Graduate Student Collaborative 2017-2018 Year End Report

Graduate Student Collaborative

2017-2018 Year End Report

This year, the Graduate Student Collaborative (GSC) has grown as a College Club and a student organization in many ways. We had a very ambitious agenda from which we worked on this year. The following are some of the accomplishments and challenges.


Presenting at conferences and participation in college events

Again, the Executive team worked to present on Leadership Challenges at the annual ESC Academic Conference. Our proposal was accepted.  For reason beyond our control (the Conference was cancelled) we were unable to present. However, we were able to re-write the proposal and our thematic presentations and instead presented this at the annual Wellness Retreat. Claudia Parrington, our Social Media representative created creative and inspiration Leadership Tool kits to remind guests of ways to be confident leaders and provide a sense of safety for the people they lead. President Salie Davis, Secretary Lynn Ann Hinds McCoy, and our treasurer Elenora Levin, all presented segments on personal leadership challenges and lessons learned on being a healthy leader. Attendance at this year’s presentation exceeded last year. We are looking into live streaming future presentations done by the GSC board. The GSC board also represented the GSC at college mixers, participated in many college events and presented at several ESC events and other conferences independently.

Hosting conferences

We worked tirelessly on the 2018 Diversity Forum that focused on students with Disabilities. The Forum required a lot effort in the planning and coordination. Regardless of the high amount of energy and time this required, we continued to move forward in the midst of uncertainty as we saw this as a primary responsibility as a Graduate Student Project. We successfully identified a few students (one of which was of Caribbean heritage), to provide students with successful and meaningful discussion about topics ranging from: being a disabled student, participating in learning through using adaptive technologies, parenting a disabled child, and a historical perspective of disabilities in education. The Forum was rich and diverse in perspectives and engaged the student body as we had many questions for the panelists.  We were able to engage participants through the use of distance technology and social networking tools.


Promoting opportunities for members to present, host and participate in college events

Scheduling and college wide tasks and responsibilities provided us with a road map for making this effort easier in the future. We have decided that a schedule should be developed by the beginning of the Fall term with all target dates, and that we will try to enlist the help and support of the Chief Diversity Officer for college efforts to be more integrated resulting in better performance and follow through with college personnel for coordinating technology at meeting sites. A challenge we have identified is declining student participation at sites across the state and we believe using the assistance of the Chief Diversity Officer will increase participation.

Membership meetings and administrative tasks

We continued to hold monthly meetings for Graduate Students to participate in planning and development. The meetings were changed from a phone call “free conference” line to the use of Zoom for meeting. Our Graduate student participation rates in calls remained average to previous years but had far less technical difficulties. Our meetings and GSC activities were posted on the GSC Facebook and we used the college wide email. Our Social Media representative, Claudia Parrington was phenomenal in her role. All the meetings were recording, transcribed and posted by the Secretary, Lynn Ann Hinds McCoy. Her efforts and progress are to be noted. Everything we discussed and planned for was reported with excellence in her recording of meetings and is transparent for all future GSC leaders. The Treasurer, Elenora Levin paid all of bills and we remained well within our budget. Even though she graduated, she continued and did an impeccable job managing our accounts and preparing our application for next year’s budget. We reimbursed  travel grants and look forward to more applications next year and this has been included in our proposed budget. Finally, the President, Salie Davis with the vision, tenacity and determination of the other Executive Team members, dramatically transformed the way our business is done, disseminated and archived through the use of many different means of using  new and engaging technologies for networking. and career building opportunities. Walk -in 3D websites are currently being explored even as the technology is in its beginning stages of development. Partnerships are being created with other clubs and organizations to better serve member needs.

