App of the week – WritePad

WritepadScreen Shot 2014-08-29 at 1.52.40 PM is an app for iOS and Android that allows you to take handwritten notes in your tablet, which are then recognized with a handwriting recognition software to typed letters. It also offers a spell checker and a shorthand feature that fills-in words that are often used. To download it for $4.99 for iOS click HERE. To download it for Android for $4.99 click HERE. To learn more about this app, watch the video below. If you have used this app in your life or in your classroom please let us know by commenting on this post! We would love to learn about your personal experiences and we would love to share them with other Texas Wesleyan folks!


What if a parent contacts a faculty or staff member with concerns about how his or her child is doing in a particular class or about the child’s overall academic performance or standing?

The best approach is for the parent to talk directly with the student. Parent-child communication is not always easy, and young adults are not always forthcoming as parents would like. However, parent-child conversation is the most effective and certainly the preferred method for a parent to learn about his or her child’s performance.

What if a parent tells a faculty or staff member that he or she has already talked with the student and still has questions?

In this situation, you will need the student to sign a release. Download a FERPA release form (pdf). Only after the signed release is in your possession are you free to discuss a student’s performance. Of course, in doing so, the faculty or staff member cannot release any information that identifies another student.

Does the University have a written policy about information from student records that can be shared with parents and other third parties?

Yes. See the Texas Wesleyan University FERPA Policy web page. The policy can also be found in the Undergraduate Catalog and student handbook.

What records does FERPA cover?

The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is quite broad. With limited exceptions, FERPA gives privacy protection to all student education records. Education records are defined as “[t]hose records that are directly related to a student and [are] [m]aintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.” Examples of student records entitled to FERPA privacy protection are grade reports, transcripts and disciplinary records.

Why could a parent access his or her child’s high school records, but now does not have the same access to records maintained by the University?

Under FERPA, the access rights that parents and legal guardians had in the elementary and secondary school settings are transferred to the student once a student has turned 18 or is attending any post-secondary educational institution (regardless of the student’s age and regardless of who is paying for the student’s education).

Does Texas Wesleyan University notify parents if a student is put on academic probation, or is subject to academic dismissal?

No. Information about grades and academic standing is sent directly to students. A student may complete a FERPA release form (pdf) so that a University representative may speak with a parent about their academic status.

Can a faculty member post student grades or leave graded student work outside of his or her office?

No. Faculty members should not publicly display student grades or student work (e.g. papers, tests, laboratory reports), particularly in association with student names, identification numbers or other personal identifiers.

Is posting grades, identified by SSN or Student ID numbers, on a website or course management system, such as Blackboard, allowed?

FERPA does not permit the posting of grades, using either the entire student ID number or a portion of the ID number. See this letter from the Department of Education for information on why this cannot be disclosed without written permission. Faculty members must develop a means of conveying grade information to students on an individual basis. You can use Blackboard’s “gradebook” function to give grades to individual students without actually posting the whole spreadsheet for all in the class to view and revealing the other student grades. Each student has a tool called “view grades” in the toolbar, which they use to view their “row” of the grade book.

To use this function:

  • Go into Blackboard’s Control Panel and choose “guidebook” (extreme right column, midway down)
  • Use the web-based gradebook instead of your spreadsheet or upload the spreadsheet you have (if it’s not especially complex and has all the students’ names in column A)

If a student asks a faculty member or a teaching assistant for an explanation regarding his or her performance, can a faculty member compare that students’ work with the work of other students?

No. Although faculty members or teaching assistants can, of course, explain why a particular student performed well or poorly on a given examination or other assignment, in so doing, they should not discuss or make reference to the performance of other students. Disclosing information regarding Student A to Student B jeopardizes the privacy rights of Student A.

Can faculty and staff members share with each other information from a student’s education records?

Faculty and staff members should not share this information with one another unless the person to whom the information is disclosed has a “legitimate educational interest” in the information. To have such an interest, the faculty or staff member must have a need to know the information to perform his or her job function. Mere curiosity is insufficient to satisfy this standard.

What if a faculty or staff member receives a request for student information from a licensing or accrediting organization such as a medical licensing board or a state bar authority?

