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Category: Online Learning (Page 1 of 2)

A Date with Data: NC-SARA Spring 2016 Reporting Guidelines

If your college is currently a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), the dates for reporting your Spring 2016 enrollment data are May 9-20, 2016. This means you GCC, JSRCC, LFCC, NRCC, NVCC, TCC, and WCC. “Wait? What data reporting?” you ask. One of the requirements of all institutional members of NC-SARA is to share out-of-state distance […]

EdTech@VCCS 2015-04-15 10:59:55

Hands-on_with_Higher_Ed_Tech

Featured Event

April 29 2015
New America Foundation: Hands On with Higher Ed Tech
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Washington, DC & online


Community colleges are often the only or the last chance for a college education for many of America’s students. Some students enroll in a couple of classes or a short-term certificate to gain new skills, some enroll to obtain their associate degrees, and some enroll with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution. The open access of community college is one of America’s greatest postsecondary strengths, but also one of its greatest challenges. While almost anyone with minimum qualifications can enter a community college and pursue a postsecondary credential, few will actually complete.

Community college students need access to more high-quality, flexible support services, courses, and credentials to succeed. Students should be able to take at least two courses a semester—two in the fall, two in the spring, and two in the summer—so that they can complete their associate degrees in two to four years. Innovative use of information technology can help get them there.

On April 29th, New America’s Education Policy Program will host an event that focuses on the use of information technology at community colleges. In February, New America released Community College Online, which features case studies of how community colleges are harnessing technology to improve remediation, student services, and content delivery. Join us for a highly interactive technology expo where we present many of the innovations featured in the report.

Please note that only the opening remarks and innovation presentations will be live streamed.

Take part in the conversation online using #CCOnline and following @NewAmericaEd.

Register for this event

Community College Online

I am a little late posting this report by The New America Foundation on online learning in the community colleges. Some of the findings in the report came directly from research on the VCCS done by the Community College Research Center. Findings such as this:

Given the lack of large-scale studies about online education in the public two-year sector, the Community College Research Center published a longitudinal study in 2013 that explored how well students in Virginia’s and Washington’s community colleges fared in online versus face-to-face courses. The study’s authors found that overall, student performance decreased in online courses. On average, if a student took a course online rather than face-to-face, the likelihood he would withdraw from the course increased by six percent. For those students who did complete online courses, the authors found that their final grades were lower by 0.3 GPA points (for example, a change from a B+ to a B).

Not exactly what we want to hear, but useful nonetheless.

I am still digging through the report but thought I would share the link for anyone interested in reading it.

OERu: Global learning for a global workforce

OERuWhile popular MOOC platforms Coursera and Udacity claim to be free and “open” but are merely free, OERu is the real thing: a truly free and open MOOC. OERu offers free courses to anyone with an internet connection who is interested in learning online with others from anywhere the world. OERu learners study independently, from home, by accessing world-class courses from recognized institutions.  Learners who want their efforts to count towards formal academic qualification can pay a reduced fee for course credit.

OERu is an international non-profit but currently has a limited number of US partners and no US community colleges in its network of institutions. This has to do with the messy nature of credit transfer between US, European, and Asian institutions but another complicating factor is the cumbersome US statewide distance learning authorization requirements for out-of-state learners, making national and international partnerships difficult.

Still, if your institution interested in joining an international network of universities and colleges dedicated to providing low-cost access to college courses using OER, check out the OERu website here. The requirements for membership are here. OERu is also willing to discuss system and consortial memberships if there is enough interest by systems such as the VCCS.

Links

New America Foundation Event in DC: Community College Online

CC-BY http://www.jisc.ac.uk

CC-BY http://www.jisc.ac.uk

On February 17th, the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program will host an event that will focus on the use of information technology at community colleges. The event will occur in conjunction with the release of a new report by New America, Community College Online, which features case studies of how community colleges are harnessing technology to improve remediation, student services, and content delivery. Here is a description of the two-hour long event from the organization’s web site:

Community colleges are often the only or the last chance for a college education for many of America’s students. Some students enroll in a couple of classes or a short-term certificate to gain new skills, some enroll to obtain their associate degrees, and some enroll with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution. The open access of community college is one of America’s greatest postsecondary strengths, but also one of its greatest challenges. While almost anyone with minimum qualifications can enter a community college and pursue a postsecondary credential, few will actually complete.

Community college students need access to more high-quality, flexible support services, courses, and credentials to succeed. Students should be able to take at least two courses a semester—two in the fall, two in the spring, and two in the summer—so that they can complete their associate degrees in two to four years. Innovative use of information technology can help get them there.

The opening remarks and innovation presentations will be live streamed.  If you can’t make it in person, you can participate on Twitter using the hastag #CCOnline and following @NewAmericaEd. You can see an agenda and register for the event here: http://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/community-college-online/.

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that “invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.”

Blackboard’s World

death_starI have just finished making my flight and hotel reservations for Blackboard World 2014. I finalized these plans with a somewhat troubled heart, loathe to participate in an event that to me is a frenzied celebration of the commercialization of education,  couched as a probing, open, academic conference. Let me just come right out and say it: Blackboard®, Inc. is an easy company to hate. Once an inferior product with a sizable market share, Blackboard went on a buying spree, gobbling up smaller web service companies and absorbing them into their product ecosystem. Angel integrated with Learn. Elluminate and Wimba became Blackboard Collaborate. TerribyClever Design became the platform for Blackboard Mobile. iStrategy became Analytics. Presidium was transformed into Blackboard Student Services. Moodlerooms. The list goes on.