Exploring opportunities for members to collaborate, network and share

The burgeoning field of 3D interactive approaches using virtual worlds was developed so that students, and alumni as well as faculty can collaborate, display and present projects, network, and grow as a community despite barriers of distance. Virtual Environments and the use of technology can be an effective way to bridge distances to actively engage participants in collaboration, networking, and learning opportunities on an interpersonal level. President Salie Davis has designed the Island on Kitely, SUNY ESC GSC, and has created pictorial and video support demonstrating its current and potential interactive uses and benefits. The virtual meeting space was initiated in April 2018. The build was completed by May 2018 and has since that received more than  twenty five individual avatar visits. It has also been successful in increasing membership and on May 30th was featured in a reputable educators blog, Virtual Outworlding by Selby Evans, focusing on the support of opportunities in collaboration and networking using emerging technologies. The island is currently on standby until the Fall semester when it will again be available for use.


We are always exploring other opportunities using technology to better organize and serve our members. The use of Google has been instrumental in saving all documents and meetings. The Website has been updated and missing documents are now stored there. All of the Social technologies that have been or are currently used (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, WordPress, Kitely) are now on a Master list for the college and all future GSC Board members to access and use. The college wide email was problematic and this remains a challenge however as the college rolls over to the Banner System we hope sharing information and posting events improves. We also hope to create a professional page on Linkedin to support career building and interests of our members.


Our Faculty Advisor has been a valuable resource for helping us to make the Graduate Forum continue and ways to look at the future of the GSC. We have asked for the help of Dr. Eileen O’Connor to join and help serve as a Co-Faculty Advisor to assist during times when Dr. Rogers is not available. In looking to the future, our goals and developed budget for next year identify several areas we would like to address.

The GSC is very interested in student feedback and plans to use surveymonkey to raise awareness of the GSC and to solicit for feedback about what students find helpful and what’s needed.

In order to promote further collaboration and success in the Graduate Forum for next year, the GSC is adding an additional  partner in the effort to cooperate and involve other clubs: the Black Male Initiative, and the BMI President Jawana Richardson is eager to be involved.

The GSC will develop a way for Graduate students to become aware of and involved in opportunities to work with professors, be involved in research, and be made ware of scholarship or Grant opportunities.

The GSC plans to award more travel grants to Graduate students.

The GSC is planning to increase membership and participation in the GSC. With clarification of bi-laws we have opened membership up to Undergraduates and Alumni to better serve our goals as a club and member needs. Opening membership to undergraduates will better prepare them for Graduate school and open opportunities for Graduate students to build their portfolio and skills through tutoring and presenting opportunities. Alumni will add to the community by being able to stay aware of the latest trends and talents in their field, while Graduate students will benefit from the experience and networking alumni have to offer

The GSC Board has made some revisions, throughout much of the work this year we identified some amendments that we believed needed to be made to ensure the integrity of the GSC and the election process.Proposed changes to the By-Laws will be put to member vote this summer.

We are sad to be losing some of our board members who are not running for office this year, however they will be appointed as Advisory members and we hope they will be able to share their wisdom with new GSC leaders as their time permits.