Prior to providing any information in response to such a request, the faculty or staff member should ensure that the licensing or accrediting organization has provided proof of the student’s express written consent to disclose the information requested. No information should be disclosed without the student’s express written consent.

Where can I find out more information about FERPA?

FERPA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education and more information can be found at its FERPA website.

UTA LINK Lab Fall Speaker Series


Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 4.08.35 PMOur friends at the UTA Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) lab have invited any and all Wesleyan faculty to participate in their Fall Speaker series. Here’s the information:

LINK Research Lab at UT Arlington is pleased to announce the Fall Speaker series. The series will be streamed live and includes prominent national and international researchers and theorists on digital learning and innovation in higher education. Topics range from digital storytelling to learning analytics to addressing the needs of underrepresented students. The public presentations can be viewed online without cost.

Full details, including a list of speakers, schedule, and information on joining online, can be found here:

UTA LINK LAB Fall Speaker Series

App of the Week – Credly

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 3.48.12 PMThis week’s app of week is Credly. Credly is a free service for awarding and displaying digital badges and accomplishments, which the CETL is using to issue its new professional development badges. While you don’t need the Credly app to accept your badges earned (you can accept badges via email with the email address you have used to create your Credly account), this app allows you conveniently keep track of the badges you have earned, give credit, and share badges from your mobile device. If you don’t have a Credly account yet, go there and create a free account using your Texas Wesleyan email address. When you earn a badge with any professional development activity done with us (or any other Credly issuer) you may view your badges with this app. To download free for iOS devices click HERE. If you have used this app in your life or in your classroom please let us know by commenting on this post! We would love to learn about your personal experiences and we would love to share them with other Texas Wesleyan folks!


Introducing Badges 2.0

This semester, the CETL is revising it’s system of badges to better acknowledge, challenge, and reward faculty and staff who engage in professional development activities. We’ve developed some new badges, introduced badge levels, and tweaked the way badges are earned. We’ve also expanded the way participants can publicly display their badges.

A list of all the badges can be found here. Most of these badges now have three levels. The initial level (which we’re calling the “learn stuff” level) is earned simply by participating in professional development activies. These can be CETL workshops, individual consultations with CETL staff, or even opportunities from other sources, like a conference or webinar. Those who wish to progress to the second level of a badge (the “do stuff” level) will work with the CETL to construct an appropriate challenge card. These cards will simply be things the participant can do to apply why they learned at the “learn stuff” level. Participants can move on to the third level (“evaluate/share stuff”) by constructing and completing another challenge. This one will focus on evaluating the application of the new knowledge and sharing how it worked with others. Participants can share through the CETL blog and website, social media, or more formal research and publication avenues.

The graphic below illustrates the new system (click for larger image).



The CETL Badge System explained.

Our goal here is to build a system that’s customizable by the participants, acknowledges professional development comes from many venues, and pushes participants to apply, reflect on, and share what they’ve learned.

The email notification send by us when you earn a badge.

The email notification sent when you earn a badge.

In addition to that, all of faculty’s previous efforts are not going to be forgotten! The CETL will publicly issue all of the previously earned badges via Credly, as well. When you earn a badge you will receive an email notification of your achievement (see illustration). If you want to save and share that badge you must click on “save & share” (if you don’t have a Credly account yet you will be prompted to create one after this step). When you accept the badge you may view your badges via or via the Credly app. If you wish, you can opt out of receiving those notifications.


Pedagogy Map

To help folks get started, we’ve created the Pedagogy Map. This is a wonderful visual representation of the new badges and how they are related. Participants can earn any badge they want whenever they want, but they can also create their own Learning Path. Particpants can sit down with the CETL staff to determine which path best fits their professional development goals. Each Path will be individualized, including challenges developed by the participant and the CETL, and self-paced. The CETL developed Pedagogy Map and new badges can help faculty and staff determine which paths would be best for them, however the CETL will develop and issue badges that are personalized to other requests for professional development. The Pedagogy Map can be viewed below. If you want to see the new badges associated and featured in it you may click HERE.



CETL’s Pedagogy Map

We invite all faculty and staff to take the professional development journey with us!

About the CETL

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Texas Wesleyan University (CETL) promotes a student-centered university by providing resources and professional growth opportunities to faculty on enhancing instructional practice, integrating technology, and promoting essential student skills.

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