“Killer” Gateway Courses & LTAs: FridayLive! Series 2019

Planning Session (Open Brainstorming and Discussion) March 22, 2019

For new FridayLive! series:

“Killer” Gateway Courses & LTAs

TLTG Goals [“Straw Man”] for each session in this series

Help students, faculty, and those who support them
who are currently trying to “get thru” these courses or course requirements….

Why should/shouldn’t we proceed with this series?

Why I’m interested… Why are YOU interested?  

What are LTAs (online)?

LTAs = Low-Threshold Applications, Activities (More…)

What is a “Killer” Gateway Course?  Who cares? Why Bother?

Poll:  “Killer” Gateway Courses Familiarity?

[If not everyone familiar, …here is a little intro…
“Killer” Gateway Courses:  

  • The Usual Suspects (alphabetic order):  Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, History, Math, Psychology, Writing.
  • Definitions

Courses with high rates of unsuccessful outcomes (DFWI rates)

– Courses with DFWI rates of 30% or higher

– These courses ‘kill’ a student’s GPA, motivation, academic progress, etc.

– Serve as ‘gatekeeper’ to further study and degree completion”

– Slide 3 from Koch & Pistilli in Publication, Websites below

Alternative Phrases

  • “Gatekeeper Course”?  
  • “Prerequisite that every student pursuing specific major or career MUST “GET THRU”?
  • Others?
  • Best?

TLTG Goals [“Straw Man”] for each session in this series

Help students, faculty, and those who support them
who are currently trying to “get thru” these courses or course requirements….

  • Describe/demo at least one online LTA that is very likely to be  
    • helpful to a student in a specific “Killer” Gateway Course
    • something a teacher of a specific “Killer” Gateway Course could recommend to or require of students
    • something participants in the FrLv session could recommend to colleagues
  • Participants  feel their time was well-spent

Why should/shouldn’t we proceed with this series?

Why I’m interested… Why are YOU interested?  

I’m not focused on previous preparatory steps;  not focused on significant curricular changes. There are already lots of strategies, approaches, worries, about dealing with these courses… prerequisites, high school prep, adult ed, remedial/developmental courses, first-year programs, ….

How much can we help by providing a few LTAs?

Current issue:   Prereq/developmental vs.  Integrated First Year Course

i.e, require students to complete pre-req developmental course (e.g., high school algebra) BEFORE taking Gateway Courses Accounting, Math, etc.


integrating the necessary developmental skills into the gateway course


How could this pairing usefully shape a series of FridayLive! sessions?  How focus each FridayLive! session in series?

More specifically, how focus each FridayLive! session in series?  How…

  1. Select a single “Killer” Gateway Course?   
  2. Select a single instructional bottleneck?
  3. Select a single online LTA?
  4. Identify SMALL selection of useful resources?  People? Organizations? Events? Publications?
  5. Identify volunteers for “cameo” participation?
  • How select a single “Killer” Gateway Course?   
  • How select a single online LTA?

A.  Content-Focused


B.  Prereq/Preparatory Skills;  Learning Skills

    • Learning Skills- Focused  For Example:
    • Google Search Skills – e.g, use of quotation marks
    • Lucy McDonald’s website, e.g., reading skills
    • Saundra McGuire’s Chemistry learning advice & Metacognition suggestions MERLOT   
    • Roberta Sullivan’s  EmTechWIKI from SUNY
    • John Gardner Institute…
    • Penny Kuckkahn:  Integration within Gateway course of Remedial, Developmental, Basic Skills [Welding curriculum!!!]
  • How identify SMALL selection of useful resources?  People? Organizations? Events? Publications?

  • How identify volunteers for “cameo” participation?  

First of Series March 29, 2019 “Straw man” Proposal?

  • Math – Algebra
  • LTA Math-Focused
  • LTA Killer Course Focused
  • Cameo?

Low-Threshold Applications and Activities (LTAs)

Incrementally Low-Cost in Time, Money, Stress

An LTA is an activity or application of information technology that is “low-threshold” i.e., reliable, accessible, easy to learn, non-intimidating and incrementally low-cost in time, money, and stress.  Each LTA has easily observable benefits right away, and is likely to support important long-term improvements in teaching and/or learning.

It is often useful to extend the definition of LTA to include Apps, Applications, Activities, Resources, Web Sites, …  LTA’s need not depend on any specific information technology.

Additional LTA Resources (Collections of low threshold and higher threshold teaching resources, Examples, Slideshows, etc.)


(Weekly?) Survey to select 1 “Killer” Gateway Course per FridayLive! session

  • Identify at least one Instructional Bottleneck per “Killer” Gateway Course 
  • Identify at least one prerequisite obstacle (of fundamental notation and/or syntax) 

Identify, introduce, demonstrate, discuss at least one 

  • bottleneck-widening LTA that can be used effectively, comfortably in online education
    • especially, prerequisite obstacle (of fundamental notation and/or syntax)
  • request for additional specific bottleneck-widening LTA
For Online Synchronous Sessions
LTAs = Low-Threshold Applications, Activities

2pm ET Intro, Warm-Up – Steve  Gilbert

Introduction – Begin recording

Do we have a VOC today?

Start “clock” to keep Steve Gilbert closer to schedule!

Only online courses in which faculty seek to encourage students’ engagement & participation, especially via use of “essential” features of the online resources used in the course.   

Warm-Up Shared Whiteboard – (Map of US/world – click)

Why?  Simple NON-VERBAL introductory activity.  Shared whiteboard can be used in MANY different ways for more advanced purposes,
but quick response from all may require at least an initial practice – “pump-priming”.

Yes/No Question:  Would you like some explanation of use of shared whiteboard in Zoom?

Launch  Display Map Whiteboard;  explain how to participate

Demo Ask question:  everyone, please use whiteboard to indicate  your city

Discussion: … before/during/after SYNCHRONOUS sessions


Why?  Show/sample use of …;  lead-in to discussion of how use  …. in online synch sessions is different from…..?

How?  Online …. Zoom Screen Sharing….


PLEASE THINK SILENTLY FOR 2 MINUTES (jot notes offline?); please do not enter anything in the chat;  do not speak via microphone.

TOPIC:  When using … in an online synchronous session, what is the most/least useful….?  What would make you avoid using ANY …. at all?  

  • Use the next 2 minutes to think about silence and timing in online sessions.
  • Try to prepare 1 comment or 1 question that you will share as soon as the 2 minutes has elapsed.  At that time, you will be invited to “raise your hand” if you would like to respond vocally.  Otherwise, please enter your comment or question immediately in the chat.
  • We’ll use the next 5 minutes to listen and read.
  • Then we’ll decide whether or not to continue this discussion right now!


Resources? [Add more…]


“YES” = DISCUSS Recommended ReadingsTimeless classics or out of date?


What is … in online courses?  What is …?  Why should we care?  What can we do?

  1. Student ….
  2. Student ….
  3. Faculty …
  4. [Faculty … DURING online sessions about teaching/learning?]

2:45pm ET  Closing


  1. What was most useful today?
  2. What was not clear enough?
  3. What would be a useful follow-up?
  4. How might you contribute to the follow-up?

Next Week:  THEME:  ….

Clarify a Topic, Issue:  Articulate a

Useful Question

Request for Resource

Identify, Share Resource

At least one strategy, online tool, etc.

Shareable, Shareworthy (almost immediately useable/useful)


Decide Unnecessary

Identify Specific Activity, Date, People