Friday, April 27, 2012

Faculty Outreach Toolkit
Affordable Textbooks Campaign
Student PIRGS
© 2012 Center for Public Interest Student Organizing. Some Rights Reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. You are free to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute this work with attribution. To attribute this work, please credit the Student PIRGs and provide a link to

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Toes on the Trackball

When was the last time you used your toes to grasp an object or manipulate your computer mouse? For most of us, using our fingers on a regular keyboard, using our voices to talk on the phone or via our mics, or having the ability to read online text and charts is taken for granted.

Take a look at these videos on the  AssistiveWare site. Did you watch at least three of the short videos? If you're not reminded of all of your abilities and all of the possibilities in your life, you didn't watch enough. Go watch a few more. Then, get out there and figure out how to do whatever you have been dreaming of doing - and DO it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Most Remarkable People on Social Media Today: Ellen Bremen, Highline Community College

By , Published April 18, 2012, posted on Business2Community
My own social media hall of fame, so to speak. I did not take into account the number of followers or the number of retweets, but selected my list purely based on how much these people changed my beliefs or motivated my actions. I believe we should highlight people who are doing remarkable work in the social universe and not only those who are just social celebrities. … Ellen Bremen is an award-winning educator at Highline Community College [near] Seattle, WA. She stops at nothing to help students strengthen their communication skills: peanut butter and jelly to illustrate problematic messages, pipe cleaners to teach communication models, and Post-It notes to reduce speaking anxiety. Ellen is always taking care that our kids will stay geniuses. I say “thank you Ellen” for making changes every day in one of the most difficult industries that exist in the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012 Contact: John Boesenberg, 360-704-4303

Earl announces retirement from State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Olympia - Charlie Earl, executive director for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, today announced his plan to retire, effective July 31.

Earl’s career has spanned more than 40 years in a variety of government capacities. Most recently, he worked for six years in the current role as executive director of the state community college system, and seven years as president of Everett Community College. Prior to that, Earl served as deputy county executive in King County and general manager of Snohomish County Public Utility District.

Earl spoke of the tremendous opportunities the community and technical colleges provide Washingtonians. “People have better lives based on the learning opportunities provided by our colleges,” Earl said in announcing his intent to retire.

With offices in Olympia and Bellevue, the State Board has 140 staff working with the community and technical colleges in education policy, operating and capital funding, accountability measurement, information technology and the statewide higher education strategy. During Earl’s tenure, the 34 colleges have seen state funded enrollment grow from 250,000 to 330,000 students.

According to Sharon Fairchild, chair of the State Board, the Washington community and technical college system has been recognized nationally for its innovation. Such innovations implemented by the 2-year college system during Earl’s tenure include the student achievement performance award, opportunity grants, applied baccalaureate (4-year) degrees and the open course library – all designed to promote student access and progress towards their education and work goals. “Charlie has led collaborative strategic planning efforts and produced vital programs that have and will shape the future of our colleges and system. He’s been an effective advocate and champion for our students and colleges. The Board thanks Charlie for his leadership, vision, energy and commitment.”

Earl offered that, despite the 22 percent cut in state funding during the recession, the colleges are financially and educationally sound. “College faculty, staff and administrators have put their shoulders to the wheel, educating more people and achieving higher graduation rates with less money. They deserve the public’s thanks!”

Earl also thanked the State Board staff and leaders of key system organizations that are part of the community and technical college family. “I’m grateful for having the chance to work with such great leaders in the service of students.”

The nine-member, governor-appointed State Board will launch a regional and national search for a new executive director.

More boats, bikes and books are in Earl’s immediate future – as well as looking for ways to continue to contribute to our great state as opportunities may arise.

About the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges:

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is led by a Governor-appointed board and provides leadership, advocacy, and coordination for Washington’s system of 34 public community and technical colleges. Community and technical college students train for the workforce, prepare to transfer to a university, gain basic math and English skills, or pursue continuing education. Visit our website at

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fair Use - Article from EDUCAUSE

Policy Matters: Fair Use in Academic and Research Libraries
New digital opportunities bring new copyright challenges. This article gives you the tools to make decisions based on best practices.

2012 Legislative Wrap Up

Enjoy this 2012 regular and special sessions wrap-up edition of SBCTC Legislative News:

 Thank you for your support and feedback this year.  

SBCTC Legislative News will return in 2013.

