October 28

TK20: Graphite Upgrade

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

The Tk20 Graphite upgrade is on its way! Tk20 has been touting this system change for months, so I am happy to report that it is nearly here… or is it???

The interface with TK20 is changing:

  • Gone are the tabs across the top of the screen—navigation is being centralized into one left hand sidebar menu.
  • “Create” and “Search” functions will no longer be separated. If you are looking at student learning outcomes, then buttons for both functions will be available to you.
  • You can switch roles at any time from the top of the screen. You do not have to return to the “home” page to do so.
  • A new “Ad Hoc reports” feature will allow us to combine information from different areas of the system.
  • And many more new features!

Additional information about Graphite and its features can be found both on the Tk20 website: http://www.tk20.com/comingsoon/index.html and in their recent topical webinars, recordings of which can be found on the assessment website: http://stcloudstate.edu/assessment/tk20/webinars.asp.
In the aforementioned webinars, they state that the upgrade is coming in November. However, at a recent TK20 Mn User Group meeting, Tk20 stated that the upgrade will not be made available to those that have the Faculty Qualifications and Accreditation Managements modules until later—and that means us. They did not provide a target date for that roll out, which is called Graphite II.
We will have to patient for a little bit longer, but I think the wait will be worth the new features. I will update campus with new information as soon as I have it.

As always: let us know if you have questions!

Holly Evers



September 8

TK20: A Summer of Fun!

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

By Holly Evers
Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator

What did you do on your summer vacation? Ask around and you will find that there was a buzz of Tk20 activity going on behind the scenes, while you were away this summer!

A large delegation of campus users presented at the Tk20 User Conference. A group from the Meta-assessment Faculty Learning Community talked about meta-assessment (the assessment of assessment) in TK20. There is an underutilized area of the system built specifically to provide feedback on assessment plans. SCSU and the Meta-assessment FLC are pioneering its use.

A second group from School of Health and Human Services presented on how to adapt Tk20 for use outside of Education. Much of the system was built for the specific needs of education and its rigorous accreditation, but other areas of study undergo just as much scrutiny from external agencies. SHHS explained to this national audience how they are adapting and using areas of the Tk20 system like Field Experience, Applications, and Surveys to fulfill the needs of their own accrediting bodies.

Finally, there is a plethora of TK20 training opportunities coming up this fall. The School of Education is doing a brown bag lunch series. I will be doing drop in sessions and formal system training. The School of Health and Human Services will be doing more Lunch and Learn sessions. Be on the lookout for announcements with dates, times and locations!

And as always: let us know if you would like additional information about the Tk20 system. We are here to serve!

August 3

Faculty Qualifications: Friend or Foe?

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

By Holly Evers and Carol Kuhn

I love the faculty qualifications area of Tk20. I like the way it looks. I like the way it functions. I like the displays. Finally, I like the PDP/PDR report that we have been building in the system.

This electronic CV feature of Tk20 became available in Spring 2014. It was part of one of Tk20’s semi-annual upgrades. Realistically, it was built to capture and report qualifications to an accrediting agency—and, in fact, a few programs on campus have used it for just such a purpose!

However, we saw a greater potential and application for the system on our campus. Given the regular reporting between faculty and Deans, we wondered if the system could perform that function, as well.

Working with Tk20, we have created a PDP/PDR report that pulls information out of faculty qualifications for a date range that you specify. Working with faculty, we created categories that make the electronic CV function for as many people on campus as possible. We also asked TK20 to set safeguards in the system—individual faculty members are the only ones with access to his or her electronic CV. They are also the only individuals who can run, print out and share the PDP/PDR report produced by the system.

For accredited programs with specific reporting needs, the system will allow the creation of a faculty roster (group). Aggregate reports can be run on that group, which provide information such as qualifications, research and service for an accrediting body.

You are thinking: this all sounds great—what is the catch? The catch is the joyous self-exploration of manually entering information into the system. My advice is this: think about why you are using Faculty Qualifications. If you are using it to report your PDP/PDR, then just enter the requisite years of information (1-4). If you are using it for program review or accreditation reporting, then enter the information accrued since the last visit (may be 2 years, may be 10years). Once that work is done, then the issue is just one of maintenance.

Tk20 User: Jason Lindsey

“For me the advantage of the faculty qualifications tab in TK20 is better organization. Now if I complete something that I want to mention in my PDP/PDR, or participate in an activity I should mention, I add it to this database. Then, when the deadline for my PDR sneaks up on me (as it always does) I have all of the information ready.

The learning curve for this feature is not bad. The main complication is deciding between whether you want to assign a specific date to something (for example a talk you give in the community) vs. leaving the date range open (for example your ongoing membership in a professional organization). The export options for all of this information are good too. You can either export it into a PDF or MS word document. I think the latter format is useful if you want to go through and make some additional edits or formatting changes to the information TK20 exports.”

