ITC eLearning, A Recap

instructional technology council e-learning 2013 logoAlright, the conference is over… Another year come and gone… Many of the relationships that have grown and those that are new, will be shelved for another year. It’s quite sad, but back to the “real world” we all must go.I can say that while the presentations weren’t as strong as in past years, there are still things that I took away from the sessions. In case you missed my daily reflections, here are the links:

But despite the sessions, lots of fun was had. In fact, our group won the photo scavenger hunt. All of the pics from the scavenger hunt can be identified by the #10 sign in them. We came so close last year and refused to be beat again. We were so determined, that we completed all 30+ pictures, including us (Kari) chasing down a lady walking her dog, pictures of sunrises/sunsets, Kari and Audrey getting into the outdoor pool in ~40 degree weather, etc. It was a blast! And thanks to Howard for giving us a judge’s opinion on some of the questionable photos.Below are a bunch of the pictures that I took during the Conference. As with all of my Flickr photos, they are licensed under BY-NC-SA Creative Commons licensing.Thanks to the Instructional Technology Council for a great conference![flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157632776900672″]

ITC eLearning, Day 3

instructional technology council e-learning 2013 logoToday started off fairly quickly because my session was #1 for the day. I got to the room early to test out the technology. Once everything was working, I was set… or so I thought… as the presentation started, all the technology started shutting down. I couldn’t stream my iPad to the projector, couldn’t connect to the network, and then couldn’t get the VGA cable to stay in the iPad. Regardless, the show must go on. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the session and there were quite a few people editing the Google Doc throughout. If you are interested in the resources from my session, check out my Presentations page.

Supercharge Your Faculty Website

Colin Strupp & Sage Freemen, Chemeketa CollegeThe presenters from Chemeketa College (Salem, OR), redesigned their website using WordPress. They mentioned that there are other systems, such as Joomla or Drupal, but that they prefer WordPress. Anyone that knows me knows that I am in full support of that! The presenters talked quite a bit about the basic overview of the WP Dashboard for those who have never used the system before.Overall, I think the session was a little more basic than it could have been. I was looking for more information on how to get faculty to the site and what the impact of the newly-designed site. Unfortunately, I didn’t get those answers.

On Making Education a Game Changer

Mark Milliron, Western Governors University
www.markmilliron.comThis was the first time that I had heard Mark speak. Both his topic and engagement were high-energy. His premise was that today’s students are a game changer, which overall is not a new concept. His opening compared his childhood with that of his kids during their “journey” from North Carolina to Austin, Texas at the conclusion of their winter break. The notion that games that kids play during long trips and the support that they receive is very different from previous generations.One big thing that I took away was an interesting concept that WGU is a fully-online institution, but they only hire full-time faculty – no adjuncts. Also, there are more grandparents on Facebook than grandchildren. I would never have thought that to be true, but when looking at it further, FB requires users to be at least 13 years of age. Now, I’m sure there are kids that lie about their age, but I know plenty of parents who restrict kids from using Facebook when they are under 13.

Textbooks/Resources/Curricular Material

Western Governor’s has now flipped the business model of textbook costs. Every student pas $149/semester for all of their curricular materials. Instead of textbook publishers selling to the students directly, they now are negotiating with the institution.Learning Resources Strategies provide instructors with the competencies and they instructors then curate the information from websites, videos, textbook, etc. WGU isn’t against MOOCs or OERs, but it’s mixed into the LRS with other resources.


An interesting idea is to provide immediate feedback to a student and relate their behaviors with the outcomes of previous students who had similar behaviors.

  • Green light if previous students who did similar things succeeded.
  • Yellow light if previous students who did similar things didn’t do very well.
  • Red light if previous students who did similar things failed miserably.

It’d be great to have immediate response for students who register for specific classes when those mix of classes are “toxic” – students don’t succeed.

“We have the data, we just don’t tell students” – Mark Milliron

“In times of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. THe learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer

ITC eLearning, Day 2

instructional technology council e-learning 2013 logoBe What’s next in teaching and Learning

Cameron Evans, Microsoft CorporationToday started off exponentially more engaging than yesterday. The opening keynote this morning was Cameron Evans from Microsoft. He spoke to us about his visions of technology moving forward. There was an interesting video that he exposed us to, which I’ve included below. Of course, he was a big supporter of Microsoft and their products, although he was very light-hearted when commenting about the number of Apple devices in the room. of the interesting things that I took away from Cameron’s presentation was the concept of “Super Wifi.” When digital broadcasting took over analog several years ago, it freed up the analog bandwidth. Evans thinks that by 2015-2016, wifi will be served to everyone through that analog bandwidth. I’m not sure exactly how that will work, so we’ll just have to sit back and relax.

An Arsenal of Design Tools for an Army of One

Heather Dawson & Nikki Massaro-Kauffman, Penn State UniversityLink to presentation and tools: session include a variety of tools that can be used in effectively designing courses/multimedia with limited resources.

