Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MyHCC (Blackboard): New Messages Indicator is Here!!!!

The messaging feature in MyHCC (Blackboard) has been updated and improved. There is now an indicator to let you know you have messages! When you enter the system and click on the Blackboard Courses tab you should see a notification of any unread messages within the course.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Going Digital in the Classroom: E-text Initiative

By: Michael Johnson
Library Coordinator/ Librarian South Shore Campus HCC

Daytona State College recently held a conference on e text books called “Going digital in the Classroom: E-text initiative” This grant funded project employed 4 different models on acquiring course materials in a fashion other than the traditional purchase at College Book store Estimates of up to 80 percent savings were put to the test.

The researchers began by doing a literature review of other attempts by colleges to move to digital materials. The research did not find any schools that had adopted this practice on a college wide basis.

Rising Costs, availability and the static nature of print textbooks were all sighted as an impetus to strive toward a new model. Some of the advantages of an e text model would be daily or weekly updated to the material, cost savings and a less of chance of editors avoiding controversial issues in the texts
The first model was a Print based rental model. Highlights included:
  • Textbook Rental at College Library
  • Semester Rental Price $35-$15
  • Return Text to the Library at the End of Semester
  • Students who did not Return Textbooks were held Responsible for the Full Book Price

The Second model was a Netbook model. Highlights included:
  • Smaller, lighter version of laptop
  • Netbook issued to student on the first day of class
  • Student Netbook agreement
  • Acceptance form
  • Purpose of device is to allow access to the e-textbook
  • Netbook return at the last day of class or by appointment with College HelpDesk

The third model was an E-book model. Highlights included:
  • Access code purchased at College Bookstore
  • Access online
  • 180,360, or 540 days purchase term
  • Model dependent on student’s computer access
  • Inability to markup, highlight, or reference during class without personal computer

The next model was rental Book club run as a traditional student club. Highlights included:
  • Overwhelmingly favorable reception
  • Substantial cost savings at the student-level
  • Opportunity to take more classes per term
  • Ease and efficiency of the rental process
  • Confident that books will be available
  • Students “adapted” their approach to studying in lieu of writing in the book
  • Social networking, making contacts, skill development
  • Concerns about quality of used books.

The presenting panel took Questions from the audience in an effort to expand the nuances of each plan.

For example the issue of highlighting and note taking ability of some of the newer e-book models was seen as a boon to students who used these methods in their studies
Infrastructure issues plagued the Ebook model with students attending class with dead batteries and minimal power outlets available in the classrooms.

The Rental of textbooks model that was run by the library seemed at odds with the nature of libraries. I.e. that there is no cost using a library. In addition the model would make library staff have to handle and account for monies that were collected. The storage of the moneys and who or where it would be spent was not clear. Lost / Damaged textbooks would result in a hold on a student record that will need an administrator to place and remove holds on student records. Traditional library materials processed using a LMS would have these functions automated.

The Student run Book club model was the overwhelming favorite of the students surveyed. Its ease of use and confidence level was noted by students. The other models all still suffered from all the problems associated with technology. The pitfalls of hardware and software as well as classroom support were all problems that were experienced. Getting everyone of the same page with the technological requirements needed planning and a single strategy. This can be difficult with many different agendas. The students I questioned had the latest in software and were somewhat savvy in computers. . They mentioned a sold wireless system as being key to implementing some of the models.

Notably absent were the book publishers and Book stores who profit off of the traditional system of purchase and buy back policies.

The research/ Seminar was helpful in its trailblazing efforts to tackle these issues but a good deal of work remains to be done.

Finally students have taken these matters in their own hands and created sites like Library Pirate.

These sites offer free downloads of textbooks organized outside of school parameters and the legality of these sites in up in the air.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts on e-Text Symposium

By: Teresa Galloway
English Preparatory Writing , English Composition, Film, and SLS, Plant City campus

The e-text symposium held at Daytona State College was very interactive and informative. I enjoyed mingling with the book representatives and the faculty/administration from the surrounding colleges. All agree that making available quality instruction at the most affordable cost is our goal.