July 2

Advisement from a Student Perspective  

By Holly Evers and Carol Kuhn

If I were a student tasked to design an advisement tool for my advisor that allows her to track my progress and placements or advise me on next steps, all the while being able to keep (and print!) notes of our meetings with ease (the way my physician does), it would look a lot like the Advisement area of Tk20.

This is because Advisement in Tk20 provides faculty with a split screen where they can view:

  • Basic information about me (e.g. primary language, email address)
  • Details regarding any licensure, previous degrees or any certifications
  • Test scores – if I had any – (e.g. MTLE, GRE, Accuplacers)
  • Transcripts (minus transfer credits): current and past courses taken
  • Placements (e.g. field experience, practicums)
  • (most importantly from a student’s perspective), a NOTES section

Regarding courses taken, my advisor is not only be able to see each and every course chronologically (which, granted DARS does), my advisor is able to see them by term (which, from what I can tell, DARS does not do).

Advisement in Tk20 includes this ability so that advisors might assess that I took English 361 (Introduction to Linguistics) and English 473 (Introduction to Phonology) in the same semester. The problem being ENG 361 introduced me to vocabulary, concepts and skills that were critical for my success in Phonology. This mis-step I made could result in a lower grade in Phonology and a lower GPA overall. My advisor could see the potential pitfall and steer me clear, or if the die was cast, encourage me to keep going and seek out the aid of the professor.

Further, if I were a student tasked to design an advisement tool for my advisor I would desire ease of use in mapping my degree. Perhaps a split screen where the left hand side contains my information and the right contains the degree map, making the task of sequencing easier. Truth is: Life Happens. Perhaps I could not take the courses in the recommended ordered due to my work schedule, illness or a life event (birth, marriage, death). The information we discuss would be stored in the notes section, and we could talk about where I am and where I need to be. This would allow my advisor to be my mentor, too.

Having a notes section would allow my advisor similar capabilities as my physician (i.e. keeping notes on our conversations, recommendations, and other pertinent information, which would be available to another physician or nurse, if necessary). Sabbaticals happen. I am not the only one vulnerable to a life event. However, this does not have to result in loss of information or time for either of us.

If I were a student tasked to design an advisement tool for my advisor that allows him to track my progress and placements or advise me on next steps, all the while being able to keep (and print!) notes of our meetings with ease (the way my physician does), it would look a lot like the area of Advisement that already exists in Tk20!

May 21

What Tk20 Is, and What It Isn’t

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.tk20.com/

By Holly Evers and Carol Kuhn

What Tk20 is

Someone once asked: what do you want to know about your students? What are you curious to find out about your program? Tk20, a comprehensive assessment tool used throughout the St. Cloud State campus, provides an opportunity for you and your colleagues to answer these, and other, questions.

Tk20 was purchased in 2013 in order to better manage assessment and assessment reporting—effectively leaping us from our paper-based reporting system into the 21st Century. We expanded the initial purchase for the University’s accredited programs. We now have a collection of tools to help us better manage both assessment and, for those that need it, accreditation.

We offer training and a myriad of supports—quick guides, videos, one-on-one sessions, and webinars. We do not want you to be afraid nor do we want you to feel abandoned. Tk20 isn’t hard to learn or hard to use. Believe us when we say: It is safe to go in and push buttons and see what happens. It might require some patience, but in return you get the tried and true honor of learning a new technology.

Some amazing features of Tk20 include:

• The ability to track your internships, student teaching or other field experience.
• Electronic portfolios
• An electronic CV feature with a PDP/PDR report (custom built for SCSU!)
• An accreditation report and website builder

This is a small slice of the system’s capabilities. Egon Guba, founder of Western Michigan’s Evaluation Center, suggests that “evaluation’s most important purpose is not to prove but to improve”. Tk20 provides the campus with systematic processes to track that improvement.

What Tk20 is not

We wish we could wave a magic wand and make stacks of paper disappear from your desk and re-appear in an amazing aggregated report. Oh wait! We can! Unfortunately, TK20 is not fully automated; it requires your input—mission, outcomes, assessment reports—which requires the most precious of all commodities: time*

The system is not going to replicate your current system of assessment exactly. Both TK20 and those of us on the implementation end are eager to work with you to re-frame and adapt both the system and your assessment measures to figure out what works. Who knows? It may do a few things you hadn’t thought of! And if we run out of ideas, we are tapped into a battery of users in Minnesota who regularly share thoughts and innovative system usage.

Tk20 is not magic, but we believe it can help.

We invite your questions and concerns under the ATTN bi-line, “The Rumor Mill”

*incidentally, I cannot magically give you time, either.