Building a Sustainable Distance Education Quality Assurance Ecosystem at Austin Community College
Presented by Ninghua Han, Michelle Escudier, Angelo Caverte, Austin Community College
To be honest, I felt obligated to attend this session because the presenters are from my institution. But I’m glad I attended, I learned about some of the initiatives and what the Office of Distance & Alternative Education is doing. Despite efforts by few, divisions still tend to operate in silos, so I usually don’t have much info on what is happening across the institution.
The Distance Education Office has a predictable faculty professional development cycle
Accessibility and usability for online instructors
One of the things that I’m interested in is the asynchronous Blackboard 1-4 courses. Since one of my teams provides support to faculty on Blackboard, is this something that my team should be involved with? Or should my team at least go through this training themselves? Thoughts to ponder…
ITC Award Winner, Outstanding Support for Faculty or Students – Training Camp: Successful Implementation of E-Faculty Coaching
Presented by Daniel Baham, Tarrant County Community College
It was interesting to hear how institutions are doing coaching. TCCD has dedicated eLearning coaches, which is something I have never heard of – this usually falls to Instructional Designers.
Presented by Cynthia Krutsinger, Pikes Peak State College
In 2020, Colorado Online was established with the intent of allowing students to take courses/complete programs in a fully online format, regardless of which college offers the program. While the CO program is hosted at the state level, the creation, design, and maintenance of the courses is done at the campus level.
The standards that are developed to ensure consistency starts with Quality Matters and adds additional items, creating what they call QM+.
In their new course review plan, there are 3 components that will be in place:
Healthy Course Checklist (includes QM/QM+, DEI checklist, accessibility checklist, etc.
PPSC Best Practices for Online and Hybrid Course Design
Required Common Course Framework (CCF)
Faculty will have the ability to use a common course framework as a starting point. This appears to be optional.
Given the number of sections that they are anticipating for the next few terms, it’s interesting that they only have a staff of 4. It does make me wonder how many course reviews are done by the large handful of Instructional Designers in our ACC Distance Education office.
Policies, Practices, & Attitudes: A Playbook for Involving Adjunct Faculty
Presented by Marc Farrior & Stephanie Hoon, Pima Community College
This session is a panel of faculty & support staff that provided various ways of engaging with adjunct faculty. Most of the answers are around how the Teaching & Learning Center at Pima Community College is unique.
One of the things that came up that resonated with me is that adjunct faculty are not just participants in the various training sessions that they offer, but adjuncts are allowed and encouraged to present in professional development sessions. Beyond the presenting for TLC sessions, Pima also has an Adjunct Faculty Institute (AFI) that is led by adjunct faculty, which is unique.
This session had a lot of interesting points. Unfortunately, like with many of the sessions at this conference, I didn’t take away any action items for me. This would have been a good session for our Faculty Development Office, although this conference generally doesn’t seem to draw a lot of faculty development professionals.
Distance, Online, Hybrid, and HyFlex: Policy Differences, Surprising Agreements, and Practical Implications
Online means everything is done online (synchronous or asynchronous)
Hybrid/Blended is a mix of in-person and online course delivery.
HyFlex is students can move between online and in-person course delivery at their preference.
I agree with these definitions and I wish it were feasible to consolidate the many definitions that exist at ACC. It gets so confusing with the ~8-9 different definitions that we have, that this would make things so much easier. I don’t expect this to actually come to fruition anytime soon though…
Let’s TILT (Transparency in Learning and Teaching) Your Online Course
Presented by Leslie VanWolvelear, Oakton College
I really didn’t know what to expect from this session as I had no knowledge of TILT beforehand. My understanding is that TILT is the idea of injecting transparency into the curriculum – ensuring that students understand the purpose and value of various assignments, projects, etc. By understanding the value, students tend to have more buy-in and take the course more seriously.
ITC Award Winner, Innovative eLearning Technology – An AI Approach to Online Discussions: Engage Curiosity and Cultivate Confidence
Presented by Pamela Sulger, Brad Butler, and T. Adam Baldry, Pima Community College
This session was pretty interesting, as they talked about how they implemented Packback to increase student curiosity and engagement in online course discussions.
