I Am A Woo…What Are You?

Woo. Woo, who? No, that’s not a knock-knock joke. Woo is a strength identified by the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment tool.

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My top 5 signature themes/strengths are: Responsibility, Strategic, WOO (Winning Others Over), Communication, and Self-Assurance. These top 5 signature themes make up who I am as a person. What makes me unique and why I do the things I do.

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During 2018 Spring Return Week, I led a professional development session called Know Your Strengths, Make An Impact. During this training session, all participants obtained an understanding about relationships to teams, strengths philosophy and how to apply it, personal insight through self discovery, and the difference between natural talent and strengths using scenario-based learning. We also reviewed the top 34 signature themes through game-based activities involving story cubes. By the end of the training session, the entire group learned about each other’s talents and strengths, the purpose of working within one’s strength zone, and the value of creating relationships through team engagement.  

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In the coming months you will continue to hear more about this unique program and ways in which MVC will integrate it on campus. The Gallup StrengthsQuest Departmental Training program is designed to help understand talents, reach goals, overcome obstacles, educate others about how to use strengths, and teaching teams to discover unique talents for team engagement and productivity. Stay tuned!

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For questions please contact the Office of Professional Development at (972) 860-5614 or email me (Rebecca McDowell) directly.

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Strength-Based Resources

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My First Presentation (as Yoda)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (a.k.a. Mountain View College)…

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My new role at the college still seems to be a mystery to most faculty and staff. The District has given me this enormous title that leaves people scratching their head. Our wonderful VP of Instruction, Dr. Doddy, even gets a confused look on her face when trying to remember the lengthy title. She graciously dubbed me Yoda to the entire campus during convocation last month. I think it is time to embrace the force and my unofficial title of Yoda (a.k.a. Distance Education Instructional Applications Integration Specialist).

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My first endeavor as the campus Yoda (please feel free to call me an Instructional Technologist by the way) was to lead a session on Effective and Engaging Presentations. I am terrified when it comes to speaking in front of a group of people (a secret shared by many I’m sure). This Yoda is better imparting her knowledge one-on-one. I was outside of my comfort zone to say the least. The great thing about this presentation, it gave me the tools to build my confidence to present to a large group. See, sometimes you do just need to embrace the force (wink, wink).

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There are three factors I covered that are to key a successful presentation, acknowledging common mistakes, designing more effective presentations, and finally ensuring you engages with your audience.

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Common Mistakes

  • Lack of enthusiasm
    • monotone voice
    • reading the slides
    • back to the audience
  • Text travesty – your font is so bad it can’t be read
  • Bad theme – each slide has a different color and font design
  • Cluttered slides
  • Over animated slides

Designing More Effective Presentations

The next step is to make your presentation more effective. Your presentation can make a bigger impact by following these guidelines:

  • Have one idea per slide.
  • Use a template or theme to keep your slide appearance consistent.
  • Be sure your font is easy to read. This includes, style, color, and size.
  • Use content layout to enhance the slide:
    • Content flow – should flow left to right and top to bottom.
    • Condense content – no more than 6 lines per slide.
    • Don’t clutter the slide – use white space to focus attention on key elements.
    • Transition slides – use transition slides to move from one idea to another.

Engaging with Your Audience

Now that you are avoiding the bad habits that make presentations bad and you have made your presentation more effective, here are four tips to make your presentations more engaging.

  • Break the ice – have your audience interact by participating in a poll. If you will be doing group activities, have them turn to their neighbors and introduce themselves.
  • Tell stories – nothing makes a topic more interesting than a personal story relating to the topic. This lets the audience know that you are invested in the topic enough to share a story.
  • Polls and live questions – don’t just use this as an icebreaker. Use polls and questions throughout the presentation to reset your audienc’s mindset and refocus on the topic.
  • Increase audience participation – one way to achieve this is to the the audience be proactive in choosing the direction of your presentation. Layout your main points and use a live poll to let the audience choose the first point to discuss.

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After researching, designing, and presenting on this topic, I am honestly say that I’m much more confident in giving a presentation to a large group. It is possible to overcome initial fears and help others by doing so…or as the real Yoda would say, “Help others, overcome fears you must.”

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Now it’s your turn to use these tips to go out into the world and give your next amazing presentation. Don’t worry, you can always reach out to me to help point you in the right direction or towards a tutorial that will help you along your journey. After all, that’s what a Yoda does.

February 2018 Workshops

February 2018 Workshops

The Office of Professional Development has helped coordinate and promote various workshops throughout the month. There’s even a conference opportunity in October (register ASAP if interested). Below, you can view, download, and print the entire schedule of upcoming workshops.

Lynda.com Training Courses

  1. Log into myPortal
  2. Click on Lynda Training (right hand side of screen)
  3. Select course of interest and begin viewing tutorial videos
  4. Upon completion, print out certificate of completion to keep in your records

eConnect Registration Information

  1. Log on to eConnect as an employee and choose “Register for Staff Enrichment” from Employee menu.
  2. Select the current term, choose Mountain View College as the location, and click Submit (or choose another location to see all available training across the district and online).
  3. Select course(s) by checking the selection box(es) to the left and click “Submit.”
  4. Questions? Call the Software Training Support Hotline at 972‐669‐6452 (between the hours of 8AM – 5PM, Monday – Friday).

Hosting Your Own Workshop?

Interested in hosting your own workshop to share your knowledge, expertise, or passion for teaching and learning? Simply contact the Office of Professional Development (email mvcprofdev@dcccd.edu) and we’ll help coordinate logistics and raise awareness for your event. Our goal is to connect faculty, staff, and administrators across the institution in discipline specific, teaching pedagogy, and leadership opportunities. As a reminder, all requests must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to the workshop scheduled.

