” In other words, assessment is a means to refine our teaching practices so as to increase student learning. By assessing to what degree students are demonstrating these core knowledge, skills and attitudes, we’re able to gain insights about student learning, to confer with each other about needed changes, to implement said changes, and then to assess yet again to determine if these changes helped. At the conference, much of the conversation around outcomes assessment was focused on identifying general education outcomes pertinent to all disciplines, articulating common evaluation criteria with AACU’s “value rubrics” or some variation of them, using data to inform changes, and communicating results to both internal and external audiences in meaningful ways.

This conference was inspiring and enlightening, especially now that Skyline College is poised to strengthen and refine our newly created General Education program. Clearly dialogue and professional development will be central to this re-conception, as many presenting colleges showed. If you’re interested in a fantastic opportunity to work with faculty across the disciplines to enhance your teaching and curriculum, for instance through forging a thematic pathway and/or integrating service/ community based learning into your program, please keep your eye out for invitations to get involved. Skyline College is in the early stages of creating a dynamic general education program. Now is the time to play an active role in creating something that will be around for years to come, and that most importantly, benefits students.

CTTL-Sponsored Spring Conference Summary

A Librarians Perspective: AAC&U Conference Review—General Education and Assessment: Disruption, Innovations, and Opportunities
(article by Dennis Wolbers, Libarian)

For several years, efforts have been underway nationwide to reform General Education (GE) programs in higher education to make them more meaningful and coherent to students, as well as increase retention rates and progress toward a degree.  As a member of Skyline’s College’s Curriculum Committee, I am very interested in this reform effort, so I was pleased to be able to attend a 3-day conference in Portland, Oregon, which focused on new opportunities and innovations in General Education.  The conference, General Education and Assessment: Disruption, Innovations, and Opportunities, was held February 27 through March 1, 2014, and was sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  In addition to several pre-conference workshops, a keynote address, two plenary sessions, and a community forum, dozens of concurrent and poster sessions were scheduled.  In other words, this conference offered a plethora of opportunities to learn about a large range and variety of creative developments in General Education.

The conference was organized into four broad themes: 1) collaborating for quality; 2) aligning assessment; 3) intentional learning; and 4) strategies for engaging change.  Within that overarching thematic structure, my goal was to learn as much as I could about two specific areas: 1) information literacy assessment; and 2) e-portfolios as a GE assessment method.

Although many colleges presenting at the conference included information literacy (IL) as a GE learning outcome, there was only one session devoted entirely to assessing IL.   Presented by a librarian from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the session was entitled “The Proof is in the Pudding: Authentic Assessment for Information Literacy.”  Their approach to information literacy assessment is to use a “Source Evaluation Rubric” to evaluate an annotated bibliography required of all students in the freshman composition class (ENGL 102).   The effectiveness, validity, and rigor of this approach has encouraged me to consider adopting this method for Skyline’s IL assessment.

Since successful GE programs include ongoing, meaningful assessment, I also wanted to learn about an assessment method that has been adopted by many institutions nationwide – the e-portfolio.  I attended a plenary session that explained the overall purpose of e-portfolios, and two additional workshops that featured in-depth discussions of the adoption of e-portfolios at Linfield College in Oregon and Westminster College in Utah.  E-portfolios are seen as an effective assessment method because they provide a platform for students to provide examples of their work that they feel indicates mastery of GE learning outcomes.  They are seen as both process and product.  Students are able to show their development as leaners over time (i.e. process), as well as their best work in a final product.  Perhaps most importantly, e-portfolios support and encourage deep learning because they ask students to reflect on their learning, growth, and development.  With this enhanced and more purposeful identity as a learner, students are able to see connections between GE courses and connections between ideas.  As a result, schools have seen increased success, completion, retention and graduation rates.

An important cautionary note was also sounded. The e-portfolio must not be regarded simply as a repository for student work. Students must also view the e-portfolio as an essential, built-in, purposeful part of their education, not as an extra burden or hurdle.   If students see the e-portfolio as just an extra requirement for the degree, they tend not to be fully engaged or committed.

