York College Symposium on Teaching and Learning with Technology 2014 Rotating Header Image


Co-Sponsored by

The Academic Computing and Educational Technology (ACET) and

    The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)

        Friday, October 31, 2014    10:00 AM – 2:00 PM


Maura Smale,  Associate Professor, Chief Librarian and Department Chair, Library Department, New York City College of Technology.

Dr. Maura Smale is the chief librarian and department chair in the Ursula C. Schwerin Library of the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.  She has served as a Co-PI for the U.S. Department of Education Title V grant-funded project “A Living Laboratory”, serving as Institutionalization Lead for the City Tech OpenLab, an open digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration. Dr. Smale’s research interests include the scholarly and information-seeking habits of college students, game-based learning, open access publishing and scholarly communications, critical information literacy and educational technology.  With Prof. Mariana Regalado, one of her recent research projects is a multi-campus ethnographic study of the academic culture of undergraduates at CUNY, which is published on EDUCAUSE Review Online.

Mariana Regalado,  Associate Professor, head of Information Services at the Brooklyn College Library.

Prof. Mariana Regalado is the head of Reference and Instruction at the Brooklyn College Library.  As such, she assists students to become smart, curious, and confident information seekers.  Her areas of expertise include information literacy, student research habits, research skills, European anthropology, and carnival.  She has worked with Dr. Maura Smale on a multi-year, multi-campus study of the daily experience of undergraduates as students at CUNY, which is published on EDUCAUSE Review Online.  She has published scholarly articles and book chapters, and is also a frequent speaker in conferences, seminars and symposiums.  Her creative work includes a documentary film “Entroido en Laza,” for which she was ethnographic advisor. In addition, she has won a number of awards, honors and fellowships.


10:00 AM – 10:15 AM:  Welcome and Introduction in Room AC 4M07

Dr. Panayiotis Meleties, Acting Provost

Prof. Michael Smith, Director of the Academic Computing & Educational Technology, Director of Communications Technology

Prof. Debra Swoboda, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

10:20 AM – 11:10 AM:  Concurrent Sessions I

Session 1:  Room AC 4M07 – Two Presentations

Using Blogs to Foster Peer Review and Revision

This presentation will illustrate how blogs are used in my hybrid writing classes to foster revision and to focus peer review.  The presentation will fit into the domain of learning design by paying special attention to the way using Blackboard blogs facilitates a process-focused writing pedagogy.   Particular note will be made to the benefits that accrue from the public nature of the comments in the blogs.  While all comments from me and from the students’ peers are targeted to specific papers,  their accessibility to the whole class allows students to learn not just from comments on their own work but also from comments on others’ work.

Phebe Kirkham, Lecturer, English, York College

Staging Discomfort: Online Teaching Practices in the Attention Economy

The reality of inevitable, web-based connectivity and unremitting, ubiquitous distractions undermines the focused and consistent attention students require for optimal scholastic achievement. Rather than addressing the issue, research has overwhelmingly attempted to divert attention from this reality in order to redress the problem and, resultantly, avoid the issue. My paper addresses the nature of online teaching with special attention to the “Attention Economy”, and how courses may be designed to better foster study habits and student attentiveness by circumventing commonplace distractions in light of society’s pseudo-need for its individuals to be constantly connected. Specifically, in my project, by analyzing Continuous Partial Attention (Stone; et al.) and its differences from Multi-tasking (Stone; Rose), and how the availability of online-teaching platforms leaves wanting the resources instructors have at hand to combat student inattention, the importance of stabilizing attention/inattention realities of online students appears as the frontline for this particular educational battle. I will discuss the inescapable realities of the “Attention Economy” and the advent of online teaching, and juxtapose them against the tested and traditional methods of optimal pedagogical and learning theories, in order to reveal possible resolutions to the problem of students’ potential distraction during online-learning experiences.

