Selected Presentations

Serendipity35 is my blog about learning and technology








copyright Ken and Jim

w/ Elliot

Dallas Conf

NJEDge 2005



Higher Ed Experts Faculty Member



Updated presentation information at


2013: The Beginning of the End of the University - Rutgers University, Office of Instructional and Research Technology, Technology in Learning Showcase, December 12, 2012
Examining the issues and trends in technology that have emerged this year that some are saying will lead to the end of the traditional university and/or the traditional degree. Is 2013 the beginning of the end of the university, or the starting place for University 2.0?

It’s the End of the University As We Know It (and I feel fine) - NJEDge.Net Annual Conference, November 28-30, 2012
The next ten years will transform universities in ways that will be frightening for anyone hoping to hold onto the university model that has existed for almost 900 years. It is very likely that, powered by technology, movements such as open educational resources, MOOCs, big data, non-degree programs, badges and alternatives to a university degree will lead to the end of University 1.0. What will be the tipping point that brings about University 2.0?               slides

Life after Composition: Improving Student Learning with Writing - TYCA-NE (Two Year College Association - Northeast) 47th Annual Conference in Syracuse, New York, October 25-27, 2012, with Elizabeth Nesius.
Our presentation was about the Writing Initiative at Passaic County Community College which we developed over the past five years.This Title V grant program of student and faculty support and collaboration across disciplines at the general education course level. The Writing Initiative, which received a NCTE Diane Hacker 2012 Award, solidifies a targeted approach to student success by focusing on reforming curriculum using writing-intensive courses and providing ample academic support, and creating opportunities for faculty professional development.             slides


Open Learning Through Open Textbooks - an NJEDge.Net Sponsored Session at the Emerging Learning Design conference, at Montclair State University, June 2011
Open Textbooks combine eTextbooks and Open Educational Resources and are helping to drive a growing number of emerging high school and higher education models. Open Textbooks are free, or very nearly free, electronic textbooks that are also editable so instructors can customize content. They are cross-platform compatible, printable, and accessible so they work with adaptive technology. This session looks at the opportunities to find and adopt open textbooks.
Presentation and additional information on eTextbooks and open textbooks at

OPENING TEXTBOOKS, at Seton Hall University, February 2011
Open textbooks offer colleges opportunities to use open education resources (OER), deliver content via mobile devices and allow for customized course materials while lowering student costs. Unlike commercial e-books, open textbooks are accessible online at no cost, very affordable as a print book, and are licensed to allow faculty to legally access and reformat copies of the text at no additional cost. But, although the content of open textbooks is similar to traditional texts, the traditional models for adoption, sale by bookstores and repurposing are different enough to cause concern on college campuses. This session will introduce you to the adoption of open textbooks and examine the ways that they are being promoted, marketed, authored and utilized in higher education. We will also examine organizations that are developing peer-reviewed repositories of digital textbooks. (Ken Ronkowitz is an advocate/trainer for funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.)

Unlike commercial e-books, open textbooks are accessible online at no cost, very affordable as a print book, and are licensed to allow faculty to legally access and reformat copies of the text at no additional cost. The educational material inside open textbooks is similar to traditional texts - but the traditional models for adoption, sale by bookstores and repurposing are different enough to cause concern on college campuses. How can faculty and instructional designers introduce open textbooks on campus and include the stakeholders so that this revolution is a quiet(er) and more productive one?

E-Books, E-Readers, E-Textbooks, & E-Pub: Explanations and Examples of the New and Not-So-New Technologies, Middlesex County College, January 2011
Google has just entered the e-book selling environment. Amazon’s e-books sales have outpaced print sales. Find out who the major players are, what technologies are available and MCC Library’s efforts to provide access to electronic book collections. Hear about the Open Textbook project and how Open Textbooks can be used, modified and created. See examples of hardware and software eReaders and the iPad. Facilitators: Elisabeth Oliu, Research Librarian, Middlesex County College Library; Brian Richards, Director Instructional Design & Media Services; Ken Ronkowitz, Director of the Writing initiative, Passaic County Community College

Increasing Writing Across Disciplines, Atlantic Cape Community College (NJ), January 2011
A presentation by Greg Fallon, Martha Brozyna and Ken Ronkowitz on the Writing Initiative at Passaic County Community College. The Initiative is a 5-year Title V grant-funded project to increase writing through the introduction of 20 distinct writing-intensive general education courses. This presentation covered the history of the project (now in its fourth year), the course redesign and faculty professional development process and a view from the perspective of a faculty member who has developed and taught a WI course.


