Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

Posts tagged ‘Title III Grant’

Noel – Levitz Presentation

Five Years of Title III: Successes, Challenges, and Words from the Wise(er)

click on image to download ppt

Presenters: Patrick Keough & Donald Staub – Carteret Community College

Presented at the Noel-Levitz National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention in Denver on July 26, 2011.

The purpose of our presentation was to give a brief overview of what we have accomplished – qualitatively and quantitatively – through the course of the Title III grant (which ends in September of this year). To achieve the overall goal of increasing retention at the College, the grant has three primary objectives: Advising, Distance Learning, and Outcomes Assessment. This presentation highlighted the retention efforts we have made in each of these three areas, with particular attention to the successes and challenges of implementing each.

I focused on the Distance Learning Component and addressed all the DL initiatives T3 enabled us to pursue over the past 5 years to include Black Board Boot Camp, Distance Learning Pioneer Program, Online Tutoring, and the various Dl workshops and conferences we were able to send the staff and faculty to since the grants inception.

For more details about our presentation click to our Title III Blog.

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Final Months of Title III Funding

We are entering the final months of receiving our Title III grant. Looking back over the past 5 years I feel very good about what we as a college have accomplished in Distance Learning with the various instructional initiatives Title III enabled us to pursue. All in all I believe T3 has benefited the college and all our distance learning endeavors. Looking back I would have to say that pre-planning and fluid “open / transparent” communication between the T3 Project Director and myself the Director of Distance Learning was one of key’s to the success of our campus wide distance learning professional development initiatives.

There is no doubt in my mind that the faculty and staff at Carteret Community College are more proficient both technically and in their online teaching methodology because of the funding and support that came from Title III. Since the inception of the grant the Distance Learning department has conducted over 150 DL workshops to approximately 1500 “repeat” college staff and faculty in these professional development activities, in addition to proving funds for off campus conferences, workshops and seminars.

Once CCC received the grant the first thing our T3 Project Director Don Staub did was have me create a T3 Blog to post anything and everything that related to Title III at our college. This was an effort to make the entire process transparent. Anyone can go to the T3 Blog and our CCC Distance Learning Blog and learn about all the professional development and college enhancement activities Title III supported through grants and the purchase of instructional and distance learning technologies.

The following are some of the primary distance learning highlights “successes” supported by Title III.

Distance Learning Pioneer Program
Online Tutoring Service Pilot Program
Blackboard Boot Camp
NC3ADL Regional and State Wide Conferences
Online Retention
• Peer Review “QAP” Online Course Evaluation Project
Assessing Distance Learning
• Moodle “Train the Trainer” Project
Moodle Migration Initiative

As of now over 50 staff and faculty have participated in the DL Pioneer Program which has positively impacted the online courses we offer here at CCC. Faculty have more tools and technology for doing an effective (and innovative) job teaching their courses in the online environment and have been given training both on campus and off in a variety of e-learning and instructional design “best practices”.

As we head into the final months of the grant it is imperative that we expand on the strong foundation Title III has helped us build here at Carteret Community College. There’s no doubt that the culture here at CCC has changed for the better as far as embracing technology and the latest instruction design best practices for e-learning. Our online courses incorporate a variety of “rich media” in order to address the different learning styles of our students. This would not have happened so extensively across campus if it wasn’t for the aggressive and ongoing training provided through T3 funding and support.

Our challenge is to put procedures in place so we can continue expanding upon the many successes T3 has helped us attain in Distance Learning over the past 5 years. The Distance Learning Advisory committee is in the process of developing a policy and procedure manual for distance learning. Many of these policies and procedures have been inspired by what we learned through all our T3 sponsored projects and initiatives.

Our goal is to continue to build on the momentum we’ve gained over the past 5 years thanks to the Title III grant. We have seen the culture at CCC change (evolve) over the past 5 yeare to embrace technology and online tools and applications in order to be on the “cutting edge” of online education – Title III has been a catalyst for this change in attitude and has added to the confidence of our staff and faculty to make the seamless transition from the traditional classroom environment to online instruction.

Video and Written Testimonials by Staff and Faculty.