  1. Self-checks: Low-stakes way to ensure that learners assess and measure their own learning. Kudos to the presenters for providing the scripts for others to use the tools. An interesting part about this code is that it’s in Javascript rather than Flash – iOS devices can use it.
  2. Drag & drop tools: Presenters have designed a fill-in-the-blank as well as accessible versions.

These are just some examples of interesting applications of tools that the presenters developed for their courses. They emphasized that these examples are for student–>content engagement, not student–>student or student–>instructor.The amazing thing is that the presenters are making the scripts and UI tools available to everyone, so that we don’t have to visit their site to create new activities; we can do it all from right within our own web system. EXCELLENT!Overall, definitely a great job. I’ll be sure to play with some of these tools when I get back to campus.

HTML5, Flash and the iPad

David Megill, and Don Megill, MiraCosta CollegeHmm… what to say about this session. The presenters started off by saying that they haven’t prepped much and the things they were going to present have other solutions that they just found out about. Definitely not a way to start the session – makes me wonder what I’m going to get out of this. 15 minutes in, there is no mention of Flash, HTML5, or iPads.About 20 minutes in we heard the first tool, a browser called Puffin. That browser handles Flash, but not Java. That’s really all I took away from that session. Too bad…

Using QR Codes and Video to Enhance Learning

Douglas Mann, Rowan UniversityIn looking at what QR codes are used for, I can’t say I learned much new at this session. However, the presenter showed us how he is using QR codes in his classes. He also posts QR codes in training rooms, etc. so that sports medicine students can review different wraps as needed. The session overall was quite engaging, especially when he had us break into groups, use a QR code to access a video, then demonstrate what we learned. The presenter openly admits that QR codes may not be necessary in fully-online courses, but for his face-to-face classes they are extremely helpful and necessary.

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.

ITC Pre-Conference Workshop

The first big event at this year’s ITC Conference was a pre-conference workshop, presented by Kari Frisch, from Central Lakes College, in the MNSCU network. The session, walked us through 10+ steps to keeping a high retention rate in her fully-online classes. Here is a list of the steps for those of you who are interested, however I’m not providing the details behind each item – that’s special for me!instructional technology council e-learning 2013 logo

  1. Be present
  2. Build relationships
  3. Be organized
  4. Assignment schedules
  5. Two due dates
  6. Extra credit for spelling mistakes
  7. Consistency
  8. Variety
  9. Open-book, un-timed tests
  10. Survey students

Most of the items on that list are things that I constantly advocate to our instructors, however are things that I never incorporated into my course. I’m not sure why, as that makes me quite the hypocrite. One of the things that I learned from this workshop is that I should be spending much more time prepping for and engaging in my course. I’m not one to “set it and forget it,” but I could be doing so much more.I’ve implemented 1 change (already) since the workshop ended and 1 more scheduled to take effect in a few weeks. During this week’s module, I created an anonymous survey to get feedback from students on how they think the class is going, thus far. In face-to-face classes, Instructional Designers conduct Small Group Instructional Diagnoses (SGID), however they are rarely done in fully-online classes due to the nature of the process. In the survey that I created, I asked similar questions as the SGID, but the process will still yield different results because there is no group work involved in the online version. Hopefully I can implement some other changes based on their feedback. I’ve also come up with a new assignment to use when we get to the Mobile Tools module in a few weeks.Anyway, Kari did a great job and all ~15 participants learned a great deal. Excellent!As I write this, the morning keynote for Monday has ended and I am waiting for the concurrent sessions to begin. I’ll post some reflections on all of today’s sessions later on.Cheers!

ITC 2013 – I Have Arrived

instructional technology council e-learning 2013 logoThose of you who know me know that this is an important weekend for me in 2 respects:

  • My birthday is this weekend
  • This weekend is the start of the ITC eLearning Conference.

For the sake of this post, let’s focus on number 2.I believe this is the 4th year that I’ve attended this conference. Last year I felt that the overall quality of the conference wasn’t as good, but there are too many other good things that happen there. For 1, I made important connections that landed me my first instructional design job (thanks Sherry and Chris!). In addition, I’ve networked with so many people who have become my friends. I can’t imagine not going to this conference because it’s the 1 opportunity that I have to see them face-to-face. As I write this post from the plane, I get excited just thinking about it.Unfortunately, all things must come to an end. And no, I’m not declaring that this is my last time with the ITC. What I mean is that some of my friends will likely not be at the conference this year. With new jobs, recent moves, decreasing budgets, as well as other reasons, I’m sure that some of my friends will not be in attendance.It will definitely be an interesting conference. I hope that the overall quality of the presentations is better than last year, but rest assured, I look forward to kicking butt in the photo scavenger hunt.I’ll post daily reflections throughout the conference, so check back tomorrow!