miBUG 2019, held at Washtenaw Community College, brings together institutions across Michigan who use Blackboard in teaching and learning. The conference has 3 breakout sessions and a keynote.
We are excited to announce that Dr. Darcy Hardy, Associate Vice President and Client Success Director from Blackboard, Inc. will be delivering the keynote address, “It All Begins (and ends) with Quality“.
- Retention and enrollment is connected to Quality
- Why are our students here? What are they expecting? What attitudes are they thinking?
- Issues in higher ed, costs, traditional and specific tracks for course work, student expectations, student drop-out, don’t complete their degree, etc.
- Why do students drop out of online courses? Struggle with technology, assumptions of online is easier, lack of time management, can’t balance multiple roles, life circumstances, don’t feel like they are getting enough out of it, struggle to stay focused and engagement, financial, lack of social engagement, courses are boring, limited engagement with faculty, lack of discipline. <<< How much of this “blame” is placed on the students vs “us”?
- Enter student readiness tests. “Is online learning for me?” How many of us have this for our “traditional” students. Is what we are saying if you don’t complete as a student – it’s YOUR problem? Isn’t this the responsibility of the institution, of us as educators?
- How much do we tell students – that it’s YOUR problem, vs what is it that WE can do for students to help them be successful.
- The institution needs to take responsibility in presenting ourselves to encourage online learning, removing barriers, establishing pathways, providing 24×7 support.
- Issues with social presence, don’t place on students > educate the faculty.
- Let’s move beyond “course repositories” of content and toward highly interactive and engaging courses – beyond checking boxes, rather, focusing on quality courses.
- Quality = a standard, excellence, perception (degree to which something meets another’s expectations) – quality has no specific meaning unless it’s related to a specific functions and/or object.
- Quality courses effects perceptions and the learner experience. If the learners experience is rewarding and successful and students feel they received a quality education, they will tell others.
- What is quality ONLINE teaching and learning?
- Are your online faculty MIA when they are teaching their course?
- There is plenty out there on quality… but are we getting the message?
- Quality impacts retention – but how? How do we measure online and traditional courses?
Richard Clark – Technology is the delivery truck. Use still need quality “groceries”.
Clark states that “media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition. Basically, the choice of vehicle might influence the cost or extent of distributing instruction, but only the content of the vehicle can influence achievement.”Where learner gains have been found, Clark presents compelling rival hypotheses.
- Organization and Strategy – Vision and mission needs to support online programs. And how many have a specific vision/mission for online? (Drive enrollment, how big, who are you serving?) What is your niche? Who are you and why is what you are doing is unique? If you want quality, you need faculty support with instructional designers, and technologists. Crappy courses start with the organization’s support structure with the right people and staffing in place. What is your strategic plan for your online program, not just the institution? What is your reason for online and what is your process? Does your organization support your online learning programs? Stakeholders: president, cio, provost, student services, student affairs, online learning director, enrollment management, admissions, registrar, financial aid, department chairs, deans, faculty, students, libraries, ADA officers, etc.
- Governance and Policy – Need to have decision-making oversight, monitoring, making decisions, which programs to launch. Do you do feasibility studies when you launch new programs and courses? What about marketing? What are your policies for online? Faculty responsibilities and preparedness eg. engagement, technology processes, course quality, standards, etc. Putting a program online, this is an institutional decision, not just faculty/department/college/school. Need a distance education office or center with authority. Need a centralized process, course design, review, consistent navigation, ensure accessibility, adhere to quality standards, etc.
- Course Design, Faculty Development, Student Support Services – If you can’t provide support, you shouldn’t be offering online courses and programs.
It’s up to us.