Faculty Resources Update 2nd Edition

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September Update

This is a 2nd Edition with Reduced Graphics Sent to an Updated Email List
(Our apologies for duplication)

Greetings from the Coulter Faculty Commons

This is our first monthly Faculty Update to be sent during a full month of this year.  At WCU we have a number of new challenges ahead, and the CFC is happy to remind you that we are here to help you continue to the great work you do with our students.

This email newsletter is mobile and desktop friendly; it is divided into sections that roughly map the scope of services of the CFC:  Educational Development; Online Teaching and Learning (Blackboard); Other Educational Technology; Research and Survey Support; Tenure and Promotion Coaching, Leadership and other university support, including event coordination and promotion of the events and services of other parts of the university.

Over the summer we've been experimenting with immediate response systems within these newsletters, and we want to continue the opportunities to get immediate feedback. Additionally, we ask that you take part in our needs assessment survey that will be circulating in October.  If you see a button on this page, like the "CFC Suggestion Box" below, feel free to click it and give us immediate positive or formative feedback. We can constantly improve our service with your participation and input.

We hope that you'll find some part of this newsletter to be helpful for your work.

We look forward to working with you this academic year. 

Martha Diede, PhD
Director, Coulter Faculty Commons

For immediate help check our resources on our home page.

Or call us at: 828-227-7196.


Faculty Professional Development Grants

From Dr. Kelly Tracy, Chair of the Professional Development Grant Committee

The Provost's office is continuing to encourage faculty professional development for the 2016-2017 academic year through its Professional Development Grants program. Faculty can apply for grants in the amount of up to $1000 to support such activities as participation in conferences, workshops, and training seminars. The PDG committee meets three times yearly to review proposals, and information about deadlines, as well as full details about the application process can be found by downloading this document. Because of the increasing popularity of this program and limited funds, there are a few changes to the PDG process this year, so faculty are encouraged to review the submission guidelines and limitations before applying.
Another form that might be useful for this document is the prior travel authorization form.

Communities of Practice (CoPs)

Communities of Practice are specialized groups, which range from research to work/life balance, that enable WCU colleagues who have similar teaching, learning, scholarship, and engagement interests to connect with one another.

To sign up and/or to see the proposed CFC sponsored CoPs click the button below. 

For more information about joining or leading a CoP Group, please contact Stephen LeBeau at the Coulter Faculty Commons.

Blackboard Tips

Can Your Students See Your Courses?

If you have not opened your courses for your students yet, below are the instructions on how to accomplish this.

1.     Log into Blackboard and enter your course you wish to open.

2.     In the lower part of the left sidebar, click on Customization and then Properties.

3.     Select the Yes option to make your course available.

4.     Click on Submit to save this change.

Do you have Smart Views?

In Blackboard, there is a way to see only one section at a time in your merged courses when entering grade in the Grade Center. These are called Smart Views.

  1. Go into the course and to the Grade Center and Full Grade.
  2. Center in the lower left sidebar.
  3. Under the Manage menu, select Smart Views.
  4. Click on the Create Smart View button at the top.
  5. Give the Smart View a name (i.e. Section 30)
  6. Select the box to Add as a Favorite.
  7. Select Custom under the Type of View.
  8. Under User Criteria, select Child Course ID.
  9. Change the Condition to Contains.
  10. Enter the section number in the Value box.
  11. Change the Filter Results to All Columns.
  12. Click on Submit to save your Smart View.

Quality Matters Workshop

Quality Matters “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” Workshop

We will be offering an “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” session at WCU on October 17, 2016 and would like to invite any faculty who would like to join us to attend. The information regarding the session is below and the instructions on how to register can be downloaded by clicking here.

Monday, October 17, 2016
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (1 hour for lunch and two 15 minute breaks)
WCU at Biltmore Park
Room 345
Participants should bring a laptop to use.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Tenure, Promotion, and Retention Support

The TPR process is important for faculty and one where having a guide, a reader, or a coach can be extremely beneficial. The Coulter Faculty Commons has a small library of TPR portfolios that faculty have generously allowed us to archive. These portfolios are available for review by appointment to serve as a guide and resource for faculty preparing their documents. While the collection is not extensive, it does contain portfolios from a variety of years and from different schools. To make an appointment to review TPR samples please email Annette Parris at aparris@wcu.edu.

In addition to the portfolio samples, Dr. Martha Diede (Director of the Coulter Faculty Commons) and Dr. Brandon Schwab (Associate Provost for Academic Affairs) open their offices to faculty for portfolio consultations during their office hours or by appointment. Dr. Diede and Dr. Schwab are available to examine faculty’s portfolio documents according each department’s standards for tenure promotion and retention while helping faculty present a balanced body of work, including teaching, scholarly publication and research, and service.

When possible, sessions will focus on the faculty member’s departmental criteria for TPR. Dr. Diede and Dr. Schwab will also work with faculty to identify relevant best practices and ways to leverage WCU’s resources and services, including the Coulter Faculty Commons, Technology Commons, grant opportunities and more, to attain his or her highest professional potential.

Dr. Martha Diede can be reached at madiede@wcu.edu, while Dr. Schwab can be reached at beschwab@wcu.edu.


