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Minnesota Instructional Technologists (MinIT) 2012

I’m just back from the 4th Minnesota Instructional Technologists (MinIT) symposium this time hosted by Carleton College at the Weitz Center for Creativity.  My excellent colleague Barron Koralesky from Macalester College and myself started this group in 2009 (though we had been talking about the idea for two years before that).  It is a gathering of instructional technology professionals from regional Colleges and Universities.  We’ve done various formats over the years and keep on trying new formats — we’re an experimental group!

This year Carleton organized a large group discussion that was centered around topics submitted by the attendees during registration.  The majority of the schools are on moodle so we had much talk about transition to version 2.x.  Hopefully the few that weren’t on moodle yet will join the fun soon – <wink>.  Most of us are opening up our beta sites to faculty before fall so they can get used to the changes.  Early feedback from faculty generally has been good.  Even though moodle 2 has “moved the cheese” faculty are adapting and liking the new features and new user interface standards.

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Back from the 25th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning

Three of us trekked to Madison to attend the conference held at the lovely Monona Terrace.  The drive down was good but the drive back had much rain which slowed us down a lot.  We did stop and stock up on Wisconsin cheese (not myself though).  There were some good sessions and some not so good.  Here’s the highlights from my good sessions:

  • Distance Learning Czar:  It was clear that so many of the schools there were way into distance and online learning.  The idea of someone in charge of distance learning was repeated especially at the session featuring Carlos a fellow Frye ’09 alum!
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization. This technique was explained well at a session on Marketing online programs.  The focus is clearly to capture students when they’re searching for an online program.  Looking forward to getting the powerpoint on this one.
  • Part Time Instructional Design: This session (see ppt) was the winner of Thursday for me.  It laid out a program at Del Mar College where instructional design is done by a team: 2 faculty, 1 instructional technologist, 1 librarian, 1 director.  The 2 faculty positions are 1 course release overloads for a term and are competitive slots — they apply for them.  The team does instructional design with faculty, course reviews, mentoring, development of support materials, general sounding board for online learning.
  • Quality Matters: Again and again places mentioned how they took the base QM rubric and modified it for their school.  Seems like a no-brainer to do so we have a way to assess the quality of our online offerings.  The question is who does the assessing and what is the result?
  • Economics of Online Learning: you can expect 12 – 32% of tuition as revenue (25% typical) for an online program.  I saw a session by someone from Compass Knowledge Group.  They help institutions develop and run online programs.  The data (based on 50 programs of various sizes) was useful in identifying the components and potential cost % of each.  Another one I’m looking forward to the powerpoint for the details.
  • Penn State Resources: faculty self-assessment and quality standards.  From a session that described the complexity that is Penn State, two resources were of note.  A faculty self-assessment allows faculty to test their readiness for online teaching.  And quality standards
    based on quality matters for their online courses.
  • What do online students consider essential to their learning?  Their perspectives match up well with, take a guess, the quality matters rubric.  A study of 202 Penn State World Campus students found pieces what they consider essential to their learning and what pieces not so much — maybe a surprise but they don’t consider games and simulations essential to their learning.  But that doesn’t mean those items don’t support their learning.  The presentation is up at slideshare to see the details.
  • Epson DC-06 Document Camera.  For $299 you get a usb-based document camera that is so easy to use and captures a great picture.  Time to dump our RCA-video based document cameras for a few of these.

Presenting in May on Learning Spaces

I’m going to present with my colleague David Warch at this year’s Classrooms of the Future symposium.  We’ll be presenting on how our campus raised awareness of the best thinking about learning spaces very quickly to respond to some new building projects.  Of course I’m on the steering the committee for the symposium so….


I’m a podcast now

The 2006 Educause sessions are now showing up as podcasts on the Educause blog site.  If you dare, you can listen to my session here.  I don’t know if you have the same reaction as I do to hearing a recording of yourself– but I had to stop listening after my first few sentences.  It was painful. Next time I do an Educause it will be better.

 


Feb/March Innovate out

I’ve been away from the blog for a while due to a hand injury. I hope to get back into the swing of things again.

The Feb/March issue of Innovate is out. Again they feature many interesting articles. An interview with Carol Twigg (I saw her in 2004 at the Distance Teaching & Learning conference in Madison — great keynote) brings me up to date on what she’s been up to. I hadn’t realized that she spun off the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) as an independent nonprofit. Makes sense to me. Gaming is a recurring theme showing up in 3 articles this time. The issue closes with Downes’ visit to the Sakai site. I like how he examines his experience using the site which I think gives insights to how using Sakai could go.


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