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Why Is UVa Under Title IX Investigation Again?

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 28, 2016 - 10:54am
The university just last fall emerged from a bruising federal inquiry into its handling of sexual violence.
Categories: Higher Education News

Native Alaskans Use Digital Storytelling to Explore and Share

WCET Frontiers Blog - July 28, 2016 - 7:13am

A trim hiker in black shorts and a blue sleeveless shirt stands atop a mountain, her arms raised in victory. This image literally headlines Eva Gregg’s digital eWolf portfolio. That’s her in the picture.

This image tops Eva Gregg’s ePortfolio, where she describes challenges and successes in her life, from the personal and cultural to the academic. (Photo courtesy of Eva Gregg)

“I am a hiker!” she says emphatically to a small group of Alaska Native elders and community workers. “This is important to me. At one time, I weighed 252 pounds.” Later in her portfolio, she writes, “I never thought in all my life that I would be conquering mountains….”

In fact, Wolverine Peak, a 10-mile hike that takes Eva eight hours, is her favorite endeavor. But highly popular Flat Top eluded her for a long time. The last steep section to the summit terrified her, she said. Yet, after watching two disabled hikers and a toddler skitter up, she managed it. “There are no excuses,” she says, laughing heartily.

Kotzebue-born and raised, now age 49, Eva is the mother of four and a UAA college student. Flashing pages of her digital portfolio on a large screen, she demonstrated the different ways she has used this new tool to tell her own story, including her battle against obesity.

Identifying the Elements of Digital Storytelling

Eva Gregg stands before the University of Alaska Anchorage Native Student Services center where she presented her Native cultural identity ePortfolio to a group of elders and community workers. NSS is working with community members to make this digital storytelling tool culturally relevant. (Photo by Ted Kincaid/University of Alaska Anchorage)

Just moments before, Sheila Randazzo, transition advisor for Native Student Services, and Paul Wasko, coordinator for UAA’s ePortfolio initiatives, had teamed up to set the stage for what Eva’s audience was about to see. They hoped this gathering of wise and caring community members could hear the power in Eva’s digital storytelling. And they hoped this group might help shape and frame this new tool—a Native cultural identity ePortfolio—for UAA’s indigenous students to “understand and record their journey of becoming aware of who they are,” as Randazzo explained.

Specifically, the NSS team requested writing prompts from the community members to help students begin their ePortfolios and digitally document their identity journeys. As Wasko told them: “These are like chapters in a book. A blank page can be intimidating. But if this is my electronic book, I need a chapter on knowledge, on the physical, the emotional. Instead of financial, we might say ‘provider.’ Can you give these students prompts for what needs to go on those pages?”

“We need your wisdom,”  added diversity expert Tommy Woon. “This is a partnership with the community. We don’t want to see it contained here, just on campus. Everything is connected. We are your servants and you are our board of directors.”

Woon has been visiting and informally advising NSS as it works to develop the identity-relevant ePortfolio. He has worked a lifetime encouraging diversity at Stanford, Dartmouth and now Naropa University, a Buddhist-inspired institution in Boulder, CO.

Liberating Native Students Through Digital Age Tools

One of the disparities Woon said he is sensitive to is seeing minorities left behind in the wake of major technological change. As he told the elders and community workers gathered, “We have had the agricultural age, the industrial age, the technological age. Now we are in the digital age. Whenever new technology comes along, it can deepen the gap between the haves and the have-nots, leaving them further behind.”

Instead, he challenged, “Why not use it for liberation work? Young people doing digital work get more computer- and digital-literate. They can develop it and use it to get jobs.”

And they can use it to explore and understand their cultural identity. Woon’s own Korean/Japanese family experienced historical trauma dating back to World War II. “It is very personal to me,” he said. “The sting of discrimination is still public in Japan.”

He envisions Alaska villages with their own ePortfolios. “Their stories can be archived. They don’t have to rely on oral history. This can be their digital oral history. It can promote belonging, and point the way to resources when needed.”

From his days working at Stanford, Woon knows Helen Chen, director of that campus’s ePortfolio initiative and a premier researcher in the field. She wanted Woon’s take on how this tool could best be used by minority students. From all his work in diversity, Woon quickly imagined concentric circles: self, family, community, traditions, ceremony and the environment. “Have the students explore how they came to be through those things. Let them interview their elders, do their own research, and in those ways define themselves and document their journey,” he told Chen.

