College of Education > News and Publications > News: January - March 2013 > The College’s Electronic Presence

The College’s Electronic Presence

Message from Dean Monk in the Winter 2013 Connections regarding the College of Education and its electronic presence.

Dean's Message (Jan 2013)

The College’s Electronic Presence

I’m taking this opportunity to report on a number of inter-related moves we are making to take better advantage of electronic technologies to advance the mission of the College. Comments, including ideas for additional steps, are very welcome.

I’ve divided this overview into two inter-connected sections: Teaching and Learning and Communicating with External and Internal Audiences.

Teaching and Learning

Krause Innovation Studio -- We are witnessing a rapid increase in the level of student and faculty use of the Studio which is located on the second floor of Chambers Building. The focus is on the sensible application of technology to meet teaching and learning challenges, and the motto from the Krause Innovation Studio has become: “Teaching first, technology second.” Scott McDonald is the director, and Susan Land is serving this year as the acting director. Everyone is welcome. For more information, please visit the studio website.

World Campus Inventory -- In my October 1, 2012, memo to the World Campus, I provide an inventory of the various degree and certificate programs around the College that are either up and running or in a planning phase. This is a work in progress, and I’m pleased to report that the World Campus is eager to work with us to develop new and refined programs. It is particularly gratifying to see interest and progress in all four of our departments.

World Campus Experiment -- In a November 7, 2012 memorandum to Hank Foley and Craig Weidemann, I expressed interest in pursuing an experiment with our World Campus offerings to facilitate the development of strong programs. There are three parts to the proposed experiment: (a) a possible tuition discount, (b) better access for graduate students in resident programs, and (c) an expedited review within the Graduate School of proposed new offerings. Our idea about an expedited review is to see if we can develop a review process that is similar in spirit to what goes on with immediate tenure reviews where all of the steps of the review are respected but with some extra effort to move the process along with dispatch.

Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL) -- We have entered into a partnership with IST and Outreach to create a research center that is focused on innovation in online learning. Kyle Peck is the co-director from the College of Education. We also recently succeeded at hiring a new faculty member in Adult Education who has interests in online learning. Dr. Adnan Qayyum from the University of Ottawa will be joining us in the fall and will be active within COIL. More information about COIL, including information about its research initiation grant program, can be found at coil.psu.edu.

Communicating with External and Internal Audiences

The College Website -- Our website is large and quite complex, and I’ve come to the realization that website design and implementation involves a seemingly endless set of balances and compromises. We serve many constituencies, and keeping everything up to date is a daunting task. We recently hired Andrew Elder and Kevin Sliman, new writers in the College, to help departments and programs create more strategic and compelling content for their websites.

An additional challenge surrounding website design involves providing access to those with disabilities of various kinds. In September 2011, Penn State entered into a settlement with the National Federation for the Blind. The settlement covers a variety of areas and includes the requirement that all Penn State websites meet accessibility guidelines by October 2014. CETC and the Communications Office are working to ensure our sites meet these guidelines. Web editors within the College can expect to be informed of new procedures as they are established.

We realize we need some external help to think about the design and function of our website, and toward this end, we will be issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for external vendors. We are carefully benchmarking against what other Penn State colleges are doing and we are also consulting with peer institutions. An effort like this takes time, but we’re hoping to issue the RFP early in 2013.

Social Media -- The College now maintains a Facebook page and runs a Twitter feed. Please consider liking the College on Facebook and following us on Twitter. A number of our departments and programs are also active with social media. College guidelines for the creation of a social media presence can be found on the College website.

Videos – The College also has a YouTube channel, which houses a collection of videos that we’ve created over the past several years. These high quality videos are very engaging. They are designed to recruit students into special programs (like the urban partnership and the student teaching abroad opportunity) and to provide information for interested parties about our undergraduate majors and graduate programs. We will be adding to this collection, and if you have an idea for a future video, please review our video guidelines online.

Print Publications -- There is lots of debate these days about the effectiveness and future of print publications. We have maintained an active print publication presence that I think continues to serve us well. For example, I routinely hear positive comments from deans at peer institutions about the quality and attractiveness of our print publications, and we know that many of our alumni do not have e-mail accounts or have not shared their email address with Penn State (out of our alumni base of roughly 56,000, we have email for 22,000, or 39%). However, we also need to keep up with the changing times, and ideas about how best to approach our print publication program are particularly welcome.

We strive to communicate with our alumni in their preferred format, and we offer our readers the opportunity to “opt-out” of receiving print copies, instead sending them access to an electronic copy. Likewise, within the College, we direct our faculty, staff, and students to the electronic versions instead of sending print versions. Online versions of our recent print publications are available from the News and Publications link on the College home page and on the College issuu.com page.

I hope this overview provides some useful information. I think we can be proud of what we’re accomplishing with technology in the College even as we realize that more needs to be done.

I wish you the best in the new year and at the start of this new semester.

 

David H. Monk, Dean