Resurrecting this Blog Site

I am attempting to resurrect this Blog Site. I will be contacting several folks to see if access is still okay.


Educational Planning

Looking for your input!
To guide our facilities planning, primarily for the Fremont Campus, we need to take a look at our assumptions about enrollment growth for the District by programs and by locations over the next ten years. The purpose of this blog post is to solicit feedback on a set of proposed assumptions about enrollment growth from now through 2018. This beginning set of assumptions has been created by the VP of Academic Affairs as a starting point for dialogue.

The first general assumption is the average annual growth rate over the next ten years will be 1.5%.
The Educational Master Plan for the Newark Center was updated and approved by the Board on December 10, 2003. This Educational Master Plan contained a rational for a projected 15-year (2003-2018) annual growth rate of 1.5% for the District. This planning document can be accessed on the Academic Affairs website under Educational Master Planning: http://www.ohlone.edu/org/academicaffairs
See Pages 5-9 for enrollment projections.
Further, according to calculations by Ron Travenick, the average annual growth rate for Ohlone has been approximately 1.5% since the college opened in 1967.

The following are offered as general assumptions about the average growth in academic programs over the 10-year period:
English and math with grow at 1.75%
Chemistry and Biology with grow at 1.5%
ESL will grow at 1.25%
“Bread and butter” freshman level GE will grow at 1% (History, Sociology, Speech, Art, Music, etc….)
Heath Science will stay steady
All other areas will grow an average of .75%

The following are offered as general assumptions about enrollment growth by locations:
Fremont: FTES will remain steady at slightly over 5000 FTES, but percent of total District enrollment will drop from the current 62% to 53.5%
Newark: Percent of total District enrollment will grow from the current 18% to 20%
Online: Percent of total District will grow from the current 12% to 20%
HS Dual Enrollment, PS Consortium and Other Off-Campus: FTES will remain steady and percent of total District enrollment will drop slightly.

Finally, here is an interesting strategic question to consider:
Is there an enrollment level at which Ohlone would be considered to be at the “right-size,” beyond which growth would be minimal? Given the current demographics and population density and growth projections, is it reasonable to assume that Ohlone should ever be a 10,000 FTES college? Or 12,000?
Or more?

Please weigh in with your reactions to any or all of these assumptions by posting a comment to this blog. Come back from time to time to check the dialogue.



There is much ado about student learning outcomes and accountability these days. We are challenged to identify specific outcomes, changes in student ability, which can be measured quantitatively. This is all well and good, as it reminds us to think critically about what we are doing. But, when examining learning and contemplating what it means to be an educated person, we should not limit our scope of inquiry to that which can be quantified. Doing that would really miss the boat. So much of “being educated” defies statistical evidence, and must be explored in the qualitative realm.

Thinking of our own days of formal higher education, undergraduate or graduate, can often be a source for insight. What really made us “educated?” Was it Question #12 on that chemistry exam on that rainy Thursday afternoon? Or was it much more than that? Perhaps gaining a love of learning? Perhaps understanding what critical thinking is? Or perhaps even beginning to believe that we are capable of success? Higher order learning experiences such as these did not likely come from any exam we might have taken.

Becoming a truly educated usually involves inspiration from another person, most likely a teacher. The word inspiration means the awakening of a spirit within us. In the case of education, this spirit is learning.

Who or what inspired each of us in our journeys in education and learning? I think a dialogue on this could enrich our quest for student learning outcomes; particularly those outcomes that involve inspiration.

Please post your thoughts.


Reactions and Insights to Survey Results

We recently completed surveys of students (classroom based and online) and faculty. The responses were good and the data are rich. I am opening this data up for review and comment by faculty and administration. The survey data are in Survey Monkey format, which is easy to read and sort for further analysis. Try to take some time to look through the data and post any insights you might have. Here are the links:


Public Domain Material: Possible Alternative to High Priced Textbooks?

Textbooks prices have been skyrocketing. Obviously, textbooks are essential to many of our courses. In some cases, our transfer articulations with four year schools could be jeopardized if certain textbooks are not used.

However, higher education faculty at both four-year and two-year institutions are increasingly exploring alternatives to high priced textbooks from the publishing houses. One possible alternative is the growing body of "public domain" books and material, especially those available in digital format.

If you are using alternatives to publishing house textbooks, please post your strategies here. A dialogue on this topic could be useful to all faculty.


Innovation in Web-Based Student Portfolios

This section of the Weblog is meant to generate postings by faculty who are experimenting with the use of web-based student portfolios. For a great example of this type of innovation, take at look at the site being developed by the four-course “Who Am I in America?” Learning Community:



Classroom Research and Assessment

An important reason why many students come to community colleges, and why many faculty choose to work at community colleges, is our emphasis on teaching and learning, without a bit push for formal research. But, does this mean that community college faculty do not conduct research? Not on your life!. Many of our faculty are deeply involved in subject area research. Even more of our faculty are profoundly interested in the phenomenon of learning and are actively engaged in both formal and informal classroom research on methods and techniques.