Paul Wasko heads up UAA’s ePortfolio initiative across the campus. (Photo by Ted Kincaid/University of Alaska Anchorage)

ePortfolios Capture a More Complete Story of the Person

Wasko worked in Minnesota when the state decided to scale the ePortfolio concept. Every resident could have one. The goal was a kind of K-20 education-to-career personal learning tool and map.

The goal: “If I am a student, how do I emerge from college into a job?” he said. “Or, if I am laid off, how do I track my way through getting more education so I can cycle successfully back into the work world.”

By Revealing Your Story, You Help Yourself and Help Others

Eva’s ePortfolio is a window into how a truly authentic voice can emerge in a digital environment, and how she is able to capture so much more than her grades or job history. Her writing expresses personal validation for her successes, and honest acknowledgement of her obstacles and challenges.

Her opening page, called ‘My Path,’ addresses pivotal moments in her life. That time in fifth grade when she finally stood up to four class bullies. Her first alcoholic blackout in seventh grade. And the moment, 30 years later, when she publicly admitted, ‘Hi, my name is Eva … and I need help.’  She’s been sober and clean since December 2009.

Decembers are big months for her, her story reveals. The very next one, in 2010, her best friend and the father of her daughter died. “I thought I would relapse…but I did not which surprised me.”

Eva Gregg, at work on her ePortfolio. (Photo by Ted Kincaid/University of Alaska Anchorage)

She now plans different ePortfolios for different audiences: one for scholarship applications, one for job applications, one for family. Her mountain climbing story isn’t the only one that reveals her grit and determination.

After two years in college, she has plenty of papers and math tests under her belt. “I love math, don’t get me wrong. It really makes me think. But it’s time-consuming and hard.”

What does she do when she gets stuck on a problem? “I watch YouTube videos on algebra, for hours. I watch the videos and then I go back to the problem.” Only after exhausting all ideas and resources—from the videos to her class notes to the book’s explanation, does she resort to asking for help. She might post the problem on Facebook, and query her several math-savvy cousins: “I am stumped guys,” she writes. “Show me step one. “

What’s Next?

In December 2012, Eva wrote in ‘My Path,’ standing at her sink washing dinner dishes, she wondered how and why she’d managed to survive three decades of alcohol, drugs “and the trauma that goes hand in hand with that lifestyle.” She decided, then and there, that she would spend her life supporting any addict willing to work as hard as she has for her sobriety. She’s aiming for social work and human services degrees.

“I want to help people like me,” she said later. “They know they are stuck in something and can’t get out. If they ask me for help, I am willing to help them.” She has found her way to solid self-worth and to a career.

 

 

Thank you to Paul Wasko (ePortfolio Initiative Coordinator, Academic Innovations & eLearning, University of Alaska Anchoragepwasko@uaa.alaska.edu) for his help in arranging for this story.  Paul has been a long-time supporter of WCET

A version of it originally appeared in the University of Alaska Anchorage Green & Gold News. Thank you to Kathleen McCoy, Editorial Director, UAA Office of Advancement for her help in arranging for us to publish this story.


33 Voices from the Classroom

U.S. Department of Education Blog - July 28, 2016 - 6:00am

Substantial conversations about teaching and schools cannot happen without the voices of teachers and principals. It seems obvious. Yet in too many places, educational policies are being written without our input, panels at education conferences are held without any teacher-speakers, and teacher expertise is routinely called into question.

For the last seven months, ED has taken one small step by publishing on our blog more first-hand accounts from practitioners than virtually any other source – pairing major policy announcements with powerful Voices from the Classroom written by teachers and principals who describe why these policies matter. When the Secretary announced a plan to make teaching in high-needs schools the best job in the world, we published a narrative from a teacher in the Bronx who shared how teaching there allows her to be an agent of change and to support her students in becoming agents of change too. When ED proposed a new rule to combat disparities in the treatment of students of color with disabilities, two special educators shared why such an action would make a difference in their schools.

Secretary King chats with teachers during ED’s most recent ‘Tea with Teachers’ – regular gatherings hosted by our Teaching Ambassador Fellows.

We heard from a Spanish teacher at an all-girls school who incorporates computer science into her classes, a Baltimore principal who shared how his school is tackling chronic absenteeism, and a guidance counselor in Washington State who wrote about how her school is helping more of its students than ever become the firsts in their families to attend college. And these are only a few of the more than 30 teachers from more than 20 states whose stories we’ve published in the first half of the year.