Richard Scheiwe, Adjunct Lecturer, English, York College


Session 2:  Room AC 4M03 – Two Presentations

Strategic Partnerships:  Supporting SoTL with a Hybrid Workshop Series (click SOTL hybrid workshop presentaion to view the presentation)

Learning how to transfer their disciplinary research skills, such as developing research questions and conducting literature searches, challenges many faculty new to SOTL. Even more confounding is their problem of finding the time and the support to learn and practice those new skills. To address both these dilemmas, the Director of our campus’ Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) collaborated with the Emerging Technologies Librarian to offer a short (five sessions), process-oriented SoTL seminar series, with information delivered both face-to-face and through BlackBoard. In addition to the merging of two faculty support services, our model provided specific, step-by-step writing and researching activities in each session and online, activities that faculty were highly unlikely to undertake on their own but were enthusiastic about doing with guidance and in a group. Our presentation will demonstrate these activities, their content and arrangement.

Jane Hindman, Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Queens Borough Community College

Jean Amaral, Outreach Librarian, Borough of Manhattan Community College

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the CUNYFirst Query Viewer 

CUNYFirst. Just the mere mention of it to CUNY faculty, staff, and students can cause anxiety. Remember the start of the semester? Did you or your students have trouble finding the right classroom on the first day? How about trying to describe navigation to submit grades?

Innumerable points of concern could derail any discussion about CUNYFirst – and yet I believe it is worthwhile to try. Beyond the things we must do with CUNYFirst, there are things we can unexpectedly do if you’re willing to dig a little deeper into the platform. It’s not about being a ‘power-user,’ but rather an ‘empowered-user’ and this hands-on workshop hopes show you how and why.

We will be using CUNFirst’s ‘Query Viewer’– the primary tool for custom searches of large course, program, and student data sets. We will discover specific searches that produce datasets which can be used in a variety of ways to support academic advisement and program goal setting. Examples of the use of this data are presented and a discussion of other uses of data will be considered.

Michael Smith, Assistant Professor, Communications Technology, Director of the Academic Computing & Educational Technology, Director of the Communications Technology, York College


11:20 AM – 11:45 AM:  Concurrent Sessions II

Session 1:  Room AC 4M03

Teaching Music in a Digital Age

In this two-part presentation, Drs. Lam and Zlabinger will discuss the challenges and advantages of teaching music in the digital age. While keeping the classroom a vibrant and productive space, the presentation will demonstrate tools on how to augment the classroom during and outside of class.


Students who take music theory courses at York College come with varying levels of skills, knowledge, and musical ability. George Lam will talk about exploring new ways of reaching students with different abilities by adapting lessons to the individual student through the use of “flipped classroom” techniques, videos, music theory software, and cloud computing.


Every moment of a rehearsal is precious. In order to maximize rehearsal productivity, internet resources are used to enable students to familiarize themselves with repertoire. Tom Zlabinger will demonstrate how students can also use online applications to document their progress and receive critique.

George Lam, Assistant Professor, Music, York College

Tom Zlabinger, Assistant Professor, Music, York College


Session 2:  Room AC 4M07

Social Presence in Online Courses: Some practical tips and some meta-reflection (click  Social Presence in Online Courses to view the presentation)

Short, Williams, and Christie (1976) original defined social presence as “the degree of salience of the other person in the interaction and the consequent salience of the interpersonal relationships (p. 65).” Social presence has two components: intimacy, physical distance, eye contact, smiling, and personal topics of conversation; and immediacy, the psychological distance that a communicator puts between themselves and the object of their communication.  I will talk about some practical tips to increase the instructor’s and the students’ social presence online and then talk about the research relating to social presence in online courses. Besides a brief formal review of the research literature, I will discuss some of my research on the effectiveness of student online discussions

William Ashton, Associate Professor, Psychology, York College


11:50 AM:   Lunch provided in AC 4M03 Corridor

12:20 PM – 1:00 PM:   Keynote in Room AC 4M07

“Anytime I’m on the train, I would just type it up:” Commuter Students Using Technology (Click Here to view the presentation. Click Here to read the notes.)

During a multi-year qualitative study of undergraduates at six CUNY colleges, we interviewed students and faculty to learn how, where, and when students accomplished their academic work. Among many findings, our study gave us a glimpse into the student experience of using technology, including its use in visible places such as the classroom, library, and computer lab, as well as in places we rarely see students, such as in the home and on the commute. We learned from students about how their uses of ICT — including cellphones and laptops, printers and computer labs — both enabled and constrained their academic work while on and off campus.


