Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vicki leaves today for retirement

Vicki Eaddy is retiring today after working as a secretary for three of Coker's presidents and for all of Coker's people. She will be missed because she was one of the representatives of this Coker culture that provides such a positive experience for all who become part of this community -- in whatever capacity.

I get to teach a course, in fact it is coming up this next semester, in Organizational Communication. The course is a lot about organizational culture, which tends to influence the communication flow. People within the organization who reflect the culture and values that the organization feels at its core are so valuable. For Coker, Vicki is one of those people. She is caring. She is friendly. She gets things done. She understands there is more than one way to accomplish an objective. She likes people and most importantly likes to see people succeed. She also has worked to help other people succeed. Each organization seems to have a limited number of people who fully embody the organization's values and that is one reason the words, Vicki will be missed are certainly not empty. Vicki has been fully present with the Coker community from sharing Crew Race celebrations with her grandchildren to the confidential business of running the office of the President.

So, today is Vicki's graduation from Coker (see photo) but we are hoping she will continue to be part of the campus community for years to come.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Online classes moving forward at Coker

This summer I have had the opportunity of teaching or directing an online class in public speaking. It has been a valuable learning experience being on the instructor side of the online course. A few years ago I took a couple of online courses and enjoyed them and I did want to see what it would be like to be teaching online.

Coker is working with the Learning Company to introduce the online class process to our campus. The Learning Company is providing a lot of the infrastructure that is required for online offerings while providing Coker the opportunity to customize the experience of online education to the Coker culture. (Photo shows a seminar on June 28 with the Learning House representatives and Coker faculty.)

The online experiment began this summer with a number of liberal arts core courses offered online. For most of the faculty involved, it is a first-time online teaching experience. There is no question it is not the same as a classroom. While there are narrated power point lectures, and links to videos and musical selections, there is a great deal of responsibility on the part of the students to access the material provided. From my course, which had a small enrollment, I discovered this responsibility was not for everyone. The students who have participated seem to be getting a great deal from the online experience as they post their speeches through YOUTUBE and get pretty immediate feedback not only from the coach/professor but also from fellow students.

I am hoping to continue learning how to build engagement in online learning because for the student who is motivated from within, it can be a great way to move the college education forward.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coker College unveils "redefined" Cobra

Coker has had the same Cobra mascot since 1973 -- BUT NO LONGER

On Tuesday, June 22, Coker College unveiled a new, aggressive, fierce Cobra as the Mascot of the new era. Read this article on the web at

The Cobra was unveiled with a couple of hundred Cobra fans on hand, including nearly 70 students who will be entering Coker in the Fall.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coker Students Engaged in Diverse Research Projects

Coker Students Engaged in Diverse Research Projects

Read this news release to find out more about some of the summer research students are doing from the Coker College campus.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It is always a pleasure to relate the accomplishments of Coker College students. The Morning News of Florence is signaling out the perfect score on a teacher education exam scored by one of our Coker students. Congratulations are in store!

EDITORIAL: Thumbs up to Hartsville's Fields for perfect score on national ...
South Carolina Now
Just 2.3 percent of all Praxis test takers in South Carolina make a perfect score, according the state's Office of Educator Certification. ...
See all stories on this topic

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Internships provide rich learning experiences

Today provided an interesting visit to the Darlington County School District where Patrick Flynn, a rising senior English major, is doing a professional writing internship with Audrey Childers, director of communications for the district. Audrey is a superior supervisor for the interns. She understands the importance of sharing the "Why" with students and she also has a great way of providing lots of on-the-job training that helps students get a great deal from the internship. From a professor's point of view this is an internship for students who have prepared well in their classes because while it is a learning experience, the District also relies on the interns to provide meaning work during their 135 hours on the job.

The visit today was the point where Darlene Small, director of the Coker College center for international and experiential education, likes to check in with the organization and the student to see how things are going. As the instructor who supervises the internship, I get to read the weekly journals students prepare and for the past few weeks I have been able to see Patrick learning news writing and photography skills along with putting in time updating clip files and other must-do work. Audrey expressed praise for his work and he had several stories of interesting experiences the past few weeks.

This visit, like most of the internship visits I get to attend, was another concrete example of the power of engaged learning. There seems to be no question that requiring at least a three-hour (135 work hours)work experience is a vital part of the communication major. (even though Patrick is English, not communication).

photo caption -- Patrick Flynn, left, takes part in a conversation about his internship with Darlene Small of Coker (center) and Audrey Childers of the Darlington County School District.