Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

Archive for May, 2007

“Teach students to teach themselves…”

I think the most powerful and quote I got from last weeks NCDL Alliance conference came fro David Warlick. He said in his keynote address, “Educators must start teaching student HOW to teach themselves”. How to sift through the tons of information generated every minute around the world and harness that content to succeed in this digital (global) economy.
How do we prepare our students for a future we as teachers can’t describe nor conceptualize? Technology is evolving and changing at an incredible rapid rate. The future is unpredictable and we have no concrete idea what the work environments will be like in 5 years, 10, 15…, and how to prepare our students for them. One thing is certain…digital technology, the internet and globalization have impacted the work and educational environments dramatically. Unfortunately our schools and colleges have not kept pace with the technological shift and are in many instances not preparing students for this unpredictable and highly fluid global economy.

We must teach our students to adapt and literally teach themselves. Teach them to be problem solvers, innovators and creative entrepreneurs We must all be life long learners and not rely on archaic instructional models for learning and teaching. The internet has changed all the rules in every sphere of human interaction and educational systems and global economies are having to change, adapt and evolve rapidly in order to remain viable. We as educators must be teaching our students HOW to make good decision about harnessing and using all the new communications tools at their disposal. We must break away from outdated educational systems and models and invent new ones that will help students function and excel in the future – a future that is already here.

Instructional delivery is now mobile and fluid. Students can take educational content anywhere they want and use it on their time not on ours. Ipods, MP3 players, cell phones, jump drives, etc., enable learners to carry instructional content anywhere they like and use it on their terms and on their schedule. Are teachers creating learning environments that are receptive to this new type of learning and student? The fixed time classroom in a box with a sage on the stage is fast becoming obsolete and in my opinion is a dinosaur. Web 2.0 is turning the internet into a giant global conversation. How do we get involved in that conversation? Who do we use it to create jobs? How do we use it to teach our students and prepare them for this unpredictable future that none of us in education truly has any idea of what will be like and what skills our students will need to compete and succeed.

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ITunes U Presentation

dlpres2.jpgWe had standing room only for my Itunes U Presentation here at the 2007 DL Alliance conference. As promised the Podcast of the entire presentation is located in the distance learning folder of our CCC ITunes U web site. Just scroll down to the bottom tier and click Distance Learning Icon and then listed to DL Alliance podcast.

Click Here for CCC an Itunes U Link

dlpres.jpgDl Alliance Presentation

We can keep this conversation going on this blog or the one below if you like. As I mentioned in my talk today. There are so many new tools, technologies and methods for teaching online it can be overwhelming and a bit intimidating. As educators we are all at a different place in this new learning environment and its just a matter of setting some goals and making a commitment to incrementally move forward incorporating rich media content into our online classes and ITUNes U is just one way to deliver (and store) instructional content to your students.

Please post your comments, ideas, frustrations, concerns to these Blogs. I look forward to hearing from you and feel free to access and download the podcast from my presentation.

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DL Alliance Conference Presentation

Making ITunes U a Reality at Your Campus
Presentation Proposal


I first learned about ITunes U at the Distance Learning Alliance Conference in Asheville last Spring 2006. It sounded to good to be true, so when I returned to my campus I sent an e-mail to the ITunes representative in Raleigh and started the ball rolling with becoming an ITunes U College. I will basically share my journey (the process) I took in order to get certified as an ITunes U college, in addition to explaining what ITunes U is and how it can benefit your distance learning initiatives especially when incorporating rich media content (podcasts, enhanced podcasts and video clips) in blackboard courses. For Carteret it was essentially a 10 month process, from that initial contact with the ITunes Apple representatives to actually having ITunes up and running and interfaced with our Blackboard courses. I will also demonstrated how we are using it, show how we have interfaced ITunes and let participants download and listen to actual instructional podcasts and enhanced podcasts. The presentation will be podcasted and uploaded to ITunes U as soon as the talk is over so people can access and listen to my journey anytime during and after the conference.

Itunes picture-1.jpg

Short anecdote about my presentation 11 years ago to the Deans Conference about putting teaching materials online.

The Journey

I was very excited and highly motivated after last year’s DL conference and heard David Warlick speak about podcasting, blogging, Web 2.0 and the use (and methodology behind) technology in education. I even got to create my first blog during David’s blogging presentation. I decided while driving back from Ashville that I was going to create a Blog, begin producing instructional podcasts for my courses and make CCC an Itunes U College.

CCC Itunes U

To date I have produced over 30 podcasts and 2 enhanced podcasts and we have faculty across curriculums attending professional development training on Podcasting, Audacity, Camtasia and Itunes U. In fact,we are unveiling (linking to BB) our CCC Itunes U site this summer semester (modeled after Berkley’ Itunes site) and have over 50 podcasts uploaded already. My goal for the next year is for every online faculty member to produce a minimum of 2 podcasts per course in the coming year.

