Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Student Learning

  • CELT Vlog: Dr. Charlotte Mann (12/13/2019)

    Supporting College Students with Autism

    Click to watch the vlog with Dr. Charlotte Mann

    In this vlog, Dr. Charlotte Mann, our featured speaker from University of Saint Joseph, will discuss strategies for supporting individuals with autism in higher education. She will review potential ways to teach essential social skills. Lastly, she will highlight her noteworthy publication that effectively improved conversational skills for college students with autism by developing problem-solving repertoires.

    Dr. Charlotte Mann is an assistant professor in the department of counseling and applied behavioral studies at the University of Saint Joseph. During her Ph.D. studies at Western New England University, Dr. Mann worked in association with the Student Accessibility Center, supporting the social skills development of college students on the autism spectrum. Her research interests focus on assessing and treating skill deficits related to social functioning, in particular the environmental determinants of conversation behavior, and supporting college students on the autism spectrum.


    Mann, C. C., & Karsten, A. M. (2019). Efficacy and social validity of procedures for improving conversational skills of college students with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

  • Increase the accessibility of your content! (10/2/2019)

    Does this look familiar in your Blackboard courses?

    What do your students see? 

    Want to fix this for all of your documents?

    On Wednesday, October 23 we will again be holding a workshop where you will get hands-on assistance to turn all the red and yellow indicators to green, in order to provide alternative formats for those using assistive technologies. Remember, Ally focuses on making new and existing content more accessible for all users, not just those with disabilities/accessibility challenges.

    Please have your documents that need adjustments readily accessible either on a thumb drive, or through your email, or one-drive.

    The session on October 23rd will be held in Haas Library, Room 434, 1:30pm – 3:30pm

    Please RSVP to

  • Dr. Stephanie Kuhn: Using Kaltura Technology to Increase Active Student Responding in Blackboard (9/26/2019)

    To watch the Vlog with Dr. Stephanie Kuhn:

    Kaltura can be accessed for free in Blackboard. To access this feature in your course go to: Build content > Mashups > Kaltura Media. For technical support, please contact Scott Volpe:

    For the benefits of using active student responding in your classroom:

    1. Kellum, K. K., Carr, J. E., & Dozier, C. L. (2001). Response-card instruction and student learning in a college classroom. Teaching of Psychology28, 101-104.

    2. Malanga, P. R., & Sweeney, W. J. (2008). Increasing active student responding in a university applied behavior analysis course: The effect of daily assessment and response cards on end of week quiz scores. Journal of Behavioral Education17, 187-199.

    Dr. Stephanie Kuhn, PhD, BCBA-D, LP, LBA has almost 25 years of experience in the field of Behavioral Psychology. She is a licensed psychologist in New York and Connecticut, a licensed Behavior Analyst in Connecticut, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctorate level. She currently holds a faculty appointment and teaches full time in the ABA program at Western Connecticut State University and provides clinical services as part of a private practice in Westport, CT. In the past, she had held faculty appointments at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and New York Medical College. Dr. Kuhn has authored and co-authored multiple publications in peer reviewed journals and has extensive clinical experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She has provided school consultation and school based assessment treatment services for many years as well as home based individual services including program supervision and parent counseling and training. She enjoys watching soccer, running, and spending time with her husband, daughters, and dogs.

  • Tech Scoop, 4/24, 10am-12pm, WH 127 (4/10/2019)

  • How Voicethread made my online class more personable (2/13/2018)

    By Sharon Young, WCSU Department of Social Work

    I was fortunate to take the online teaching workshop offered by CELT/TIDDL last summer. Like many of my colleagues, I felt intimidated by the idea of conveying classroom content in an online platform. The workshop spurred me to think about new ways to use technology to have an asynchronous dialogue. The message boards on Blackboard are fine, but I wanted something better. This is where Voicethread comes in. The Voicethread platform is easily, yes easily, accessible through computer, tablet, and phone. My students get a log in so they can view and create their own Voicethreads. My social work research course has always involved student presentations of research proposals. Voicethread allows them to easily upload Powerpoint slides, photos, or videos and comment on each slide. Then they can get feedback from me and their peers about their work. I can upload my lecture slides and record my voice, make notes on each slide, and drop in any media along the way. Check out my quick video below to see it in action.