It could be very enlightening to have a dialogue here about research on learning and effective methodologies that faculty are doing as part of your classroom (including virtual) practice. Please consider sharing some of the research and assessment activities you have done to learn more about how your students are learning and how you are teaching.

Here are a couple of examples:

A faculty member told of how he wanted to see if involvement in a learning community affected performance in a particular class. The faculty member had two sections of the course, one linked into a learning community, one that wasn't. The two groups seemed to be quite similar in make up. The faculty member paid particular attention to comparing the quality of the written work and was able to find significantly higher quality of work in the section linked to the learning community. Not necessarily "scientific" research in the traditional sense, but extremely important assessment work by the faculty member.

Another faculty member explained how he uses a web-based discussion board to survey students from time to time to see if the students feel they are "getting in" in the class. It is anonymous and she got great response. It helped to know when she could move more quickly and when she needed to slow down a bit.

Let's hear some more!!


Learning Dialogue: Limits on Online Teaching Load?

There is growing interest and discussion regarding whether there should be limits on the number of online classes being taught by full time faculty members. I understand the Statewide Academic Senate is exploring this matter. Our Distance Learning Committee is beginning to look at this, as well. I will also be bringing the matter to the UFO CEER group for discussion soon. It's a topic that needs dialogue.

Here are some thoughts to prime the dialogue pump

There are a number of different ways to look at this. The District is responsible for making assignments when it comes to courses to be taught. However, a course taught in a online format should be the same course content as that offered in the traditional setting. One could argue that teaching online is a method or means of instruction, which would fall within the context of academic freedom. In other words, would be ever limit the number of courses taught using the group work method versus the lecture method? On the other hand, the accreditation commission does require substantive change proposals when more than 50% a program is going to be delivered online. Also Title V has special requirements for online classes.

To add to the mix, "What about hybrid classes?" And what is a hybrid class anyway?? Technology is requiring us to move into some unfamiliar territory (what else is new!?).

There is definitely dialogue needed here. Since it is related to workload, the UFO needs to be involved. But it is also an academic matter. The Faculty Senate, the Deans, the Curriculum Committee, the Distance Learning Committee, the academic community in general should have an active and open discussion. In fact, I encourage as much dialogue about this as possible.

Please use the “Comment” function of this posting to weigh in on the topic.

Thanks, jim


Learning Dialgoue: The Lecture Method

Clearly Ohlone faculty are engaged in ongoing exploration of new teaching and learning strategies. Much of the focus is on active and collaborative learning and this is good. But what about the age-old "lecture method?" Let's have a dialogue about this and see what we are thinking about the once (or still?) dominant teaching approach in higher education.


Faculty Senate Meeting, 09-06-06

Collaborative Initiatives, 2006-07

During the coming year, I will seeking engagement with the Faculty Senate, the Curriculum Committee, and the faculty in general to work on a series of academic initiatives. The following is a current summary of the initiatives. More details will be forthcoming as dialogue with both groups continues.

Faculty Senate and Curriculum Committee:
Review and Respond to WASC Accreditation Standard II
Update Educational Master Plan
Use of Collaboration Tools: “More Engagement – Fewer Meetings”

Faculty Senate:
Update Academic Regulations
NCHST Development
Basic Skills Coordination Team
Learning College Development
Faculty Positions
Professional Development – Flex

Curriculum Committee:
Explore Non-Credit Instruction Options
Restructure Athletics/PE
Develop Service Learning Courses
Cooperative Education Review
Program Review

Jim Wright
Vice President, Instruction and Student Services


Learning Dialogue: Academic Freedom

The Faculty Association of the California Community Colleges (FACCC) makes the following statements related to Academic Freedom:

FACCC believes that the right to study and teach in an open environment permissive of diversity in expression and content is essential to the educational process.
FACCC also believes that community college environments should be free of acts of discrimination and harassment, and that people at community colleges should observe the highest ethical norms of society.

Ohlone's policy statement on academic freedom can be found at:

What are thought thoughts about the meaning of academic freedom?

Learning Dialogue: International Education

Recently there was a posting to this Weblog promoting email exchanges between our students and students in China. This prompted a comment from a faculty member questioning the value of our faculty and student exchange programs, particularly with China. This prompted a number of comments from other faculty. Therefore, I am setting this seperate topic posting. Please review the comments associated with this topic and add your thoughts.


Learning Dialogue: Sustainability

How have you, or how might you, weave the theme of sustainability into one of your courses? Please use the "comment" function to share your ideas.