Author Archives: M

Remote End-of-Year Celebrations

It’s that time of year! Many of us are planning end-of-year celebrations and activities to recognize our student staff and graduating seniors. Now is a great time to get creative and find fun ways for our teams to connect, say thank you, and celebrate together.

Here are five ideas for how to celebrate remotely:

  1. Online games. Websites like backyard.co allow users to create game rooms where folks can log on without an account to play. Within each game, people can choose to use video/audio or the chat.
  2. Videos. Create a video where team members can all contribute a picture, brief message, or thanks. Try out lipsync-ing to a celebratory tune.
  3. Gift packages. There’s something nice about getting mail and knowing someone was thinking of you. Packages could include things like a thank you card, snacks (be sure to check for allergens before sending), or useful gifts. Small gifts might include things like blue-light blocking glasses, miniature tools, magnet picture frames, origami books with encouraging notes, or mugs.
  4. Zoom games. You can make your own MadLibs with stories themed to your work. Or consider creating a quiz for your team featuring lesser-known facts about colleagues. For some friendly competition, have your team break into groups for some Jeopardy! You can even have folks vote on topics in advance. My vote: Star Trek the Next Generation plotlines.
  5. Customized cards. Use an online design platform like Canva or Kudoboard to create customized cards for graduating seniors. Each team member then has a chance to add to the message with their own drag-and-drop design elements.

Student Affairs Staff Picks

In this issue, we’re delighted to share perspectives from our Student Affairs Colleagues who responded to the prompting question: “What have you read that has informed your work or resonated for you, and why?”

JP Peters – Associate Director, Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life

CurrePicture of the Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencionintly, I am reading The Ideal Team Player, by Patrick Lencioni, and he highlights the three essential virtues to be the ideal team player. You must be humble, hungry, and smart when working with a team or leading a group of people. For the last two months, I have strived to incorporate this philosophy into the work I do with my colleagues and students. It is too early to determine if the philosophy is beneficial, but I am excited to engage in finding out the results.

Earlee Kerekes-Mishra – Assistant Director, Disability Access Services

I have recently started reading more and more about the #SayTheWord movement started by Lawrence Carter-Long. Carter-Long started this in response Picture of an orange wall with an orange speaker shaped like a megaphone attached to itto the erasure of identity for disabled people. This movement is reclaiming that identity, by reclaiming the word “disability” and also educating why other words such as “differently abled” or “handicapable” are harmful. I am a firm believer that language is impactful; the words we choose sometimes speak louder than the message being conveyed, and the article “Say the Word,” by Anjali Forber-Pratt (along with other disability identity research), has assisted me in being more mindful with my choice of words overall.

Ben Medeiros – Assistant Director, UHDS – Residential Education

Picture of the sky, mountains, and a body of water with the title "Maslow's Hierachy connected to Blackfoot Beliefs" across the visualThere’s a blog post circulating about Maslow’s misappropriation of Blackfoot teaching.  I also attended a conference session recently about indigenous assessment strategies, including LaFever’s Medicine Wheel, a more holistic learning outcomes model than Bloom’s taxonomy.  Both sources disappointingly affirm the foundations of our educational system have been intentionally encoded to remove indigenous ways of knowing and being.  Which begs a question of personal and institutional action… what will I do to center the voices of students of color and other marginalized populations – from the learning processes that I direct to the hiring decisions we make at every level of our institution?

Jen Humphreys – Operations Associate, Student Affairs

SA Voices from the Field is a NASPA podcast hosted by Dr. Jill Creighton. My role does not include working in a Picture of the letters "SA" in blue at an angle. Surrounding the picture are black and white photographs of four individuals wearing headphonesspecific functional area within Student Affairs, so resources such as this help me to stay connected to the work that our division members are engaging with daily. Topics include such things as leading a residence hall during COVID, dismantling systemic racism in student affairs, and the future of grad prep programs.

The cover of the book "So You Want to Talk about Race" by Ijeoma OluoSo You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo is a very accessible book that has helped me focus on action over angst. In other words, moving from analysis paralysis and seeking opportunities to not only talk about race and systemic oppression, but to be attuned to the ways that I benefit from it, doing this from a place of inquiry to better support students and Colleagues of Color at OSU. The book is written in a very straightforward way, and I appreciated that Oluo brings her own family experiences and identity into her writing. She speaks to the dynamics of being biracial and provides you with a sense of what it’s like to navigate both black and white spaces—just as many of our students do.

Jeff Malone – Director, Cross Campus Strategic Initiatives

Music Theory & White Supremacy (or “The Harmonic Style of 18thA picture of a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Century European Musicians” & White Supremacy) by Adam Neely is a video on music theory (yes, music theory). It is lengthy (~45 minutes) but interesting and impactful. I do not feel one has to have a grounding in music theory (my own is shaky at best) for resonance. This video illustrates how systems of whiteness are so often privileged in our academic disciplines and educational habits/practices. This content is helpful as I consider, and reconsider, previously accepted policies, practices, and ways of knowing.

