Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

Archive for December, 2007

Virtual Learning Community Extended Center Development Center Proposal

Professional Development Center

The administration of Carteret Community College is committed to retooling and upgrading its distance learning course offerings and adding more viable web components to its traditional classes. Being awarded a Title III grant has enabled Carteret to aggressively move forward with both upgrading its course offerings and our online faculty instructional design and teaching skills.

Training college faculty in the latest distance learning methodology and instructional technologies has been a huge but imperative undertaking over the past year. The demand for online courses is growing annually and students are arriving in these courses with more advanced and sophisticated technological skills (awareness) than ever before due to the cyber / media culture they have grown up in. That’s why Carteret initiated a series of Blackboard Boot Camps in order to get ALL online faculty trained (and certified) in online course management systems, instructional design theory and methodology.

Community College faculty can no longer rely on an archaic industrial age educational model to teach students skills they’ll need to succeed and thrive in a highly technological, creative and entrepreneurial work environment.

CCC is working towards being on the “cutting edge” of online instructional pedagogy and is undergoing a dramatic transformation in the culture, mindset and teaching skills thanks to the resources provided by Title III and the leadership of the distance learning team.

chriswroking2.jpgIt’s crucial that all our staff and faculty members be in synch when it comes to teaching, challenging, inspiring, counseling and making an effort to retain and engage today’s computer / web savvy students.

This can no longer be accomplished with yesterday’s outmoded teaching methods. The didactic talking head standing in front of neat rows of students imparting knowledge on a given subject is no longer effective or viable when compared to the way global businesses and industries conduct business over and through complex and secure digital networks.

Business and industry have embraced and continue to harness a variety of sophisticated communications and educational technologies such as video conferencing, Pod casting, streaming video, interactive online forums, blogs and digital informational / educational media (content) exchanges.

Carteret has made great strides in distant learning over the past year. 45 faculty members are now Blackboard certified through our Blackboard Boot camps and 75 staff and faculty members (100% of our fall online instructors) met the professional development requirements for teaching online here at CCC. Ten faculty members (DL Pioneers/Trainers) spent the past year learning a variety of new online teaching techniques and were given the technical resources (and professional development opportunities) to upgrade their skills and courses thanks to the Title III Grant. Each one of them met ALL their DL goals and objectives as they related to the grant and were awarded certificates of achievement for their efforts. They are now mentoring another ten trainers in more advanced online teaching methods including producing and incorporating video and audio content into their online courses.

The internet provides a vast amount of information for instructors who truly understand how to apply, channel and integrate this vast web content into their courses. Distance learning provides the best (and most flexible) instructional environment for connecting and exposing students to the resources (and information) being generated exponentially around the world.

Our goal over the next 5 years is to continue training all Carteret Community College instructors to be the facilitators, mentors, and guides into this new frontier of data, information, content and multi-media. I envision our distance learning training initiative being expanded across the state and becoming a model for the virtual learning communities collaborative effort to increase the quality and availability of online learning and support services.

This is a very exciting yet intimidating and challenging time for educators. If we don’t aggressively retool mentally and technologically we are going to eventually become obsolete and other forward thinking educational venues will fill the void we leave due to being left in the dust by the rapid growth and evolution of instructional technology and web culture.

This paradigm shift is market driven, technologically driven and student (client) driven as far as the demand for more technically sophisticated and a more socially / culturally relevant approach (vision) to education. Retooling college faculty skill sets is no longer just an option – it is an absolute MUST if we are going to remain a viable and competitive force in higher education. That’s why we have implemented our train the trainer program at CCC and are now starting our 2nd year of the Distance Learning Pioneer program. Each trainer must agree to one of the following options if they are to be part of our train the trainer (pioneer) team.

Online Faculty Participation – Course Development Options

Choose One of the following Three

1. Upgrade one online course (total or hybrid) you already are teaching and begin developing a new course. You must teach at least one of these courses in Spring 2008.

2. Upgrade 2 courses that you already are teaching online. Must teach at least one Spring 2008

3. Develop a NEW course to be offered Fall 2008. (New online faculty)

Click here for Minimum requirements for an online course upgrade (extreme makeover)
Primary course content must be illustrated visually with images and/or graphics.
Faculty members must record a minimum of 3 “enhanced”, audio podcasts (or video) for each course. One podcast should be a course specific audio overview (orientation) outlining your specific expectations for your students to succeed in the class. The second can be a lecture or wrap-up overview of the class highlighting what the students should have learned and what you want them to take away from the class. The goal would be to eventually have audio podcasts of ALL your course lectures.

Click here for CCC ITunes U

Faculty members participating in the first phase of this grant will have access to a full-time Distance Learning technician to assist with all aspects of course creation, development and instructional media production.

Participating faculty members may also check-out (or use) the following equipment from the distance learning lab.

• Digital Camera (still and video)
• Digital recorder
• Ipods
• Laptop Computers
• Scanner

Title III Funds are also available for distance learning workshops, seminars and travel to pre-approved distance learning training that relate to your field.

Participating faculty members must agree to be DL Mentors to the next group of online course developers during the second year of the grant.
The faculty members will mentor one instructor from their department in online course methodology and development.

Faculty must agree to teach at least one course that you develop and/or upgrade in the Spring of 2008.

The primary focus of the dl component of this grant is retention and student success and satisfaction with the class.
We are collecting data relating to retention, grades and student satisfaction with the courses before and after.

This grant is a very exciting opportunity for Carteret Community College and this group of online instructors are pioneers. Each pioneer (trainer) will be a catalyst for growth, change and instructional excellence in all aspects of online learning.

CLICK Here for Distance Learning Course Upgrading Online Workshop

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This Title III Grant is helping CCC make great strides towards moving its staff and faculty forward on the fast paced technological and instructional continuum of the 21st century. It is providing much needed training, technology and instructional resources needed for a vast array of professional development initiatives planned over the next few years.

Carteret Community College administration, faculty and staff are seriously are committed to excellence in all aspects of learning and receiving The Title III Grant has helping us move out of the industrial, instructional model to the creative, conceptual, technological model being demanded by those individuals (students) that come to us for an education.

The sense of urgency is high and now it’s a matter of building on what we have accomplished during the first year of the grant. CCC has broken away from the outmoded industrial model, in and beyond the information age and into the creative, conceptual age where we can educate and train our students in the technologies being harnessed by the global marketplace. I see us expanding (and building on) the initiatives we’ve implemented at Carteret to the rest of the colleges in North Carolina.

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Now that we are making headway in faculty training and course upgrading we’ve also begun moving forward with bringing CCC Students Resources online in order to give support our ALL our online students and make it easier for our traditional students to access a wide array of student support services from their homes and/or workplaces. We have established a Distance Learning Advisory Committee to help us aggressively move forward with this important initiative.

We are also evaluating and assessing our distance learning professional development activities conducted over the past year to see if they have had a positive impact on STUDENT SATISFACTION and RETENTION rates. Initial anecdotal data looks very positive based on the latest online student evaluations. We have implemented student and faculty surveys in addition to evaluating online course statistics to see if all our efforts have had a positive effect on our distance learning program at Carteret Community College.

We’ve also written and implemented a Peer Review QAPprocess for all online courses – this is essentially the next step after getting our online faculty trained. Now we are evaluating every online course offered at CCC to make sure they all meet technical and instructional design standards. This could also be expanded statewide.

Peer Review Online Course QAP Spreadsheet

All in all…exciting things continue to happen on the distance learning front here at CCC.

Please take a look at a cross section of our Title III Blog which tracks all of our Title III activities and initiatives.