Flexible Furniture for Differentiated Learning

Faculty and students returning to McKee have found classrooms with new, flexible furniture options.  Some rooms have new chair desks with swiveling arms while other rooms have moveable (and collapsible) tables and chairs. 

During a normal day each class might have completely different learning style needs.  One could strive for a lecture orientation, while another is facilitating a classwide discussion, or small group work, or even offering student presentations.  The new furniture allows the room to adjust to various classes.  The flexibility of the furniture also allows students and faculty to adjust the physical setting of the room to maximize learning opportunities.

New Desks

The new desks in Mckee are a far cry from the old wooden desks with the small tablet arms many of us experienced in the past.  The new desks have wheels and larger tablet arms that can hold technology along with writing or reading material yet can swivel out of the way.  These desks are often setup in rows for a lecture or presentation.  The flexibility of the desks allows students to easily create a large discussion circle or small “huddle” groups. 

Once the desks are allowed to move from rows, they encourage student-student and student-faculty interaction.

·      Imagine completing a short lecture with a question or problem for the class, then allowing students to push their desks together to share the problem-solving experience.  Faculty can then walk around the class and visit with the groups.

·      Using think-pair-share has never been easier.  Students can easily roll their desks together to discuss without being disruptive. 

Tables and Chairs

Students love tables and chairs.  They get to spread out their material, and they have a stable surface for their work.  Regular tables are heavy or unmovable.  The new tables in McKee are stable, but very flexible.  They can even be folded up and placed against the walls. 

·      For a traditional lecture or student presentation class having the chairs and tables in rows makes perfect sense. 

·      For group work, tables can be pushed together to create generous group space. 

·      Imagine students folding up all of the tables and creating a large circle that allows quick exchange of information.

Different Learning Spaces Lead to Different Types of Learning Activities

During an academic semester students will need to experience, think about, practice and reflect on academic content.  The new furniture in McKee facilitates different learning spaces to support various learning activities. 

As you use learning spaces (in both McKee and elsewhere) to encourage student interaction the Education Development team at the CFC would like to hear and share your stories.  Click the button below to share how you are reworking your classroom activities.

This is graphic from the University of Melbourne linking pedagogical activities to spatial settings:


Educational Technology News

Media Streaming Survey Results

For the past few months we've been taking feedback from faculty about Panopto and media streaming issues.  We didn't really have enough faculty participation to say that these results are representative, but they do point out some interesting ways to improve our support structures and challenges to meet needs within legal and resource restraints.


The use of Panopto continues to increase.  More and more people are using it for student submissions (via the assignments folder) and for creating their own original content.  Our respondents gave it a 3.5 out of 5.

Growing Pains with Panopto

Panopto just did a major upgrade.  As you work with the screen capture tool and the editor you will notice that there are a large number of new tweaks that add functionality.  One feature change to watch out for in launching the editor is that instead of looking for the English word "edit" they are now using the more pictographically inclusive pencil icon.

The upgrade was not without some difficulties.  All Panopto users in North America had an additional 10 hours of time where the upload and live recording processes were not working.  We apologize if you had trouble on August 15, 2016.  We haven't had any downtime since.

There are a number of new features that will take some practice, and the CFC would be happy to partner with faculty who are interested in piloting and working the difficulties out of live-streaming, editing the video to embed interactive quizzes, creating training videos, or using Panopto as a distance proctoring solution.  Contact Jonathan Wade if any of these are of interest to you.

One Final Note on the Survey

Many are still feeling the pain of transition from the FPA media server and were not afraid to let us know.  We hear you, and are doing what we can within our constraints to give you legal capabilities that meet or exceed the outcomes and goals that were a part of your pedagogical practice using the media server.

We do realize that all of the collective resources at WCU may not be enough, and in collaboration with the library, we are looking at some digital libraries that allow for the streaming of licensed video content.  In the survey we asked whether, as faculty members, you would support WCU finding a significant amount of money to pay for a media streaming library.  We have a few detailed price estimates if requested.

Our respondents told us that 80% were in support of finding a way to pay for these resources.  100% told us that they would use them if they were purchased.

A Plea for Engagement (Watch for our Survey)

The CFC is doing a review of our services and an integrated faculty needs assessment during the course of this academic year.  An early wave of that effort will be a survey about our current services and about service gaps.  We are working very hard to meet as many of your current needs as we can, but we are also working to strategically address the areas where we can improve or can assist in university wide improvement.

We thank you in advance for partnering with us.

A reminder that CFC help content is available on the Internet and the Intranet

Browse our pages at:

The Main Page:  cfc.wcu.edu
The Faculty Resource Page: sandbox.wcu.edu

Internal Documents and Forms Can Be Found on the CFC Page after log-in of at intranet.wcu.edu

Microsoft Training from IT for Faculty and Staff


Beginning this semester, the Division of IT will be offering a brand new training service in the core applications of the Microsoft Office 2016 suite: Word, Excel, Outlook, and OneDrive.  This is your opportunity to Increase your efficiency and productivity and save time by learning many of the features and functionalities of Microsoft Office.  Get the training you need to develop basic and advanced skills that can be applied immediately to your job. Expand your knowledge with these brand new courses!   Learn more…