It's an Open Book: Adopting Open Textbooks, NJEDge Annual Conference, November 2011
This session details how open textbooks offer schools entry opportunities to use open education resources, deliver content via mobile devices, give faculty a way to integrate new technology delivery tools that meet today's student’s preferences, and allow for customized course materials while lowering student costs.
view presentation

Adopting Open Textbooks, Two Year College Association Northeast Conference, Washington, DC, November 2010
The presentation was an introduction to open textbooks with a focus on English teachers. We discussed how the open license sets them apart from traditional textbooks by allowing users to read online, download, and print. The idea that they are editable so that instructors can customize content, cross-platform compatible and work with adaptive technology is new to many if not most educators. The session looked at how to identify, evaluate, and adopt Open Textbooks, and some training opportunities for those wanting to adopt open resources, do peer reviews or open their own writing. view the presentation

Soft Launching an Institutional ePortfolio Initiative, NJEDge Faculty Best Practices Showcase, March 2010
Presenters: Anita Kumar, Elizabeth Nesius and Ken Ronkowitz
view presentation

Feedback 360, NJEDge Faculty Best Practices Showcase, March 2010
Rethinking the use of feedback in the college classroom.
view presentation


The Ripple Effect: Faculty Redesign Through Course Redesign, NJEDge.Net Annual Conference, November 2009
view presentation

"Web 2.0 Delivery & Content for University 2.0"  E-Learning 2.0: The Next Generation of Online Education Conference, September 25, 2009, University of Connecticut
Web 2.0 allows small businesses, K-12 and home schools, and groups to create learning environments for very little cost that were once only the domain of universities and large corporations. Many colleges that offer online courses, continue to offer what might be called E-Learning 1.0. This session looks at the collaboration, discussion, social networking and interactivity that defines 2.0.

"Web 2.0 Tools: What’s Writing Got to Do with It?"  Summer Faculty Series at Seton Hall University, June 2009
Redefining the university and what we do in our classrooms through the filter of web and learning 2.0.
series website and slides

"Better Writers, Not Just Better Writing: Online Strategies to Support Writers in All Disciplines" sponsored by NJEDge.Net, at FDU, April 2009
This hands-on workshop will take participants through the process of planning, developing, designing, and delivering online writing resources to support students across the curricula. Presenters: Ellen Spaldo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing, Fairleigh Dickinson University Janet Boyd, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator, Metro Writing Studio, Metropolitan Campus, Fairleigh Dickinson University Kenneth Ronkowitz, Director, Writing Initiative, Passaic County Community College Elizabeth Nesius, Coordinator of the Writing Center, Passaic County Community College.

"Using Student Blogs As Reflective Practice" NJ Faculty Best Practices Showcase, March 2009, College of St. Elizabeth
The progression in the past decade of blogs from personal web journals to a platform for established professionals, corporations and writers has also created opportunities for education. This session looks at the use of blogs with graduate students at NJIT since 2007 as a method for regular student reflection on learning. Using either free services or commercial products, blogs offer the easiest method for students to publish online to a large audience without sophisticated web design skills. This allows them to focus on specific topics and on their knowledge construction. Built-in feedback tools allow teacher-to-student and peer-to-peer commentary. Though blogs can serve as e-portfolios, this project focused on writing concepts, publishing practices, intellectual property and digital design as a learning portfolio. This project will be incorporated into program competencies for students as reflective practitioners in addition to an established e-portfolio program.

"Blogging as Pedagogic Practice Across the Curriculum", Bloomfield College Faculty Technology Showcase, January 2009
Most discussion and research on blogs and teaching and learning in higher education focuses on them as another technological tool. This session looks at the use of blogging as a way to address traditional writing practices. Using college-wide blogging tools or free blogging services, instructors are addressing e-portfolios, audience, publishing, copyright and plagiarism, authentic writing, and writing in a digital age in varied disciplines. Examples from NJIT student blogs, and practices at PCCC and other colleges will be shared and participants should be able to replicate these practices in their own teaching.


"Tear Down the Walls: LibGuides and Evolving Learning Spaces" at the Northeast Connect Annual Conference, Montclair State University, November 14
Learning spaces continue to evolve as web tools further erase the physical walls of classrooms, libraries and other educational settings. This session examines the use of LibGuides, a web 2.0 content management and information sharing system designed specifically for libraries but being used at Passaic County Community College as a collaborative tool for courses. This hosted service offers opportunities to create and share reuseable content, tagging, widgets, embedded video, RSS, and easy integration with other tools like Delicious and Facebook.    view presentation and materials

“Technology Ethics: An Oxymoron?” (Writing Ethics and Technology panel) NJ Writing Alliance Annual Conference, Georgian Court University, April 2008.  presentation materials 

“How the Open Source Movement Will Change Writing” NJ College English Association Annual Conference, Seton Hall University, March 2008.

