Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Video games offer opportunity to engage learners in written communication, notes contest winner

When OU-C student Jennifer Slone views video games, she sees a way to more effectively teach the basics of written communication to today’s students. Her insights and ability to put these views onto paper earned Slone the first place prize in the Writing Center’s Winter Writing Contest.

In her paper “Literacy Through Gaming: A Testimonial,” Slone emphasized the importance of using technology as an ally, and not as a hurdle, when looking to engage youthful learners. As she notes, the new technology can be used to emphasize ages-old lessons.

“While reading and understanding information is as vital as ever, evaluating and thinking critically is also necessary to compete in today’s fast-paced globalized market. Gaming has brought a new facet to literacy and is becoming a widely-recognized and accepted tool for promoting problem-solving and higher-order thinking,” she wrote in her winning essay.

As she points out, students have various ways of learning, and gaming technology can be used to gain the attention of students who otherwise may not be drawn to literacy discussions.

“Gaming is also engaging students who might otherwise remain disengaged … New methods of teaching and learning are now required to meet the educational needs of every individual. Gaming absolutely fits the mold for such a new method,” she wrote.

In her writing, Slone notes that the use of technology does not change or water down the subject matter. Rather, it simply offers another vehicle for reaching students.

She writes, “Gaming is not changing the definition of literacy, but it is merely offering another tool to achieve it. If we do not utilize this tool, we will be sorely remiss … We must expand literacy media to encapsulate all types of learners and to offer a variety of ways to learn.”

Slone was introduced to the potential educational benefits of video games through family activities with her 5-year-old daughter.

Slone, a 2000 graduate of Piketon High School, is a tutor in the Writing Center, which is part of the Learning Commons in Stevenson Center. An English major, she is interested in becoming either a teacher or working with literature and new media.

She is a former reporter and editor with the (Waverly) News Watchman who resumed her college career after taking some years off to focus on raising her daughter.

“After attending college for a year, then gaining some work experience, I feel that I can see the world better,” Slone said.

Slone’s interest in incorporating literacy and technology was sparked by OU-C English faculty member Jan Schmittauer, a noted expert in online learning.

“Professor Schmittauer has the use of technology in English instruction down to a science,” Slone said. “She is always trying something new. Online learning has advantages, especially in terms of time-management. For example, if you have a child at home, it is much more useful to be able to take courses without having to leave home.”

Given current trends among youth, the use of technology is more than just a passing fancy, Slone notes.

“Technology engages students who otherwise may not be active learners. Many younger students are wrapped up in technology. They almost seem to have cell phones attached to their hands,” Slone said. “You cannot take the technology away from them. Instead, we need to use this opportunity to reach students in a way they understand.”

Slone’s ability to select an interesting perspective and articulate it convincingly distinguished her entry in the contest.

“We had quite a few entries last quarter, but I think Jenn's paper stood out because she played with the hot-button word ‘literacy’ in a very provocative way -- pairing it with gaming, a cultural phenomenon that actually has often been blamed for increasing illiteracy,” Writing Center Coordinator Debra Nickles said. “Jenn, through personal experiences, argues that gaming is just another form of literacy and also has its place, value, and use in our culture. I am just thrilled that the Writing Center offered her a venue for expressing this nuanced idea--she is a very talented writer who has a bright future. The English Department on the Chillicothe Campus is fantastic at attracting and inspiring such wonderful writers in our region.”

Groundbreaking ceremony slated for OU-C Parkway Project

Renovations reflect dynamic learning environment and position campus for future success A groundbreaking celebration will be held for the Parkway Project at Ohio University-Chillicothe on the east side of Bennett Hall on Wednesday, May 6. Refreshments will be served at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend. Speakers will include Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, OU-C student Bridgette Beatty, OU-C Regional Coordinating Council Chairman Larry Gates and OU-C Dean Richard Bebee. This project provides a major transformation to the face of Ohio University-Chillicothe and includes a parkway, plaza and other renovations to support the learning community that exists on campus. Construction of the Project Parkway is scheduled to begin in June 2009 and will take approximately five months to complete. The $2.1 million project is supported by $1.2 million in state capital allocation funds and the remaining money through fund-raising. “OU-C is a dynamic learning community, and these improvements capture that vibrancy,” Bebee said. “This project promises to further improve and modernize the appearance of the campus and reflect the quality of the Ohio University-Chillicothe educational experience.” Director of Facilities Management David Scott said, “This is probably the most important project this university has ever undergone because it’s the face of the university and it’s the first thing people see. This project will create more of a campus setting and will further improve the safety of campus community members.” These renovations are part of OU-C’s 50-year campus plan to further improve the overall quality of life on campus and position the Chillicothe Campus for future success. “The renovations will create more of a campus feeling by creating a university whose interior and exterior reflect that of a college campus atmosphere at OU-C,” Bebee said. “This project illustrates the forward-thinking approach on campus and sets the tone for future success.”

