Thursday, March 4, 2010

OU-C students offer their thoughts on attributes of those who most benefit from campus experience

We regularly speak with OU-C students to get their perspective on topics relevant to campus. This time, we asked them to describe some of the attributes of fellow students who generally are most likely to get the most out of the campus educational experience.
“A student who is committed and who has his/her priorities in balance as well as someone who is serious and sees the benefits of attending college,” was the response of Justin Woodard, a human services technology major from Chillicothe High School. “It helps to be outgoing and open to new cultures and ideas. In general, students who are doers will enjoy it here.”
“Flexibility is important. The majority of the students are older and have jobs and families to take care of,” said Jerrod Albright of Vinton County High School. “Somebody who knows how to manage time and balance activities, both in the classroom and with a social life” will most likely make the most of the OU-C experience he said. Albright is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies in the disciplines of communication studies and recreation.
“Someone who is focused and good at studying, plus who is willing to approach teachers and gain their help,” was the response of Tayler Whiting, a physical therapy major from Hillsboro High School.
“Someone who is driven, works has and cares about his/her classes and major,” said Stephanie Grigsby, an early childhood education major from Adena High School.
“A person who is dedicated, had a good work ethic and a positive attitude. Also, it helps it you have friends in your classes,” said Clinton Brown, a business major from Unioto High School.
Trent Bee, a human services technology major from Unioto High School, remarked,” A laid-back person can to well here. Why be stressed out?”
Bryant Gibson, an education major from Westfall High School, suggested, “Be yourself. Someone who is genuine will like it here.”
Feel free to join in the conversation by adding your comments to the story.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eugene Johnson’s craftsmanship brings blocks of wood to life as birds, other objects

OU-C physical plant employee Eugene Johnson has earned a reputation as a first-rate wood-carver for his ability to take a block of wood and fashion it into a piece of art. His craftsmanship was on display at the recent Faculty and Staff Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Show on campus. Johnson’s favorite items to create are birds, and he estimates that he carves at least 40 birds a year. He says that the woods he prefers to use are cedar, cherry and walnut. “I carved my first bird in 1978 and have continued to do it as a hobby,” Johnson said. “I began working with wood as a construction worker, building bridges, schools and other structures back home (in Jamaica),” he said. Johnson, who was born in Jamaica, moved to the Chillicothe area in 1980, after meeting his future wife while she was on vacation in his island homeland. “This was the first time I have seen snow,” he remarked. Johnson returns to Jamaica annually to visit family. He has four grown children, two daughters and two sons. Both of the sons attended OU-C. Johnson joined the Chillicothe Campus full-time in 1986 and has become a fixture on campus. Wood-carving offers an opportunity to relax and as a means of expression for Johnson. “It is a great way to relax. I really like nature. Often, I will do some carving while fishing. I like taking a piece of wood and creating something from it. I used to create furniture in Jamaica.” Johnson prefers that his work has a natural look. “I use clear sealer for the finish. I do not like to stain the wood. I want to be able to see the grain of the wood,” Johnson explained. Johnson has won prizes for his craftsmanship at are festivals. His carvings include a range of objects, from the birds and other small wood objects to life-size statues of individuals. Johnson, who has been in the United States for 30 years, feels at home in Chillicothe. “It is a nice place to live and especially to raise children. The people are friendly and I feel comfortable here,” he noted.

Distance learning capabilities help students, faculty weather inclement conditions

The value of the campus’ online academic offerings are especially apparent this winter when inclement weather has made travel difficult and has periodically caused the Chillicothe Campus to cancel classes. More than just convenience, online offerings are of a high caliber. A focus of the campus’ online and distance learning emphasis has been a commitment to utilizing technology to offer a quality educational experience. Law Enforcement Technology Program Coordinator Jim McKean used a Tinseltown analogy to describe the distance learning experience. “It is an excellent tool to continue the learning cycle during periods of inclement weather (the good) if the student has Internet access (the bad). Some of our students come to campus with their laptops to access the Internet because they live in areas not covered by broadband to complete their assignments. Additionally, some students do not have laptops but complete their technology assignment in the Learning Commons. My anecdotal experiences tell me the good outweighs the bad since many students do complete their assignments upon return to campus, prior to the next class period.” “I'd like to add that I found the Blackboard virtual classroom to be helpful on one of the days when classes were cancelled. Those who could log onto their computers at the regular class time and we ‘meet’ in cyberspace. It's essentially a chat room, but there is also a whiteboardand a vehicle for posting documents and playing YouTube or other media clips,” psychology faculty member Cindy Matyi said. Biological sciences faculty member Robert Moats makes sure his students can learn from lectures even when the snow is falling. “My courses are not yet blended, per se, but I do use Blackboard and from the get-go, students expect materials to appear there,” he said. “One of the types of files that I post is simply a MP3 recording of the lectures. On the days when the weather prevents us from coming to class, I either post the recording from a previous quarter or record a new one. Since most of the students download the files, posting them as regular files works fine.” Political science faculty member Nicholas Kiersey uses technology so students can weather the bad weather and keep pace with class. “I teach POLS 150 in a blended format and we had a relatively seamless time during the snow. Students were still able to obtain their lectures from me via iTunes, and participate in our online discussion forum on Blackboard,” he said. “With my other classes it is a little harder to maintain continuity, of course, as students don't necessarily expect to have to check their email on a snow day, or sometimes don't even have electricity. One way around this, as I have been recently discussing with a couple of the OU-C online teaching community, is to make clear in the syllabus that this is an expectation in the event of snow.” Students often utilize the campus’ online technology even before classes begin for the quarter. Early in the quarter, and even before some quarters begin, students often try to log into Blackboard to see what is available for their courses. “Many students do like to get a headstart on the course, and some are probably trying to see what textbooks are required to purchase them from alternative sources,” Director of Information and Technology Services Patty Griffith said. The campus’ Technology-Rich Learning Community task force held a workshop for fellow OU-C faculty members in early January to discuss online and blended courses. For spring quarter 2010, there are nine online courses and three blended courses on the schedule.

Area high school guidance counselors meet with campus Student Services staff members

Members of the Ross County Guidance Counselors Association recently held their regular meeting on campus and were able to meet with OU-C Student Affairs staff members to discuss topics of mutual interest. Among the topics of discussion were curriculum updates, post-secondary project updates, Ohio core curriculum requirements and career planning for high school students. OU-C academic advisor Martha Tanedo delivered a presentation regarding career counseling. The meeting is part of an ongoing effort to share information with area high school counselors as part of its access mission. The goal is to help ensure that area students have the proper background so that they are prepared for the rigors of a college education.

Upcoming Campus Events

• Women and Gender Studies class quilt display in Bennett Hall Patricia Scott Art Gallery through March 31 • Discussion regarding the craft of storytelling from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 4 in the Quinn Library. Part of the Salon Series • OU-C theater program presents The Quick-Change Room at 8 p.m. on March 19 & March 20 in the Bennett Hall auditorium • Video Game Day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 27 in the Shoemaker Center. Sponsored by the HSA Club