"Granted, Technology Makes Better Writers" at the NJEDge.Net Faculty Best Practices Showcase, Fairleigh Dickinson University, March
An overview of the Writing Initiative at Passaic County Community College. A five-year grant of $2.5 million at PCCC that is in the process of creating a GenEd curriculum of writing-intensive courses for the improvement of writing across the curriculum and college. Co-presented with Greg Fallon.     view presentation slides


"Human Networking: A University, High School, Industry Partnership", at the EduComm Conference, Anaheim, CA, June 21
Science Park High School is a magnet school that prepares students in grades 7-12 for academic careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. SPHS is the product of a unique partnership between Newark Public Schools, University Heights Science Park and three public research universities. New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), The University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ), Rutgers University at Newark and Essex County College, all collaborate with the students and teachers of SPHS. The schools also collaborate with the private industry tenants of Science Park who recognize the competitive business advantage of being physically adjacent to the universities with whom they have established cooperative research, licensing and development agreements. This year, NJIT is providing two professional staff positions to manage the SPHS instructional technology network and provide instructional and technical support. The Managers of Instructional Technology, and Network Resources are physically located at the high school, report to the principal on a day-to-day basis, and are culturally part of the SPHS community. This case study will examine NJIT's vision of a high school and university collaboration in science and technology will affect the pedagogy of both schools, and how this model can be replicated by other institutions

Title V sponsored Summer Teaching Institute at Passaic County Community College, June 2007 (2 half-day workshops)
"Authentic Assessment"
is a form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. They generally call upon the examinee to demonstrate specific skills and competencies, that is, to apply the skills and knowledge they have mastered.
Unlike "traditional assessment" (multiple-choice tests, fill-in-the-blanks, true-false, matching etc.) that is common in education, in authentic assessment teachers first determine the tasks that students will perform to demonstrate their mastery, and then a curriculum is developed that will enable students to perform those tasks well, including the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills. This has been referred to as planning backwards. This session examines the pedagogy of assessment and in the course of the workshop each participant will examine their current assessment methodology.
pdf of presentation

"An Introduction to ePortfolios" focuses on this one type of authentic assessment. In education, portfolio refers to a personal collection of information describing and documenting a person’s achievements and learning. Portfolios may be required for accreditation, job search, continuing professional development, or certification of competencies.
Currently, an electronic portfolio (AKA ePortfolio or digital portfolio) is the most common type. This collection of electronic evidence not only acts as a learning record, but also provides evidence of achievement.
During this workshop we looked at the types of portfolios used in educational settings, available electronic portfolio tools, and examples of student portfolios.
pdf of presentation

"Moodle: Free Course management Software (Free, like free kittens)" at the NJEDge.Net Faculty Best Practices Showcase, at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, March 23
Like other universities, NJIT feels that it is in our best interest to explore some of the available open source course management systems that are alternatives to commercial products such as WebCT. The instructional technology team at NJIT first began to look at Moodle during the fall 2005 semester and looked at pilot programs at other schools. Seventeen NJIT faculty ran test courses during the spring and summer of 2006 and a formal pilot program using Moodle was instituted in fall 2006. Participants included current users of WebCT & faculty who were new to using any type of learning management system. Fully online courses and face-to-face or hybrid courses were in the fall group. This presentation looks at the "cost" of free software in terms of training, administration and implementation. see presentation


"The Reading & Writing Homework You Don't Need to Assign" 21st Century Learning at the Crossroads (Center for Innovative Education and NJ Consortium for Middle Schools), Kean University, December 1 & 2, 2006
Session #1 - All your students are distance learning students. They are reading and writing outside school without you having to make any assignments. Digital natives are using blogs, discussion tools, social networking, wikis, metatagging, image sharing and sophisticated search tools at sites like MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, and YouTube. This session was to bring teachers up to date on these trends and the current research into student online activities to help familiarize you with what and where on the Net is occupying more hours than they spend with you in a classroom.
"Taking Advantage of Learning 2.0" - Session #2
Many of the Web 2.0 applications that students are willingly using outside school have educators and parents concerned. Sites like MySpace and Facebook offer frightening personal information. Flickr and YouTube offer images that can shock us. And students turn to Wikipedia and paper mills for cut and paste research. As with earlier technologies, teachers need to familiarize themselves with these tools in order to guide students in their uses for educational purposes. This session looked at some positive applications of these technologies. Presentation materials for both sessions

