Tuesday, September 09, 2008

ITC eLearning 2009 - Proposals Being Accepted

The annual ITC eLearning 2009 Conference planning committee is in full gear. Every year that I have attended this conference has been better than the previous year, and I expect this year to be no exception. As a board member of the Instructional Technology Council, you would likely expect that I am biased in that respect, which is probably true. However, it is because of the quality of the conference and the people involved that I even wanted to join the board in the first place.

The conference is scheduled for February 21-24 at the Portland Hilton and Executive Tower in Portland, Oregon. Pre-conference workshops will be held on Saturday, February 21 with the main conference kicking off Sunday, Feb. 22.

I'll be hosting two pre-conference workshops:
  • The Basics of Blogs, Wikis, and RSS - morning session
  • Using Web 2.0 Tools inside your Virtual Learning Environment - afternoon

The proposal deadline is Friday, October 10, 2008. Because we use a Moodle installation for the ITC website, you do need to create a free account in order to submit proposals. It is easy to do and you will be able to submit proposals as soon as the account creation process (quick) is completed. Come share your great ideas with us. Submit a proposal today.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

About Virtual High Schools

Only four slides embedded below. The results are shown from a clicker question I posed during two different speaking engagements in front of K-12 audiences. I just think it's interesting, but not terribly surprising.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blackbeard Mug for Higher Ed

I love goofy generators like this. Thanks to John Krutsch for the heads up on Twitter and for the very creative tool that he just whipped up one day. Wow!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ed2Go is NOT Higher Education

For several years now I have railed against the use of ed2go courses when they are affiliated with a college or university. During my time on the Minnesota Online Council I was especially adamant against the listing of the ed2go courses at the MnOnline website as though they were endorsed courses from a member institution. There is no way that I think the brand should be diluted by including courses like this in our offerings. Why not? Glad you asked.

NOTE: most of this post was written after I discovered that my own school had recently signed on with ed2go. This saddens me to no end since I spent the past five y
ears railing against the use of ed2go in Minnesota Online and our colleges. Our VP in that division assures me that they will do what they can to not harm our reputation for quality online offerings - and I believe that, I'm just not sure how much of that we can actually control. I waited a couple of weeks before posting this to see whether my opinion would be changed by other people around here - and now I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen.

ed2go courses are what they are. They aren't what they aren't. They aren't college courses. They aren't OUR courses. They aren't taught by our faculty. They aren't developed and vetted by us. Their web services aren't supported by us. The assessments aren't created and evaluated by us. Student successes (and failures) aren't determined by us. (etc., etc.!!)

So why the heck do we brand these as OUR courses? Why are we saying that we have this online instruction center (below) when it isn't true? We do have an e-Campus at Lake Superior College, where students and faculty can come for help, but it has nothing to do with these ed2go courses. We have worked very hard over the past 11 years to build a stellar reputation for our online offerings at LSC. Now our reputation also depends on a profit-seeking company that has no connection to us whatsoever and over whom we have no control.

And why would Minnesota Online want courses like the one shown below listed on the MnOnline website?

That's an ed2go course, and it's probably not the only one that is being called a MnOnline course.

And now for the best part(s). Don't you just love testimonials? How about when the same testimonial is used for each of the first five schools (all in MnSCU) that I looked at on the ed2go website. Laura really gets around since it appears as though she takes classes from almost all of the schools.

Final point. Notice how the graphic above mentions accreditation? Take a look at this next one, it's even better.

Doesn't this strike you as more than just a little bit odd? It definitely strikes me that way. Schools are touting their accreditation status while promoting courses that they have absolutely nothing to do with (except collecting a little bit of revenue). Their faculty don't teach the courses or develop the curriculum, their employees most often are oblivious that these courses are even being offered, and yet somehow this seems to be the time to hype up the school's accreditation. Seems to me that this type of offering completely flies in the face of accreditation. Isn't it ed2go that needs to be accredited to do this stuff? I'm just asking.

Of course I can already hear the excuses for this. "Well, our accreditation doesn't cover continuing education and non-credit offerings, just our degree programs and such." Point #1: then why are schools hyping their accreditation status on a page that deals with continuing education? Point #2: Maybe our accreditation isn't affected, but our reputation is.

I don’t care whether 1,500 other schools are using Ed2Go and telling the world that people are taking courses from “their schools.” That only tells me that administrators at 1,500 schools are making very poor decisions and are willing to stake their reputations on something over which they have no control.

Okay, one more that I just couldn't resist. I have (should I say "had?") lots of friends at North Hennepin CC. But it's just downright embarrassing when their ed2go site says the following: "North Hennepin Community College is accredited by MnSCU." (Ummh, NO, they're not!) In fact, I think this whole scam is a major embarrassment, but apparently I'm the only who's embarrassed by it.