December 2017 Workshops

December 2017 Workshops

The Office of Professional Development has helped coordinate and promote various workshops throughout the month. There’s even a conference opportunity in October (register ASAP if interested). Below, you can view, download, and print the entire schedule of upcoming workshops.

Lynda.com Training Courses

  1. Log into myPortal
  2. Click on Lynda Training (right hand side of screen)
  3. Select course of interest and begin viewing tutorial videos
  4. Upon completion, print out certificate of completion to keep in your records

eConnect Registration Information

  1. Log on to eConnect as an employee and choose “Register for Staff Enrichment” from Employee menu.
  2. Select the current term, choose Mountain View College as the location, and click Submit (or choose another location to see all available training across the district and online).
  3. Select course(s) by checking the selection box(es) to the left and click “Submit.”
  4. Questions? Call the Software Training Support Hotline at 972‐669‐6452 (between the hours of 8AM – 5PM, Monday – Friday).

Hosting Your Own Workshop?

Interested in hosting your own workshop to share your knowledge, expertise, or passion for teaching and learning? Simply contact the Office of Professional Development (email mvcprofdev@dcccd.edu) and we’ll help coordinate logistics and raise awareness for your event. Our goal is to connect faculty, staff, and administrators across the institution in discipline specific, teaching pedagogy, and leadership opportunities. As a reminder, all requests must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to the workshop scheduled.

StrengthsQuest Departmental Training

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Wow, what an honor it was to partner with District Office Talent Development/Talent Central Departments (Lorri Hill, Tracy Morin, and Marisa Patlan) in the Gallup StrengthsQuest based departmental training. This training was recently provided on our campus in support of our very own Advising Department, led by Sarah Jones.

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The StrengthsQuest based program is designed to help understand talents, reach goals, overcome obstacles, educate others about how to use strengths, and teach teams to discover unique talents for team engagement and productivity.

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During the training session, all participants learned their top five talents, validated their natural talents by understanding their strengths, engaged in a strengths-based approach towards goal setting, personal development and leadership, and gained personal insights through self-exploration and discovery. By the end of the training session, the entire cohort had developed a strong trust amongst and reinforced relationships throughout the team.

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In the coming months you will hear more about this unique program and ways in which MVC would like to integrate it on campus. Keep an eye out for a proposal dedicated to this during MVC’s participatory budget process.

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If you have any questions at all, please contact me, Rebecca McDowell, in the Office of Professional Development. I’d be glad to provide more information and resources.

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Additional Resources:

To learn more about StrengthsQuest and Gallup Education please visit the following links:

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2017 November Workshops

2017 November Workshops

The Office of Professional Development has helped coordinate and promote various workshops throughout the month. Below, you can view, download, and print the entire schedule of upcoming workshops.

DCCCD Monthly Software Training Schedule

  1. Log into myPortal and click on Software Training and Support (right side).
  2. Select Software Training Schedule (left side) and choose from face-to-face and online training options.

Lynda.com Training Courses

  1. Log into myPortal
  2. Click on Lynda Training (right hand side of screen)
  3. Select course of interest and begin viewing tutorial videos
  4. Upon completion, print out certificate of completion to keep in your records

eConnect Registration Information

  1. Log on to eConnect as an employee and choose “Register for Staff Enrichment” from Employee menu.
  2. Select the current term, choose Mountain View College as the location, and click Submit (or choose another location to see all available training across the district and online).
  3. Select course(s) by checking the selection box(es) to the left and click “Submit.”
  4. Questions? Call the Software Training Support Hotline at 972‐669‐6452 (between the hours of 8AM – 5PM, Monday – Friday).

Hosting Your Own Workshop?

Interested in hosting your own workshop to share your knowledge, expertise, or passion for teaching and learning? Simply contact the Office of Professional Development (email mvcprofdev@dcccd.edu) and we’ll help coordinate logistics and raise awareness for your event. Our goal is to connect faculty, staff, and administrators across the institution in discipline specific, teaching pedagogy, and leadership opportunities. As a reminder, all requests must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to the workshop scheduled.

2017 September Workshops

September 2017 Workshops

The Office of Professional Development has helped coordinate and promote various workshops throughout the month. Below, you can view, download, and print the entire schedule of upcoming workshops.

DCCCD Monthly Software Training Schedule

  1. Log into myPortal and click on Software Training and Support (right side).
  2. Select Software Training Schedule (left side) and choose from face-to-face and online training options.

Lynda.com Training Courses

  1. Log into myPortal
  2. Click on Lynda Training (right hand side of screen)
  3. Select course of interest and begin viewing tutorial videos
  4. Upon completion, print out certificate of completion to keep in your records

eConnect Registration Information

  1. Log on to eConnect as an employee and choose “Register for Staff Enrichment” from Employee menu.
  2. Select the current term, choose Mountain View College as the location, and click Submit (or choose another location to see all available training across the district and online).
  3. Select course(s) by checking the selection box(es) to the left and click “Submit.”
  4. Questions? Call the Software Training Support Hotline at 972‐669‐6452 (between the hours of 8AM – 5PM, Monday – Friday).

Hosting Your Own Workshop?

Interested in hosting your own workshop to share your knowledge, expertise, or passion for teaching and learning? Simply contact the Office of Professional Development (email mvcprofdev@dcccd.edu) and we’ll help coordinate logistics and raise awareness for your event. Our goal is to connect faculty, staff, and administrators across the institution in discipline specific, teaching pedagogy, and leadership opportunities. As a reminder, all requests must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to the workshop scheduled.