Joseph Croom from CCC Student Services commented about a Title III sponsored conference, “This was an amazing conference, it was my first NC3ADL conference…something that made me really open my eyes. I learned so much about student services, and how to make sure that they are accessible by all. I was able to meet so many different people, from different jobs, at different colleges that brought a variety of perspectives on DL, and its place in the world today. I was able to get many new ideas that I plan to work with my department Student Services and the college overall to make Carteret Community College a great place to work, teach, serve and learn.

I thoroughly enjoyed going to the sessions on the NCCCS Help Desk, the Online Student Services, Google Apps for Education, and the great Skype presentation on Moodle.

Though it scares me, it excites me…stepping out on the ledge…driving the engine of Student Services, getting them up the hill and down the other side. I came back with great suggestions, so much energy, and great comments…the Registrar’s Office decided today to add live chat to their website.

I am so excited about the ideas swirling in my mind…causing waves of DL energy!! I hope that I will be able to go next year and the regional meeting in March….!!!!

CCC Anatomy and Physiology Instructor Phillip Morris stated, I was greatly impressed with the NC3DLA conference. From the level of organization to just how incredibly informative the conference was. Kudos to those involved in putting the whole thing together. I came away with knowledge and ideas that I hadn’t even imagined. The first thing I took with me is how many improvements I can make to my online courses. It doesn’t matter how good you think they already are there is always room for improvement. I personally am now aware at how deficient my courses are in the area of accessibility for special needs students. I will certainly work to correct that. Also, seeing what is now out there in the area of online science labs impressed me. From the late-night-lab presentation and demonstrations to the virtual microscope software available, all I kept saying was “wow”. Always something new, always changing. As a new faculty member, it also gave me a chance to really get to know some of my colleagues here at CCC. It was a group of great people and great educators. People who love what they do. It was a great experience.

Entering Final Year of Title III Grant – Strides Made in DL

As we enter the fifth and final year of Carteret Community College’s Title III grant I’d like highlight some of the strides we’ve made in distance learning thanks to the Title III Grant coordinated by Project Director Don Staub. The Title III grant has been a primary catalyst for a variety of successful and productive distance learning initiatives over the past 4 years at CCC, helping both faculty and student support services improve and expand upon college wide online services and e-learning teaching skills.

I’m specifically proud of our Title III Distance Learning Pioneer Program which is entering its fifth phase this fall. So far 40 staff and faculty members have participated in this program with 10 more coming on board in August. Our DL Pioneers set goals and objectives for retooling, upgrading and expanding upon their proficiency working and teaching in the online environment.

Black Board Boot Camp Certification Training

We give them the tools, training and technology they need to accomplish their specified goals in addition to fund their course specific professional development needs. This program has led to a variety of exciting online innovations and initiatives over the past 4 years.

Faculty members have been producing online course orientations and video lectures, in addition to creating podcasts and incorporating dynamic rich media into their classes. Staff members like Brenda Long, Mark Johnson and our CAPS Advising Center have set-up blogs for reaching out to students in both financial aid and counceling and both produced videos that explain to students the services they offer in their respective departments. The Distance Learning Department has created it’s own You Tube Channel that acts as a repository for all it’s training and faculty videos. We also have our own CCC Itunes U web presence for distributing all podcasts (dl training and instructional) to students and faculty. This can be accessed on the main page of the college Blackboard site.

Title III funded our Instructional Technologist position and enabled us to hire Pre-Ah Hill who has been instrumental in coordinating and developing so many of our professional development initiatives. She has also worked “one on one” with over 50 faculty and staff over the past 4 years.

In addition to the Dl Pioneer Program Title III enabled our department to pilot an Online Tutoring service for students and after 2 years of supporting this important service to students it has been handed over to our Academic Support department. Kimberly Johnson now oversees online tutoring and learned some new skills for working with students online as a DL Pioneer this past year.

Soon after being awarded the Title III grant the distance learning department initiated its Blackboard Boot Camp which has become a model for training faculty on Blackboard statewide.

Every faculty member at CCC including all adjuncts have been through this 7 hour certification training program. Title III enabled us to pay adjuncts to attend this training and purchase digital recorders and headsets for faculty to use to record their lectures for instructional podcasts.