My essential goal in attending this conference was to learn more about GE assessment. There were so many workshops and sessions on offer that it was difficult to choose, but in the end, I came away with a deeper understanding of the value of e-portfolios as a GE assessment tool, and an idea for an exciting new approach to information literacy assessment at Skyline.

CTTL-Sponsored Spring Conference Summary

Report on the League of Innovation Conference, March 2, 2014, Anaheim CA
(article by Kathleen de Azevedo Feinblum, English Professor)


The League of Innovation Conference had an overwhelming selection of sessions. The sessions focused on 3 demographics: 1) Administrators (deans, assessment and research specialists), 2) Instructors (professors and counselors), and 3) Educational Technology Professionals (including online instructors, and web designers).  I opted to focus on my own professional development such as: 1) new ideas for my ENGL 100 human rights curriculum, 2) the new Learning Community linking ENGL 846 and CAA Paralegal program, 3) new ways of implementing critical thinking in the classroom, and 4) finding a better way to do what I’ve been doing.  If and when future opportunities for attending the League of Innovation Conference arise, I highly recommend that online instructors and technology specialists attend because technology is the focus of so many presentations.

Though the workshops I attended were numerous, a number of them resonated with my classroom experiences and issues/concerns particularly relevant to Skyline College.  I’ve highlighted a few of them below:

“Success Strategies for African American Males in Community College Environments”

The speaker took his experience as an African American counselor/professor, his anecdotal knowledge, and his work on a dissertation to explore the challenges African American males encounter in the classroom.  These challenges include the high rate of incarceration, lack of motivation and confidence, a lack of good role models, and certain maladaptive behaviors that stand in their way. His suggestions for instructors are to listen to their black students, yet hold them up to high standards and make them think of the repercussions of their behavior. He also underscored the need for institutions to include pre-college workshops and other supplementary assistance so that African American males are more comfortable in the academic world.

Designing Significant Learning Experiences”

The current educational system is modeled after industry. The new system must be based on Real World Learning (a term the presenter used) such as global awareness and innovation. To meet these challenges, instructors need to provide engaging, peak learning experiences in which students are engaged, and learning produces that promote cognitive mastery with lasting value. The presenter broke down clear recommendations, how real World Learning could be applied to today’s classroom.

Program Collaboration on Global Genocide Project from St. Louis CC”

 This was one of the strongest presentations I attended. St. Louis Community College created a learning community blending a human rights sociology class (IDS Universal human Rights) with ART 275 Photoimagery on the theme of genocide. The rationale for the course was that genocide could be prevented with education. Another semester, this learning community replaced genocide with refugee issues. The student artwork was fantastic. As expected, one of the biggest challenges was the stressfulness of the topic.

“TDC Jury Ambassadors Project: Engaging Students in Inspiring Jury Participation”

 If I were to give prizes for the best League of Innovation session I attend, this one would receive a blue ribbon. This fine workshop was presented by Verdis Robinson, an African American history/political science professor at Monroe Community College in NY who confronted the following questions: Why am I never picked for Jury? And, why are so few African Americans selected for a jury while most of the incarcerated are African Americans?

Robinson’s African American history class aimed its jury awareness project at community college students through the Jury Representative Initiative (JRI). As part of the project, students did an on-campus drive, distributing jury volunteer forms (they exist!) and doing one-to-one outreach on the importance of being a juror. As well, students in his class were briefed on the trial protocol and assigned to observe jury selections. The project then became a larger discussion into the possible bias and racism of the voir dire process.

“Teaching Grammar in Literature and Composition: Adding Meaning, not Stress”

The purpose of this workshop was to show how grammar is infused in classes using “just in time remediation” so that grammar is organic to the writing process. The workshop was focused on students of literature and creative writing. One great idea was to create a 1-page “cheat sheet” of clauses that students can use as a quick referral.  Another idea presented was to use passages from literature so that students could see grammar not only as a set of rules, but also as a means for an author to convey mood and message.

