Blackboard is proud to be the Diamond Sponsor of the upcoming Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) Annual Convention & Expo, taking place in Dallas, Texas, June 6th – 9th, 2011. The theme of this year’s conference is “Changing Lives in Changing Times,” and will feature guest speakers General Colin Powell and George Will. And of course, Blackboard’s own CEO, Michael Chasen, will be addressing the crowd in a session on the topic of online learning.
With over 300 exhibitors and over 2000 attendees, we realize it can be difficult to choose which sessions to attend. Here are our recommendations for not-to-miss presentations:
Dr. Ronnie Kramer, President and founder of Communication Dynamics, is not only an expert in implementing technology for learning, but also in facilitative communication. We were honored to have her present at our Professional & Career College Summit recently, where she kicked off an important conversation on communication with the insight “everyone communicates, but not everyone connects.”
Communication is important throughout education, but even more so for people in career colleges who have jobs, families, and other obligations to balance with their education. Dr. Kramer urges people to think back to the teachers that inspired them most and capture those traits going forward in their communication. Was it their passion? Their expertise? Their creativity? All of the above? Even if the educator doesn’t have a personality that shines through their communications, Dr. Kramer shared several learning techniques that can help:
One of the outstanding themes of Blackboard’s recent Professional & Career College Summit was how IT departments of schools need to think of the students as their customers. Guest speaker Mike Walstrom, Director of Information Services at Capella University, supported that theme when he shared his experiences managing the technology ecosystem at Capella. “We are creating communication and interconnections to increase successes at every level. When they [the students] notice the technology, that’s a bad thing.” Walstrom finds he is most effective when considering the learners and faculty as the stakeholders that matter most, and so the technologist’s goal should be to make the technology invisible.
A few weeks ago at our Professional & Career College Summit, attendees were asked a really important question –- How focused is your school’s IT Department on the student? As presenter Steven Birmingham, IT Director of Central Penn College pointed out, schools should be thinking of their students as customers. Birmingham came from the banking industry and found himself in “culture shock” when he discovered the role of the IT department when his career brought him into the world of education.
With support from his team and school leadership, Birmingham took the reins and helped to transition his department to a now flourishing student-centric model. Here are just a few of the steps that Central Penn College took to update their IT Department to reflect prioritizing the students: