ITC eLearning, Day 1

instructional technology council e-learning 2013 logoEven though the opening keynote by Tonya Joosten was the night before this, I didn’t really include it in my reflections. Below is a video that Tonya showed us. I’ve seen plenty of social media videos over the years, but this was a new one to me: was day 1 of the ITC eLearning Conference. The first day is usually the most engaging, with the sessions starting to drag on throughout the conference. Hopefully this won’t be the case, since I’m presenting on Wednesday morning! Anyway, here is a run down of the sessions I attended yesterday.

Break Away to Uncharted Territory: New Frontiers in Online Education

Chris Bustamante, President, Rio Salado CollegeThe opening keynote was not what I was hoping for. Aside from the monotone presentation and lack of audience engagement, Dr. Bustamante explained the business model that Rio Salado has moved towards. The most shocking point that he made was that adjuncts find syllabus creation as a “business plan,” that instructors don’t like creating. Like it or not, creating a syllabus for a course is a large part of the instructor’s job and it helps set the tone of the course right from the start. Dr. Bustamante also stated that they hire adjuncts rather than full-time instructors in order to save money. So you value them enough to hire them to mindlessly recite info from the syllabus that you create for them, but not enough to hire them full time with benefits? Something doesn’t seem quite right about that. Anyway, I, along with others, were less than impressed.

Building an e-Campus Team: Creative and Cost-Effective Leadership

Hanna Erpestead & Amy Jo Swing, Lake Superior CollegeA great session that went into detail about LSC’s previous organizational structure around eLearning and how the state-wide changes impacted their support and services of online education. Despite having lost a great leader (their words, not mine), life moves on and they had to make the best of the situation. Moving away from a 1-person decision-making model, the presenters created a consortium of support roles from around the college (help desk, instructional designer, IMS staff, etc.) and had this group meeting once per month. From their experiences, this shared responsibility model helped decrease the resources from individual groups and spread the responsibilities among different groups.Reflecting on this, Miami could do great things by implementing and following-through with this approach. We have started the process, having an eLearning Partners group form and met twice in the last year. However, we have let this group remain dormant for extended time and therefore, in my opinion, lost momentum. We could be doing great things…

Casting the Net for Faculty Development

Linda Davis and Debra Lacey, St. Clair County Community CollegeThis session wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I wasn’t necessarily looking for faculty development in fully-online environments, but that’s definitely not what this was about. The presenters talked about the faculty development opportunities and facilities that they have implemented at their institution. With creating new training sequences, a multi-week training for instructors to teach online, to a flexible innovation space to use, they are great things to do, but nothing new that we haven’t attempted/implemented already.

The Grand Debate: Resolved: Open Education Resources are an Unsustainable Passing Fad

The debate this year had a great topic, one that was sure to engage the conference participants. However, I actually thought this session was less engaging than past years. My hypothesis is that the debaters let the topic speak for itself without providing anything that was funny or engaging. For the record, I definitely don’t think that OERs are a passing fad. They are here to stay.Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it through either of the afternoon concurrent sessions in their entirety due to teaching commitments. Because of that, I won’t be reflecting on them here.

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