We’ve also been able to fund a cross section of our faculty and staff to attend regional and national distance learning conferences and workshops. The training our faculty have received in the DL Pioneer program has given some of them the confidence and expertise to be presenters at the conferences. Mary Walton, Laurie Freshwater, James Minor, Johnny Underwood and Carla Williams are some of our DL Pioneers who have presented at either national or regional Distance Learning conferences. The Title III team (Don Staub, Pre-Ah Hill and myself) have also presented at a variety of professional development conferences.

Title III played an integral part in our online course QAP Peer Review process. Over the past 2 years over 100 online courses have been peer reviewed and upgraded to meet the standard established by the QAP. I’m proud to say that Distance Learning at CCC received 0 recommendations from our recent SACS visit and even were given some positive feedback from the visiting SACS team.

The DL Department with the approval of the CCC Board of Directors wanted to establish a back-up plan for online courses and blackboard specifically so we initiated a Moodle training program (train the trainer) and over the past year we set-up a Moodle instance with Remote Learner funded by the system office of the Community College system however Title III funded our Moodle training program and the migration of 10 courses from Blackboard to Moodle. Carteret Community College now has 10 faculty members that have experience with moodle and could train the rest of our faculty if the need to move to another CMS ever arises.

Once we got the faculty trained we realized it was just as important to provide training to our students to become better online learners so we developed our Successful Online Learning workshop that we offer to students at the beginning of each semester. Over 200 students have attended this the past 2 semesters and we also put all the resources and tips online so students can access it if they can’t attend the actual workshop.

This past year we established a policy that all CCC courses have a course blackboard (web presence) and utilize the electronic grade book in Blackboard. This took training all our traditional classroom instructors including adjuncts and Title III played a role in seeing that this initiative was successful. We were able to pay our adjuncts to attend this training with Title III funds. At the end of the Spring semester all CCC courses submitted their Blackboard grade books electronically and we now have an electronic repository of all Spring 2010 grades. This will be SOP from now on at CCC.

Yes…the Distance Learning Department with the help of Title III has certainly contributed to taking CCC to a higher level of proficiency with online learning. My goal for the coming year is to challenge every faculty member at CCC to expand upon what they have learned and begin developing their individual teaching methodologies that seamlessly and fluidly help them weave between classroom environment to the online environment.

After all….its all about teaching and learning. We as educators have such incredibly powerful and sophisticated tools to impart our course material to our students and assess that they are comprehending the course content.

This brings me to the core of my thoughts on teaching and learning in 2010. Essentially I believe the attributes required to be an effective teacher are still the same as we enter the next decade of this new millennium.  Great teachers are creative, innovative, passionate, enthusiastic and show sincere interest and comprehension of their respective subject area.  Students on the other hand have changed over the past 10-15 years and this evolution has come about in part because of rapid advances in technology and cyber culture.

Now here’s the rub.  I believe teachers (at all grade levels) have to do a better job mastering the new and powerful tools (technology) at their disposal for CONNECTING with (and engaging) their students.  The attributes for great teachers is the same BUT the tools we use for teaching have changed and become much more technologically sophisticated. This is our challenge heading into the next decade. We can’t let the technology get in the way of our teaching!

The bottom line here (in my opinion) is that teaching tools (technology) have changed dramatically, but the skills and attributes needed for being excellent teachers and effective learners remain relatively the same.  Both students and teachers must harness (embrace) technology for both teaching and learning to the point where it becomes intuitive. The days of the chalk board and overhead projector are over and have been replaced with sophisticated course management systems.

I’m excited about the coming year and the challenges facing me as an online teacher and Distant Learning Director. In reality this is not all that complicated.  The Industrial Revolution is over and that instructional model is just about dead and buried.  As I state at the beginning of all my distance learning workshops;  The easy part is becoming proficient and confident with technology – the real challenge for both teachers and students is using it to its fullest potential for both teaching and learning. 

In the coming year I plan on initiating a series of webinars that are given by our veteran DL Pioneers on a whole range of online teaching Best Practices and offer these to the college at large. We have accomplished a great deal in 4 years thanks to Title III however we still have more to do on the distance learning front at CCC.