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In This Issue


Feature: Student Retention & Faculty Roles

What's New? Podcasts
Book Review

Teaching Tip

Summer Workshops
Contact Me
Suzanne C. Shaffer, M.Ed.
Instructional Designer/ eLSS
Penn State York
ISTC 202


Previous Issues
April 2006







Volume 1 Issue 2 May/June 2006

Teaching and Learning at Penn State Yorkteacher at computer

Best Practices,  Teaching Tips,  Ideas,  Resources, What's NEW!




Thanks to all who so generously provided input and shared their time so far (faculty, administrators, and staff) regarding teaching and learning on campus! If you are around this summer and want to chat, please don't wait for an e-mail invitation from me. Get in touch so we can meet!  The sooner I know what your instructional needs are, the sooner I can provide relevant support.

I thought it might be helpful to communicate what I've gathered so far from my conversations with people as well as some possible programs/offerings/opportunities to address the issues you've shared. As always, please let me know if I've left anything out - I hope to be of service!


  • Concern about changing students: academic preparedness, work ethic, motivation, maintaining standards while feeling the pressure of grades, course evaluations, and student retention

  • Role of learning communities in retention

  • How to determine whether curricula are helping students become work ready

  • How to teach in a class with traditional and non-traditional students

  • Does implementing technology into courses really improve learning outcomes? And if so, how?

  • How to get students to read the assignments you've given

  • Making resources available to adjuncts

  • Meeting needs of new faculty

  • Making more widespread use of multi-media lab (Pullo Room)

Proposed Offerings

  • Concern about changing students seems to be an important issue here, so what I'd like to do is gather resources over the summer and then in the format that you used last year, Conversations in Teaching, join the conversations and provide resources geared towards tackling these important issues throughout the upcoming academic year, if this idea suits...

    *** The summer online reading group (there are now 12 members, coming from PSU York and elsewhere) is reading and discussing Learner-Centered Teaching, by Maryellen Weimer (PSU Berks). She writes about five key changes to teaching practice which turns out to be a good introduction to tackling some of the above issues, too.

  • Retention  - The featured article below provides highlights from current research regarding the role of faculty in student retention. Practical applications for the classroom are supplied. For those interested in more detailed information beyond the article, refer to the book review section in this newsletter. The text, Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter (2005), is featured.

  • Exploring the role of Learning Communities in retention - Could we possibly use a Wiki environment to gather and share resources and discuss this topic? It might be a good way to learn about Wikis and their educational use as well as to share ideas and resources. More to come...

  • Workshop offerings for summer and fall 2006 that seek to respond to your requests: ANGEL overview, Developing Effective Online Activities, PowerPoint Basics & Designing Effective PowerPoint Presentations, Getting Students to Read, Designing Assignments to Avoid Plagiarism (online tutorial) , Lesson Planning to Support Course Objectives (online tutorial), Assessment Strategies, Understanding Student Learning Differences, Fostering Student Intellectual Development, Using the Internet in Instruction, Team-based Learning, and Advanced ANGEL Features. Also coming - Using Macromedia Breeze

  • Online resources - newsletter, Breeze tutorials, teaching resources available on the web 24/7

  • I am trying to supply resources that will interest FT faculty, PT faculty, new faculty, experienced faculty

I will keep you posted as I continue my conversations with people and hope you will also keep me posted of any new/interesting ideas you would like to pursue!!

Take good care and thanks for your input and assistance! As always, your feedback is crucial!


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Feature Article: Faculty Roles in Student Retention

What role can faculty members play in improving student retention? Research indicates that students remain in settings that engage them in meaningful learning activities and support their academic and social needs.

This article will briefly summarize several important resources on student retention and will provide practical applications for the classroom. The resources summarized in this article are as follows:


Read the complete article HERE….

No time to read this article now? Check out the Quick Fact Sheet


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What's New?  Podcasts 


According to Wikipedia, the word podcast is a compound word combining "iPod" and "broadcast". Podcasts provide a way to make multi-media files such as audio, music, or video readily available through mobile devices such as iPods or on the Internet through iTunes or other mp3 (compressed audio file) players. Many news organizations, such as CNN, provide podcasts of news reports that may have relevance for classroom use. Penn State is developing resources on podcasting at its site,

The portability of podcasts makes them highly attractive for educational applications. Students can download podcasted lectures (or other podcasts relevant to course content) onto portable players and listen at their convenience, catching up with new material, or reviewing previously studied topics. Duke University was the frontrunner in implementing podcasting for educational purposes. In a 2004 report on academic uses of podcasting at Duke, five broad categories are named: course content dissemination, classroom recording, field recording, study support, and file storage and transfer. For more information, read Duke's 2004 report on their results.

Get the free download of iTunes to listen to podcasts on your computer. After you install iTunes, try it out by listening to an NPR podcast from the program Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. The link provides instructions and help on how to use iTunes if needed. Http:// provides a free podcasting application which allows you to record audio clips from a microphone at your PC or directly from your cell phone, posting them for free online. Listen to a recent Welcome message I created for the online summer reading group. It is stored for free at so doesn't take any of my personal web storage space to use it. I just provide a link to it from within the online group!

Please Contact me if you are currently using podcasts in your courses and would like to share what you are doing!!

For more information....
The links to articles below will work on campus with your PSU Access ID and password

Podcasting 101 ,  By: Eash, Esther Kreider, Computers in Libraries, 10417915, Apr2006, Vol. 26, Issue 4
(contains a practical section on creating your own podcast)

The Power of Podcasts, By: Jolie, Karine, University Business; Feb2006, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p71-72, 2p.

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Book Review - Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter

This book grew from the work conducted by the DEEP (Documenting Effective Educational Practice) Project at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. It describes policies, practices, and programs that institutions can employ to increase student success.

There are four main parts to the book: an introduction that explores the notion of student engagement as a key to student success; part two details the properties and conditions common to educationally effective colleges; part three describes effective practices used at successful colleges and universities; and part four summarizes the groups findings and provides recommendations for practice to schools endeavoring to increase student success.

Schools can use and adapt strategies provided by twenty different institutions to create a campus culture that fosters student success. This book is a good resource for faculty and student services staff alike. Read an excerpt from the Introduction

Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J., & Whitt E. (2005). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. Jossey-Bass. San Francisco.         

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Teaching Tip:  Students construct learning primarily as a result of  what they think, feel, and do (and less so by what their instructors say and do). Consequently, in formal education, the deepest learning is provided by a well-designed educational experience.
Skip Downing's OnCourse Instructional Principles

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