Thursday, September 1, 2011


I have recently come to realize that there are at least three different professional associations in the region who are eager to add members. I'm borrowing from their sites to get the messages right.

One is an organization I have joined after some years of encouragement by a former colleague. Perhaps you would consider joining me in the The Illinois Association for Educational Communications and Technology ( IAECT ) - dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning through the effective use of media, technology, and telecommunications. The Illinois AECT chapter has it's 2011 conference approaching on October 7 at Kishwaukee Community College in Malta, IL. See the website or contact me for further information.

ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and development professionals. ASTD’s members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in more than 125 U.S. chapters and with more than 20 international partners. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers.

The US Distance Learning Association serves the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. We will help you stay connected and ahead of trends in learning — distance learning , e-learning, mobile learning, computer-based training (CBT), web-based training (WBT), instructor-led training (ILT), online training, online learning, blended learning, classroom training, and webinars.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More on the future

Just read this post from Seth Godin (OK, so it's from Sept of 2010, I'm behind on my reading.)

I keep saying how online learning requires transformation of those of us who presume to take what we know and use online technologies to teach them. Godin reminds us all that pretty much the same thing applies to the rest of the world, at least economically speaking. I'm reminded that my one, most embarrassing undergraduate grade was in economics though I may be more intrigued and fascinated by economics than by engineering.

Godin closes his post with "The sad irony is that everything we do to prop up the last economy (more obedience, more compliance, cheaper yet average) gets in the way of profiting from this one."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blogging...explained For people who wonder what the application of blogging might be to online learning, Dabbs has a perspective.

Writing is the ticket, of course. Without student writing and blog interaction, there is little reason to bother. Yet writing and interaction are increasingly important parts of more of our courses.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Maybe I'm not the heretic I feared I was

Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring posted a discussion in today's Chronicle that the traditional university can and should be changed from the inside out. I like the concise identification of the three roles of the traditional university, discovery of knowledge, preserving cultural memories, and mentoring the next generation.

Yet, they see today's traditional university in a perilous position. I feel, maybe too often, that my thoughts and viewpoints are heretical. I'm too far off the edge, perhaps. But Christensen and Eyring state "One thing we've got to come to grips with is the power of online technology and the opportunity to enhance the way we teach." It's nice to hear someone else saying this kind of stuff. The bottom line for so many institutions will be self evaluation and transformation. Prune away that which is necessary for survival. Recognize the value of teaching to the university's mission. Adapt or perish.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Curious how certain comments can contaminate concepts

In a commentary on the Chronicle site this week (here) Benjamin Ginsberg assails the practice of writing strategic plans as a self-serving exercise in executive/administrative nonsense. This is a big topic; He makes some good points. My issue for the moment, however, is that I am concerned that the argument implicitly undermines anything done for it's strategic value. Quick point of distinction: tactics are actions used for specific, timely purposes. Strategies are big picture conceptualizations of goal fulfillment. Ginsberg notes an exceptional bit of leadership at the University of Illinois in its 2007 strategic plan. Ginsberg's overall slant however is to herald the failure of American universities to maintain intellectual rigor by increasing the number and power of administrators and decreasing faculty influence.

ION's core value to its many widespread members and friends is as a strategic partner in faculty development. This value is expressed as the element of higher learning accreditation focused on faculty training and support. Making smart decisions toward the long term goals of improving the skills and abilities of the universities faculty members will always be a good thing. It will never be a transient whim that comes and goes with presidents or deans.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Everyone is all atwitter?

Between Netflix, Google+, Facebook, and the heat, there sure is a lot to talk about this week.

I have spent a surprising amount of mental energy pondering the new Google+ "circles" strategy and how it relates to something many of us have become at least vaguely familiar with, Facebook friends. Then, of course, there are the real life phenomena of friends, associates, acquaintances, colleagues, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, family (immediate, distant, or otherwise), and more. Social posturing, political correctness, being nice....we've got names for those things too, right?

I wonder if part the reason Google+ is taking off like this is that it explicitly asks us to categorize the nature of our associations with others. {insert "scientific explanation of human relationships" about here}

Then there are the MOOCs out there. Massive Open Online Course. I'm in #edumooc right now and finding it really hard to focus on it and stay with it. There are so many directions to go, so many options to pursue. I'm sure it's really fun and exciting for some.

Till next time,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Big Picture

Read the latest "Learnlets" by Clark Quinn.
Here's a guy who really has a great handle on the big picture. Notice where elearning is. Notice where the arrow points, and where it ends up. One of the best parts of using the tools that we have in online learning is that they have the potential for being part of a much more powerful, effective system. Maybe I'm going to sound a little brash, but we're just a little foolish and backwards when we fail to see that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Contemplations on Savannah, GA

On top of meeting all the people and the wonderful welcome extended by the DLA2011 I felt a sense of belonging I was not expecting. OK, I'm corny, but think about the movie "Muppets from Space." There's a scene near the end when one of the characters experiences a reunion with "his people", people he didn't know before, and didn't know existed. I was reminded of that scene today at the closing luncheon of the Distance Learning Administrator's Annual conference in beautiful Savannah, Georgia.

Of course it was terrifically affirming to learn that the keynote speaker is an ION fan and included ION materials in his DLA toolbox handout. It was also great fun to run across friends of ION now serving Colorado Technical University and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Then there are all the people from around the south and around the world I met and had a chance to share ION with.

To top it all off, I treated myself to a Segway tour of historic Savannah and thoroughly enjoyed that. I'm hooked! Met a couple who Segway tour everywhere they go if it's available. Talk about a memorable trip....oh, I guess I am. ...till the next time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Almost Summer updates

There have been updates to the pricing for Founding members and program additions to the MVCR program. We've survived the 2011 Faculty Summer Institute and I am working on the program for the Fall IAECT conference.

Open Educational Resources continues to be a hot topic, along with mobile technologies, and online learning in general.

The COLA program has been warmly received and has several people pursuing it as a loosely formed first cohort.

We've granted more than 530 MOTs and there have been more than 6500 successful MVCR participants.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sloan C Blended Learning Conference

Presented on ION/MVCR Blended Learning course at the conference. Ran into friends, some a bit more unexpected than the others.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

COLA program progress

The COLA program is moving forward with QA running and AS, the 4-week threshold course opening just yesterday. The first COLA recipients will be awarded by the end of the year.