Student Staff Picks: Hearing from Graduating Seniors

The Academic Success Center and Writing Center employs over 60 students in peer education roles. Student staff are at the heart of our work supporting OSU students, and we are excited to feature quotes from graduating seniors in this issue’s Student Staff Picks.

We invited graduating seniors to share in response to this prompt: “What is one thing you’ve learned from your experience working at the Academic Success Center or Writing Center?”

For a PDF of this visual’s text, please click here.

Photograph of a mountain with text boxes containing quotes from ASC & Writing Center graduating seniorsCenter and Writing Center

Staff Picks: Technology Tips

Working remotely, our team is often share technology tips, tricks, and shortcuts with each other. Sometimes these are found through careful research when “there must be a faster way…” Other times, we find these gems completely by accident. Here, we offer up some of our favorites—both old friends and recent discoveries.

Clare

With two screens and a lot of open tabs and windows, I’m often trying to stay organized and find what I’m working on during a conversation (particularly when sharing my screen!). I’ve been improving my use of the Windows + keyboard shortcuts. There are a range of these described on this webpage, but I’ll recommend my two favorites: Windows+P which allows you to change your display/presentation mode quickly without going into settings and Windows+Left arrow or right arrow to use the “side-by-side docking” options for two different windows.

Marjorie

I love shortcuts! Here are a few of my favorites and/or most-used shortcuts.

  • Ctrl+L: Locking the screen. Be the shield!
  • Ctrl+D: Accessing my desktop.
  • Shift+F3: Selecting text, then using this shortcut to switch between lower case, UPPER CASE, and Title Case.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F9: Selecting text, then using this shortcut to remove hyperlinks

Anna

I often use several programs at once, so I love using the Alt+Tab shortcut (Command + Tab on Mac) to quickly toggle between windows. To use this shortcut, hold Alt continuously while pressing Tab until the window you want is outlined. Then simply release the keys to access that window. You can also use Alt+Tab to quickly close multiple windows, which is what I do to maintain a decluttered workspace and stay organized.

Chris G.

My unsung tech hero is Ctrl+F. Many of us have used it in word processing to find specific words, which often moves us to the chapter/section we are looking for, but this shortcut also works for more common situations like internet browsing, .pdfs, and even entire e-books! (though Acrobat reader still has some difficulty at times). Paired with excel, Ctrl+F helps me easily navigate between spreadsheets and workbooks. Now if I could only Ctrl+F for my keys and wallet… and sometimes my shoes.

Sarah

I don’t feel particularly tech savvy, but I used to get a lot of NAs when I used VLOOKUP and have been able to solve that problem by applying F4 after I’ve selected my table array; this makes it so that the column and the row reference can’t change. Very satisfying. I’ve also been using the TRIM option to help convert ONIDs to IDs in Core; first, in Excel, I apply the TRIM formula to remove any extra spaces; then, in CORE, I receive a more complete list of IDs.

Voyages of the Soul

While perhaps slightly hyperbolic, I’m forging ahead with this title, courtesy of the Random Title Generator. This after a lengthy brainstorming session via Teams and mulling over a number of compelling options from the generator. Clare didn’t feel that “Wizard of History” was a fair representation of what I’d written, and I felt that “Eye of Thoughts” was too Mordor. So here we are with “Voyages of the Soul.”

The new year always seems like a time for reflection on the past year, though reflection right now feels challenging. While I am not offering a reflective deep dive that encompasses all the learning and thinking I’ve done this past year, I would like to share a few things that have helped me navigate working remotely the past 10 months and that I hope to continue moving forward post-COVID/remote work.

Flexibility (no crisis required). Flexibility shouldn’t require a crisis. While I usually try to have flexibility in classes I teach, I’ve been more intentional this past year—requiring fewer assignments, offering options for engagement, grading complete/incomplete. Students often believe that any request for flexibility is a big ask—even when they’re dealing with the unimaginable. From the instructor side of thing, the ask is often small and easily accomplished. I hold onto the idea that students shouldn’t have to ask. If I can build in flexibility from the onset, I can establish it as a norm rather than an exception.

Less urgency. So often everything feels urgent. Emails, asks, the 10-week term. And while some things are urgent, many things don’t need to be. I’m trying to push back on that culture of urgency, become more aware of its relationship to power, and be mindful of how I contribute to this culture. The more I look, the more opportunities I find to be slow down, create boundaries, and make space for myself and for others to work in more manageable ways.