‘Recognition of Graduation’ event salutes students

Ohio University-Chillicothe will recognize students who have earned their college degrees during the 2008-09 academic year during the annual “Recognition of Graduation” ceremony at 7:45 p.m. Friday, June 12, in the Shoemaker Center. This event will honor students who have earned associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

A pinning ceremony for graduates of OU-C’s nursing program will be held at 2:30 p.m. that day in the Shoemaker Center.

Admission is free, and the public is invited.

“I encourage all members of the OU-C community to participate in or attend these events. These types of festive occasions captures the spirit of campus by saluting students for their efforts and recognizing those who have supported them along the way,” campus Dean Richard Bebee said.

Rehearsal for faculty and staff members participating in the Recognition of Graduation ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. in Shoemaker Center.

A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Shoemaker room 215 for faculty and staff. A reception for the graduates and their families will be held afterward in the Family Service/Child Development Center. Further details, including the names of special speakers and other participants, will be released at a later date.

Formal commencement activities are held on the Athens campus. Graduate school commencement is scheduled for June 12 and undergraduate commencement is scheduled June 13.

Spring activities distinguish dynamic learning environment that exists on campus

As is customary, the pace of activity on campus is picking up during spring quarter on the Chillicothe Campus. Last week was a prime example with three events that illustrate the dynamic learning environment that exists at OU-C.

The week of April 20 included an open house at the Ross County/Ohio University-Chillicothe Child Development and Center on Wednesday, April 22, to mark the Week of the Young Child. Chillicothe Mayor Joseph Sulzer was among the speakers and presented a proclamation to mark the event. The event drew a tremendous crowd in the Town Hall area of the Development Center including children, parents OU-C students, staff members from various agencies at the center and others.

On Thursday, the annual Poetry Day event in the Learning Commons added a beatnik theme and live music. Individuals from the campus and area community shared their favorite readings against the coffee house-styled backdrop.

Friday, author Lisa Klein shared her insights in a talk sponsored by the Squid and Tree, OU-C’s writing club. Klein, a resident of Columbus, is the author of the novels Ophelia and Two Girls of Gettysburg, both of which have found a niche, particularly with teen-age and pre-teen readers.

“These types of events add to the vibrancy on campus and capture the essence of a college campus,” OU-C Dean Richard Bebee said. “These occasions distinguish the Chillicothe Campus as a place where education is an enterprise that engages individuals of various interests and perspectives. One of the great things about working on a college campus is the opportunity to become involved in pursuits in which we have an interest and to experience areas that broaden our horizons.”

Well, isn’t it sweet; the dean has begun to tweet

Campus community members and others can keep up with Dean Richard Bebee’s latest thoughts and ruminations online through Twitter at www.twitter.com/OUCDean

Billed as a social networking service that helps people connect, Twitter allows individuals to express themselves through quick messages known at “tweets.”

“The value of Twitter is twofold. First, it allows me to quickly share my thoughts about the various activities I am involved with, as dean of this exciting campus, on a daily basis on campus and in the community. By doing so, it should help to build connections and allow me to share with others the great news of OU-C almost instantly,” Bebee said.

“Further, this is part of the campus’ focus on utilizing emerging technologies to reach our key audiences. The Chillicothe Campus has always had a forward-thinking approach, and our means of communication should reflect that.”

So, don’t be a quitter; check out the dean on Twitter.

Workshop to offer insights for career-seekers

Job-seekers can receive insights to help with the job search, and particularly the interview process, during a workshop at noon Thursday, May 14, in Bennett Hall room 134 at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

The focus will be on job interview techniques as representatives from Career Services on the Ohio University-Athens campus provide tips on such topics the most effective business attire for the interview, as well as anticipated interview questions and best responses.

The hour-long workshop is free and open to the public. It is targeted toward OU-C students who are graduating in the near future and other job-seekers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Welcome to the new Campus News Blog

This news blog will serve as a platform to disperse the Campus News produced by the Ohio University - Chillicothe Dean's Office. Please stay tuned for updates and changes coming soon!