eLearning, Web 2.0, Educational Technology, Online/Distance Education, Faculty Development, and more…

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I just attended the CHLOE 3: Behind the Numbers webinar which was the third in a series of webinars based on a survey of chief online officers from all sectors of U.S. higher education. The webinar was presented by Richard Garrett, Eduventures Chief Research Officer, ACT | NRCCUA and Ronald Legon, Executive Director Emeritus, Quality Matters, and discussed enrollment trends, the typical structure of online courses, institutional governance practices for online programs, and analysis of online quality assurance as a process.

Participate in the CHLOE 4 survey

The CHLOE 4 annual survey will be distributed soon. Contact Barbara Burch at bburch@qualitymatters.org to confirm that it will be sent to your institution’s Director of Online Learning or Chief Online Officer (COO). Expanded topics in the CHLOE 4 survey will include:

  • Pros and cons of centralized vs. distributed support functions
  • Preparing faculty to teach online
  • Relationship between the COO and other senior administrators
  • Update findings on the use of online program managers (OPMs)

Check out a recording one of the earlier CHLOE 3 webinars below.

CHLOE 3 Highlights Webinar

Please make sure your institution will be represented in the CHLOE 4 survey.


Thanks to Regis faculty members Tom Yagosor and Bob Spagnola for their presentation, “Let’s Debate: Active Learning in the Online Classroom” at Friday’s eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) meeting. Tom and Bob teach both online and face-to-face courses at Regis and they shared how they recently started using Zoom in their online classes for debates.

This was my first eLCC meeting for over a year and it was great to see both old and new members. We were also treated to a tour of the Innovation Center which is located in the middle of faculty offices in Regis University’s College of Business and Economics.

Innovation Center

The room was designed so that the technology is always on to avoid needing to connect. The walls are writable and markers are stored in the ottoman chairs. eLCC meets monthly and is hosted by member campuses each month. Thanks to Regis for hosting a great meeting!

eLCC Conference in Breckenridge, CO

eLCC’s annual conference will take place Wednesday April 17 – 19, 2019 at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, CO. The Call for Proposals for the conference has been extended to March 18, 2019. Special hotel rates are valid until March 8, 2019.

The eLCC conference draws people from across the nation and is a wonderful opportunity to connect with peers in higher ed who are using technology and online learning to provide opportunities for students.

According to Dr. Tony Bates, there are systemic problems with leadership in online learning management in higher education.  In one of his 2018 year end reviews titled “2018 review of online learning: weak leadership,” Tony describes two classic cases of weak leadership in the area of digital and online learning. Dr. Bates is a Canadian scholar with a distinguished background in the area of distance learning.

black and white blackboard business chalkboard
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The e-Learning cases he highlighted were:

Case 1: There was no project management, no change of course design, no course director, and three months before the course was due to be launched, no confirmed instructors. Worst of all, the department was not listening to the advice of the Centre for Teaching and Learning

Case 2: Under pressure from a couple of deans, the acting provost of a large university summons all the deans to a meeting to discuss ‘what we should be doing about e-learning.’ An external expert is invited to address the meeting for about 20 minutes. This is followed by a largely unstructured discussion where it is clear that about a third of the deans are anxious to move ahead rapidly with blended and fully online courses for credit, about half are open to moving but need more resources and technical help before making any commitments, and one or two are sullenly quiet, suggesting opposition….

Twelve months later, the situation remains the same, under a new Provost.

Does this sound familiar? Many higher education administrators and faculty members are still ignorant about the benefits and challenges of online and hybrid education. Universities need a strategic plan for online education so classic cases like the above are not so common.

Tony Bates is a well known leader in online teaching and administration. You can learn more about online learning from Dr. Bates by following his blog or by reading his free, open textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bates and attend one of his sessions at the 2017 World Conference on Online Learning

Don’t miss Tony’s other 2018 year-end reviews:

Members of the academic community have very strong opinions about online education. These opinions are often negative and based on myths, not evidence. Some like to share their negative perceptions in the comments section of articles or blogs about online education.  Here is an example from the comment section of a recent Inside Higher Ed article entitled, “Online Education Ascends.”

