September 19, 2009

Thinking Visually and Critically

Mark Hillringhouse is in the PCCC English department. He teaches one of our writing-intensive courses - Critical Thinking CT 101.

Besides using one of our LibGuides to post materials at, this year he started using a blog to model for his students the idea of thinking visually.

"Sometimes I pre-visualize an image before taking a photograph. An image can have a powerful effect on the imagination," he says.

Mark is well known beyond our campus for his poetry and his photography. He brings both of those to his teaching in critical thinking.

Student in CT 101 created blogs and portfolios using their own photography and images by others to consider topics in critical thinking.

Mark uses some of his own images to model types of writing for his students.

Mark's Visual Thinking blog is at

September 18, 2009

Mentoring Faculty in Using Critical Thinking

Mark Hillringhouse will be the Writing Initiative mentor for critical thinking this academic year.

Mark developed and taught the WI section of Critical Thinking (CT 101).

Mark is known as both a poets and photographer and brought both of those talents into the critical thinking course as ways to teach creative and visual thinking.

He will do a presentation at our January Faculty Institute along with Kelly Bender to introduce the mentors to the new WI faculty fellows.

September 17, 2009

Mentoring Faculty in Writing

Professor Kelly Bender of the PCCC English department has been selected by the Initiative team to serve as our mentor to WI teaching fellows for writing for the academic year 09-10.

Kelly has developed the Writing Intensive section of  EN 212 and will be teaching a WI section of EN 205 next year.

She will present at the January Faculty Institute on creating writing assignments in other disciplines.

September 15, 2009

ECHO 360 for Capturing WI Moments

This past summer, Passaic County Community College, in collaboration with the Title V Writing Initiative, purchased an ECHO360 system. Traditionally known as a “lecture capture” system, ECHO 360 consists of a camera, computer podium and overhead projector. It allows presenters to capture voice, projection onto the screen, and views of the classroom, or any combination thereof.

Multiple units were purchased for the main campus, including a portable unit and one for the Writing Center Annex. In addition, each satellite campus has one classroom equipped with the technology.

The college has great plans for the use of the technology. While some instructors plan to “capture” their classes and make them available to students, others plan to make videos or podcasts to supplement their in-class lectures. In addition, the Center for Student Success and Admissions departments have plans for instructional videos on everything from registering for classes to logging into Blackboard.

The Writing Center intends to use this technology to help support distance students and others who may have difficulty coming to the on-campus Center. There are plans to capture writing workshops as well as create instructional videos for using the different technological supports available to students in the Writing Initiative. ECHO 360 videos and podcasts can be made by faculty and staff at PCCC by contacting Tom Tierney at WI faculty can contact to schedule use of the system in the Writing Center.