Music. And dancing. As I write this, I’m at a standing desk with wireless headphones, dancing. Many afternoons this past year have been improved through music and dancing. I’ve been fortunate to work from home, and that set-up process challenged me to think about workspace in a new way—to imagine what it could be. Now, this whole set-up may have to come back to campus with me. Waldo Hall dance party.

Time between meetings. While it’s now possible to transition between meetings with a few mouse clicks, back-to-back-to-back meetings are not good for us. Days with 5 or 6 meetings in a row, constantly on screen, are exhausting. I imagine this is equally hard on students in remote classes. I’m trying to be mindful of the meetings I’m leading, time needed, and how I can encourage people to engage in ways that work for them. Sometimes brief audio calls or Teams messages are enough. When an hour is scheduled, I’m working to end meetings at :50 and keep transition time between conversations.

Community. In November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). To achieve that goal, I needed to write every day. Knowing Clare was also committed to daily writing provided solidarity. Evening writing sprints on Discord connected me with others in the same process. And Sarah’s check-ins, excitement for the project, responsiveness to random writing questions, and encouragement were so helpful. As I plan for future projects and as I support others in their planning, I’ll be looking for more connection points and ways we can create a stronger community of support and encouragement along the way.

These are just a few of my reflection points, but I’ll be adding to my list in the coming months. I’d also love to hear from you if you’d like to share! What have you learned about your work? Or about supporting students? What are you holding onto moving forward? Feel free to email me a short description that we could include in a spring issue of The Success Kitchen.

Fall Course Updates Based on Spring & Summer Learning

I coordinate the Academic Success Center’s ALS 116: Academic Success course. In making course updates for fall term, I’ve tried to learn from spring and summer and to continue or prioritize updates that center students’ needs and demonstrate support.

I’ve made changes in large part based on what I’ve heard from students in class and what we’ve learned from OSU’s spring and fall student surveys—indicating that now more than ever, students need us to be mindful of workloads, policies, and personal needs. We can do this best from a point of connection and empathy.

Here are a few changes I’ve made to better support students in the sections I teach or coordinate.

Reference basic needs in multiple places.

Many students do not have access to basic needs like groceries, housing, and health care. Acknowledging this reality and responding can demonstrate you’re aware of what students are experiencing and are interested in supporting them. You can acknowledge basic needs in a syllabus statement, Canvas resource page, or announcements during/outside of class.

Incorporate a Where Do I Go for Help? page into the Canvas site.

This page from the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Remote and Blended Teaching Canvas template lists a variety of resources available to support students this term.

Create flexible policies.

Students value—and need—flexibility and understanding right now. I’ve removed all penalties for late work and emphasize communication when possible. I also note that I trust students to decide if they need more time on assignments; no justification or explanation is ever needed/required.

Offer sample language for asking for help.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say! Sample language can take stress off students who may be struggling to figure out how to reach out. By posting brief sample language in announcements, it’s easier for students to start an email and communicate what they need.

Make it easy to connect outside of office hours.

Whether this is email, Canvas chat, meetings, or another option, students benefit from having multiple ways to connect. One tool I’m trying is Bookings which is great for setting up meetings without the back-and-forth of finding a time via email. You can set meeting types and durations, sync with Outlook, and hold blocks of times for students to schedule.

These are just a few ways to support students. There are so many others! If you’re considering a course change or want to think about outreach or messaging to support your students this term, please reach out! I’m happy to connect via Zoom or Teams. You can also visit the ASC’s Campus Partners page or our Fall 2020 Toolbox for more strategies and resources to share with students.

Student Staff Spring Training

Like many departments, the Academic Success Center (ASC) trains student staff over the course of spring term. In training, students develop fundamental skills and engage in extensive practice prior to supporting other students.

Anika Lautenbach, Lead Strategist for the ASC, is currently training new strategists. Whether consulting in-person or virtually, strategists help students locate resources, identify learning strategies/tools, and communicate effectively within the university.

Anika has taken time to answer a few questions about training and share several resources the OSU community can use when training student employees.

Onboarding Strategists

Q: Could you talk a little bit about the general structure for training?

AL: The initial Strategist training is typically broken into three group sessions. Each lasts about two hours and gives us the opportunity to…

  • Talk about the ASC mission and values
  • Discuss the strategist role in detail, as well as other ASC programs and services
  • Engage in team and community-building activities
  • Practice skills with the group before working with students.

Q: What are a few major topics you cover when training students for the strategist role?

AL: We cover what we call Fundamental Skills for Helping. This includes active listening, asking closed and open-ended questions, and validating each student’s experience and ability to succeed. We also focus on how to make effective referrals.

After initial training, new strategists observe experienced strategists and debrief consults. Debriefing gives them the chance to think about what went well, what was challenging, and how they can grow in their role.

One thing we really value is learning from each other, which includes seeking and offering feedback. It’s important for us to start this process early on. I like to share examples from my learning experiences to show that feedback is something we all can benefit from.

