Publications


Collaborative Work for Online and Blended Courses.
(From the CUNY CUE conference- May 2016) Track: 
Taking Risks Inside the Classroom

Online classes tend to be based on students completing individual work, so the asynchronous nature of the online course can seem incompatible with group work. How can we transfer such a concept to a course that is mostly or entirely online? 
Intercultural Communications is a Media Studies course that aims to have students explore each other's cultures, and traditionally requires collaborative group work to accomplish this goal. Working with the professor, we hybridized the course so students only met in person three times, the final meeting being their final collaborative presentation. 
 Using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) students collaborated virtually within their groups. It was a challenge to rethink the nature of the online work to maintain the collaboration needed for such a project. Using backwards design, we adapted the course materials to the online environment by starting with the learning outcomes to shape our methodologies and assessments.
Students used GAFE to jointly contribute to group documents, share cultural artifacts, and video conference with their peers. In fact, one student took the class while physically in his cultural homeland. Collaborations were visible to the professor, who was able to oversee student work and assess the progression of the group projects.  A survey of the students showed that they felt more engaged and were able to accomplish more than they would have been able to in a traditional course. The students indicated a strong willingness to take such courses in the future. We can use the information learned from this course to implement similar courses in the future. Queens College is currently engaged in a college-wide project to significantly increase  the number of online and hybrid course offerings. We believe with more data on the outcomes of these blended/online classes, we can better understand and advance our pedagogical techniques. 


Adapting Google Apps for Assessment
(From the CUNY CUE conference- May 2015)
Track: Blended Learning Opportunities: New Technological Tools, New Classroom Platforms (Digital CUNY) 

Assessment is an essential part of the academic process. Technologies to support assessment exist, yet they are the costly, sometimes insufficient, and occasionally riddled with private sector vagaries (like corporations that go bankrupt or are involved in fraud).  These factors drove us to designing our own artifact collection and assessment system.  Our system uses an internally developed application and the existing Forms within the Google Apps for Education infrastructure. Our app uploads and stores files in Google Drive, where students can access their work even after graduation.  The app is called the Queens College Artifact Collection System, or A.C.S. for short.
 
How A.C.S. works.  After a student uploads their work, A.C.S. adds the file to the instructor’s Google Drive, while simultaneously sending a copy to the student as an un-editable file. To facilitate assignment grading for instructors, A.C.S. organizes submissions into a tiered folder hierarchy and renames the files accordingly. A spreadsheet is then systematically updated with all the relevant information such as the student’s name, email, the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) fulfilled, and a link to the file. With this information, the instructor fills out a Google Form by answering questions geared towards assessing the particular SLO of the assignment. These assessments are automatically collected in separate spreadsheets through Google Forms, where graphs depicting the assessments are automatically generated to assist the instructor in better visualization of the data. Originally developed for the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) program at CUNY Queens College, A.C.S. was modified and adapted for the needs of the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) program.
 
The development of this app has met a great need and has been warmly received by GSLIS faculty. The development of A.C.S. was an essential aspect of the GSLIS’s successful bid for continuous ALA Accreditation Since the Google Apps infrastructure offers free software and storage, the usage of this system is extremely budget friendly. Development and maintenance of the app is done by the two authors, one of whom is a part-time College Assistant and a full-time student. We were able to meet the exact needs of our academic programs by tailoring the script to fit the designated requirements. If demand increases, hiring an additional College Assistant with a moderate background in computer science will easily allow us to upgrade project support. Customizing the app for new functions and parties will not be labor or time intensive. This innovation allowed us to avoid clunky, expensive, proprietary systems and implement a streamlined customized one instead. Several other parties have already expressed interest in our creative use of the Google Apps system and we see many future applications of this system.

Preparing our Students for the Future: ePortfolios and the New Professionals at Queens College
(From the CUNY CUE conference- May 2014)
Track: Capstone Courses and Career Preparation

A students personal and academic experiences are often disjointed from their professional experience. Students build themselves academically, but often have no idea how to use those skills professionally. The nature of today’s professional world requires many nuanced skills to thrive in the professional world. So how do we prepare our students for their future?

The New Professionals Program was created and headed by former industry professional Denise Miller. Every member of the program are drawn from a pool of high performing students. The students are then assigned industry mentors to guide them in entering and navigating the professional world.  By engaging alumni and friends of Queens College the New Professionals Program combines elements of classroom learning and experiential learning through internships and mentoring.These mentorships enable these students to participate successfully in the marketplace as representatives of the excellent caliber of the Queens College student body. New Professionals attend professional skills development seminars, meet with business partners,  and attend presentations given by industry speakers.
 
Throughout their New Professionals Journey, the students are required to document and collect their experiences in their ePortfolio. The product of this program creates a polished professional image that showcases the student’s accomplishments and skills. Each member fine tunes the business skills essential to navigate today's world/marketplace, resulting in a new professional that is ready to engage and tackle the professional world.