Happy National Online Learning Day!


If you didn’t know it, today is National Online Learning Day, a day to celebrate and showcase success of online education. Online Learning Day is a chance to recognize that online environments provide students the opportunity to learn almost anything, from anywhere, at any time.

If you’ve taken a class online or taught one–whether for academic, professional, or personal development–we encourage you to share your successes on your favorite social media platforms and include the hashtag #OnlineLearningDay.

Learned a skill online that you thought could only be taught face-to-face?

Developed a really great online lesson?

Discovered a piece of ed tech that took your online course over the top?

Have a tip for succeeding in online learning environments?

If you can answer YES to any of these questions or similar ones, then you’ve got something to share.


Here at CCIT, we tossed a few ideas around of what we’d like to share when it comes to online learning. Here are a few suggestions from our director, Kelly McVeigh Stanley, about alternatives to discussion boards in online classes:

Student Video Blogs: Not just a substitute for discussion boards. Student videos assignments can be designed through a process of “Know, See, Do, Improve”. Students demonstrate their knowledge, build observation skills overtime, and are then asked to analyze their own work.

Live Streamed Lectures: Using tools like YouTube Live, Adobe Connect, and Google Hangouts is a great way to mimic face-to-face exchanges and connect with your students. Record these sessions for students who can’t attend.

Encourage Reflection through Student Self-Assessment: Self-assessment rubrics and online journals allow for reflective thinking about course content. Self-assessment aligns with the theory of student-centered learning and helps students take ownership of their involvement in the learning process

Encourage Sharing: Leverage social media tools. Have students use a course specific hashtag to share their resources and experiences related to the course. Use a tool like Tagboard, Keyhole, or Hashatit to monitor student activity across multiple social media apps.


And Learning Strategies Coordinator, Al Drushler, offers the following tips for running an online class that keeps students focused on success:

  • Make the course schedule and grade center visible prior to the start of the semester.
  • Keep due dates consistent throughout the semester (for example, homework is due every Sunday at 11:59 PM).
  • Respond to student questions about coursework using short screen casts and publish them for the entire class to see.
  • Create a discussion board for questions about the course work and encourage students to post there rather than emailing questions to you individually.

What about you? What are some of your tips, successes, and positive experiences with online learning. Share in the comments to let us know, and don’t forget to hop on your favorite social media platform and use the hashtag #OnlineLearningDay to share your thoughts with the rest of the country this National Online Learning Day.

The 2015 Top Five

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Now that a new year is upon us and spring semester is underway, it’s a good time to look back and remember what happened here at Forward Thinking in 2015. Here are our top 5 most-viewed posts from last year. Continue reading

Three Easy Ways to Follow Forward Thinking

Social Learning

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

I often run into colleagues in the hall or during a workshop or at lunch who tell me that they loved such-and-such blog post, but that they always forget to check the blog for more.

Well, the good news is that you can subscribe to Forward Thinking in a number of ways so that you never have to remember to check in again (you don’t even need to know our url!).

Like CCIT on Facebook

Don’t miss a thing on Facebook!

The Center for Creative Instruction & Technology shares every Forward Thinking blog post on Facebook, so if you want blog updates on your timeline, just click here to go to our Facebook page and give us a Like.

If you want to ensure that you don’t miss anything, select the “Get Notifications” and “See First” options from the drop down menu too. (See image).

Follow @CCIT_Tweets

We also tweet out every single blog post, so if you are on Twitter, head over to our page and follow @CCIT_Tweets. New posts will automatically appear in your feed. It’s just that simple!

Subscribe to Good Ol’ Fashioned E-mail Updates

Maybe you’re not on social media, or maybe you just don’t need more stuff clogging your feeds. If that’s the case, you can just enter your email address in the box below (or click the button if you’re already logged into WordPress) to get automatic email updates for every new post.

And don’t worry, we’ll never share your email address or send you spam.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Thanks for joining the Foward Thinking community, where we…

Educate. Innovate. Together.

Thinking Forward about Forward Thinking


By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Now that our blog has a new name, I wanted to take some time to think about how other things might change around here.

