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.