  • On “Real” Virtual Reality (1/31/2018)

    I had the pleasure recently of attending a NERCOMP workshop on humanities-focused applications of virtual, blended, and augmented reality and 3-D printing.  The workshop was conducted by faculty and technology staff from Yale University. It was terrific to listen to humanities faculty share their insights on the significant potential new technologies have for changing the face of teaching and learning in higher education.  (For more information about some of the exciting work being done, check out )

    There’s a lot to think about there.  In the best of all possible worlds, we at public regional universities would have access to the same resources, and the time to engage in this sort of project and program building.  But the experience also got me thinking:  many of us already employ our own version of “virtual reality” in our teaching.  Any time we ask students to participate in a simulation, to work through a detailed case study, or to engage in role playing in the classroom, for all intents and purposes, we immerse our students in another place and sometimes ask them to travel to another time.

    I have built several history courses, including a First Year Experience, around the face-to-face role playing games, Reacting to the Past (RTTP).  (You can find information about the program, developed by Mark Carnes at Barnard, as well as descriptions of the published and in-development games, at The games are designed to be taught by faculty across disciplines, and are the centerpiece of First Year programs across the country. Though students balk initially at the idea of role playing, by the end of the game – each of which lasts four-five weeks – the vast majority of students admit that the experience was transformational.  Role playing builds oral communication and writing skills. It encourages empathic thinking and critical analysis.  And it’s fun! Students have inhabited the roles of loyalists and rebels in revolutionary New York, suffragists and labor activists in Greenwich Village in 1913, and scientists and Vatican clergy in Galileo’s world.  Published games include one that takes place in Athens in 403 BCE, India on the eve of independence in 1945, and France in the midst of revolution in 1791.  Games in development explore the discourse on creationism and evolution in Kansas in 1999, and Yalta in 1945, among two dozen more.

    It would be great to get a feel for how many faculty at WCSU are employing simulations, case studies, and/or role playing in classes.  Ancell faculty, how many of your management/marketing or JLA courses rely on case studies and simulations?  Do these pedagogies appear in courses in SPS?  What are your experiences with these pedagogies?  What are the strengths and weaknesses?  I’d love to hear from you.

  • Just Because They’re Digital Natives (12/1/2017)

    If you were not able to attend the recent two-part program on using technology to engage First Year students, the materials are now available for your review (requires WCSU login).  Included are the slides for sessions 1 (held on campus) and the slides and webinar recording for session 2 (held via WebEx).

  • Open Educational Resources (11/21/2017)

    Open Educational Resources, as defined by the Hewlett Foundation, are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others.

    Students can access OERs for zero cost, download and keep a digital copy, and print or purchase a low-cost hardcopy. Educators can curate, tailor, and share OERs to perfectly suit their curriculum and share their innovations freely. Authors can disseminate their work to a worldwide audience while still receiving attribution. Creative Commons Licensing facilitates flexibility in usage of OER.  David Wiley created a framework (5Rs) that allows authors to retain copyright while encouraging/allowing reuse, revision, remixing, or redistribution.

    There is significant financial benefit to students and university. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from January 2006 to July 2016 the Consumer Price Index for college tuition and fees increased 63 percent, compared with an increase of 21 percent for all items. Over that period, consumer prices for college textbooks increased 88 percent. The US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) reported that students spend average of about $1200 annual for textbooks, about 65% of students said that they had decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive, and 48% of students said that the cost of textbooks impacted how many/which classes they took each semester. Research shows open textbooks, compared to traditional texts, have equal or better student performance/learning outcomes and equal or improved student retention rates/graduation rates.