One year after the 2006 DL Alliance conference I have a created 3 Blogs (personal, Title III and DL) and thanks to my technical wizard work study student Cameron Lockey and our college Web Master Terence Smith our CCC Itunes site is ready to interface with our CCC BB. I also have all my Photography students blogging and putting their photography and digital imaging on their blogs in addition to career statements and resume’s.

I must say we had to jump through a series of hoops to make CCC ITunes U a reality.

First thing I did after returning home from last years conference was to contact the Itunes U Apple regional representative Fred Bracket in Durham to find out exactly how to move forward.

After a few e-mails between us the Apple Itunes U representatives came to CCC and had me to invite all our online faculty to their presentation. They paid for drinks and snacks and gave us a 3 hour presentation on the ITUNES U initiative, podcasting and how apple wants to empower and support educators. After this initial overview it took a few weeks for me to hear back from Fred and after I told him CCC wanted to become an Itunes U he sent me some papers to sign (copyright waivers, contracts) and then once I sent those back it took about a month before I heard from them with an approval. Now this was really only the beginning of this process – the easy part. Apple sent me an e-mail with the administrative code (explain the 3 levels of access) and then it was up to our tech guru Terence Smith to try and make sense of the authentication code that Apple sent us. Luckily he is an absolute html / java script wizard and was able to make sense out of it and in fact, he said some of it was incorrect and didn’t work and he had to modify the code they sent to make it work.


Show Berkley and Stanford sites – show our site – show our site and play podcast and enhanced podcast.

CCC ITunes Meta Data Protocal

Itunes U Apple Site link

Show link to my course and how I use it in my online classes. CCC Blackboard

I believe in podcasting as an instructional tool because my students not only get to read my lectures, assignments and course materials, but they also can hear me explain exactly what they must do to accomplish the various course goals and objectives. They are no longer tethered to their computers because they can download my lectures to their MP3 players (Ipods) and listen whenever they want to. I’ve had numerous students in the past year thank me for putting my lectures on the course BB as audio files and that for me in itself is a reason to do it. I am connecting with a variety of learning styles when I incorporate images, audio, video and text based content into my classes. I can reinforce and emphasize key points in my course content just by the way I narrate my podcasts. We as educators are competing with My Space and some very sophisticated web environments and if we as educators are going to engage and motivate our students and get them excited about learning, we better be harnessing these technologies and incoporating them in our online classes, in addition to learning new, innovative, creative and proactive methods for teaching online. After all…students can now shop around the web for the best, most dynamic and viable online classes – they don’t have to take my Art Appreciation course at Carteret Community College even if they live down the road.


I see podcasting, enhanced podcasting and ITunes U as just more innovative teaching tools for educators to facilitate the learning process and help us engage our students in more viable alternatives (options) for learning.

There is so much cool stuff going on in the world of education I can’t keep up with it all. It’s hard staying abreast of all the new technological innovations, software and tools being developed for educators. The incredible power of instructional delivery management systems like Blackboard, Moodle (and ITunes) to deliver sophisticated rich media content is making online teaching more and more viable and helping teachers (who can harness this technology) replicate (and even surpass) the traditional classroom environment. With that said, I firmly believe its still ALL about the content and the proactive methodology behind teaching course material online to students.
The challenge for educators and administrators (in the next decade) is to continue developing a heightened awareness (sensitivity) to the awesome and endless possibilities of online teaching and finally be willing to let go of the industrial revolution instructional model. Let’s put that archaic beast behind us once and for all. Sure..there is a place for it, but it is no longer the only act in town and it is fast becoming a side stage act at best. I mean Socrates has been dead a long time and he’s the one who started the “Sage on the Stage” model of educating people.
There’s a quite revolution going on in higher education and if educators don’t seriously start to learn, implement and embrace web based teaching and do it in a creative, sophisticated and seamless way our students will be looking elsewhere for their education.

After all…the knowledge, information and content is already out there for anyone to access and research. I see educators in 2007 and beyond evolving into facilitators, moderators, mentors and guides to course content – we should be helping our students make sense out of the vast array of information being generated exponentially around the world and assist them in deciphering it.

Anybody with an internet connection and a computer can access high quality “free” interactive programs, podcasts and instructional videos about a variety of educational subjects. Our roles as educators in this new millennium is to incorporate (sift through, evaluate and edit) this free instructional content and incorporate it into the fiber of our online courses, in addition to helping our students understand it and put it into appropriate context as it relates to our course material.

Sure..this is scary stuff IF we are afraid of change. I’m not saying this isn’t going to take some serious effort to upgrade our teaching skills and our courses, BUT if educators choose to put their heads in the sand and think this technological snowball is going to stop going down the hill they are sorely mistaken. I see the first step as accepting the reality of this situation and then incrementally begin retooling our teaching methods and courses in order to reach this diverse (and web savvy) student population on a variety of levels and connecting with a variety of learning styles. That’s the beautiful thing about teaching online – we can design your online courses to meet the needs of a variety of learning styles. Our online courses can have a text based component, audio, video and real time interaction through virtual chat and the collaborative tools in Blackboard and other educational managment systems.

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