Monday, February 24, 2014

Guest Post: Welcome to the Suffolk County Community College Libraries

by Krista Gruber, Mentor, New Member Mentoring Program

Do you find yourself frustrated by students’ heavy reliance on Google for research?  Do you wish your students would seek out and gain confidence using consistently reliable sources?  Would you like some reinforcement when it comes to teaching citation and attribution?  Call us! Librarians are available for instruction sessions tailored to projects or papers you assign during the semester.  Your students will learn basics, such as how to locate a book on his or her topic, the ideal databases to consult for magazine, newspaper, and academic journal articles, and how to cite the resources they find.  More advanced concepts, such as critical evaluation of websites, can also be incorporated into the discussion.  In addition, we can work together to design customized electronic guides specifically geared toward your coursework.
Super new library on the Eastern campus.
Super new weather, too!
We also hope you will consider making a copy of your course textbook available for student use at the library.  The cost of some textbooks is exorbitant and purchasing them can become a financial hardship for many students.  Each campus library maintains a reserve collection of textbooks.  Often professors or departments have extra copies of the current class texts.  If this is the case for you, please bring the item(s) you would like to place on reserve to your campus library and ask staff for assistance.  Once the materials are processed, students will be able to use them within the library for an hour or two.   I can personally attest to the popularity of this collection.  Students repeatedly express relief and appreciation that they found the right textbook here in the library.
Please feel free to stop by your campus library, take a look at our collections, and say hello.  We look forward seeing you soon and welcome you to the college.  Visit the Suffolk County Community College Library website for more information.  Also, do not hesitate to contact me at with any questions or concerns you may have.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grievance and Arbitration

by Sarah Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program
I'd like to think that your first months at SCCC have gone smoothly and that you've found your working conditions here optimal. Also, I'd hope that if you run into anything problematic, you've addressed your concerns with your mentor first and that they've provided you with some sound and useful advice for tackling the problem.

I would like to file a grievance against Old Man Winter.
If you ever run into a problem that seems larger than your mentor, academic chair, or department supervisor can handle -- specifically, one that includes a violation of our contract -- OR, if your academic chair or department supervisor is part of the problem (fingers crossed, that won't be the case) -- that's an appropriate time to ask the FA's Grievance Officer, Pete DiGregorio, about filing a grievance.
Any member of the bargaining unit -- even those who aren't voting union members -- may be represented by the union when he or she files a grievance. Just remember that timeliness is a real and pressing issue; if you're going to file a grievance, you need to do so within 30 days of when you noticed the violation (or should have noticed the violation).
Once the grievance has been filed, the FA will work to settle the matter satisfactorily. Most grievances don't approach arbitration, because they can be resolved beforehand, but if they do go to arbitration (and the FA decides which grievances go to arbitration and which do not), the FA will be there for you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Distance Education Courses

by Sarah Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program
If you took notice of Mary Lou Araneo's email to all faculty earlier this week, you may have observed that we have a thriving distance learning program here at SCCC -- and that it's about to undergo some major changes.
Some of you may be coming from other institutions where you taught online using a course management system (or CMS) like Blackboard or Moodle. Here at SCCC we've used Desire2Learn, or D2L, for several years. Faculty have been free to use other technologies or course management systems for their courses, but the college doesn't provide technical or other support for those systems – so all in all, you’re better off using the system that's supported by the Office of Information Technology.
Currently, you may use D2L to teach fully online courses, or as part of a hybrid course (part face-to-face, part online), or to web enhance your traditional classroom. Currently, I use D2L to web enhance all of my traditional, face-to-face classes. I maintain my grade book with D2L (while printing paper copies, because I’m paranoid like that), and I use the course sites to keep electronic versions of my course outline and course handouts readily available to students. It’s convenient also for distributing relevant web links or posting announcements about class cancellations or changes to the course schedule.
If you’re interested in web-enhancing your traditional classroom, or if you’d like to become a member of our online faculty, visit the Suffolk Online tab under your MYSCCC menu. When you click on that tab, you’ll see a link near the top of the page that says “Join SuffolkOnline Files Group.” It looks like this:
Join the group, and you’ll have access to the Distance Education Guidebook, which outlines all the procedures for becoming trained to teach an online course, and subsequently requesting a DE course.
Also, speak to your academic chair about your department’s approach to online education and about what specific teaching opportunities might be available to you (since the DE courses are, of course, assigned according to seniority just like our face-to-face courses).
Lastly, keep in mind Mary Lou Araneo's email. SCCC is beginning a conversion from D2L to Blackboard Learn (Bb Learn) for its course management system. If you're considering teaching online courses -- and even if you're currently teaching online and/or if you're currently web-enhancing using D2L -- you should consider attending one of the overview sessions to see how and when Bb Learn is going to be implemented at this school. So far, the schedule of overview sessions looks like this:
Week of 2/17/14 – Ammerman  Campus
                                    Tuesday                               Wednesday                                       Friday
L 14A                            10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.        11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.      10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Week of 2/24/14 – Michael J. Grant Campus
                                    Tuesday                               Wednesday                                       Friday
Location - TBD              10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.        11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.      10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Week of 3/3/14 - Eastern Campus
                                    Tuesday                               Wednesday                                       Friday
Location - TBD              10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.        11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.      10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.