Over the past year, Blackboard has been civilizing the Frankenstein monster they’ve created from the spare parts of other companies, trying to build an integrated product line that can compete with some of the new upstart in the LMS market, notably Instructure’s Canvas. I’ve generally liked the direction Blackboard is headed, and how much more responsive they have been to both customer and user feedback. But, like all LMSs, no matter how good Blackboard is or becomes, it will still be a problem disguised as a solution. More on that later.

The VCCS is a big customer of Blackboard, Inc., and part of my job is to oversee our LMS, Blackboard Learn, including xpLor, and Blackboard Collaborate.  It makes sense that I should go despite how uncomfortable I feel about attending. Appropriately, the conference is being held in Las Vegas, the City of Mammon, which only adds to my sense of loathing (to reference Hunter S. Thompson). Any fascination I had for Vegas has long worn off. Regardless, the die has been cast. It’s Vegas or bust. I have been to Bb World once before, in New Orleans in 2012. I  spent most of the conference agog at the sheer monumental size of everything:  from the clamoring hordes of badged participants to the soaring spaces of the  Convention Center that seemed to stretch on for miles. I felt I was strolling through a gigantic product placement. For 2014, I have been invited to be on a panel titled Instructional Content & the LMS in which the moderator, a Bb employee, offers a rather vague description of the session: “The LMS has transformed education. It has brought traditional teaching online and has enabled a level of experience in education that was not previously possible.” You could read this in a number of ways, depending on how you define traditional teaching and level of experience.

I will use this blog to reflect on my experiences at the conference, and report on any notable announcements that Blackboard inevitably makes at these events. Until then, what are your thoughts about the various products Blackboard offers? About the LMS in general? Have you been to Bb World before? Was it a valuable experience?

 

#thoughtvectors

Thoughtvectors_in_Concept_SpaceToday, VCU launched a brand-spanking new MOOC-ish thing, Thought Vectors in Concept Space. The official name is UNIV 200: Inquiry and the Craft of Argument. I am using this blog as my platform for my participation in the course which, if you are not a VCU students who is formally enrolled, is totally free. Totes.

So, if  “Take a MOOC” is on your bucket list–which would be kind of weird, but whatever–or you want a learning experience that more a cross between a roller-coaster ride and  than a college lecture, you should head to http://thoughtvectors.net/ and reveal your intent.

Announcement: the Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant, Deux

open_book_neonTonight (April 10th, 2014) during the New Horizon’s Excellence in Education Awards dinner,  Chancellor Glenn DuBois will be announcing the next round of the Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant. Because you are reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you get an advanced peek at the grant details and online application. Don’t say I never gave you nothin’.

Building on the success and momentum of the 2013 grant, which produced twelve high-enrollment, faculty-developed courses in which all required materials are free and openly licensed, the next phase of the Chancellor’s project will focus on increasing OER adoption by incentivizing VCCS faculty content experts to build and curate a library of open educational resources . The 2014-15 grants will be awarded to individuals who will form multi-college content teams to identify and review open content for high-enrollment course sequences (BIO 101-102, CHM 111-112, etc.). Each grantee will receive $1000 to collect these materials as well as  use them  to build and pilot their own OER courses at their respective colleges. Other VCCS faculty will be able to confidently select from this curated content to incorporate into their courses however they wish.

This OER development model of content teams has been used successfully in the Kaleidoscope Project, an effort several of our colleges are participating. Grantees will be supported by Lumen Learning.

For more information about the grant, or to fill out the online application, follow this link to my Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant page. You’ll find out more grant details and links to the RFP and online application. The turnaround time for applying is pretty short: the deadline is April 28th, 2014. Good luck!

 

EdReady is Ready

EdReady

NROC, or the National Repository of Online Courses, announced at its 2014 Member meeting in beautiful Monterey, CA that their new platform, EdReady, is now available and free to the public. EdReady allows users to assess their readiness for college math and, based on the results, provides individuals with a personalized study path of college math content. There are assessments that target the Accuplacer and Compass, and one for a general college placement assessment. NROC is also developing similar modules for English readiness, which should be ready around this time next year.

As of today–April 1st, 2014–anyone can use the EdReady platform. However, member institutions get access to a dashboard that allows them to customize the content, brand the experience, and generate detailed user reports, among other things. So far, pilot institutions have used EdReady in a high school college readiness program, in a Developmental Math MOOC, as component of college courses, and in Adult Basic Education courses.

NROC is a non-profit organization funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In addition to the EdReady content, NROC offers a wealth of other  course content found at HippoCampus that are designed to cover the breadth and depth of topics based on generally accepted national curricula and free to teachers and students. Member institutions can also customize these courses within a course management system.

You can find out more about NROC here: http://www.montereyinstitute.org/nroc/
You can find a link to EdReady here: https://edready.org/
You can find a link to Hippocampus here: http://www.hippocampus.org/

News: NMC offering free mini-courses for educators in STEM fields

NMC_Launches_Online_Training_Academy_for_Teachers___The_New_Media_Consortium

From the New Media Consortium:

The rebranded NMC Academy launched publicly today, a not-for-profit hub for education-related professional development. The mission of the project from its inception has been to provide busy teachers and other learning professionals with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills online, to explore new ways of delivering online learning, and to generally push the boundaries of cutting-edge professional learning opportunities. HP has selected the NMC to lead the next phases of the project because of the NMC’s track record for creating sustainable models that advance innovation in education.<full article>

The link to the NMC Academy site is academy.nmc.org

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