New DDS Project – The West Student

Check out our latest series, The West Student.

The West Student story archive preserves, recognizes, and honors the diversity of the West student experience.  The project provides the opportunity for West students to record and share their stories.  At the same time, it creates an archive for future generations.

Here are our first 10 stories:


We’re really proud of our work, please subscribe and leave us a comment or two.



Etudes Certification Training at West with Jim Marteney!

Etudes logo


Enhance your on-campus instruction using the College’s Learning Management System (LMS), Etudes. Participating in this one day instructional program will introduce you to Etude’s tools and features enabling you to develop your first web-enhanced class. Participants will work face-to-face with a certified Etudes trainer in an on-campus workshop.


Complete your Etudes Certification by participating in a three-week, hybrid instructional program which will introduce you to the Etudes online learning management system. In addition to learning about the tools and features in Etudes, you will also start to develop your first online or hybrid class. Participants will have an opportunity to work face-to-face with a certified Etudes trainer combined with the flexibility of working online in between class meetings.

The training consists of weekly on-campus sessions in addition to 5 – 7 hours of work online each week. This gives you a flexible schedule and the opportunity to experience what it is like to be an online student. Dates and contact info below.

Continue reading “Etudes Certification Training at West with Jim Marteney!”

Professional Learning Week – Etudes Demo with Vivie!

Etudes logo   

Vivie Sinou, Etudes Executive Director of Etudes, Inc., will be presenting an Etudes demonstration on the new gradebook, and other recent features such as audio recording capabilities and Voice Thread.

Vivie Sinou will present and will be available to answer questions and get input from our faculty on Wednesday, August 26, from 3 – 4:30 at West LA College in room GC 160. All District faculty are welcome!

eduCanon Premium Free for the Summer!

eduCanon is an easy-to-use app that allows you to turn any YouTube video into an interactive quiz for your students. This summer is the perfect time to check it out.

If summer couldn’t get any better, you now have ALL eduCanon premium features free. We’ve extended to you all of our features until August 30.

I know during the school year you sometimes feel like this:

dachshund spinning

BUT NO MORE. Summer is here. Time to relax and recoup.

If summer couldn’t get any better, you now have ALL eduCanon premium features free. We’ve extended to you all of our features until August 30. That means you can download any lesson from our 150,000+ teacher-created lesson database or create a lesson from scratch with higher order question types. And of course, we’ll never limit access to the bulbs you download or create.

Hopefully now you feel a bit more like this:

30k bulbs

Warning: Grading Discussions Is Bad For Your Health


Discussions can be the heart of an online class. In some cases the message boards are the only place where students can freely communicate with each other on a number of focused topics created by you, the instructor.

In the best of worlds students are engaged in lively discussions, thinking critically as well as getting to know their classmates.

Discussions can also be a grading nightmare. Imagine having 8 topics and requiring 3 posts per topic. Times that number by 30 students. Then times that number by how many classes you’re teaching that semester. You’re talking thousands of posts!

If you read and evaluated each and every post you could easily get overwhelmed and wind up like that poor cat in the picture.

Here are my somewhat controversial grading tips to make life easier. If you have an opinion or another strategy that works for you, please share in the comments section.

*Note these instructions are to be used when grading by category, but they can be modified for grading by forum or topic.

Continue reading “Warning: Grading Discussions Is Bad For Your Health”

Call for Proposals – Etudes Summit

etudesEtudes Summit – Call for Proposals

The Etudes Summit is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas, knowledge, experiences and lessons learned with your colleagues in the Etudes community. The event is all about YOU – your success stories and your work with students.

Don’t wait! Submit your proposal today!

Deadline for proposals:  Sunday, July 12, 2015 (midnight)

Some ideas on themes for proposals include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Technology Innovation – Creative use of Etudes, social media, mobile devices and other software to support student learning (not limited to online teaching. Uses of Etudes and other technologies to support traditional instruction are also encouraged, as this is an area of growth and interest).
  • Student Retention & Success – What practices, techniques, methodology, or tools do you use systematically to engage learners with the subject matter, you, and each other, and for improving your retention and student success?
  • Testing & Assessment Techniques – How do you assess, measure and evaluate your students’ learning? What approaches, rubrics,  tools, and features do you rely on? Share your success stories, challenges and findings.
  • Tool demos – Showcase how you have integrated external technologies successfully with Etudes.
  • Round tables. Facilitate a round table discussion on a topic of interest. Ideal for the exchange of ideas across colleges and programs.
  • Ensuring Quality in Distance Education  – How do you ensure a quality online program? Issues in this track include processes for course and program evaluations, DE policies for ensuring quality instruction, academic honesty, student support, and strategies for addressing and meeting state and federal regulations.
  • Support Services & Resources – Student Services, Instructional Design and Faculty Services, and other Teaching/Learning Resources.
  •  Universal Access – Accessibility, learning styles, etc.

Got something else to share? What are you waiting for? Get your proposal in today.

Presenters will be notified by July 25.