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CCFSS : The Faculty Perspective

The Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE , which is aligned with CCSSE, elicits information from faculty about their teaching practices, the ways they spend time both in and out of class, and their perceptions regarding students’ educational experiences.

All CCFSSE analyses use a three-year cohort of participating colleges. The 2009 CCFSSE Cohort includes all colleges that participated in CCFSSE in 2007, 2008, and 2009 (each college’s most recent year of participation).

All institutions that participated in the 2009 administration of the CCSSE survey were invited to participate in CCFSSE, which was administered online. At colleges that chose to participate, every faculty member teaching credit classes in the spring term was eligible to respond to the survey, and faculty respondents generally mirror the national two-year college faculty population. The notable exception is employment status: Nationally, 33% of two-year college faculty members are employed full-time, and 58% of 2009 CCFSSE Cohort respondents indicate they are employed full-time.

CCSSE encourages colleges to compare faculty perceptions with student responses and share those data with faculty members. The comparison is not perfect because students report their experiences throughout the current academic year, but faculty members are asked to describe their practices and reflect on their perceptions of student experiences in a specific course they teach. Nonetheless, the comparison can inspire powerful conversations because faculty and students typically have different perceptions of the degree of student engagement.

For more information about CCFSSE, visit www. ccsse.org.

10 2009 Findings

One professor developed a Blackboard training DVD to support online students. Another faculty member notes, “As you introduce this technology, you have to have support systems to go along with it. … We created a call center to provide that extra hand holding just to use the technology.”

Making the Most of Connections in Virtual Space

Connecting in virtual space is a new challenge for many colleges. But social network- ing tools are just another communications channel, a new set of resources that colleges can add to their toolboxes. Colleges that successfully engage students with these tools understand that sharing information using social media is not necessarily connecting with students. e medium must be suited to the service the college is providing.

For example, in focus groups, students consistently say that colleges should eliminate online orientation, which they criticize as “impersonal,” but they reliably applaud online tutoring. Why? It is dicult for a virtual orientation to create a genuine sense of connec- tion to a college. For example, a virtual tour shows a campus in a way students taking on-campus courses will never use it: Students will never eat in a virtual cafeteria or park in a virtual parking lot.

Online tutoring, however, is simply another mechanism for delivering the same service provided by face-to-face tutoring. It involves a one-on-one connection with a real person, facilitated by technology. Students do the same work (revisions to a paper, for example) that they would do if they were meeting their tutors in person.

Despite successes with online tutoring, it is a challenge to create an online experience through which students can receive an immediate, empathetic response to a particular problem — a response from a knowledgeable and helpful human. Finding this solution is important, as students oen explicitly cite the importance of an early experience interacting in person with faculty, sta, and other students.

Engaging students with social media requires the same intentionality and diligence as engaging them with other tools. e magic happens when colleges nd the right match between students’ needs and the mode of response to those needs.

Colleges Making Connections

In the last year, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (AR) has actively encouraged faculty members to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools. For example, at in-service activities, the chancellor personally encourages faculty to use Facebook. In August 2009, the college surveyed faculty members and learned that about one-third (32%) were using or planned to use Facebook with students, 19% use Facebook as a student recruitment tool, 21% use Twitter, and 71% use texting. Almost two-thirds (62%) of full-time faculty reported that they have a Facebook account. Asked how long they had been using Facebook, 74% of faculty members reported that they had been using it for one year or less, indicating that the

Making Connections: Dimensions of Student Engagement

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