I didn’t take much away from this session, but that’s mostly because I’m already familiar with Packback. The vendor should have been a sponsor of this session and been represented at the conference with how much it was talked about. I think Packback could provide some benefit to instructors who are dissatisfied with the Blackboard discussion forum tool, but our efforts to pilot Packback at ACC have been fruitless.
In past years, I’ve done separate blog posts for each session. I’ve decided to consolidate down to 1 post per day. There are a few reasons behind this decision:
The number of sessions at this year’s conference is very low in comparison to other years.
There have been far fewer takeaways from the sessions this year.
Is Online Education Dead, or Just Dying?
Presented by Barry Dahl, Teaching & Learning Advocate, D2L
I don’t have a lot to say about this opening keynote, not because it wasn’t good or engaging, but because there wasn’t a lot of new info. One of the interesting things from this keynote was the integration/presentation of data from ChatGPT. I have been hearing things about this new AI platform, but I haven’t had time to do much research about it or understand how it can be used in education. During this keynote, Barry showcased a few examples of content developed by ChatGPT.
One of the things I want to do following this conference is to look more into ChatGPT and how it can be used at our institution.
The Expedition, Excursion, and Exploration Online Certifications. OH MY!
Presented by Zhivi Williams, Sr. Instructional Designer, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
This session was showcased the certification process that faculty must go through in order to teach online. Their program includes the use of Blackboard and pedagogical practices. The session drew about 25 conference participants, and there seemed to be some good information. However, it was noted that they have ~500 instructors (full- and part-time). I do wonder how this certification program would look and the possible success rate at our institution, which has ~2000 instructors.
Birds of a Feather – Leadership
This is essentially a round table discussion of instructional administrators/leadership. The idea being that attendees can ask questions and discuss topics among peers.
In general, one of the main questions I have is how do other institutions deal with the vetting and funding of academic technologies that may/may not be adopted? We have a vetting process within the institution that funnels through my department. However, once a tool is recommended, nothing happens because generally speaking, the administration doesn’t have funding set aside for adopting new technologies.
While this is one of the ongoing questions that I have, most of the discussion/topics were at a higher administrative level than where I fall. I actually felt that the conversations were over my head/level and I felt a little out of place.
Achieving Work-Life Balance, The Power of No
Presented by Angela Thurman, Economics, TCC-Connect
These types of sessions always intrigue me. I have the hardest time disconnecting from work (and technology in general), but it’s something that I’m always trying to do better.
One of the things that resonated with me, not that it’s new information, is that the reward for doing a good job is to be asked to do more work/serve on more committees/etc.
I’m not sure what I was expecting at this session, but I didn’t really take anything away that I didn’t already know. She referenced SMART goals once (without actually calling them SMART goals). Having taught sessions/workshops on goal-setting, that wasn’t anything new for me. I almost expected her to begin talking about the Eisenhower Matrix, but that definitely didn’t come up.
Qualitative Measures: What Rubrics Can’t Assess
Presented by Allegra Davis Hanna, Tarrant County College
This session has some interesting information about Quality Matters and other rubrics. There are components that are incomplete or have vague wording, so the question becomes, who is responsible for defining the word “clear.” It’s not that rubrics are inherently bad, but it’s important to include other items.
Qualitative checklists for development, not evaluation
Peer observations and mentoring
Templates that meet requirements, faculty bring the personality
While I am not involved in course design rubrics or consulting with faculty on the development of online courses, there are certainly some things that piqued my interest. I would be interested to see how this aligns with things we’re doing at Austin Community College.
Beth BeecroftBrooke HoffmanRowan College of South JerseyOne year ago, Rowan College of South Jersey started a grassroots OER initiative on campus starting with a small working group of librarians, faculty, administrators, and the college’s eLearning team. In this short time, RCSJ has explored and implemented an OER movement on campus. This workshop audience will be presented with a board game version of Rowan College South Jersey’s journey with OER.<<abstract was truncated>>
Opportunities to build momentum
Reward faculty for adopting an OER textbook
Reward faculty for reviewing OER textbooks
Have students create the covers (covers have different copyright than the content of the book)
Reach out to alumni foundation for funding (already cover student textbooks through scholarships – have them give you the funding to be able to fund textbooks for hundreds of students)
Ideas for OER content
Music class – create a Spotify playlist, have students create a (free) account to listen to playlist.
