Category: Grading

A Call for “Good Writing”

by Dr. Kotina Hall, Dean – Belhaven, Atlanta

Effective communication is a buzz word that remains the topic of discussion in every business and learning sector as the concern for writing proficiency continues to plague society. The command for effective writing should be still be held in the highest regard.  Professional dialogue and academia have discussed in great detail how the absence of “good writing” lessens the opportunity for the demonstration of clearly-organized thought, earnest critical thinking development, and strong problem-solving. Regardless of the subject matter, understanding how to articulate clearly and concisely is necessary for high academia and career advancement. As such, we must act urgently in our resolve.

While tuition reimbursement is an attractive academic magnet, the return for excellent writing extends well into its possessor’s career and civic engagement as well. “The National Commission on Writing estimates that the nation’s top companies spend more than $3.1 billion a year on remedial training. The NCW estimates that states spend $221 million on writing training each year to bring employees up to level” (teachthought, 2012).

What variables have led to the decline in effective writing? Is it because we have become comfortable speaking into devices that we disregard misspelled words or proper punctuation, all because we want to communicate expeditiously? “Have we allowed the advancement of technology to compel us to shorthand?” Perhaps we accept human mediocrity, giving way to allowing machines to do the work which we previously took pride in completing. Technology will continue to advance, so what are we left to do?

It is proposed that we take our concerns by the reigns and do what we do best – elevate through instruction. Have we forsaken the beauty and fluidity of words properly and intentionally positioned on a page? Surely we have not. But if one has never explored such beauty, then one cannot imagine the power of penning such work. Resolution begins with two words: offer assistance.  It is a disservice to students when we know their writing is not acceptable, but yet we push them along. Constructive dissent must rear her head. The problem will not correct itself. Good writing is the culmination of repeated “good” practice.

This task will not be a simple one. It will require instruction to be consistent, rigid, and accompanied by high expectations to yield greatness. We must ready ourselves! Our change will create uneasiness and reveal accusations that we are harnessing a fossilized culture. Such expressions must strive to make our instruction even greater.  We must be diligent to show that “good writing” fosters dedication, strong work ethics and moral aptitude.  Balance must exist, too. Even so, while writing is necessary, we must be ever so careful to make it appealing and fun.

History has shown that the legacy of “good writing” never dies. “Good writing” shapes learning and invites critical thinking, leaving room for transformation. So when do we begin? The time is now. We model by offering our assistance. In doing so, our immediacy will solidify and re-establish writing as the ultimate model of erudition.

The NEW (and Improved) Blazenet

By now many of you have had to interact with the new Blazenet and I thought I would take a few minutes in this post and give a short tour of the more important, relatively speaking, aspects of Blazenet for Faculty.

First, Blazenet is no longer the repository for Faculty Modules of the curriculum used in either our on-site or online courses.  These modules can now be found in a Faculty Module Library in Canvas.  The student modules are also no longer available on Blazenet and can be found on the Canvas course-site.  This is a big improvement regarding keeping the modules lined up with each other and with the Canvas build-out for the course.  You should automatically enrolled in the Faculty Module Library if you are scheduled to teach a course but if for some reason you don’t have access or can’t find it, contact your Dean.

Second, recording attendance in Blazenet is both the same AND different. Before attendance can be posted the first time the course has to have the gradebook set-up.  There are help videos for this which I will mention later in this post.  Once the grade book is set up, posting attendance is relatively siattendancemple: from the home page, click on “Self-Service” drop down and choose the options which gets you to “Faculty Information.”  From there click on either Class Roster or Grading and select the appropriate course.  Click on the link for Grade book and it should take you to a screen with information like in the picture on the left.  Click on Attendance and the appropriate date to record attendance.  Note that dates only show up as they arrive on the calendar.

Third, you can email one or more students from the same place you mark attendance.  Instead of clicking on Attendance choose the “Send E-Mail to Students” link.  This is helpful for keeping all communication with a student in a tracked repository in case there are any questions that arise later, e.g. grading.

Fourth, this is also where you will come to post your final grades for the course so you can be paid.

Fifth, from the menu select Faculty Homepage and you will find helpful Quick Links and, more importantly, How-To videos under the FAQ section.  Simply click on the appropriate question to discover short tutorials which answer the question.

Sixth, from the menu select Faculty Resources/Adult and Graduate to be taken to a page with a variety of resources designed to assist you.  QuickLinks, FAQs, contact information for the respective Deans, and Forms & Documents which includes the most recent Adult Studies Faculty Handbook September 2016.

If there is more information you would like to see available on Blazenet, be sure to let me know at rupchurch@belhaven.edu.

5 Excellent Rubric Making Tools for Teachers – re-post

This is from the original article which can be found HERE

Rubrics are scoring charts used to assess and evaluate a particular learning or teaching activity. As is explained in this guide, rubrics are helpful for both teachers and students: teachers can use them when designing lesson plans and grading assignments; students can use them to make sure they meet the learning expectations and requirements of an assignment or project work. Rubric making should not be a complicated task . . . (read more)