As I mentioned in a previous announcement, we changed the name from Ask CCIT to Forward Thinking to better represent the voices that speak through our blog. It’s not just a soap box for CCIT to shout from. Forward Thinking is a place where any educator anywhere can share their wisdom with the world.

With that in mind, I’ve thought up a few goals for the next six months or so. If we hit these, then we can say that Forward Thinking is growing into its new name.

Goal 1: Host at least one contributor outside of Delaware Tech

The blog has always been a place where instructors at Delaware Tech, particularly new faculty, can show the world what’s going on in their classroom. But I know we have readers from outside of the institution–even from around the world–and I’d love to see a few of them come out from hiding and share.

So if you’ve been lurking in the shadows for a while and want to become a more prominent member of the Forward Thinking community, check out our submission guidelines. Don’t be shy!

Goal 2: Fill the comment boxes

A conversation goes two ways (or more!), so if we want to start meaningful conversations about what matters most in teaching in learning, we need more input from the community. Over the next six months, I’d love to see a comment for every post, and a reply to every comment.

If you’re a frequent reader, and you like what you see, consider letting the author know. If someone raises a point you disagree with, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Dialogue is how ideas are developed.

Start with this post. Once you’re done reading, leave a comment and let me know what you think we can do to achieve these goals.

Goal 3: Share the love

In the social media age, everyone loves to share. So, over the next few months, I challenge you to share more on CCIT’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Whenever you come across a handy resource, a challenging website, or a funny video, share it with us so that you can share it with the entire Forward Thinking community. At the moment, you can use the hashtag #askccit to share tweets in the feed on the sidebar (we’re still working on finding a new hashtag to reflect our new name–suggestions welcome).

I can’t make these goals happen. You can’t make these goals happen. Only WE can. So if you enjoy what you read on the blog and want to help it grow to its full potential, I invite you to join us in thinking forward about Forward Thinking.

Thanks for following,  and don’t forget to…

Educate. Innovate. Together.

Welcome to Forward Thinking

Ish Stabosz - Time for Change

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

I’m happy to announce a long awaited update to your favorite teaching and learning blog. That’s right. We’ve got a new name.

From this point forward Ask CCIT will be known as Forward Thinking.

Believe it or not, Ask CCIT has been running since 2012, and in the days since its inception, the blog has evolved. It has become a voice, not only for CCIT staff, but also for faculty.

Because we want to focus even more on the important lessons and resources that faculty have to share, we feel the name Ask CCIT no longer reflects the mission of the blog.

The title Forward Thinking envisions an audience and a body of contributors who are on the cutting edge of pedagogy–readers and writers who love to play with the newest ed tech, stay current with the latest research, and practice the most promising instructional strategies,

Our new tagline–Educate. Innovate. Together.communicates what the blog has become and what we hope it will continue to flourish as: a place where CCIT facilitates conversations among educators about what matters most in teaching and learning.

For the moment our blog will still be located at askccit.wordpress.com, and you can continue to share your resources on Twitter with the hashtag #askccit. We’ll be changing both of those in due time, and you’ll be sure to get an update when we do.

Thanks for following and helping the blog continue to grow into an inspiring online water cooler for educators.

Congratulations to Tina Gary!


By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Today, we wanted to take a break from our usual programming in order to recognize Tina Gary, the Surgical Technology Program Coordinator at the Terry Campus, on her recent reception of the Didactic Educator of the Year Award from the Association of Surgical Technologists, a national organization.

This award goes to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the education of surgical technologists in the classroom. Recipients are recognized for their commitment to the profession of surgical technology and to the advancement of educational standards resulting in high quality patient care.

Tina’s strength in the classroom takes many forms, but one that is particularly worthy of recognition on this blog is her commitment to problem-based learning, an instructional strategy that she employs daily. Problem-based learning (or PBL) is an active learning strategy in which students learn discrete skills within the context of solving more complex problems.