Hypothesis – tool that exists online (website, PDF, etc.), students can annotate document, and keep the annotations. Paid version (integrated with LMS) can allow all students annotate together.
Greg KaminskiMegan SavagePortland Community CollegeHybrid learning can be particularly challenging at the community college level where students might not be aware of the expectations and skill set required to be successful in this instructional mode. The hybrid modality is supported to various degrees and in a variety of ways at our institutions of higher learning. The road to supporting hybrids at Portland Community College has been fraught with bumps, detours and occasional dead ends, but positive steps have been taken in the past couple of years to firm up the foundation for this instructional mode. This session will focus on the journey PCC has taken in the quest to support hybrids and strategies that are helping to move this instructional mode into the mainstream. There will be some sharing of what has worked at other colleges as well.
Need to expand hybrid offerings
Building remodel – loss of physical classroom space
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Hybrid work group
Created a definition for students
A hybrid course meets in person and has online work that replaces some in-person class time. The amount of time spent in person and online varies between courses. The in-person time is noted in the schedule.An additional definition was created for internal (faculty/administrators)
Hybrid Faculty Mentor program
1 year President’s fund award ($24,000 for mentor work and materials
6 mentors selected
FT and PT faculty represented
Mentors designed a hybrid template
Hybrid syllabus highlights
PCC created a table that shows the comparison between instructional components and how those are delivered in hybrid vs. traditional face-to-face courses. This helps define what is homework vs. class work when both are delivered through the LMS/online delivery.
UMass Lowell is currently using 2 systems, Mediasite and Echo360. Through the charts and screenshots that the presenter presented, there are a lot of similarities in the core features/functionalities between both products. There are some differences, what seems to be mostly in the IP camera support between Mediasite/Echo360.
One of the things that came out in the morning geek panel as well as this session has been Mediasite Monitor, which seems like the ability to remotely watch/hear Mediasite feeds to ensure that captures are successful. This process allows the ability without needing to physically visit each individual classroom where Mediasite is being used.
At ACC, Monitor wouldn’t be used initially, mostly because the number of installations would be minimal. I can certainly see this being useful in the future.
There are a number of challenges that the presenter identified with needing to support multiple lecture capture solutions at the institution. Challenges vary from not having enough staffing, not being able to spot check recordings (due to the increasing number of requests), providing technical support for multiple platforms, and having to spread a set amount of money to support multiple platforms.
They have gone through the process of automating scheduling/request processes, including a checkbox list of courses that the specific instructor is teaching (select which courses to capture), as well as whether they want students to have the ability to download videos after they’ve been captured.
I think the session had some good information, but was not exactly what I was expecting. There can be (and certainly is) overwhelm with digital overload, but I was expecting more about how their institution moved from multiple solutions down to 1 (Mediasite). In reality, it sounds like UMass Lowell will continue to manage multiple platforms for the time being.
Ability to manage content from within the LMS – this was something new to me. I knew that instructors could add videos into their courses, but the screenshot below shows that instructors can actually access/use MyMediasite within the LMS also.
In addition to embedding individual videos, there is also the ability to add a collection/catalog link in the course navigation. As a result, instructors could add new videos to a collection/catalog without having to edit any pages in the LMS.
As of Hotfix 6, quiz results can push into the LMS Gradebook.
For Blackboard, quizzes have to be added to the video before adding the video into the course.
Presentations need to be added as “assignments” in the LMS
After the assignment is over/past due, instructors can go into MyMediasite, and push all of the grades into the Gradebook
I liked the content of this session – it was much more hands-on than high level. Even though the presentation was using Canvas, it was clear how the LMS integration should work. With the integration, I think it would actually make things very easy for instructors, with access to MyMediasite directly from within the LMS, rather than having to go to a different website. Lots to think about for our LMS integration!
Adult learning is problem-centered & relevant to the job
Audience (ex: attendees of Mediasite training)
Behavior (ex: will be able to capture a screen recording)
Condition (ex: using MDR)
Degree (ex: without assistance)
Training is more than lecture
Training vs. Education
This is the 2nd presentation that I’ve attended from the same presenter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thrilled with either session. This session didn’t really provide me with information that I didn’t already know. The content was more around developing training (best practices, objectives, etc.), rather than focusing specifically on teaching/training on how to use Mediasite.