SOCCCD disapproves Canvas conversion stipend for faculty

  • Chair of the Gender and Sexuality Studies department and co-chair of the history department Christina Gondrapour addresses the South Orange County Community District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
    Chair of the Gender and Sexuality Studies department and co-chair of the history department Christina Gondrapour addresses the South Orange County Community District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
  • Board of Trustees pay attention to Public Comments Members (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
    The Trustees pay attention to the faculty members who spoke during the Public Comments segment of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees meeting. (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
  • Saddleback College Women's Studies Professor Margot Lovett addresses the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
    Saddleback College Women's Studies instructor Margot Lovett addresses the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
  • Irvine Valley College English Professor Kurt Meyer addresses the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
    Irvine Valley College English instuctor Kurt Meyer addresses the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
  • Saddleback College Sociology Professor Allison Camelot addresses the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)
    Saddleback College sociology instructor Allison Camelot addresses the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees (Joseph Fleming/Lariat)

Correction: an earlier version of this article said the board denied stipends when the board had agreed to postpone the agenda item until further negotiations.

The South Orange County Community College District disapproved the Canvas conversion stipend at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Nov. 13.

The disallowed stipend, which was offered by the district administration, requested compensation for the amount of work put into the transition from Blackboard to Canvas online learning management systems.

“I was told that the conversion from Blackboard to Canvas would be a very easy one,” Irvine Valley College Spanish instructor Beatrice Tseng said. “But the whole formatting and style in which Canvas is designed is really different from Blackboard.”

A combination of 10 other professors and colleagues of those who could not attend had similar petitions regarding not only the transition from Blackboard to Canvas, but the hours put into better understanding Canvas through courses and workshops.

“Freeway flyers often don’t have a lot of extra time to be putting in 60 or 70 hours to redesign Canvas courses,” IVC Spanish Professor Jeanne Egasse said. “The time I spent, close to over 100 hours and continue to spend on it, really could have been spent keeping up in my field, writing activities for my students, etc.”

Egasse emphasized that the courses and workshops taken by her and her associates were meant to demonstrate students how to use Canvas, not the instructors creating the actual courses.

“I think that some compensation for faculty would make us feel like the work we did was worth something,” she said. “It was an amazing amount of work.”

Saddleback sociology instructor Allison Camelot found the situation to be disrespectful and made it clear that there was a sense of appreciation missing with no repayment for the work being done.

“It makes us feel not valued for our work,” she said. “I spent an enormous amount of my ‘free time’ which I already don’t have a lot of, including some family time.”

This was all during the Public Comments portion of the meeting where members of the public have up to two minutes to address the Board about any questions or concerns, after filling out a yellow, “Request to Speak” form available outside of the Ronald Reagan Board of Trustees room.

SOCCCD President Timothy Jemal clarified that this specific board is very supportive of the people’s requests, but mainly look for the best interests of the district as a whole.

“What I ask of everyone is to do something that’s greater than yourself,” he said. “I think the faculty association is doing what it should do and we as the board will act on what I feel should be the interests of the entire district.”

For more information on SOCCD visit https://www.socccd.edu/ and to stay up to date with Saddleback College news and events check out http://www.saddleback.edu/.

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