Are we really ready to accept that the students are the best judges of the quality of an education they are just starting? And all kinds of things are here to stay, and most of them are horrible. That’s hardly a selling point. And maybe this is the heart of the problem. Online education for most administrations is a selling point and has very little to do with educational quality. (By: 3rd Tyrant)

I think 3rd Tyant’s comment was in response to Stewart Sutin’s comment that online education is here to stay.  Sutin shared some well researched tips about how to ensure the quality of online education by:

  • Carefully selecting online instructors
  • Providing instructors with adequate training and access to course design specialists
  • Providing adequate budgets to support faculty and quality programs
  • Providing ample tech support
  • Ensuring institutional objectives extend beyond enrollment growth

I agree with all of the above. I also appreciated Chris’s reply to 3rd Tyrant’s comment,

“Why the assumption that in-person is high quality but online is not?”

I’m guessing 3rd Tyrant has bought into the common myths about teaching online and hasn’t done research on the subject.  3rd Tyrant and other online education naysayers need to take time to learn the facts about teaching online.  The video below does an excellent job of responding to the ten most commons myths about teaching online.

This video is one of the many excellent resources from Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence.

I had a great experience using VoiceThread in my online class last Fall and this year I’m using it for my Syllabus overview.  This is a super easy way to provide students with a personalized syllabus summary in an online course. I’ll be using the FREE version of VoiceThread again this year.

I’ll be sharing my experiences teaching with VoiceThread at the Magna Teaching with Technology conference in St. Louis on Oct. 7, 2018.  The title of my presentation is “Supporting Effective Teaching and Learning Principles with VoiceThread.”


I’m using FlipGrid for the first time this year starting with class introductions. We will use both tools during the course to move beyond text-based discussions. FlipGrid and VoiceThread give us asynchronous opportunities to hear and see one another, and build a sense of community within the course. I have approval to do a study to explore how  using FlipGrid and VoiceThread impact proven principles of good practice.

I decided to add FlipGrid as a required participation tool after hearing from a few  faculty who tried it out in their online course and claimed their students loved it!  I also like the fact that FlipGrid is now part of the Office 365 suite so educators can now take advantage of features only previously available be a paid license.

Finally, giving students an opportunity to explore these technologies supports several outcomes for a course about teaching, learning & technology.  I can’t wait to give them a try!




One of the most exciting benefits of learning to teach online is that it positively impacts pexels-photo-245132_Diversityface-to-face (FTF) teaching by:

  1. improving the use and integration of digital media and technology in face-to-face classes;
  2. making more extensive and better use of the Learning Management System tools;
  3. moving faculty from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side”;
  4. offering professors more flexibility of how, when, and where they teach their class;
  5. motivating professors to learn more about pedagogy and course design for all courses;
  6. promoting the alignment of learning objectives to content, assessments, interactions, and activities in all courses.

Empirical research from faculty who participated in an intensive 4-week Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) at a private, non-profit university, supports external research findings (McQuiggens 2012, Sener 2012) that learning to teach online has a positive impact on F2F teaching.

The vast majority of TOW faculty agreed that learning to teach an online course has positively influenced how they teach their on-campus courses.


Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, Canvas, and BrightSpace often get a bad rap in higher education.  The key is how faculty members leverage these systems to support student learning.  Below are testimonials from Teaching Online Workshop graduates about how teaching online has impacted their LMS use in face-to-face courses

Testimonials about more extensive use of LMS

These findings are good news for students and higher education overall. When instructors apply what they learn about effective online learning practices to their face-to-face classrooms, it is a win-win for everyone!


Keairns, Kathy, & Tobin, Heather (2015). Faculty as Students: One Model for Preparing Faculty to Develop and Teach Online. Distance Teaching & Learning Conference. Madison, WI.

McQuiggan, Carol A. (2012).Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for      Change. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Volume 16: Issue 2.

Sener, J. (2012). The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning and Teaching in a Screen-Captured World. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.



Are you ready to network with colleagues and LEARN strategies that support project-based learning, flipped learning, universal design for learning, and more?  Mark your calendar for August 1 & 2, 2018, and then register for the 2018 COLTT conference. COLTT Flyer

One of the first things we ask faculty to share in the Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) is their apprehensions and concerns about teaching online. The Teaching Online Young people at table with laptopWorkshop is an online course for faculty new to teaching online. Participants experience online education first-hand as students in this intensive four- week course.

The Prompt

Teaching online can be very different from what most of us have experienced in the traditional classroom. Many instructors have apprehension and see great challenges with this method of education.

After reading through module 1.1 about online learning and taking the faculty preparedness for online teaching self-assessment, what are your main thoughts or concerns about teaching online? What potential benefits might you expect?

Faculty Concerns (from 2013 TOW)

“My first concern is that I gather much feedback from the nonverbal communication between myself and the students during class regarding their understanding, interest, previous knowledge, etc.  I am hopeful that I can still receive feedback to tailor my course for the students I will be teaching.”

“My concern is how to determine the optimum number of bells and whistles (news stories, blogs, wiki’s, video links) to include in order for students to stay engaged?”

“First, I am concerned about the fact that students who struggle with time management and/or have procrastination problems typically don’t fare well during an online course because some of the students who enroll in our class will undoubtedly fit into this category. Second, I have heard many students talk about how they just need to post something to a discussion board for credit rather than because they have a really thoughtful point they are intrinsically inclined to share, so I’m trying to think through how I can manage that issue. Finally, I’m nervous about how well I will do with creating an online classroom feel in which students engage in meaningful dialog with one another.”

The challenge I see is keeping a balance of social chatter vs. specific assignment discussions, I have seen this get out-of-hand per some online classes. I always appreciated the online facilitator who encouraged more specifics from students who generalized;  they also minimized extremely long posts by reminding students to stay on point and the importance of being succinct when discussing a point or adding a relevant comment.”

“I am also apprehensive about being organized enough to pull this off effectively and in a timely way. I always meet deadlines, but I tend to procrastinate up to those deadlines.”

I appreciate the honesty and variety of responses to this prompt and understand that these are all valid concerns for faculty new to online teaching.  I will share more concerns later but my next blog post will highlight this groups’ perceived benefits of teaching online.



There are a plethora of misconceptions and challenges about online education within the academy.  It is no secret that many higher education faculty members are skeptical about online learning and hesitate to teach online courses.

Last week I had an opportunity to lead a workshop for faculty about online education. Here are the 7 reasons/misconceptions why faculty may be resistant to teaching online.


Note that I added technology challenges as a reason for faculty resistance to online education after it was identified as a concern by several faculty members who attended the workshop.


I think these are all valid concerns if you believe the misconceptions about online education.

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This is a quick summary of a FREE professional development webinar I attended from Young people at table with laptopthe Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) group. This FridayLive session was about good practices for online education, esp. those encouraged by accreditors, states, et al.

Session Description

Courses and educational programs that have on-line or distance components have existed long enough to have a history. Scholars and accrediting agencies are sincerely interested in promoting good practices that improve student learning. What are the good practices that have emerged, where did they come from, how are they implemented by individuals and by programs, and what are the interests taken by external agencies such as states and accreditors?

Guest:  David McCurry, Director of Distance Education at University of South Carolina Upstate
Interviewer:  Doug Eder, emeritus assessment scholar and faculty member
Moderator: Steve Gilbert, TLT Group

Summary & Resources

It was a good conversation and lots of great resources were shared (see below).  The TLT group is a great organization with a long history of promoting effective teaching practices.  Dr. McCurry shared the attributes of good practices in online education from “National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements” (NC-SARA).  We also discussed the 2018 CHOLE Report findings and the role of the Chief Online Learning Officer (COLO).

UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

ICT –  Information and Communications Technology

There is no such thing as educational technology (Dr. McCurry’s blog)

A Concierge Model for Supporting Faculty in Online Course Design (MuCurry & Mullinix)

Leading & Managing eLearning (Book Recommendation)

Take advantage of upcoming Friday Live Sessions to learn more about Teaching, Learning and Technology. Keep up the good work TLT!