I’m very excited that we’ve received so may excellent proposals for the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium (TLTS). The TLTS is a FREE faculty development event and a great opportunity for you to network with fellow educators throughout Colorado. Faculty and staff at eLCC member institutions are invited to attend the Symposium to be held on October 24th, 2014 at MSU Denver on the Auraria Campus.
The keynote speaker, Charles Dzuiban, is a national leader in online and blended education and we are very excited that he will be joining us for this event. This year’s theme is “The Quest for Quality” and session tracks include the following topics:
– Course Quality
– Multimedia for Learning
– Universal Design for Learning
– Blended Learning
– Social Learning
– Online Learning
Space is limited so register right away if you plan to attend.
Mark your calendar for the 2014 eLearning Consortium of Colorado 25th Annual Conference.
This year’s conference is on April 16-18, 2014 and at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado. Plan to help us celebrate a quarter century of success as we build on the past and lead to the future. Emerging technologies have created a dynamic, challenging environment that has caused us to adapt. What have we learned that can help us be successful as we move forward? Come and explore what the present and not-so-distant future holds for students, teaching, and learning.
Join us or submit a proposal for the conference. Deadline is January 10, 2014.
The Conference includes:
• FREE hands-on computer workshops
• Keynote presentations from elearning leaders
• Concurrent sessions featuring the latest elearning strategies
• Exhibits and demonstrations
Check out the 2013 conference program.
Once a peripheral offering in higher education, online and distance education is becoming essential to the mission of many colleges and universities today. More and more vendors, also known as “Bundled Service Providers” (BSPs), are competing to cash in on the continued growth of online education in higher education. Services offered by the BSPs include market research, lead generation and marketing, admission counseling, course development and 24/7 technical support. Most BSPs charge on a revenue share basis where the vendor keeps 20% to 65% of the gross revenue for a course/program. One vendor, Academic Partnerships made $4 million from its share of tuition from Arizona State, over $10 million from Florida International University, and $18 million from Ohio University’s nursing program in 2012. (Source: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/05/31/nonprofit-colleges-should-be-wary-new-breed-profit-players-essay).
Some of the major players in this space include:
The eagerness of for-profits to enter the online education higher education market sounds very familiar. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, dot-coms and for-profits were jumping onto the distance learning bandwagon to launch new online programs. NYU Online, Virtual Temple, US Open University and Arizona Learning Systems were very popular until the dot-com bust which forced the closure of many of these new online ventures.
Some faculty members are beginning to push back on some of these partnerships. An October 11, 2013 issue of Inside Higher Ed, reported on a recent clash between faculty and administration at Rutgers about a partnership with Pearson. Faculty were concerned about intellectual property rights and academic freedom as well as sharing the revenue from tuition with an outside vendor.
The eLearning Consortium of Colorado’s annual professional development day was on October 25, 2013. This year we again partnered with MSU Denver to co-sponsor the Symposium for Teaching & Learning with Technology. I served on the planning committee along with Jean Otte, Director of Online Learning at Aims and eLCC co-Chair, Ben Zastrocky, Director of the Educational Technology Center at MSU and eLCC member. Jane Chapman-Vigil, MSU’s Director of Faculty Development and James Lyall, MSU’s CIO also served on the planning committee. We were thrilled that so many people submitted proposals and attended the event! My colleague, Bridget Arend, provided the keynote presentation and representatives from several colleges and universities presented at the symposium.
Check out the blogs below for some nice summaries of the event:
eLCC Blog Post
DU Blog Post
Regis Blog Post
The results from Inside Higher Ed’s Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology are not that surprising for those of us who work in higher education. Although this survey is titled faculty attitudes about “technology,” the primary focus of this article is faculty attitudes about online courses. The majority of faculty members surveyed consider online courses to be lower quality than face-to-face courses. But of course, another result is that appreciation for the quality & effectiveness of online learning grows with instructors’ experiences with it. I think it would be very difficult to evaluate whether the quality of an online course is inferior to a traditional course if you have never taken or taught an online course.
As always, the comments on the article are just as interesting as the article itself with online learning enthusiasts arguing that online courses are as good or better than face-to-face courses, while the other side argues that online courses are inferior.
