Use BOX to Make Your Life Easier!

Over the past year, departments at Chico State have transitioned their file storage from Bay to Box (in the cloud). This transition provides greater security, easier accessibility, and a wider range of collaboration tools for you. As part of this transition, every faculty member now has an unlimited amount of storage space on Box (in the cloud) to store files. Here are the top five ways Box can improve your life…

  1. You can access all of your files anytime, anywhere, including from home, office, any mobile device, and in any classroom with a computer and Internet access. No need to ever use (or lose) a flash drive again.
  2. You can access your files from the Box website as if they were on your computer and changes are automatically stored in the cloud (imagine updating a lecture slide from your phone at the airport).
  3. You can easily share course materials with your students (they don’t need Box accounts to access).
  4. You control access to your materials by sharing folders and files of content with your students or colleagues while keeping other folders and files private.
  5. Links you share to your course content are always up-to-date. You never need to upload new versions of files, update links, or worry about being stuck in class with an outdated version of your content.

If you’d like to learn how you can leverage Box in your courses to make your files more accessible and secure, we will be hosting a 45-minute workshop inColusa 100B on Wednesday, 3/28 from 1:15-2pm and on Thursday, 3/29 from 9-9:45am (same workshop – just on different days to accommodate faculty schedules). The workshop will be led by Tony Dunn, Lecturer in the Business Department and Project Manager for Information Technology Client Services. RSVP for the workshop.

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Make Office Hours An Accessible Resource

“Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement.” This is first of Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education at Chico State. One relatively untapped resource to increase student involvement outside of class is office hours.

In a low-stakes office meeting with you, students can learn about resources they need and ask questions in a safe environment without their peers present. Investing time with students can actually be a long-term time-saver if you can address problems before they get worse or help with initial drafts of papers before they’re submitted. So, why are office hours seldom utilized by students? Maybe they’re nervous. Maybe they don’t feel their reason for visiting is worth your time. Maybe they don’t want to appear to need extra help. Whatever the reason, helping students access your office hours is a great way to boost student engagement. Here are a few ways to help students access this valuable resource.

  • Prop your door open during scheduled office hours and warmly greet them. Display your Safe Zone Ally placard on your door if you earned one from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. If students apologize for bothering you, remind them that office hours are devoted to them and you’re glad they stopped by.
  • Stagger office hour days and times to enable students with varied schedules to access you.
  • Post office hours on your syllabus, on Blackboard, on your office door, and remind students about the benefits of office hours at key points in the course when you know students will need them most.
  • Consider making an office hour visit an assignment with points attached to it. If necessary, you can give students a specific purpose for visiting (e.g. bring your most recent assignment and the single biggest question you have about the topics covered so far).
  • Consider occasionally holding office hours off-campus at a coffee shop, the library, or a park as long as the location is accessible to all your students. If you regularly hold some of your office hours outdoors, you could have a “walking meeting” which might be less intimidating to some students.
  • Offer some office hours online. Zoom is a great platform for this and you have a free account through Chico State. Contact TLP if you need assistance.
  • Consider offering some group office hours to be held in an empty classroom. Perhaps these could be theme-based office hours (e.g. test prep, participating in research, finding internships, applying to graduate school)

Faculty are partners with students in the learning process. The more resources students can access, the more successful the partnership.


Hold Class At the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

If you’re interested in a unique and engaging classroom experience, consider holding class at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER). Classes ranging from art and journalism to agriculture and construction management utilize the BCCER. It’s a 25-minute drive from campus (on Hwy 32 near Forrest Ranch). Thousands of people every year visit the 4,000 acres of diverse ecosystems.

They are open every weekday and have staff and resources to help you and your students have the best learning experience possible. Visit their websitefor more information and to explore how you can best utilize this wonderful resource.  Also, you can view upcoming events and opportunities on their Facebook page.

The first attached flyer has more information on BCCER. The second attached flyer is an open house they’re hosting on April 21. For additional questions or to set up a visit, contact:

Jon Aull, Education and Research Coordinator
CSUC Ecological Reserves
(530) 898-5010


Easily Produce Video in the New Multimedia Studio

Video has become a useful tool in classrooms all over the world. Have you ever wanted to create a video of a lecture or speech to augment your course? Our friends in Creative Media Technologies just opened a new multimedia recording studio for faculty to use. You can create high-definition videos for just about any educational purpose you can imagine. For example, embed videos in Blackboard with Kaltura for use in face-to-face, online, flipped, hybrid, or remote courses. You can integrate a document-camera or PPT slides into your video to create a top-notch presentation. The studio, located in 027B, is also equipped with a useful new technology called Learning Glass, which incorporates a transparent LED-lit whiteboard along with a neon marker so you can write in a way that engages your audience. Click  here for a 90-second video demonstration.

To visit the studio and learn more, contact Classroom Technology Services at 898-5475.


Join FDEV Book Club to Learn Why Students Resist Learning

Book club invitation to the first 20 respondents – See below

No matter how applicable, relevant, or even entertaining your teaching is, some students will not be engaged in class. Some are blatantly disengaged as they sit in the front row texting or even sleeping. Others go to the trouble of faking engagement by pretending to type lecture notes while checking Facebook. So, why are some students disengaged to the point of resisting learning? And what can you do to re-engage them so they can be successful in your class?