I have not used an e-text either in my classroom or while my taking courses at University. I had presumed that it would be a difficult at best to obtain the software/technology to do so. One major advantage that the book representative told me is that a student can purchase an entire text or only certain necessary chapters. This would be beneficial for students usually must a gigantic text that the instructor only uses a portion of the material. Some texts are used for two semesters: Liberal Arts Math is one example. The student may purchase the first portion during the first semester and purchase the second portion the next semester. This would break the hefty price tag into two parts—a benefit for most.

Another “eye-opener” the book representative gave me is that my students do not need a specific apparatus to view the e-text. The student could use certain type of phones or the lab/home computer to access the information. The student only needs to purchase an affordable, one-semester e-text at a dramatic savings to the price of a paper text.

Three of the classes I teach will be partially online in Spring, 2012. My plan is to offer the student the option of the paper text or the e-book. This way, the student can weigh the price for each and how it fits into his or her budget.

The colleges have an opportunity to offer the latest technology to our students. Bookstores will soon be a source for e-readers along with textbooks. The colleges will be able to offer discount prices for the readers because the colleges will then order in bulk. The paper text may not go away, but it is certainly being overcome by the e-text.

Monday, October 17, 2011

FIPSE : Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education

By: Sherry Hickman
Online Instructor, Biological Foundations, MacDill, Ybor and SouthShore Campuses

I was very interested in attending the FIPSE : Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education 2011 E-Text Symposium, held on October 7, 2011, at Daytona State College. I wanted to interact with publishers' reps who sell online textbooks. I wanted to see what information was gleaned by the FIPSE study on e-texts. I wanted to hear what the Daytona State College students had to say about the use of online texts.

I teach an online course in non-majors biology (BSC 1005C) and we have used an e-text for the past three semesters. We moved to an e-text for few reasons: instant access to the text online after purchase, access to the text online from anywhere in the world (some of our HCC students are in the military and are deployed to locations around the world), cost savings, and environmental concerns.

When we were using a paper text, the materials cost approximately $225: course access fee, lab access fee and paper text price. With our new format using the e-text, the cost to the student is approximately $90.

Since we are teaching biology, which includes man's impact on the environment, attention to reducing our impact on the environment was of concern. The online format of our class models "best practices" in protecting our environment. We do not commute to campus, we do not use paper for our text, we do not ship textbooks, we do not need a building to house our class.

The FIPSE study echoed a lot of the concerns I hear from my students about using e-texts . Some students love the e-text. Some prefer a paper text. In our class, we make the paper text available to the students through the HCC bookstores and the publisher. Of course students know how to find used texts through outlets such as Amazon and Those students who like the feel and "readability" of the paper text are welcome to purchase a paper text for an additional fee.

The FIPSE study included questions about supplying students with laptops or e-readers to access their texts. Personally, I do not see the need for the colleges to supply the hardware to access the e-text. Many students have computers at home; virtually all schools have computers for students to use for free. Many e-texts have the ability for the student to print the pages they might require.

Another issue is the updating of material in textbooks. It is rather simple in an e-text. A new edition of a paper text is expensive; old texts are "wasted", students are frustrated when they cannot sell their text back at the end of the semester. These problems do not exist with an e-text.

Some people think if we go to all electronic books the paper books will "go away." This is easily solved by "print on demand" which is used by many publishers right now.

E-text? I am sold on the idea and the practice. It is working for me and my students.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thoughts on e-Texts

By: Jason Turner
Instructor, Advanced Water Treatment, Plant City Campus

On October 7, 2011, Daytona State College hosted a conference on e-Texts and how they may be useful to college students. Daytona State recently participated in a pilot study where they had some courses taught only using e-Texts and had some of the instructors and students discuss their feelings about this method of delivery. While other people can give you some of the facts and figures, I wanted to give my impressions and opinions about how HCC could use e-Texts in the future.

Many of us teach from books that are large, expensive, and become outdated within a few years. Students complain that they are not able to return books to the bookstore after the semester is over because the book is not going to be used again or the version has been updated or just because the bookstore has too many copies already. Some also complain that they only use part of a large book and should not have to buy the entire book. This is where e-books come in to play.

One thing I learned is that some e-book publishers allow students to pay only for sections they need. This would help in classes like mine that use large books as well as in literature classes where only a few of the stories and poems are used. The students then would not have to carry heavy books, but the bookstore would also not need to stock as many of the larger books that take up retail space that could be used for other items. The bookstore could even be the contact point for the e-books so they will not lose all of their revenue.