Submitted By,

Salie Davis, GSC President

Wales Brown, GSC Vice-President


Quick Start Guide for Using a Kitely Virtual Reality Island

Quick Start Guide for Using a Kitely Virtual Reality Island

  • 1. GET AVATAR: go to and click Create Account or Sign In > complete the information, including reading the Terms of Agreement; gather your sign in information from the method chosen — NOTE: keep track of your avatar name and password; no one can reset this for you (note from GSC we recommend choosing a general avatar to begin with which can be changed later, however this will give you a starter avatar with will have underclothes – Child safe avatar. You will be able to customize and change your avatar later) — 1-min video
  • 2. GET VIEWER: go to > choose your operating system > choose one of the download options THAT HAS OPENSIM in the name > follow instructions to put it on your computer – 45-sec video ; the viewer is downloaded to your computer
  • 3. GO TO LOCATION DIRECTLY: to visit any Kitely island you: open the Firestorm viewer on your computer by clicking its icon > in the viewer window, type avatar first and last name > click the drop-down arrow for Grid, and select Kitely > type the name of the island to be visited (if you leave this blank you will go to the Kitely Welcome Center the first time) > click Login and within about 45 seconds you are brought to the island – 1 min video (Marian Island is often used the Graduate Student Collaborative Island name is SUNYESCGSC )
  • 4. Or, CHANGE TO A DIFFERENT ISLAND: if you want to get to a different island, once you are on a Kitely island, click on the Map icon on the bottom of the Kitely window > type name of desired island in the Find textbook > click Find > once the island appears, click Teleport – 1 min video (Hint if you type SUNY the name will populate when you search)
  • USE SPEECH AND TEXT: to have your avatar speak, you click-on the small-box in the top right of the microphone icon on the bottom of the screen (a check mark is added) and then you click on and off the larger microphone icon itself to speak (you click this icon off when you do not want to speak to prevent audio feedback within the virtual space); to use text, type in the text-entry, chat space on the bottom left > press Enter – 1 min video
  • ADJUST SPEECH, if necessary: if you do not see green waves come out of your avatar’s head when you try to speak, on the top menu, click Avatar > Preferences > Sound and Media > click the Voice tab in the middle top of the dialog box > testing the Audio Device Settings features until you select the right device > click OK – 1-min video ; You can test your audio on Kitely too as shown in this 2-min video
  • MOVE YOUR AVATAR: move avatar using the arrow keys on your keyboard or by using the Walk/ Run / Fly icon on screen bottom where you first select whether to walk, run or fly and then determine the direction; you can teleport too, which is not reviewed here – 1-min video
  • CHANGE YOUR AVATAR’S VIEW: hold Alt on the keyboard > cursor becomes a magnifying glass > click on a distance item & with Alt still held zoom in/out with mouse scroll wheel; and/or click Avatar (top menu) > click-on Camera controls > use camera wheel to change views – 1 min video
  • TAKE SNAPSHOT: click Snapshot icon on screen bottom > click Save on disk > browse to desired location > select image type > click OK – 1 min video – advanced features – 2 min video
  • SIT ON OBJECTS: right click on chairs and other object > select Sit Here – 0.5 min video
  • MORE DETAILS: for a more detailed guide that uses images and screen captures, click here and then click to open startup-basics-VR-Firestorm.docx towards the bottom of the screen.
  • MANY MORE OPTIONS: These guides only highlights the most salient of many features, from avatar customization to instant messaging, that are available. Experiment by reviewing the menus and testing the effect on your avatar, by going to the Kitely Welcome island and by learning within your course activities. However, for most classes, you are only going to be using the virtual-reality spaces as meeting spaces without using any of the many advanced features.
  • Quick Start Guide (O’Connor /Feb 2018 (Updated by Salie Davis for use with GSC)

Graduate Student Collaborative in Virtual Worlds

Introducing GSC to another group in Kitley


President Salie Davis and Vice President Wales Brown recently introduced the GSC to another group in the virtual world. Empire State college has many graduate students who are active in learning about emerging technologies for solutions in business and education. Current Students and past alumni are active resources and the virtual world is full of collaborative and support opportunities. You can network with fellow scholars in The Island for GSC members and friends is called SUNY ESC GSC found in Kitely virtual worlds.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the SUNY Empire State College Graduate Student Collaborative is to encourage the convergence of graduate students from across SUNY Empire State College and varied disciplines so they may engage and support each other in their academic, social, and professional developments.We are now expanding our networking to include undergraduates interested in the graduate program and alumni interested in continued networking and career building opportunities.

The GSC will be a platform from which fellow students will network, create, and engage in various academic endeavors, professional developments, and social interactions. Some ways we will do this will be by hosting mixers at the residencies where students can meet, network and share critical issues/questions with faculty and staff. We also plan to engage the online students via webinars where they too can have a way to voice their issues, concerns, ask questions about capstone projects, etc. We hope to enrich our members through the promotion of diverse disciplines and perspectives. NOTE: Students should be in good academic standing if they would like to be a formal officer in this organization.