The conversation of accountability

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted an interview with a Missouri lawmaker introducing a bill which proposes a number of changes to the way his state universities are accountable to students, along with the removal tenure, which Rep. Rick Bratten called “un-American.” The bill (House Bill 266) also seeks to force universities to post information along with their degree offerings which include: estimated degree cost, types of employment associated with the degree, a prospectus of the job market, and other employment data.

While this post is not meant to offer a position on this matter, it is meant to highlight the conversation that is taking place in state legislatures across the country. There is another bill being introduced in Iowa proposing the removal of tenure as well. I suspect that bills of this nature will continue to be seen in the future. Where do we stand as a university?

The CITL, OLITS, and the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library are opening a dialog on the workplace of tomorrow and how we can support our students in it through our annual Bay-to-Bay Learning Symposium on Feb 10, 2017. Come and join us for a full day of interactive material with our dynamic speakers and specific take-home techniques you can use with your students. For tickets, which are going fast, contact David Brodosi via email.

Preparing and Teaching an Online Course: The Podcast

Podcast auf dem Smartphone

If you’re an instructor, instructional designer, or interested in education, then you should definitely check out a new podcast that the OLITS crew is debuting. If you’d like to be a fly on the wall as an instructor goes through preparing and teaching an online course, then give this podcast a listen. We will be updating with new episodes throughout the semester and mixing some strategies you may want to incorporate into your courses.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Quality Matters Recognizes Dr. Rebecca Harris

Rebecca HarrisOnline Learning and Instructional Technology Services is thrilled to announce that Dr. Rebecca Harris has received Quality Matters certification for her online course, Environmental Economics (ECP 3302).

Through the faculty based peer-review process, her course has been found to meet the highest national standards for online course quality and design. The course was awarded certification on December 21, 2016.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Harris on this significant achievement and her continued commitment to high quality online teaching and learning!

When asked about the process, Dr. Harris stated the she “is grateful to the DL staff for all of their help!”

Her course is now listed on the QM directory of certified courses from colleges and universities across the nation. The QM Seal of Recognition and information regarding the course quality certification will now be displayed on the home page of her course.

Contact Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services for more information about Quality Matters.

Quality Matters Recognizes Dr. Christina Salnaitis

Christina SalnaitisPlease join us in congratulating Dr. Christina Salnaitis! On Friday December 16, 2016, Dr. Salnaitis received Quality Matters Certification for her online course, Cognitive Psychology (EXP 4680).

Through the faculty based peer-review process, her course has been found to meet the highest national standards for online course quality and design. Not only did her course meet the essential QM standards, she received the total possible score of 99 points.

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized program that examines course design to assess the quality and alignment of an online course through a peer-review process using a rubric of evidence-based practices. The eight general standards of the rubric include; Course Overview & Introduction, Learning Objectives, Instructional Materials, Learner Support, Accessibility& Usability, Course Activities & Learner Interaction and Engagement, and Assessment & Measurement.

Dr. Salnaitis’ course is now listed on the QM directory of certified courses from colleges and universities across the nation. The QM Seal of Recognition and information regarding the course quality certification will now be displayed on the home page of her course.

Contact Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services for more information about Quality Matters.

 

Using Roll Call Attendance in Canvas

Canvas has a nifty feature that allows you to electronically mark attendance for your classes. If you would like to use this feature for your spring courses there are a few things you should know about Roll Call.

  • Roll Call is located in the left-hand column of Canvas and is listed simply as Attendance. This should not be confused with USF First Day Attendance. Roll Call is meant to be used throughout the semester.
  • Once you activate Roll Call Attendance, it will automatically create an assignment worth 100 points and a corresponding column in your gradebook worth 100 points. You can change the point totals to reflect the weight of attendance in your syllabus.
  • You can also adjust the value of attendance when someone is late. The default is 80% for that day.

If you would like to learn more about Roll Call, you can visit the Canvas Instructor Guides, or send me an email and I will be happy to sit down with you to show you how it works!

Best,

Otis

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Students and Technology

This rather revealing infographic examines how students interact with their technology. For many of us, it can be difficult to envision how to use the technology students already possess to improve outcomes and engagement. This spring OLITS and CITL will be hosting a number of new workshops on how to effectively integrate technology in your courses. Stay tuned for our Spring 2017 Workshop Calendar.

2016-technology-infographic

Want more money higher ed? Offer free online courses.

I know, you’re probably thinking that offering free online courses is the opposite of what a university should do. After all, the object of most universities is to make money. I’m sure in many higher ed meetings there are discussions about offering even more paid online courses to increase revenue. But are they missing out on an easy, if not obvious, option?

Educatio Laptop with books, globe, graduation cap and diploma. 3d

Laptop with books, globe, graduation cap and diploma.

Free online courses are not new but the tides may be turning as prestigious schools such as Oxford are joining in. This Engadget article explains how Oxford is using the edX platform to offer its first free online course. The course they are offering is about understanding economic development and it will be available for anyone in the world to take for free.

So why should all of higher ed follow suit? It is simply a great way to get your university experience in the hands of people interested in becoming students. My advice to higher ed institutions would be to create a high quality online course that falls inline with the type of programs you offer. Then simply place that course on one of the many free platforms and monitor the feedback from students. Use this free course as a way to continually improve the type of courses, free or paid, you offer and hopefully drive more students to enroll in your school. If a free online course can showcase your programs, be used to continually improve your online education, and possibly increase enrollment… why not give it a try?