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Summary of Courseware Implementation
In an effort to challenge and engage students in a manner and context that is consistent with their upbringing and experiences in a technologically advanced society, to ensure the consistency and standardization of our curriculum across all sections, and to capture data from online assessments and student use of online course technology, we have partnered with Cengage publishers to develop and implement an interactive and online Course Management System that synchronizes with our university's WebCT learning management system. The online "courseware" supplements the recent addition of a customized textbook for our program, one that has a cover unique to Communication Fundamentals with the University's new logo, and that includes printed material and text that we have provided.
New, online courseware management systems offer an alternative approach to traditional teaching and learning by supplementing printed book material with interactive, online readings, assessments, study plans, quizzes, and many other features that benefit student learning and instructor pedagogy.
Our online courseware system is delivered in a zipped "shell" which is replicated in the WebCT sites of all of our instructors and students. In addition to the shell containing and automatically updating the instructor's basic WebCT tools, including the gradebook, quiz bank, chat, discussion, course schedule and more, the shell contains Communication Fundamental's generic syllabus, a welcome letter from the Chair of Communication Studies, a link to the course website, and most importantly, a link to all of the text from the book that has been digitized, made interactive, and interspersed with video and audio clips. These "interactive readings" also provide students with the opportunity熔nline through WebCT葉o highlight, save notes, add internet links, take pre- and post-chapter quizzes, utilize a glossary, develop a personalized study plan, and access course readings from any location that has internet access.
Welcome back to our former graduate instructors and congratulations to the following new ones: Josh Fishlock, Julia Skwar, Anna Macgregor Robin, Corey Fernandez, Wyston Wilson, and John Lee.
The primary clientele for the center will come from students enrolled in Communication Fundamentals. Other users will include Communication Studies majors in general, and undergraduate and graduate students預cross the University謡ho feel the need to either work on oral communication fundamentals or polish their respective skills. The Department of Communication Studies is home to the largest, undergraduate population on campus, with over 800 majors to date. Many of the courses we offer emphasize public presentations in front of small and large groups. Courses in other disciplines similarly require public presentations in undergraduate and graduate programs.
The URI Speaking Center will also serve to prepare students for the inevitable expectation of effective public speaking in their careers. According to the 2008 Job Outlook Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), communication skills were ranked, for the ninth consecutive year, at the top of the list of qualities employers find most important in job candidates. In that regard, we have an obligation to prepare students for the communication skills they will need to enter and succeed in the workforce.
Students who visit the center will be tutored by appointment, with certain, walk-in hours available too. Tutors in the Center will help students start and complete their oral assignments, working with them on speech preparation, outlining, and delivery. Tutors may also work with students who experience what is commonly referred to as "speech anxiety" to manage their symptoms and encourage confident speaking.
"Seed" money from the URI Foundation is being used to supply much needed support technology and other resources for recording, editing, and storing the oral presentations of our students, as well as stocking and housing a speech library and database online. Additional funding from the Department of Communication Studies and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will help staff and maintain the lab, with undergraduate and graduate student tutors. Undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional public speaking skills will work in the lab by enrolling in a two credit course, "Peer Tutoring in a Speaking Center." Faculty may donate an hour or two of their office hours every month to work in the Center.