Assessment, Teaching and Learning Conference

May 2-4, 2012

Vancouver, Washington

If you haven’t yet registered, don’t miss your chance…Register Now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WICHE Policy Analysis & Research: A Stronger Nation through Higher Education

According to the recent Lumina Foundation report, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, 38.3% of working-age Americans (ages 25-64) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2010, up modestly from 2009 (38.1%) and 2008 (37.9%). The report measures progress toward Goal 2025, which is a national movement to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. And the findings suggest that while more people are graduating from college, the current pace is not sufficient to meet the target pace or the growing skills demand in the economy. The report includes detailed data on degree attainment at the national, state and county levels, and for the first time, for the 100 largest metropolitan areas.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) strives to maintain excellent communication with the education policy and research communities. You can SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE to the Policy Alerts and/or Stat Alerts distribution lists. These electronic distribution lists are used to share resources about relevant issues in higher education policy and research. As an additional resource, WICHE maintains a Policy Publication Clearinghouse on the web at, which includes past Policy Alerts and Stat Alerts, as well as other studies, reports, surveys, and policy briefs.

Monday, April 9, 2012

College Student and Mother of Two Speaks Out About the Benefits of the Open Course Library

Have you ever wondered how parents of school-age children can manage to be successful students? In this interview, student-parent Lindsey Cassels talks to about how the Open Course Library has made her life a little easier.

Read more in this article in Education Insider

Critical Multiculturalism

Last Thursday and Friday, I had the opportunity to attend a Faculty Learning Community Retreat led by two faculty members, Tanya Velasquez (University of Washington and South Puget Sound Community College) and Betsey Barnett (Shoreline Community College). In true facilitator style, Tanya and Betsey provided just enough structure to make the Retreat productive and interesting, while encouraging the participants to essentially co-facilitate the Retreat.

One of the particularly engaging and thought-provoking segments of the Retreat was Liberation Theater, led by Ernest Johnson, Mimi Harvey and Brooke Zimmers, from Shoreline Community College.  Ernest, Mimi and Brooke led the group through several experiential activities that served as springboards for reflection and discussions on power, privilege and differences. I know I've been exposed to good teaching when I wake up in the middle of night struggling with questions about the topic or rethinking about my own perspectives vis-a-vis others' perspectives.

Thanks so much to the Critical Multiculturalism Faculty Learning Community for creating this space for learning and making it such a welcoming and safe place to explore multiple perspectives on a wide range of topics around multiculturalism, diversity, and sustainability.

Read more about this work at

Storing Stuff for Free, Online

Need a place to store your "stuff"? Syllabi, assignments, readings, spreadsheets, videos...
Try Dropbox. It's free and easy to use - for techies and the rest of us, too!

If you need to access your files from work, home, someone else's computer, or from your laptop while sipping a Pacifico on your boat, as long as you have an internet connection, you can access the files in your Dropbox account. You can also save stuff (like photos, and so forth) from your phone to your Dropbox account. (See, I'm enough of a tech tools neophyte that the idea of saving stuff from my phone to an online repository and later accessing it from my computer is all tres cool!)

You create a Dropbox account and download the program *one time only* -- not on every computer you use. (It took less than 2 minutes on my computer.) Then, you can view, download and upload your files from any web browser.

And, other people (e.g. students, colleagues, family members) don't have to have Dropbox accounts in order to drop stuff off at your Dropbox. You just give them a link and a password and they can send stuff to you.

Let me know if Dropbox works well for you, or if you have any tips on making it work best. Also, feel free to post comments if you've found other free, online tools that you find helpful.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Accessibility: Envisioning a Blind-Friendly Internet

From the April 3rd, 2012, Futurist Update, published by the World Future Society

For all the multimedia wonders of the Internet, the vast store of information, knowledge, and connections it contains is largely based on graphics and text—visual input that is inaccessible to the visually impaired. Now, an information-studies scholar who is blind aims to make the Internet more universally available.

Blind and sighted users organize their online tasks and process information differently. Thus, text-based search tools such as tags are not particularly useful to the visually impaired, says Rakesh Babu, an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies. (Babu himself lost his vision to a degenerative eye disease.)

Screen readers provide digitized voice translations of text, but they produce a linear online experience that cannot keep pace with a nonlinear visual experience comprising color cues, animations, and text that can be quickly scanned.

Babu’s research is focusing on understanding the differences in how blind users conceptualize online tasks compared with sighted users; this includes not just information gathering, but also communicating and engaging in activities that are already available to sighted users—and are vital to career prospects and to independent living.

“Web accessibility is not a legal issue; it’s an equal opportunity issue,” says Babu. “When you sit down to design a Web site, you have to think, how would a screen reader read my Web site? You need to be user-centered from the beginning.”

Watch a demo by Rakesh Babu on YouTube