1:10 PM – 2:00 PM:  Concurrent Sessions III

Session 1:  Room AC 4M03 – Two Presentations

Using Screen Casting in Education: A useful tool to enhance student learning

Screen casting is a powerful tool that can be used to develop course content for online, hybrid or face-to-face learning. Screen casting enables easy accessibility of course content and the students can access these course materials from anywhere via the internet on desktop computers and mobile devices. In other words, course materials on finger tips, which is much needed today with increasing working adults returning back to school for higher education. This presentation will consist of information on how educators can use screen casting to develop course content to enhance student learning and the benefits of using screen casting to both faculty and students. Screen casting is proven to be an effective strategy as the students have reported extremely positive experience with flexibility and the ability to view the content multiple times.

Lilly Mathew, Assistant Professor, Nursing, York College

Pedagogically effective use of the Blackboard Collaborate webinar tool for content delivery and interactive communication in a totally online course

Depending on the complexity of a totally online course’s content and/or required skill set to be acquired, asynchronous lessons may need to be supplemented with real-time meetings between distant learners and the instructor.  Further, real-time meetings allow for a more traditional approach for  students’ with very different ways of processing information.  In general, a regularly scheduled online meeting allows the student who is floundering to ask questions and to feel a human connection with the professor and other students.  This presentation will report on recent research on best practices and pedagogical effectiveness of webinars within the college environment and on anecdotal experiences of conducting weekly webinars over several semesters of teaching WRIT 303.  Discussion will include use of the tool for office virtual office visits.  The Blackboard Collaborate tool will be demonstrated with participants engaging as “students.”  Discussion of ways to improve this Bb tool will be engaged.

Alan Winson, Adjunct Assistant Professor, English, York College


Session 2:  AC 4M07 – Two Presentations

Accounting Students Writing-to-Learn in a Technology-Driven Community (click Accounting Students Writing to Learn  to view the presentation)

Accounting faculty at LaGuardia Community College leveraged their participation in the WID professional development seminar to find an innovative way to help students explore and enhance their general writing and business writing skills. Using ePortfolio and social pedagogical practices, faculty connected students across two Accounting I courses who would not generally be exposed to assignments focusing on writing within the accounting discipline until later in their studies. Having students explore writing within the context of accounting provided an opportunity for them to dispense with the notion that accounting is ‘only number-crunching’.  Using ePortfolio-based assignments, along with an in-class writing workshop conducted by faculty from the English and Business & Technology Departments, students were able to understand the importance of writing in accounting, explore their writing abilities, and learn and apply different forms of business communication.  The presenters will share the structure, activities, and results of the writing-to-learn initiative.

Rajendra Bhika, Associate Professor, Accounting, LaGuardia Community College

Andrea Francis, Assistant Professor, Accounting, LaGuardia Community College

Enhancing Student Engagement with Open Source Software (click here to view the recording; click Enhancing Student Engagement with Open Source Software  to view the presentation)

The rising number of underperforming students in higher education is creating a problem that threatens many aspects of society. As more and more of our world is dominated by technology, disengaged students will need access to resources to compete. However access to technology is expensive and can be an additional barrier to academic engagement.  Attendees to this presentation will learn how students can be motivated to learn valuable academic skills if faculty are encouraged to infuse digital content into their curricula that is technically advanced, economically viable, and which stays true to the core value systems of these students.

James Richardson, Academic Director, Communication and Media, CUNY –SPS; Associate Professor, New Media, LaGuardia Community College


10:30 AM – 2:00 PM:  Maker Space Showcase and Workshops in Room AC – 4M04

Stop by anytime to learn 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, Robotics and how they can be used to engage students in active learning.

Daniel Phelps, Adjunct Assistant Professor/Multimedia Production Specialist, Communications Technology/Academic Computing and Educational Technology, York College


2:05 PM – 2:10 PM:  drawing + adjourn in Room AC 4M07

Directions to York College 

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