Publishing the voices of teachers is just one of many efforts at ED that honors what teachers have to say. For example, ED hires cohorts of Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows, practitioners who spend a year with ED to do outreach to teachers in the field and help ED develop policies that affect schools; Secretary John King holds monthly Teas with Teachers; and thousands of teachers have participated in events associated with Teach to Lead, an initiative by the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to draw on teacher expertise to help drive transformation in schools.

All this matters. By amplifying the voices of our colleagues around the country – and someday maybe even yours – we say to teachers everywhere, we’re listening. We say, you’re the experts. We say, we need your voices.

Matt Presser is an English teacher in New Haven, Conn., and a Teaching Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education. Follow him on Twitter: @mpresser5.

The post 33 Voices from the Classroom appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Louisville Board Accepts Ramsey's Resignation as President

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 28, 2016 - 2:55am
He will step down after 14 years in office, the last several months of which have been tarnished by a series of scandals.
Categories: Higher Education News

The Enrollment Manager as Bogeyman

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 28, 2016 - 2:51am
In the eyes of their many critics, they are faceless, pragmatic technocrats with too much power. But it’s worth imagining what higher education would look like without enrollment managers playing a critical role.
Categories: Higher Education News

Spelman College Is Accused of Inaction After Anonymous Report of Gang Rape

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 27, 2016 - 2:14pm
The alleged victim, who spoke out in May through a Twitter account called "Raped at Spelman," said in tweets on Wednesday that college officials had not taken any action.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Michigan Settles Lawsuit Filed by Dismissed Graduate Student

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 27, 2016 - 11:15am
Jennifer Dibbern had accused the university of kicking her out because of her union activity and her efforts to change the campus's anti-harassment policy.
Categories: Higher Education News

How Clinton’s ‘Free College’ Could Cause a Cascade of Problems

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 27, 2016 - 2:55am
The Democratic nominee’s proposal might sound great, but it could close many colleges, pressure some flagships, and disappoint students.
Categories: Higher Education News

A University Makes a Rare Call to Ditch Its Title IX Exemption

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 27, 2016 - 2:52am
Since 1985, Pepperdine University has been exempt from certain provisions of Title IX. But early this year it decided to waive that status. It’s not clear what prompted the shift.
Categories: Higher Education News

Charges Are Dropped Against Yale Worker Who Purposely Broke Window Depicting Slavery

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 12:33pm
Corey Menafee's criminal case ended a day after he went back to work at the university, which had asked prosecutors to drop the charges.
Categories: Higher Education News

Louisville Board Still Hasn't Accepted Its President's Resignation

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 12:19pm
The Board of Trustees postponed a meeting on Tuesday at which it was slated to consider the resignation of James R. Ramsey, who said last month he would step down.
Categories: Higher Education News

Smithsonian Institution Is Hiring a Beer Scholar

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 12:03pm
The historian will work at its new American Brewing History Initiative.
Categories: Higher Education News

Happy 21st Birthday, Academe Today!

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 11:34am
Chronicle subscribers received the first issue of our daily newsletter on this day in 1995. The newsletter seems quite primitive by today’s standards.
Categories: Higher Education News

Apply for The Chronicle's Spring Internships

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 7:46am
Are you an early-career journalist? We want you to apply for our paid internships. Here's how.
Categories: Higher Education News

As a College Faces Loss of Funds, Its Board Chair Refuses to Resign

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 2:57am
The Department of Education has threatened to withhold funds from Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, because of a federal order against its board chair.
Categories: Higher Education News

‘Stereotypes Are at the Center’: a White House Official on Why Native Students Often Struggle

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 2:55am
William Mendoza, director of the Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, had several false starts before completing college. He discusses how tribal colleges helped him find his way, and why they remain relevant to students today.
Categories: Higher Education News

For Native Students, Education’s Promise Has Long Been Broken

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 2:55am
President Obama wants more American Indian students to graduate from college. But look at the challenges these high schoolers face, and it becomes clear why that is a tall order.
Categories: Higher Education News

One Idea to Ease Faculty Into Retirement: the ‘Terminal Sabbatical’

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 2:55am
At Widener University, administrators hope that a year of research and service will help professors make the transition.
Categories: Higher Education News

More Professors Know About Free Textbook Options, but Adoption Remains Low

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 2:55am
Only 6.6 percent of faculty members are "very aware" of open educational resources, a survey found, and many say they can’t find such materials, although their use in introductory courses is ticking up.
Categories: Higher Education News

Leaving the Reservation

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 26, 2016 - 2:55am
As she prepares to graduate from high school, Charnelle Bear Medicine contemplates her future at the University of Montana. A photo essay details the final weeks of her senior year.
Categories: Higher Education News

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