Changes to Nexus Full Time Programs

We are making a small change to the set up of courses in the Nexus full time programs.

Starting with the Spring 2018 intake, we will no longer automatically copy over materials from previous courses.  We will continue to set up the shell for all courses, allowing instructors to customize and adopt materials for each intake as they see fit. This will avoid materials appearing in Nexus from different sections, with inaccurate content or due dates.

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Textbook Survey Results

A total of 32 instructors completed the survey about textbooks, providing us with invaluable information on the instructor viewpoint on textbooks and their use in PACE classes. Thank you to everyone who participated.   The responses give us an opportunity to look at what we can do better collectively, and to share some information so that we are on a common understanding.

There was a scattering of responses about the question on whether or not textbooks are mandatory, indicating a shortcoming on our part about sharing that information. With the exception of articulated courses, textbooks are optional. Articulated courses, such as Business Fundamentals, require a textbook for the course, however outside of those courses, instructors can choose to have a textbook as required, as optional, or not at all.   (If you’d like to see the full list of articulated courses, click here: http://pace.uwinnipegcourses.ca/pathways-uw-degrees )

When listing a textbook as required, PACE is expecting that 75 to 100% of the textbook will be used in the course. This is to avoid students purchasing a textbook and then not making use of it.  The majority of the survey respondents indicated that they are using 75% or more of the book.  Most are using the text book as reference material for the course, followed by pre-reading, and then for in class exercises.  Making regular and frequent use of the textbook is important to us, as it validates the students’ expense.

A small majority of respondents feel that 75% or more of the students are buying textbooks. To help achieve that, ideas include verbal reminders in class, including talking about the benefits of the textbook, reminding students of different purchasing options (new, used, rental, e-versions), and doing in class exercises that require students to have the textbook.

For our part, PACE will continue to work with students on the messaging of the importance of purchasing textbooks. As instructors, it’s important to plan how to include the textbook in a meaningful way so that the student learning experience benefits from having the textbook.   If you experience frustration about students not purchasing textbooks, reach out to your program manager for a discussion so that we are aware of the issue as it happens and can look at the issues and address them.

Copyright & Instructor Materials

Compliance with Canada’s copyright laws is a requirement for all instructor material posted to Nexus, and in addition, instructors should be mindful of ownership rules around lesson plans and other instructor created materials.

With a few exceptions, PACE does not own course materials, they are the property of our individual instructors.  For that reason, PACE can not share access without the permission of the instructor who owns the material.  This extends from slides, through to assignments, rubrics, and other supporting materials.

Instructors looking to use materials created by other instructors should contact the author.  Ensure that you have permission to use that material, and be clear about what you are going to do with it: refer to it, link to it, post a copy, etc..  And, of course, provide credit to the author.

We aim for a collegial and cooperative teaching group, and courtesy over the ownership and use of instructor materials is a part of that.

Changes to PACE Policies

PACE is making changes to our policies in regards to:

  • exam entry times
  • methods of assessment

You will be receiving an email with full details, as well as the details being posted to the Nexus Instructor Communication Portal, https://nexus.uwinnipeg.ca/d2l/home/13973.  Here’s a summary, but be sure to read the FULL details in your email or in nexus:

Change Date  
Exam Entry Policy All exams and mid-terms on or after March 1 Mandatory

No late entry once door closed

Participation Any methods of evaluation submitted after Feb. 15 Optional

Maximum value 5%

(online courses are exempt)

Group mark Any methods of evaluation submitted after Feb. 15 Optional

Maximum value 25%

Grammar & Spelling Full time: Courses starting on or after May 1

Part time: Courses starting on or after April 1

Mandatory

Included in rubric, must be 20% of assignment total

 

Teaching Within Programs

Many of us have either worked in or read about the dangers of working in a silo.  Businesses work to break down the mentality that has people focused on only their piece within the organization.  At PACE programs and courses are much the same, with the danger that people can be focused too narrowly on only their single course.

It’s important to remember that, with only a few exceptions, all PACE courses are delivered within programs, programs that include courses which build on one another to equip students with the knowledge and skills to be successful and competent in the workplace. Within a full-time program, it is advantageous to be aware of  the other courses that are delivered to the class.  Look at commonalities, and tie in concepts in materials so that students see the full picture of how the pieces come together, and not just within a silo.

Every diploma from PACE includes courses which focus on developing written and oral communication skills, as well as courses such as organizational behavior, and business fundamentals.  Each program has a variation on the topic of strategic planning and leadership.  Tying concepts from these courses into your specific course can provide students with more comprehensive and concrete understanding of  work related topics and organizations.

The integration of concepts from across a program, by referring back to concepts already taught or foreshadowing courses to come, helps with the overall student learning experience.

Changes to Course Operations

Change is a constant process everywhere and PACE is no exception.  Starting in January, we are making two changes to our courses that will directly impact instructors.   After conducting surveys of instructors and engaging in focus group discussion both in house and with instructor groups, we are making changes to attendance tracking, and late assignment penalties.

