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Did you know that New Orleans ranks #7 for the percentage of people who bike to work, amongst cities with over 250,000 residents?

And yet we could certainly do better by our bike riders, our transit riders, and our pedestrians. As I've argued elsewhere, bikeped safety is an issue of social justice and aligned with Xavier's mission.

I would like to invite the Xavier community to help with a special effort to "Connect the Crescent." I've been designated as the XULA Green faculty and staff volunteer coordinator for this effort.

(Get the PDF)

In September, Xavier volunteers will work to improve connections from Uptown to the Central Business District (CBD), the Lafitte Greenway to the French Quarter, and the Algiers Ferry terminal to the French Quarter or CBD.

Family-oriented biking and walking events will also be held with numerous opportunities for sharing feedback about the network from September through December.

Volunteers are crucial to making Connect the Crescent a success and there are many ways to get involved!

For more information, and to sign up for a volunteer slot, visit

by Janice Florent

Online instructors must find new ways to engage their students and create a sense of community in a virtual world. Simple participation in an online course is not enough to create and sustain an online learning community.

How do you engage your students and inspire them to engage one another? In a THE Journal article, Chris Riedel, shared tips he got from the FETC conference to help educators create a sense of community online. Those tips are:

Create a compelling first impression - use tools like a smart phone, a webcam, or iMovie to build a memorable introduction to the course and course material. This is a great way to break the ice.
Encourage students to create their own spaces for learning - these include blogs, wikis, social media and other outlets.
Connect to students in multiple ways - find digital spaces students are comfortable with and let them take control.
Create support groups - create "support groups" of students who can be there for one another and provide an additional mechanism for learning.
Video trumps text - use video to communicate with students and encourage students to use video to connect with each other.
Audio trumps text - there is value in using voice; audio can add real value to your interactions with students and their interactions with each other.
Be a connector first, a content expert second - find guest speakers to add context and value to what is being learned in the class setting.
Play together - give students the freedom to explore new things and play with new ideas and technologies.
Define the expectations of the community - every class should have to answer two questions:

  • What did you learn from others?
  • What did you contribute to the learning of others?

While the focus of THE Journal website is on informing and educating K-12 teachers and administrators, Chris' tips for creating a sense of community for online learners are relevant for any online instructor. For more information read his “9 Tips for Creating a Sense of Community for Distance Learners” article.