Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

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

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