In Tina’s classes, students are presented with realistic patient scenarios before they learn the underlying clinical concepts. By searching for realistic answers to Tina’s guiding questions, students discover the requisite knowledge in the midst of real-world application–all the while also developing self-direction, self-appraisal, problem-solving, and teamwork skills necessary for success in the workplace.

I have blogged about problem-based learning in the past, and I know how much work it can involve from the instructor. I also know that this work is worth it. PBL breeds exciting lessons, engaging classrooms, and–most importantly–students who can think critically. Those students go on to become critical thinkers in the workplace, and I’m sure that we can all agree that critical thinking is an integral part of every surgery team.

Please join me in congratulating Tina Gary!

From the archives: “Presentation Problems” and more

Ish Stabosz - archive

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Last May, I posted this article about common problems with student presentations and some resources for overcoming them.  By the time the post was published, though, a lot of classes were already in the midst of their final presentations for the semester, so it was a bit untimely.

Since we are nearing the home stretch of the semester, I thought it might be a good time to dig this one up from the archives as you start planning how to handle final presentations. So, if you are tired of ineffective visuals, boring PowerPoints, and overly anxious students, check out Presentation Problems.

I’ve also dug up a few other oldies that you might find helpful as you prepare students for successful presentations:

PowToon to the Rescue!

Visualizing Instruction: Three Pieces of Ed Tech for Creating Visual Aids

PowerPoint and the Big Glass Barrier

The Right Tool for the Right Job: A Closer Look at Powerpoint

Enjoy! And feel free to share your own resources in the comments.

Introducing Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction and Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

I’m pleased to introduce a new feature on Ask CCIT that will help more teachers get more ideas out to more readers. It’s called Wednesday Words of Wisdom.

Ask CCIT is all about starting conversations. It’s about one teacher sharing what worked (or what didn’t work) in the classroom so that we can learn from the successes (and failures) of each other. It’s about taking discussions that start at a workshop, conference, or even water cooler and sharing them with the world. But we don’t always have time to sit down and draft a full blog post, and so our innovative ideas and exciting experiences are limited to ourselves and those in our immediate proximity.

That’s where Wednesday Words of Wisdom comes in, a quick and easy way to share your ideas with readers at Ask CCIT. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fully developed philosophy of teaching or just a one sentence guiding principle; we want to hear what you have to say, and every Wednesday, we’ll try to share new ideas from instructors like you.

Check out our super simple form and start sharing your Wednesday Words of Wisdom today.

P.S. – I’d like to take a moment to especially invite our readers who are outside of Delaware Tech to contribute to our Wednesday Words of Wisdom. Although much of our audience is comprised of Delaware Tech faculty, we know that teachers everywhere follow our blog, and we want to hear from you as well.

Welcome Back!

Back to School

by Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Can you feel it in the air? Over the next few days, your heart might beat a little faster, your hair might stand a little taller, and your coffee might need to be brewed a little stronger. Call it what you will—anticipation, excitement, dread—but you know what that special tingly feeling marks: the start of another academic year.

Whether you’ve been lounging on the beach, playing with your kids, or just vegging out in front of the TV, you may have missed a few things here at Ask CCIT over the summer. So if you are looking for some light reading to get you back in the swing of things, refill your coffee cup and check out a few of these promising posts:

MaryAnn Yaeger demonstrates the power of memorable lessons in Captivating Students with Moldy Bread and Blue Men.

Jen Epler examines why e-portfolios are Worthy of Consideration for use in the classroom.

In Teaching in a Post-Google World, Therese Dekleva draws on some words of wisdom from her son as well as her own experience to reflect on how technology is changing the landscape of the classroom.

Jade Burris encourages instructors to Start Small and Keep it Simple when it comes to providing accommodations for all students.

Ernie Kulhanek shows us that its worthwhile letting students get Stuck in the Mess so that they can see that real learning is rarely as neat and tidy as the textbooks make it appear.

Cory Budischak is already three posts into his seven part synopsis of the book “How Learning Works”. Check out part 1 here.

Take a look, leave a comment, and get yourself ready for another semester. And don’t forget, the posts on Ask CCIT come from faculty like you. If you think you’ve got something you’d like to share, read our submission guidelines.