“Heart of Darkness: Entering the Land of Digital Natives” - NJAET (NJ Association for Educational Technology) Annual Conference, October 2006
Have you followed your students into the jungle of the wildly popular MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, SecondLife and Flickr? Did you even know that MoSoSo, Nerve, Plazes and Meetup existed? This Net travelogue offered a tour into some of the forbidden lands inhabited by our students that should be experienced as a teacher, parent and Netizen. For this conference (an audience of primarily K-12 teachers), this was an 60 minute tour up river. For those of you who have read Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness - or think you did because you saw the movie Apocalypse Now - that makes me Marlow and my Kurtz is all the juicy Web 2.0 applications that students are using and that many teachers know nothing about.   More detailed information and links

"How to Think Like da Vinci" - Summer Seminars in Critical Thinking (with participants from Hudson County Community College, New Jersey City University, Passaic County Community College) - June 21, 2005
The framework for this full day seminar was the seven principles that guided Leonardo da Vinci's own learning. For example, what da Vinci may have called connessione, we might call "systems thinking." Leonardo's blending of arte/scienza could be compared to whole brain activities or interdisciplinary studies. Within that frame, there were interactive exercises that require critical and creative thinking both for classroom use and for professional growth. The activities are based in different disciplines and address topics that include evaluating materials on the Internet, creativity vs. creative thinking, abstract language and problem solving strategies. The day was originally inspired by ideas presented by Michael Gelb in his book How to Think Like da Vinci.

"Paths to Bring Faculty to Podcasting: Apple's iTunes U" - June (Rutgers College)
About NJIT's pre-iTunes U pilot program in podcasting course materials including: the formats we used and why, recruiting faculty, creating podcasts, software and hardware, goals for our iTunes U site.

"Open Source Blogs and Wikis" - NYNJASTAR - June 19, 2006, Princeton University
Many colleges are considering using open source software as a way of taking control of both the design and cost of supporting instruction and administration. At NJIT, we have created Moodle and Sakai sandbox environments to experiment with, but our earlier entry into open source software was using OSS blogs and wikis. Blog and wiki installations require many of the same considerations as a CMS, but on a much smaller scale.
The theme of the conference is "interoperability" and my session looks at starting out with an open source project using a wiki or blog and included: obtaining the software, installation, user training, support issues.

"Student Satisfaction in Online Courses" at the Northeast WebCT Users (NEWUG) Group Annual Regional Conference, Drexel University, March 2006
This joint presentation with Blake Haggerty (NJIT) examines why student satisfaction evaluations at many universities are typically lower for online course as compared to face-to-face alternatives. 
This study examined New Jersey Institute of Technology’s efforts to determine whether faculty development or the use of specific course components in WebCT can minimize this discrepancy.
Ensuring that student satisfaction scores are comparable for distance learning and face-to-face classes is an important step towards confirming that students receive a comparable education regardless of delivery.  At NJIT, the distance learning student satisfaction surveys are typically lower than face-to-face alternatives.  To explore this relationship, the Instructional Technology department in cooperation with Institutional Research, the Associate Provost and CIO undertook a process to catalog the course components of every distance learning course offered during a spring and fall semester.
This presentation will outline the challenges associated with analyzing the results of an anonymous distance learning student satisfaction survey, and identifying correlations between the level of student satisfaction and the extent to which the instructor utilized the available tools in each course.  This list of characteristics includes but is not limited to the use of a course management system (WebCT, WebBoard, Campus Pipeline), use of threaded discussion, number of posts per student and types of content used (video, PDF, PowerPoint, HTML).  The study also included whether the instructor attended faculty development events, their rank, and department.
Institutional Research was able to take the results of the surveys and remove any identifying factors to maintain anonymity.  Our intention was to determine if there is a correlation between the “appropriate” (right tool for the job) and active (quantitative) use of certain tools, participation in faculty development events, and higher student satisfaction.  One goal is to use these results to help create University recommendations to increase the quality of courses.