CTTL L(a)unches Brown Bag Series

brownbaglunchappleThe CTTL Learning Space (Rm. 1-311F) has been busy this Spring semester as it hosted the first of its Brown Bag Series.  Under the coordination of Nina Floro (CTTL Professional Development Coordinator); with the support of the Office of the Vice President of Instruction, Dr. Sarah Perkins, and her assistants, Sherrie Prasad and Brian Besnyi; and with the assistance of Ricardo Flores (Instructional Technologist), Bridget Fischer (Distance Education Coordinator), and Jim Petromilli (Consultant for Distance Education and Technology), the CTTL Brown Bag Series was off to a successful launch.  Also important to the success of the series were Skyline College faculty and staff who graciously shared their expertise and time with colleagues across divisions and programs in CTTL Brown Bag sessions.

All Brown Bag & Soup Sessions were held in the CTTL Learning Space, Bldg. 1, Rm. 1311F. Check for the dates and times below.  All Skyline College employees were invited to participate.

  • Jesse Raskin—“Alternative Assessments: Concept Maps, Study Guides,  Poster Sessions & Online Presentations”
  • Melissa Matthews and Carol Newkirk-Sakaguchi—“Tips for Supporting Students with Disabilities”
  • Paula Silva—“Love in the Classroom: Practical Approaches to Building Trust & Success in the Classroom”
  • John Ulloa—“Teach Back, Teach Out: Moving Forward with Shakti Butler’s Cracking the Codes”
  • Shari Bookstaff—“WebAccess: Friend or Foe”
  • Nancy Kaplan-Biegel—“Texting Under the Table: Harnessing Those Damn Mobile Phones to Increase Engagement” and “A Conversation on Flipped Classrooms”
  • David Reed—“Empowering Students w/Google Drive & Google Docs”
  • Gary Fleener—“Study Abroad Programs: Thinking Outside the Box”

Many thanks to those contributed to the Spring 2014 CTTL Brown Series and to faculty, staff, and administrators who continue to show their support and interest in CTTL/professional growth activities.

The CTTL is now planning the Fall 2014 Brown Bag Series.  If you would like to lead a brown bag session, or if you have ideas that may be of interest to Skyline College employees, please contact Professional Development Coordinator, Nina Floro, at

Delegates Headed to NCORE 2014


The Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning (CTTL) in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President is pleased to announce the Skyline College Conference Delegates to the 2014 
National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE).  The Delegation will be comprised of 3 faculty, 2 classified staff, and 1 administrator.  Representing faculty are John Ulloa (history), Paul Bollick (history), and Stephen Fredricks (math/MESA Director); classified staff will be represented by Linda Allen (DRC Staff Assistant) and Pat Tyler (SMT Staff Assistant); and Dr. William Watson (Sparkpoint Director) will represent administration/management.

Members of the Delegation submitted Applications for Conference Delegate Participation, which were then reviewed by members of the Advisory Committee for Employee Development (ACED).  After discussion and deliberation, selections were made and delegates were notified.  Delegate obligations include participating in the entirety of the conference, facilitating CTTL-sponsored on-campus workshops/activities related to the conference, and submitting a written narrative the NCORE experience, which will be included in an upcoming Professional Development Newsletter.

Indianapolis, Indiana, will host the 5-day conference, which begins on May 27th and endson May 31st.  This year’s NCORE delegates have all demonstrated a commitment to racial and social justice, and each will share elements of his/her experience and knowledge in upcoming CTTL-sponsored activities.

Upcoming Conferences

For information on conferences and workshops below, click on links the links provided.

NOTE: Conferences on this list do not imply endorsement by Skyline College or the CTTL

Mar 4-7. Society for Applied Learning Technologies (SALT).  “New Learning Technologies Conference.”  Orlando, FL.

Mar 3-4. FACCC (Faculty Association of California Community Colleges).  “Advocacy and Policy Conference.”  Sacramento, CA.

Mar 27-29.  International Technology Education Association (ITEA).  “ITEA 76th Annual Conference: Technological and Engineering Literacy Core Connections.”  Orlando, FL.

Mar 2-4.  Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium (SRFIDC).  “Embracing Ownership: Encouraging and Empowering Self-Directed Faculty.” Dalton, GA.

