Five New Year’s Resolutions for American College of Education
January 01, 2018
Happy New Year, and you know what that means…at least if you’re a current student.
If you have yet to enroll at American College of Education, let us clue you in: we’re talking about ACE’s annual New Year’s Resolutions. Each year, ACE President Shawntel Landry goes through more than 1,000 pages of student course evaluations (and, we imagine, at least 100 cups of coffee) to determine what resolutions the college needs to make to better serve our student body. We’re proud to share some of our 2017 resolutions with you.
1. Multimedia communication options–creating the virtual “campus”
When you’re going to school online, it’s easy to feel distant from your professors and the support staff. No one should feel isolated, so we’ve begun the work of replicating the traditional campus experience with more video, multimedia and chat options.
We are also in the process of piloting live chats and video conferencing options like Zoom Conferencing, so get ready to get very familiar with the bags under our eyes.
2. Consistent opening times for coursework, quizzes, and exams
When you’re juggling graduate coursework, a full-time job and, in some cases, a part-time job, you have to grind. You all do this every day, so as a nod to you, we established opening times that account for your schedule and give you time to plan ahead.
“All quizzes and final exams should open Monday on the week they are due,” Shawntel maintains. “You will gain access to your course(s) the Friday before a term start. At this time, you are able to review course information and content; however, you cannot submit work in the class until the day of the term start–Monday.”
If you notice anything going forward that does not follow that schedule, do not pass “go.” Do not collect $200. Go directly to Student Services.
3. Timely turnaround and substantive feedback on assignments
There’s a delicate balance between providing effective feedback and turning around grades quickly enough to give you time to course-correct.
With that mind, instructors have until Thursday of each week to complete their grading (from assignments due on Sunday).
“We do feel this is an appropriate timeline, as it gives you Thursday through Sunday to make any adjustments to your next assignment,” Shawntel says. “If we shorten that grading window, then your instructors cannot provide substantive feedback, which is critical to your learning and experience in the course.”
And isn’t that what you enrolled at ACE for?
4. A greater balance between APA and content grading
We get it: APA is not your favorite thing in the world, and it’s frustrating to lose points over format despite strong content.
While APA is an integral part of scholarly writing–particularly for those pursuing an advanced degree–we also believe that content is just as important.
Our redesigned rubrics account for this and allow for each of your instructors to individually determine to what extent he or she wishes to emphasize APA, in accordance with the rubric categories and point totals.
And, of course, you can always take a cue from Shawntel, who invested in a software program during her doctorate degree that did most of the APA formatting for her. “It was an invaluable tool,” she says, “and saved me considerable amount of angst.
If you don’t love APA, it might be [read: is absolutely] worth the investment.
5. Streamlined support through the Educational Leadership internship requirements
With 50 pages of confirmation from our separate survey on the EL internship, it’s safe to say more clarity is needed around the requirements for the internship program.
Per Shawntel, ACE is working on “a smaller, more streamlined handbook; easy instructional videos posted to Student Commons that explain the various components; clear explanations of the differences between internship ‘proposals’ and internship ‘activities’; quarterly live chats; additional strong examples of exemplar activities; and more variety in hours per internship activity.’”
These are just a few of the changes the college is making as a direct result of student course evaluations. We often say that we care about the student experience at ACE; that we pride ourselves on our responsiveness to our students’ needs. We hope this is just one of the ways you can see that that isn’t just talk–it’s a promise.