"Social Computing and Personal Broadcasting" at the Faculty Best Practices Showcase at NJCU, March 2006
For my session I had all my materials on my EdTech blog and a wiki  online. I asked that members/registrants visit them and post comments and collaborate before the session. This presentation was inspired partially by The New Media Consortium's Emerging Technologies Initiative 2006 report on expanding the boundaries of teaching, learning and creative expression. It puts "social computing" and "personal broadcasting" at the top of their trends. Social computing, using websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and wikis, and personal broadcasting methods, such as podcasting and video blogging, is growing in use at a rapid pace with our students - and educators are being left behind. This session gave an overview of these trends with examples from students and faculty, and then focused on NJIT's current work using free and open-source wiki and blogging software to create non-commercial online collaborative spaces for academic use.    watch video


"Rubrics in the Age of Accountability: Transparent Assessment in Support of Learning" An NJEDge.Net DLAAB Colloquium, February 2005, Bonnie B. Mullinix, Monmouth University, NJ and Ken Ronkowitz, NJIT

Before working in instructional technology and teaching in higher ed, Ken taught for many years in K-12 where rubrics have been used extensively and with great success. Bonnie is an instructional design specialist in Monmouth's Faculty Resource Center and presents regularly on the creation and use of rubrics for assessment.

Rubrics provide a powerful tool for grading and assessment that can also serve as a transparent and inspiring guide to learning. Rubrics have been used to increase transparency and accountability across K-12 and higher education, and in corporate and government settings. This session reviewed rubrics by reviewing types of rubrics (holistic, analytic, general, and task-specific), steps to creating a rubric, and effective uses of rubrics (by students and faculty). We explored the characteristics of quality rubrics through construction of a "Rubric of Rubrics," an online tool for rubric development, and a consideration of how rubrics can encourage self-reflective learning.

Materials and links to further information used in this presentation are available online.
A video of this interactive session with participants from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Gloucester County College, Ramapo College and Rowan University is available online at archives/dlaab-colloquium.html

"Copyright Issues for Web-Enhanced Courses" - Sixth Annual Instructional Technology Workshop, The College of NJ, May 2005.
The application of copyright law and what protection it offers for courses that use learning management systems or instructor websites to store course materials. What are the applications of "Fair Use", the TEACH Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? What are the advantages of using a learning management system? How do I determine what materials I may legally use? What are the responsibilities of faculty when posting copyrighted materials online?

"University and Community College: Best Practices Partnerships in eL earning"at the League for Innovation Conference on Information Technology in Dallas, Texas, October.
Training new online instructors requires teaching a variety of technical skills, including how to use a course management system. There is also the need to examine best practices in issues such as learning styles, academic integrity, and authentic assessment. The New Jersey Institute of Technology has developed an e-learning faculty institute which, as part of a collaborative faculty development effort, Mercer County Community College faculty participated in and subsequently adapted to address its own needs. Co-Presentors: Debbie Kell (MCCC) and Ken Ronkowitz

"Partnerships in Faculty Professional Development" - NJEDge.Net Annual Conference, November 4, 2005
This session looks at effective ways to use training adaptations at other universities, community colleges and in K-12 districts, and introduces the Collaborative Faculty Development Initiative's calendar for 2006. Debbie Kell and  Kenneth Ronkowitz.  video


"Learning Styles" and "Problem Based Learning" - Seminar for Faculty Development  November 19, 2004 at Passaic County Community College, in partnership with New Jersey City University and Hudson County Community College.

"Examining Hybrid Courses: The Best of Face-to-Face and Online" - NJEDge.Net Faculty Best Practices Showcase 2004
Hybrid courses combine aspects of online and face-to-face instruction in a way that reduces the number of face-to-face classroom meetings. NJIT is embarking on a pilot study of hybrid courses. The questions we are addressing will be presented in this session: What are the benefits to students, faculty and the college? What criteria should be used for selecting the best courses for blending? What configurations of F2F & online sessions are successful? What faculty and student development is needed for success in teaching in, and learning in hybrid classes? What technology and instructional support should be offered in the design phase?    video

"Online, Collaborative and Enhanced Modes of Course Redesign" - Is it time to redesign? Critical Features of Redesigning College & University Courses with Examples of Current Best Practice - May 5, 2004, Seton Hall University
Panel presentation with Ken Ronkowitz, (NJIT), Nathaniel Knight, Roger Apfelbam and June Rohrbach (Seton Hall University).


"Integration of Video Streaming with Course Management Systems" - NJEDge.Net Annual Conference October 2003 ( Bill Duelly and Ken Ronkowitz)   video


"Empowering Instructors to Get their Courses Online" - Sloan Consortium ALN Conference Orlando, FL, November 2002. (with Blake Haggerty)  Abstract available


Valid CSS!