    An Open Ed Group summary of 25 studies focused on efficacy, perceptions, or both efficacy and perception stated that “a general finding seems to be that roughly half of teachers and students find OER to be comparable to traditional resources, a sizeable minority believe they are superior, and a smaller minority find them inferior.” Studies conducted at Virginia State University (Business) and Houston Community College (Psychology) found that students who used open textbooks tended to have higher grades and lower withdrawal rates than their peers who used traditional textbooks

    Open textbook collections have peer reviewed text books freely available for use in a class. The University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library has over 300 open texts. OpenStax, a non-profit publisher of open textbooks, offers a collection of about 30 online texts with option to acquire print copies at low cost. These are customizable to institutional preferences in collaboration with OpenStax. Over 840 institutions worldwide are using OpenStax.

    For more information, visit the WCSU Libraries’ Open Education Resources Guide or contact your WCSU librarian.

    UNESCO Image used under Creative Commons License

  • OSCQR Scorecard 1. Welcome and Getting Started (10/24/2017)
    This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring the OLC/Open Suny OSCQR Scorecard for online course design and review – recommendation by recommendation until we reach #50.  Your ideas and comments about this series are welcome. If you would like to share examples of how you applied an OSCQR recommendation in your course, please consider contributing a short blog post to the series.

    And now let’s get started!

    The first category in the scorecard is Course Overview and Information. The ten practices in this category are related to ensuring that learners in your online course have the information that they need – from day 1 of the course (or before) – to begin the learning experience.

    “Recommendation #1. Course includes Welcome and Getting Started content.

    Explanation: By welcoming learners to the course and providing context for what they will be learning, the instructor sets a tone for success from the start of the course. Learners benefit from an overview of the course, with general information about the nature and purpose of the course, the course activities, grading structure, and where to find the specific information on each.”

    Reflect for a moment on how you conduct your first class session for an on-ground campus course.  Do you introduce yourself?  Do you go over the syllabus, provide a big picture overview of the course, and then point out the activities/tasks learners should focus on first? Do you get your students excited and engaged by sharing your enthusiasm about the subject matter? In an online class, there may not be a first class meeting.  Instead, learners login to your Blackboard course and that is the start of class. Consider that students may be disoriented and overwhelmed when they first login. It may be their first time using Blackboard, or your course may look completely different than their last online course. Couple this with the anxiety, fear, or excitement that some learners experience when starting a new course.  Who is the instructor? What will be expected of me?  What is the course about?  Where should I start?  What if I miss something?

    Since your online students don’t have a person (you) standing right there at a prescribed class time to provide clues and cues about what the next 16 weeks will be about, how might you welcome learners into the online learning environment and get them started?

    This is where Welcome and Getting Started information comes in.  An increasingly common practice is to have a section labeled Start Here. This section contains everything that your students need to know about the course – what the course is about (course overview and context), what the expectations are (major assignments and grading criteria), course schedule and required material, technical requirements, and campus resources (including ADA accommodations).   You might include a video welcome message to get your students excited about what is coming and engaged in the first course activities. Your welcome message also helps to establish your presence in the course and provides a way for your students to connect to you.  This could be considered your first class “session” – what do you want to impress upon your students and what impression do you want to make about who you are as a teacher?

    Conrad (2002) found that online learners’ immediate “sense of well-being and engagement” is dependent on their connection with the learning materials. Instructors are judged on the clarity and completeness with which their course details are presented.”  Think about Welcome and Getting Started information as your first opportunity to positively impact your students’ well-being and engagement, and to launch them to learning success!

    Resources and References

    • OSCQR Scorecard: Access the Scoreboard
    • OSCQR 3.0 Annotations: Specific design ideas for each of the 50 OSCQR recommendations.
    • Conrad, Dianne L. (2002). Engagement, Excitement, Anxiety, and Fear: Learners’ Experiences of Starting an Online Course. American Journal of Distance Education, v16 n4 p205-226 2002
  • Did you miss Class is Cancelled? (3/2/2017)

    If you were not able to attend the recent Class is Cancelled workshop, you can view a video of the program in the CELT Channel at Media @ WCSU