Instructional Innovation 2014: Workshop Spotlight

Final Piece

For faculty, by faculty.

That’s the motto of Delaware Tech’s Instructional Innovation Conference 2014. Take a look at six more workshops that your colleagues have planned for you.

Note that each workshop is classified as either a practice session or a conversation session.

Practice sessions focus on sharing, modeling, and discussing pedagogy in higher education, while allowing for interaction among session participants. These sessions go beyond simply “why to” to include “how to”. Participants should come expecting to do something, not just to receive information.

Conversation sessions provide a time and space for participants to discuss pedagogy in higher education. Each session will consist of a brief (10 minutes or less) presentation to contextualize the topic, followed by active participant discussion.

Problem-based Learning in the English Classroom
Ish Stabosz
Practice Session

Problem-based learning (or PBL) is an instructional strategy which gets students thinking critically about subject matter by forcing them to engage deeply and actively in authentic problems. PBL is often considered most fitting for the math or science classroom, but in this workshop, Ish Stabosz will demonstrate that PBL can work for English teachers too. In addition to being presented with one model of PBL in the English classroom, participants will also have a chance to brainstorm methods of implementing it in their own classes.

Investigating Open Educational Resources
Jade Burris
Practice Session

Looking for multimedia to use in your classroom? You don’t have to recreate the wheel! Find open educational resources to enhance your content. Open educational resources (OER) are resources available at no cost that can be used for teaching and learning. These materials are typically electronic and are generally released under a Creative Commons (CC) license that supports open use of the content. Participants attending this session will learn how to search for OER and learn about the CC licensing system that regulates how OER materials are used. Examples of OER will be shared. There will also be time during the session to practice searching for content specific OER.

Finding the Power in PowerPoint
Norm Burt
Practice Session

A two-part workshop covering intermediate and advanced techniques for navigating PowerPoint. Topics to include: Working with slide and handout masters, working in outline view, adding photo albums, creating custom bullets, using shapes to mask images and videos, copying formats, arranging graphics, tailoring the status bar, keyboard navigation, using autocorrect creatively, and more!

Experiences in Experiential Learning—Thinking Outside the Classroom
Gerry Cook
Conversation Session

Having problems connecting what you’re teaching in the classroom with what your graduates’ employers expect them to be able to do? If so, this conversation session is right for you. Experiential Learning takes the student out of the classroom and into the workplace. It not only gives “hands-on” practice for your students, but more importantly teaches them how to deal with real-life problems in organizational culture, teamwork, conflict resolution and communications. This session will start off with a brief overview of experiential learning as applied in the Operations Management Technology Program. In the rest of the session we will brainstorm ways to bring experiential learning into your courses. Please bring your ideas, questions, and/or thoughts to share.

Assessing Students’ Background Knowledge in Science Classes
Michael Buoni
Conversation Session

Biology, Chemistry and Physics: What do your students really know before they get to your class? This session will share ways we can identify students’ background knowledge for greater success. Many time as educators in science, we assume that students should know things before coming to us. It isn’t our problem if they didn’t learn it before, right? Wrong! This session will provide you with examples of how to quickly assess students’ understanding of a topic BEFORE you teach, and how it can pay off in greater student success.

Teacher’s Toolbox
Christina Tarabicos
Practice Session

Are you a professional who is making the transition to education? Do you know your content but wonder, “what on Earth do I do with these students for an hour and twenty minutes (or *gasp!* longer!?!)”? Teacher’s Toolbox is a workshop specifically designed to answer that question. Teachers will learn how to develop a lesson plan, how to engage students in learning, and how to incorporate the basic components/structure of a daily lesson. Participants attending this workshop will learn different methods of lesson planning and some easy, simple ways to be innovative and creative. They will design one timed lesson, complete with objectives, activities, and assessments. This workshop is specifically designed for those who are newly entering the higher-level education field.

Now we have shared all 36 workshop descriptions. If you’ve missed any of them, or you just want to browse a bit more, see the master list here. Also, you can access additional conference materials, such as a map and agenda, here.

See you at the conference!