Mar 2-5. League for Innovation in the Community College.  “The Innovations 2014 Conference.”  Anaheim, CA.

Mar 19-22. CCCC (Conference on College Composition and Communication) 2014 Annual Convention. “Open |Source(s), Access, Futures.”  Indianapolis, IN.

Mar 12-14.  California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE).  “Spring 2014 Conference: Educational Balance: Redesign, Reinvent & Reset, Part II.” Sacramento, CA.

Mar 17-21.  Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE).   “Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education: 25th International Conference.  Jacksonville, FL.

Mar 17-19. EDUCAUSE. “EDUCAUSE Connect: Chicago: Solve, Network, and Grow.” Chicago, IL.

Mar 26-28.  Georgia Southern University Centers for Teaching & Technology.  “The 7th Annual SoTL Commons: A Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning.” Savannah, GA.

Mar 29. Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC). “2014 Counselors Conference.” Los Angeles, CA.

April 4-6.  Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).  Network for Academic Renewal Conference.  “General Education and Assessment: Disruptions,.”  Miami, FL.

Mar 24-28.  Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning Florida Community College at Jacksonville.  “25th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning.”  Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

Apr 9-11. The Sloan Consortium.  “7th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium.” Dallas, TX.

Apr 3-6.  NSTA (National Science Teachers Association).  “2014 NSTA Conference on Science Education.”  Boston, MA.

Apr 3-7.   American Educational Research Association (AERA).  “2014 Annual Meeting: The Power of Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.”  Philadelphia, PA.

Apr 7-9.  NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). “2014 NCTM Research Conference: Linking Research and Practice.” New Orleans, LA.

Apr 9-11.  Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education.  “APAHE 2014 Annual Conference: Recognizing Our Legacy. Seizing the Moment. Envisioning Our Future.”  San Francisco, CA.

Apr 9-12.  NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). “2014 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition.” New Orleans, LA.

Apr 24-26.  On Course 2013 National Conference. “2014 On Course National Conference.” Costa Mesa, CA.

Apr 30-May 2. EDUCAUSE. “EDUCAUSE Connect: Baltimore: Solve, Network, and Grow.” Baltimore, MD.

May 10-12.  IRA (International Reading Association) 59th Annual Conference. “Reading… The Teachable Moment.” New Orleans, LA.

May 14-17.  NSTA (National Science Teachers Association).  “2014 STEM Forum & Expo: Integration for Innovation.”  New Orleans, LA.

May 25-28.  National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD).  “NISOD 2014 International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence: Inform. Engage. Inspire.” Austin, TX.

May 27-31. National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. “NCORE 2014 Annual Conference.”  Indianapolis, IN.

May 29-30.  Fairfield University Center for Academic Excellence.  13th Annual Summer Conference.  “Collaborations for Empowerment & Learning.”  Fairfield, CT.

May 29-June 1.  Lilly Conferences on College and University Teaching and Learning.  “Lilly International Spring Conference.”  Bethesda, MD.

May 30-Jun 1.  The Teaching Professor.  “The Annual Teaching Professor Conference.” Boston, MA.

June 10-11.  National Diversity Council. “2014 California Diversity and Leadership Conference.” Garden Grove, CA.

June 18-20.  Best Teachers Institute.  “19th Annual International Summer Institute: What the Best College Teachers Do.” West Orange, NJ.

Jul 28-31.  Center for Critical Thinking.  “34th International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform: Cultivating Educated Citizens and Critical Societies through Explicit Fairminded Critical Thinking.”  Berkeley, CA.

Aug 3-8.  Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC).  “California Great Teachers Seminar.”  Santa Barbara, CA.

Aug 10-15.  Hawaii Great Teachers Seminar.  “A Continuing Adventure in Faculty Development.” Volcano National Park, (Big Island) HI.

Aug 12-14.   University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Continuing Studies.  29th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning.  Madison, WI.

Aug. 13-15.  Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT).  Interactive Learning Technologies Conference.  Reston, VA.

Sept 29-Oct 2. EDUCAUSE. “EDUCAUSE 2014 Annual Conference.” Orlando, FL, and Online.