Another advantage to both students and the bookstores is that when new versions of books are printed (especially in the science and computer fields), neither the students nor the bookstore will have copies of books they cannot sell back. They will have access only to the newest and most up-to-date information to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing world. This concern was specifically addressed at the conference by a Computer Engineering student who said that what he learned as a Freshman was already outdated now that he is a Junior.

Although it may take some work for HCC in the beginning, I think the College would benefit from using e-Texts for some classes. We could start where students could get both physical books and e-Texts for classes where the publishers already have package deals. Many textbooks already come with computer codes where students can access online portions that may either repeat information or even enhance what is in the book. Some even give the option for professors to add their own notes and additions that only the students have access to.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Student Perception vs. Faculty/Staff/Admin. Needs

By: Robert J. King, M.Div., Th.M.
Adjunct Professor of Religion & Philosophy (Ethics) H.C.C.-Dale Mabry and MacDill A.F.B.

At the 2011 E-Text Symposium, held October 7th at Daytona State College, and as funded through FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education), keynote speaker Matt Drugan, a sales manager for a major educational publisher, shared some quite illuminating statistics concerning technological usage for higher education. Consider the following:

  • 92% of high school students stated that "technology on campus" was a major factor in deciding where to attend; 87% of currently enrolled college students also stated that technology was a priority in considering college selection.
  • 22% of higher educational administrators stated that improving technology is a priority.

What should we as higher educational leaders make of such a startling gap? Is this simply a product of differences in "generational perception," lack of exposure to the full panoply of technological advances on the part of higher educational administrators or are other dynamics at work?

Similarly, in citing the importance of various educational technologies, a similar gap was evident. Again, consider the following:

  • Faculty viewed wireless internet access as important at a rate of 78%, digital content at a rate of 72%, and virtual learning at a rate of 48%.
  • Students, however, viewed wireless internet access as important at a rate of 87%, digital content at a rate of 66%, and virtual learning at a rate of 53%.

As an educator whose very first exposure to full-time college and university teaching (2004 - current) has come within mixed models ranging from a small liberal arts college in the Midwest to major online innovators in higher education (e.g. the Apollo Group, parent company of University of Phoenix) to state college and community college approaches to private research university adult extension learning, what Drugan shared should come as no surprise. Whereas on one campus of a community college where I teach I have full access to a Smart Board, state-of-the-art equipment, etc. (granted, a military-affiliated campus) at another campus, the room still comes "fully equipped" (sarcasm) with chalk boards, PC's that are several years antiquated (e.g. running on Windows Vista), and with modest "middle-tier" classroom technological support "sandwiched" in between in a majority of classrooms, offices, computer labs, etc.

Therefore, in order for the U.S. to not slip any further behind the E.U., Asian Pacific Rim nations, etc., significant re-orientation of higher educational institutional support is necessary. Sure, private for-profit higher education will likely still lead the way in technological innovation, but public institutions of higher education should make it a budgetary and human resources priority to maintain both the computer infrastructure and well-trained faculty members otherwise U.S. higher educational superiority will continue to wane.

Concerned Online and Face-to-Face Humanities Professor

Monday, October 10, 2011

Upcoming Conferences

Sloan International Conference on Online Learning
November 9-11

ELearning Guild
Las Vegas
November 2-4

2012 Community College Futures Assembly
University of Florida
January 28-January 31

19th Georgia Conference
On College &
University Teaching

Friday & Saturday
February 3-4, 2012
Conference Web Site:

SALT: New Learning Technologies Conference
Caribe Royale Hotel
Orlando, Florida
February 15-17, 2012

A Dream Deferred: The Future of African American Education
April 26-7, 2012
The Westin Bonaventure
Los Angeles, CA

7th International Conference on Supplemental Instruction
San Diego
May 30 – June 1

San Diego
June 24-June 27

Friday, October 7, 2011

Using Google+ Hangouts for Teaching

Google+ is the newcomer of the social media explosion. Aiming to marry the substance of real-world interactions with an online platform, Google+ uses Circles, Hangouts and Huddles to bring users together.

The Hangout feature can be a useful tool in education, as teachers can use the service to conduct virtual classrooms. A teacher can teach up to ten virtual classrooms at a time. Those ten receiving classrooms can each relay the stream to ten more classrooms each!

Interested in learning how to use Google+ Hangouts for teaching? Click here.