Q: How do you prepare strategists with strong knowledge of resources available to students?  

AL: Strategists often say one of the biggest benefits of the position is learning about resources. When we are on campus, I ask strategists to visit popular resources like the Undergraduate Research & Writing Studio, the Human Services Resource Center, and the cultural centers. Visiting as a group gives them an opportunity to bond while experiencing resources. With remote learning, I’m having them explore resources online.

At times, I have also worked with campus partners to acquaint strategists with resources and train on specific topics. For example, we had folks from the Ombuds Office talk with strategists about navigating difficult conversations, and the Career Development Center helped strategists identify ways to represent transferrable skills on their resumes and in interviews.

Q: What are some of the resources, tools, or information you rely on in training? 

AL: Unit 1 of the Peer Educator Training has been extremely useful when onboarding strategists. Unit 1 covers foundational elements of offering peer support, which include active listening and validation. I also use the reflection prompts to guide conversations around creating a welcoming environment.

Students also complete Kognito training to prepare for conversations with students in distress. This training gives strategists practice with skills to feel more confident working with actual students who may need support as a result of academic challenges or other life events.

Strategists also complete FERPA training. Even if they have completed this training for another campus job, I have them revisit the material so they feel confident working with sensitive student information.

Q: What do you enjoy most about training?

AL: A lot of creativity goes into designing training, and I learn more each time I work with a new group of students. I enjoy helping students develop new skills, getting to see them grow in their role, and finding ways to ensure they feel supported and confident in what they’re learning.

Resources to Support Your Training

All of the resources Anika described are freely available to the OSU community. In addition, the ASC also offers training for student employees. Commonly requested topics include making effective referrals, balancing work and academics, and facilitative vs. directive peer education. If you’re interested in learning more about ASC-facilitated trainings, please reach out to Marjorie Coffey, or submit a request using our workshop request form.

Silver Linings of Remote Work

The transition to remote working, teaching, and learning this term has been challenging for everyone. While we don’t want to sugarcoat those challenges or diminish them, we would like to share some silver linings of remote work that have encouraged us and, at times, surprised us. Click the image below to read about experiences across the Academic Success Center.

Silver Linings

Staff Picks – Tools to Support Online Learning

There are many tools to support your students’ success as they adapt to remote or online learning. Here are some recommendations from ASC Staff. Click on the visual to see the full-size version of each tool.

Anatomy of an Email

Chris Gasser

Anatomy of an Email

My favorite resource from the remote and online learning page is the Anatomy of an Email visual. Honestly, as a student I probably racked up tens of hours sitting in front of a blank screen wondering how in the world to write an email to an instructor. The anatomy of an email resource makes it so easy to see how to style an email to be professional, effective, and concise!

Weekly Calendar

Clare Creighton

Weekly Calendar

I’m a big fan of the Weekly Calendar. It’s a tool that works in many contexts. Creating a schedule for the week can help students find or make time for what’s important to them. Now that we’re all working from home it seems even more important to have a way to delineate work vs. play, make time for relaxation, and stay productive with more distractions. The Weekly Calendar is one of the best antidotes to procrastination. If I sketch out what I’m going to work on and when, I’m more likely to follow through with that plan.

Elements of a Productive Study Space

Anika Lautenbach

Productive Study Space

My favorite resource is the Productive Study Space worksheet. As someone who’s working full time and doing an online graduate program, I definitely understand how challenging it can be to make your space work. This tool helps students consider how to get in the mindset for remote working or studying, how to set up and stick to a schedule, and what to do if they’re not able to dedicate a single space to work or study. These considerations have been crucial to helping me continue to do my work this term, and this tool can definitely help other students think about what will work for them.

10 Questions to Ask about Your Course

Sarah Norek

10 Questions

I wish I’d asked these sorts of questions when I was in college. Asking and answering these questions equips students with a kind of a blueprint. They figure out how to engage in the course, who they can go to for help, and how assignments will impact to their grade. Knowing these details early on sets a student up with an understanding of the course’s trajectory and expectations. If they run into any challenges later, already knowing how to reach out—and who to start with—can be a huge stress reliever.

Note-Taking 101

Marjorie Coffey

Note-Taking 101

In synchronous lectures, information might be lost if notes aren’t taken. In contrast, online content often remains available, making note-taking feel less urgent. Even when learning remotely, note-taking is an important starting point for recording information to later transfer to long-term memory. I like the Note-Taking 101 packet because it provides strategies for taking notes and making effective use of those notes throughout the study cycle. When I staff the ASC table for events (for graduate or undergraduate students), the note-taking packet always goes fast! Also, this packet has unicorns in it. And unicorns are cool.

Interested in more tools and strategies to share with students? Check out our Remote & Online Learning webpage.