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In This IssuePhoto of Yadi Ziaee

Welcome to the first newsletter from the Center for Active Engagement and Scholarship (CAES), created through a merger of the Center for Online Teaching and Learning with the Faculty Scholarship and Teaching Center. The Center is established to bring faculty, staff, and students together to promote quality teaching and scholarship. The work of the Center is guided by an Advisory Committee (FDAC) with faculty representation from across campus.

We are very excited about the Fall semester. It is always great to welcome our faculty and students back to campus. Our goal is to provide the best support to our faculty through research and scholarship, course design, content development, mentoring, Blackboard support, and implementation of best practices in teaching and scholarship.

We have many projects fully under way at multiple levels throughout the GSU campus. Featured in this issue of the newsletter are a series of targeted workshops and seminars organized by our professional staff. We are looking forward to work with you, and customize the support you need.

  • Support to faculty for professional development
  • Mentoring and training for course design
  • Feedback on new and existing online and face-to-face courses
  • Peer mentoring/observation for face-to-face and online courses
  • Workshops, presentations, and seminars to create cross-campus partnerships
  • Opportunities to identify best practices for peer review and evaluation of all courses
  • Organization and supports for new faculty orientation
  • Intellectual disposition for effective, responsive, and ADA accessible online teaching
  • Supports for student-centered design, social learning for creative engagement and authentic assessment
  • Use of innovative technology and research driven approaches in an interdisciplinary community of practice

CAES is established to support quality teaching and scholarship. We are here to serve your needs in those areas listed above. Please feel free to stop in for individual assistance or check out our webpage or the GSU 25Live Calendar for upcoming workshops. We look forward to seeing you at the Center for Active Engagement and Scholarship. Our hope is to continue this tradition of excellence in teaching and learning by collaborating with diverse learning communities to make a difference in the lives of many.

Top 10 Best Practices for Online Education

  1. Be Present at the Course Site
  2. Create a supportive online course community
  3. Share a set of very clear expectations for your students and for yourself as to (1) how you will communicate and (2) how much time students should be working on the course each week
  4. Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences
  5. Use both synchronous and asynchronous activities
  6. Early in the term - about week 3, ask for informal feedback on "How is the course going?" and "Do you have any suggestions?"
  7. Prepare Discussion Posts that Invite Questions, Discussions, Reflections and Responses
  8. Focus on content resources and applications and links to current events and examples that are easily accessed from learner's computers
  9. Combine core concept learning with customized and personalized learning
  10. Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course

J. V. Boettcher, V.(2006 - 2013). Designing for Learning; Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.

Upcoming WorkshopsBlackboard Updates

GSU Supports Online Faculty With Workshops & New Center Location: C3300

In their study of students taking online courses at public institutions, Allen & Seaman (2016) have found online course enrollments have increased year after year over the last thirteen years. This means even in times when campus enrollments have declined, students have continued to enroll in courses online (Rhodes, 2016). When asked, 65% of higher education administrators agreed that online education was a critical part of the institution’s long-term strategy (Allen & Seaman, 2016). Online education continues to have a strong place in higher education.

As a result of student demand for online courses, faculty teaching online may find they are asked to teach more online, hybrid, or face-to- face classes that are infused with more technology tools to meet student demand. Faculty who do participate in professional development and are supported formally or informally report an increase in confidence in their role as the online instructor (Tyrrell, 2015), an increase in their skills, knowledge, and ability (Henry, 2014) and an increase in their teaching satisfaction (Kennedy, 2015).

As you begin to explore teaching in the online environment here at GSU, visit the CAES center in C3300 to enhance your online courses. Or, participate in one of our workshops happening throughout November and December. The center provides support and guidance 5 days a week and we look forward to working together with all faculty. See you soon!

To see our schedule and sign up for a workshop, visit our website: Please visit our website for complete details and to sign up for a workshop:


Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. (2016). Online Report Card: Tracking online education in the United States, 2016. Retrieved from

Henry, S. N. (2014). E-learning instructor views on professional development: An investigation of current practice (Order No. 3711619). 

Kennedy, A. (2015). Faculty perceptions of the usefulness of and participation in professional development for online teaching: An analysis of faculty development and online teaching satisfaction (Order No. 3722998).

Rhodes, D. & Thayer, K. (2016, September 8). Illinois public universities have fluctuating enrollment after difficult year. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from

Tyrrell, R. (2015). Exploring the Needs and Perceptions of Online Faculty towards Faculty Professional Development: A Qualitative Study. University of California, Los Angeles. met-20160908- story.html

Faculty Spotlight

Would you like to be featured in our next newsletter? CAES would love to highlight the accomplishments of GSU faculty! Whether you have a recent research project to share, an instructional strategy that you have found successful, or a recent success story with your students, we want to know! Please send us an email to explain why you or one of your colleagues should be in the SPOTLIGHT!

Please send a brief description (1-3 paragraphs), along with the complete name (and photograph if you’d like), of the faculty member to


Please check out the CAES BLOG!

We are looking to have short blog entries that are related to educational issues in technology or media. We are also open to trends in Higher Ed that are relevant to online teaching & learning.

If you would like to submit a blog entry, please email by Fridays. Blogs will be updated every Tuesday or Thursday!

Faculty Development Advisory Committee (FDAC)

Dr. Ben Almassi, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Division of Arts and Letters, CAS
Dr. Andrae Marak, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Bradley Smith, Associate Professor of English, Division of Arts and Letters, CAS
Dr. Ujvala Rajadhyaksha, Assistant Professor of Management, Division of Management, Marketing, & Entrepreneurship, COB
Dr. Frances Kostarelos, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Division of Arts and Letters, CAS Mrs. Shirley Comer, Senior Lecturer of Nursing, Department of Nursing, CHHS

Newly elected FDAC members:
Dr. Nicole Warmington-Granston, Assistant Professor of Political and Social Sciences, Division of Arts and Letters, CAS
Dr. Katy Hisrich, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Division of Education, CE
Mr. Charles Nolley, Director of Digital Learning and Media Design (Library representative, TBA)

Meet the CAES Team!

Please contact a member of the CAES team for one-on-one course development assistance!

Nikki LaGrone

Nikki LaGrone, M.Ed.

Online Instruction Specialist
Phone: 708.534.4384
Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson, B.S.

Digital Learning Specialist
Phone: 708.235.7698