Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

Archive for January, 2008

Distance Learning Status Report – January 29, 2008

The DL Team are moving forward with a variety of exciting and important initiatives. These projects are at different stages of completion.

1. Phase II of our QAP “Peer Review” Process is in full swing. Content Specialists and Instructional Designers have been identified and contacted to evaluate 25 online classes in the next 6 weeks. A special thanks to Laurie Freshwater and Mary Walton who are assisting us with both content and instructional design in a few of the courses being evaluated. They both have expertise in both areas and their assistance is crucial to moving this process forward in a timely manner. Title III is supporting the online course review process by giving $50 stipends to our content specialists.

2. I am very excited about the Online Tutoring service we’re developing. Lisa Taylor Galezia (CCC English/Photography Adjunct and online veteran) is working with me in creating (designing) an interactive blackboard to act as a communications hub for online tutoring. This service will be available to both traditional students and our online / hybrid students. Last week (January 24th) we had our first kick-off meeting for potential tutors. We had eleven highly qualified applicants attend this first information session representing the disciplines of Math, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology and English. They came with lots of good ideas to incorporate into our plans for tutoring students in the online environment. Pre-Ah and Lisa have researched and incorporated some very viable communication tools into the Blackboard such as Instant Messenger, Skype, Virtual Chat and a Whiteboard for doing Math equations. We are still in the early stages of developing this service and are now evaluating the resumes left by those who attended the information session. We plan to begin incrementally offering this service to our students on a limited basis by end of February. Once we get Online Tutoring up and running at CCC I hope to hand it over to the tutoring wing of Academic Support. This would not be made possible without the support and funding of Title III. I believe we will see a positive impact on retention once this service is in full swing.

3. In the last 2 weeks we’ve had 2 Distance Learning Pioneer meetings with our DL Phase I and II online faculty. We discussed the QAP and also identified some professional development needs of the group that the Pre-Ah and I plan on addressing in the next two months. I was excited to hear all the innovative and creative things our DL Pioneers are doing with their online classes, both technically and in their instructional design strategies. They are incorporating the things they learned in BB Boot Camp (graphics, podcasts, video, camtasia) into their classes and even going beyond and researching dynamic new ways to communicate and assess their course content. I believe our “train the trainer” model for the DL component of the T3 Grant is working effectively and is creating a cadre of DL mentors across our campus. Pre-Ah is also working “one on one” with our pioneers to assist them with their course retooling, especially in adding rich media content such as audio and video lectures and teaching them new software that will help them do this.

4. We received word (today) from the NCCCS staff that our proposal to collaborate with FTCC the NCCCS Technology Center was recommended to the State Board for approval and funding. I was suppose to attend a kick-off meeting in Fayetteville today however word never filtered down to me and I sent my thoughts concerning our role in the Technology Center to Bob Irvin (Project Director for the Grant) at FTCC.

5. I was tasked by Dr. Emory to implement a viable process that insures we are collecting “institutional data” from all (dl and classroom) our student evaluations. The following are thoughts (paraphrased) by my conversations with Don and Jennifer concerning this issue.

” In order to conduct a comparative analysis, we should try to decrease all possible variables. For this reason, we should work toward incorporating the same wording on all relevant questions/statements.

In order to ensure that we are gathering institutional data (from these course-level evaluations), we should develop a system for aggregating responses on the specific questions we have identified as relevant. Once the responses are entered, via the Remark survey software, we can conduct aggregate analyses on any items we choose.

We may need to clarify what we mean by “institutional data.” Is it simply taking all the course-level surveys and aggregating the data so that we have an institution-wide picture, or is it something requiring a variety of data sources?”

A final step in the process would be follow-up to make sure that issues/concerns are addressed then documented, and necessary changes take place.

The following are my recommendations for these evaluations once they are sent to the Division Directors and Curriculum Coordinators. I see this as the accountability piece.

1. If the evaluation is fine with no problematic issues the Curriculum Coordinator signs it and gives to the instructor and files a copy for his/herself.

2. If there are issues (concerns) that need to be addressed the Curriculum Coordinator schedules an appointment with the instructor and reviews the evaluation pointing out problem areas and requests clarification about what may have been the problem from the instructors point of view. Once the issue is clarified then Curriculum Coordinator and Instructor create (write) an action plan that specifically addresses the issue of concern and plans for a solution. Both sign the action plan.

3. Both instructor and CC keep a copy of the evaluation and action plan.

4. After the next student evaluation of the instructor (following semester) the latest evaluation is checked against the previous one to see if improvements were made in that area of concern. If they were CC signs off on it and gives to the instructor and keeps a copy for him/herself.

5. If significant improvements were not made in the second evaluation the situation is handed over to Division Director of that area for review.

abbysuger2.jpg Title III Project Director Don Staub and I have followed up with Dr.’s Abbie Brown and William Sugar, Program Directors of the Instructional Technology Program at East Carolina University from our initial distance learning brainstorming session held for our DL Pioneers last month. We have discussed doing a Distance Learning Forum in Joslyn Hall sometime possibly in April with Dr. Brown and/or Sugar moderating that forum that will address the key issues and concerns our faculty, staff and students have concerning the pro’s and con’s of distance education.

For the next 6 weeks I will be assisting Pre-Ah and our QAP content specialists in getting these 25 online courses evaluated and all the data entered electronically into a data base. Yes…it’s going to be a busy Spring Semester. I am also teaching 3 Photography classes in-between all these initiatives. Wheew!

Patrick Keough
Director of Distance Learning

Hitting the Ground Running!

The Distance Learning team hit the ground running this short week before the Spring semester kicks in. We have a great deal on our plate for Spring 08. Two of our biggest projects will be peer evaluating every online class offered at CCC in the next 12 months and setting up an online tutoring service for our students. We have evaluated 12 online courses to date and learned a great deal during that initial peer review process. Now that most of our faculty have been trained (Blackboard Boot Camp) in online teaching methods it’s time to take a good hard look at the courses (technically and for sound instructional design) they are teaching. This is a SACS requirement and at the top of our priority list.

I’m also recruiting some adjunct teachers to participate in our distance learning tutoring initiative. One of our veteran online adjunct instructors Lisa Taylor has agreed to assist me in getting this service off the ground. Brad Nicolajsen is working with me on the technical end. We are planning on using MS Instant Messenger and Blackboard discussion boards to tutor our students in Math, English and possibly Science and History. I hope to begin training our tutors be the end of January and begin offering a scaled down online tutoring service for selective courses by Mid- February. This is a service that we hope will grow incrementally as we market it and get faculty and students aware that it is available to them.

Meetings have been scheduled with our CCC DL Pioneers. One major goal I’m asking both teams to accomplish is to produce a minimum of 2 new podcasts and/or videos this semester. These can either be course orientations, lessons and/or demonstrations. Many of the Phase II team were given new laptops and digital recorders thanks to the Title III Grant and it’s important that we continue incorporating viable rich media content into our online classes and show that we are putting this new equipment to good use.

Pre-Ah and I are planning some new distance learning workshops for Spring. 08. Some of the topics will be producing Jing videos, advanced instructional design techniques, producing enhanced podcasts and using Instant Messenger in online courses for office hours.

1434778a9ef5494da1fe247b97527019.jpgThere are also two Distance Learning Conferences coming up in the months ahead. One in Durham next month, and the other in New Bern in April. I plan to present at both conferences and will be bringing many of our DL Pioneers to at least one of these conferences.