Attendance

Effective January, 2018, attendance is no longer required for any PACE course.  (With the exception of seminars)

Instructors may want to continue to track attendance for their own purposes, particularly as it relates to participation grades, but there is no requirement to submit this information to PACE.  It is essential that instructors still notify PACE administration of any concerns regarding student attendance (late arrivals or not attending classes) on an ongoing basis to allow for timely intervention for any issues.

Late Assignment Penalties

For all courses starting after January 4, 2018, in all programs, there is no longer a late penalty for assignments.

Instead, students who are late without a valid, pre-approved reason, receive a 0.  This change is being introduced to better reflect the workplace; when a supervisor asked for work to be completed, it must be done on time or explained why it is late.  It is also designed to prevent an issue that occurred this past year with students manipulating the due dates of assignments in such a way as it impacted their eligibility for graduation and instructor workload.

This change is not intended to punish students that have a valid reason.  Instructors should act in that role of a supervisor and if there is a valid reason for an extension, such as a medical issue or death in a family, make adjustments to the due date – with best practice saying that this should be communicated in writing so as to have a paper trail!

The new late policy is included in the student handbook, January, 2018, edition, which can be viewed on the PACE website.  Students who cannot meet a deadline must contact the instructor no less than 24 hours in advance of the deadline to ask for an extension, providing a legitimate reason.

Instructor feedback has been helpful in helping to grow and improve our programs and we will communicate some additional changes for the Spring term in the coming months.  We are currently reviewing feedback from instructors about participation grading, grammar and spelling, and other assignment components with a view to improving expectations across all programs over  the coming year.

Your help in improving our systems, and in delivering our courses, has been invaluable in 2017.  Thank you for being a part of the PACE team, best wishes for the New Year.

Copyright & Nexus

Last week we had our third copyright information session for PACE instructors.  Thank you to all who’ve attended over the past month, and a special thank you to our Copyright office, an invaluable resource for all of us!

If you weren’t able to attend, there are three short tips to consider as you put your material on Nexus:

  • Instead of posting content, share a link!

A link is not copyrighted.  This is the safest and best way to share content with our students.

  • Link to the U of W library if you can

The library has a large amount of electronic content, including journals and articles.  It can be access through the U of W’s main website, and allows for linking to content using your, and student’s, U of W email address.

  • Last resort, relying on copyright exceptions

While posting a link is always the best answer, not all material is available on the Internet.  If you are going to add content, ensure you are doing so in a manner that respects the copyright laws.

The U of W’s Copyright Office has their own website that goes into much greater depth:

https://copyright.uwinnipeg.ca/

As we move forward with the audit of PACE’s materials on Nexus, if you have any concerns or want to have content removed, reach out to me or ‘instructorsupport’ and we will work with you.

Reminder: Attendance Tracking

Please remember that for programs that stared in the Fall of 2017, instructors are to use Nexus to track attendance.  We appreciate if the attendance is updated weekly.  This allows for both students and administration to track attendance at a glance and identify any issues.

For some students, attendance tracking is a part of their funding, and we are required to provide accurate and timely information on attendance.

For all students, attendance is a requirement for internship.  Setting expectations around attendance and arriving late to the classroom set up students for success in the workplace.  As instructors, we contribute to those expectations and help the students to model the behavior they need in the workplace.

A video is available on the Nexus Instructor Communication Portal as a guide to entering attendance using the online system.

Copyright & Publisher’s Slides

Are you using publisher slide decks in your courses? Are you posting them on Nexus?  Have you ever checked the permission rights to do so?  You may be surprised to know that many publishers do NOT give permission for publisher created slide decks to be posted to a learning management system such as Nexus.

The recent federal court case against York University has highlighted the need for faculty, instructors, and university departments to actively engage in following copyright laws. This includes following the rules when using publisher supplied slides.

The best practice for those using these items is: DO NOT POST TO NEXUS.  Unless you know the explicit permissions of for the textbook you are referring to you run the risk of being in violation of the copyright laws.  Even when using a text book from previous course offerings, where the permission was granted, it may not be valid in a course offering for which you are no longer using that text book.

Additionally, the views of publishers around modifying or adding to the slides varies, causing another area where issues arise.

An audit of the materials posted on Nexus will be coming up shortly and there will be further communication on that topic. Going forward, instructors should ensure that you have reviewed the copyright permissions specific to the publisher and course before you post them to Nexus or reproduce them in paper.

Copyright and Instagram

The recent communication about changes in the copyright rules came to mind when I saw this article on reposting / using Instagram images:
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/reshare-instagram-posts-legally/?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BPhzO%2FgVmRuuxJzaN6%2BRJmg%3D%3D

If you use Instagram, it would be worth checking out the rules around using other people’s materials from there.

Be sure as well to check out the university’s message on copyright posted to Nexus.