Due to being ill while attending the Conference this year, I had to miss out on some of the sessions during the second day of ITC. It’s unfortunate, because I really wanted to attend some of the Tuesday morning sessions. Here is a recap of the sessions I did attend on the second day.Morning keynote – “From Here to 2020: Forces Reshaping Teaching and Learning in the Next Decade.“ Josh Jarrett is the senior program officer from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was the keynote presenter. The short version of my review is that I wasn’t impressed by his presentation. Jarrett provided slides upon slides of statistics regarding students in higher education, however it appeared that he focused mainly on community colleges. Most of the information that was presented wasn’t new knowledge and Jarrett didn’t really dig into the deeper meaning. One key point that I strongly disagreed with was that there will be “lower cost per student by 2020.” Anyone who can read a newspaper knows that the cost of education is greatly increasing, primarily due to the terrible economy. Jarrett also presented hat online learning is “content-driven” while setting aside the community aspect. Any educator who has dealt with online learning, whether teaching an online course or supporting online educators, knows that online education is just as community-driven as it is about the content. Many ITC keynote presenters (past and present) have action items, things that the audience can get motivated behind to start acting in their everyday teaching and learning. Jarrett left me, and others, wanting more. The only takeaway that resulted from this presentation was to sit and wait for the Gates Foundation to come up with a solution. Much of the presentation was spent talking about what the Foundation is doing and who they are partnering with, almost as if it was a sales pitch to throw money at the Foundation.Afternoon concurrent session – “The Secret to Informal Personal Learning Networks.“ Before I go too far into this session, I do want to say that it wasn’t what I was expecting. I went into the session expecting to hear about a variety of PLNs and what you can do to be successful with your own network. The session was really promoting CyberSalon, a PLN that the presenters in the Southwest U.S. have been a part of. Talking about the importance of PLNs and what each of the presenters have gotten out of them, the presenters received several questions from the audience about how to go about starting their own CyberSalon. There were 2 presenters physically present and 1 presenter who was attending via Google Hangout. In talking with Barry Dahl about this session afterwards, we both agreed that the presenters could have done more to engage the virtual presenter. I definitely think that having an informal, unconventional PLN can be just as effective has formal professional development. While not unconventional, Twitter is an informal PLN that I have gained more knowledge than any other professional development opportunity.Afternoon vendor session – “Five Effective Practices for Professional Development.” This was the only vendor session that I would attend during the conference. I normally don’t like vendor sessions because their purpose is to sell a product. Well, I’m not in a position to propose large, proprietary softwares, so I don’t care that much. This session was different, however. Barry Dahl, owner of Excellence in Education, clearly stated at the beginning of the session, that many of the things he would talk about were things that we could implement on our own. We didn’t need to hire him. That’s honesty I can believe in. Barry went through seven (instead of five) tips that can/will positively impact online education.
- Administrators should join CCOBLA. This community shares ideas, effective practices, and other items between institutions that are in similar positions. Joining CCOBLA is free.
- Conference Comes to You. Instead of spending $5000-10,000 to send some staff/faculty to a conference, host a conference at your own institution. Invite national experts to present and utilize on-campus expertise to help facilitate the conference. The cost can even out with sending individuals to a conference.
- Accessibility training. Access e-Learning from Georgia Tech and Web Accessibility Training
- Peer review of online courses (voluntary and faculty-driven). Resource from Lake Superior College.
- External course review, such as QM
- Clarify expectations among stakeholders. What should students expect from online instructors (and vice versa), and expectations between instructors and administrators.
Excellent tips from Barry!