Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Welcome, and an introduction

Welcome! Whether you are a member of the class for which this blog is an assignment, or a traveler of cyberspace stumbling into my little corner, welcome.

As part of the requirements of a Walden University graduate course called Cognition, Culture, and Learning, my posts will explore innovations in learning and instruction in the context of two-year colleges.  SPARK!, along with the blogs and comments of my classmates, provides a space for an experiment in connectivism, providing a way for us to establish a knowledge network among ourselves and others who may comment or contribute. Our blogs also provide a safe place to learn about blogging itself, to understand the ways blogging can enhance learning in our own classes. In this graduate course as well as in our own teaching, a blog can provide a place where students can focus attention on particular topics, create relevance, synthesize information, and create learning through the process of writing for an audience. And of course, seeing one's thoughts in print engenders both fear and pride.

Community colleges have always been innovators. After all, we accept (as a colleague of mine once aptly pointed out) the "top 100% of those who apply." We pride ourselves on providing access to higher education and upward mobility for anyone who walks through our doors. And, because we have such a diverse student body, we seek innovative ways to serve them. The current environment is challenging: We must do more with less funding, fewer full-time faculty, and more under-prepared students. Although we focus on the students and their needs, providing financial aid, academic support, and a myriad of other services, too many of our students never achieve their goals. How can we teach them, serve them, support them better? Innovation is a constant if we are to serve these students well and maintain our mission as "democracy's college." 

I welcome your comments!


  1. Olivia,

    Oooh, your mention that blogs (public writing) can "engenders both fear and pride" hit on one of the most powerful aspects of blogging. I've used blogs as a way to get preservice teachers to reflect on their classroom observations/teaching (Harland & Wondra, 2011). I found that students reflect at higher levels and do so using fewer words. I believe having an authentic public audience is better than an audience of one-the instructor.

    Dr. Darci

    Harland, D. J., & Wondra, J. D. (2011). Preservice teachers' reflection on clinical experiences: A comparison of blog and final paper assignments. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(4), 128-133.

  2. I am looking forward to your insights, Olivia! I love the yellow! My favorite color!