In their book, “Why students resist learning: A practical model for understanding and helping students,” Tolman and Kremling (2017) answer these questions and more. They posit that student resistance is less of an enduring trait and more of a temporary (and thus changeable) motivational state due to several factors. One factor, for example, is that students may resist learning if they see a professor as part of an oppressive system trying to force a point of view they do not accept. Resistance can also occur if a professor creates assignments or assessments without a rationale behind them. Many other variables can contribute to resistance including students’ past classroom experiences, cultural background, and institutional culture. The authors recommend innovative pedagogical changes (e.g. active-learning, team-based projects, inclusive pedagogy) rather than blaming students for their lack of engagement.

If you’re interested in reading this book and discussing strategies to increase student engagement on our campus, click here to join the Spring ‘18 FDEV book club. We’ll meet monthly on four occasions this semester to discuss the book, engage in open dialogue, and learn from each other.

There is no compensation for participating though FDEV will provide a free book for you as well as coffee and snacks at each gathering. The book is pricey so participation is limited to the first 20 respondents.


Grow From Failure

Growing up in Illinois in the 90s, I idolized Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls, considered by many to be the greatest NBA player ever. In this 30-second commercial, he lists all his competitive failures and then attributes them to his overall success.

Professors also encounter failures that guide us toward success. When a teaching technique fails miserably or a manuscript get rejected, we reflect on the feedback, learn from the experience, and improve our follow-up performance. This is a skill we should teach our students.

Too often, students hide their mistakes, keep quiet if they’re unsure of the answer, and feel ashamed for getting test questions wrong. But there are benefits to making mistakes in college. To F.A.I.L. is to make the First Attempt In Learning. Failure is a victory in disguise. As long as learning and growth occurs for students, failure can be celebrated. As this article about failure in higher ed states, “failure is success’s constant companion.”

Faculty have the power to reframe the perception of failure from a negative, and often emotionally distressing, event to a celebration of learning. We can leverage failures (both our own and those of our students) to teach persistence, patience, and resiliency.


Incorporate Active Learning

As you begin this fresh new semester and explore innovative pedagogical techniques to enhance student learning, consider active learning as part of your curriculum. There is an enormous body of literature on the topic, most of which demonstrates that students learn more and fail less when they participate in the learning process rather than just passively listen to lectures. Lecture is, of course, a valuable tool for student learning but it can usually be supplemented with active learning techniques to increase engagement and understanding. Here are just a couple strategies but there are countless journal articles, books, and websites you can search that are dedicated to this topic for any discipline from Math to Art to Kinesiology.

The undeniable potential of active learning was summed up in a meta-analysis by Freeman et. al (2013). They examined 225 studies comparing lecturing to active learning. Results showed that average exam scores improved significantly in active learning sections. They also found that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 55% times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. They concluded with one of the strongest statements I’ve ever read in this type of research…“If the experiments analyzed here had been conducted as randomized controlled trials of medical interventions, they may have been stopped for benefit—meaning that enrolling patients in the control condition [lecture only] might be discontinued because the treatment being tested [active learning] was clearly more beneficial.”

Fringe benefit #1 of active learning is that students who resist learningbecome engaged learners and can no longer get away with not participating.

Fringe benefit #2 of active learning is that since students are often out of their chair moving around, they will likely be more awake, more engaged, and getting some physical activity.

Have a great spring semester!


Embrace the Crescendo

The stress of a 16-week semester resembles a musical crescendo and can feel like this . We begin the term feeling excited and open to new challenges. By week 8, we’re feeling intellectually agile and in sync with students. By week 16, we’re revving up to peak volume knowing that a holiday rest is looming. Such is the rhythm of academic life. It can be miserable or it can be magnificent depending on how we choose to view it. Fortunately, we get to decide which perspective to view. One positive perspective is that a busy final exam week can be an opportunity to role model time management and self-care techniques for students who are also experiencing significant anxiety this week. What self-care techniques do you use during finals week…petting dogs, playing with your kids, meditation, eating good food, walking, writing in a gratitude journal, watching cats chase laser pointers on YouTube? Whatever you do to experience joy and fulfillment during this busy week, consider sharing your techniques with students. They’ll likely do better on exams and learn to positively embrace the challenge.

2 reminders…

  • The grading oasis (MLIB 459) with coffee, snacks, and grading assistance is open 8-5 all week.
  • Blackboard will be down Dec 22-25


Visit the Grading Oasis Next Week!

Want to grade papers in a large naturally-lit room? Interested in working in a space that includes colleagues from other department? Break out of your office and swing by the Grading Oasis next week in MLIB 459 (a dedicated space for all faculty including lecturers). This room has a top-floor scenic view of campus with a panoramic outlook over the rose garden (see flyer below). Next week (Dec 11-15), there will be hot coffee and snacks for you from 8-5. Additionally, you can request grading on-site assistance from our FDEV student assistant, Ariana, on Mon 8-5, Wed 8-11, or Fri 8-5 (as long as she doesn’t see any student names with grades).

Hope to see you next week!


Use the Platinum Rule

While sexual harassment accusations in the workplace have been rampant in the news lately, Chico State remains committed to keeping our work lives safe, productive, and welcoming. Obviously, nonconsensual activities are prohibited but EO 1096 takes it a step further and requires that CSU employees do not enter into a consensual relationship with either a student or employee over whom they have authority or influence.

Since much of what we hear is about what not to do, today’s tip shares what to do.

    • Access Safe Place if you need advocacy services for domestic and sexual violence (available to Chico State faculty, staff, and students).
    • Contact Chico State’s Title IX coordinator with questions or concerns about misconduct (Dylan Saake 898-4949)
    • Stay up-to-date on your DTS training to “Eliminate Campus Sexual Misconduct”
    • Treat others how you want to be treated (Golden Rule)
    • Treat others the way they want to be treated (Platinum Rule)