As an online learning proponent, I’m not going to try to convince anyone that online courses are any better or worse than face-to-face courses. But I am happy that the survey addresses the issue of quality and learning outcomes – these are important in all courses, regardless of the delivery mechanism. There are both excellent and “not so excellent” courses in both the online and face-to-face environment. Improving the quality of ALL courses should be the focus of these discussions instead of online courses vs traditional courses.
Below is a snippet from a comment by John Ebersole that I wanted to share here because I agree with him that we should not lump traditional for credit online courses into the same category as MOOCs.
“We do a dis-service to “traditional” online learning when we lump it together with MOOCs. We have had over 25 years of experience with the former and have consistently seen learning outcomes equal to or greater than those found from a classroom experience. MOOCs, on the other hand have yet to demonstrate ANY significant learning . Many have no assessments and those that do are from exams of dubious origin and conducted with little security. The online courses offered by over 70% of public and 60% of private institutions (remember there were nearly 7 million students taking at least one on line course in the fall semester of 2012) have high completion rates (over 80% at my institution), while MOOCS struggle to retain even 5%. We should not conflate the two.”
Steven Mintz, the executive director of the Institute for Transformational Learning, University of Texas System wrote a couple of very interesting articles in two major higher education publications last month. In an article in Inside Higher Education titled “Lifting All Boats, How MOOCs Can Bring Higher Education Together, he talks about how MOOCs may actually benefit higher education by providing opportunities to “rethink pedagogy and instructional design for a new century and a new generation of students.” This is exactly what traditional online education has been doing for the past several years. In a commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, The Future is Now, 15 Innovations to Watch For, he shares his predictions for the future of higher education over the next 36 months. I agree with Mintz that some of the recent disruptions in higher education that many people are worried about may actually benefit higher education and keep the focus where it should be, on learners and learning. I’m especially interested in these 5 innovations:
- Innovation 2: Evidence-based pedagogy
- Innovation 4: Optimized class time
- Innovation 6: Fewer large lecture classes
- Innovation 7: New frontiers for e-learning
- Innovation 8: Personalized adaptive learning
8 Lessons Learned from Teaching Online from EDUCAUSE on Vimeo.
Some people are under the impression that online education is something new to higher education with the recent obsession with MOOCs, but “for-credit” online classes and degree programs have been offered for many years. This short video highlights the following 8 lessons learned from 2 experienced online educators. By the way, most of these strategies are also applicable to the face-to-face environment.
1. High-Touch is more important than high-tech
2. Establish Social Presence using Digital Storytelling
3. Use Technology Intentionally
4. The Power of External Resources
5. Make your Expectations Explicit
6. Fun, Playfulness and the Unexpected
7. Login Regularly
8. Personal Feedback
There are a lot of self-assessment tools designed to assess whether students are ready to take an online course but few that are designed to assess whether an instructor is prepared to teach online. I recently ran across this Self-Assessment Tool for Online Teaching Preparedness developed by Penn State. Instructors complete a short self-assessment that includes the following categories:
- Organization and Time Management
- Communicating Online
- Teaching & Online Experience
- Technical Skills
After completing the self-assessment, instructors receive detailed feedback via email based on their responses. Thanks Penn State!
Interesting presentation titled the “Seven Futures of American Education.” The Sixth Future predicts that the 2nd era (the 1st era is access) of online education is improving quality – not just for online education, but for all education. I hope that the Sixth Future is realized and “Education Improves” because some of the other scenarios are more dystopian. My experience has been that when you ensure the quality of online education, traditional education also improves. This shift to quality assurance is long overdue in higher education. We need to demand that in addition to being content experts in their fields, ALL higher education faculty members are certified to teach, just like our K-12 instructors. I believe that online education has and will continue to be the main driver for improving the quality of teaching in higher education.
This presentation is based on John Sener’s book “The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning & Teaching in a Screen-Captured World.” The Seven Futures posits that we can improve education by “cyberizing” it which means we can use emerging technologies to improve educational quality.
I think the model described in this Wired Campus Blog post, 10 Highly Selective Colleges Form Consortium to Offer Online Courses makes a lot of sense. Students already attending one of the institutions in the consortium will be able to select from a wider range of courses and class sizes will be limited to 20 students. The article notes that the online classes might especially benefit students who are studying abroad. In my opinion, consortiums like this involving multiple online courses from multiple institutions will only continue to grow. The universities involved in this consortium are partnering with 2U, an educational technology start-up that provides universities with the technologies and infrastructural support for converting their on-campus programs into online programs.