Guest Blog Post by Dan Lim, Ph.D., Vice President for Educational Technology and Distance Learning, Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences (linkedin.com/in/danlim01). Dan will be presenting “De-angelizing Synchronous Distance Teaching: Collaborate To Enhance Online Education Quality” at Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit 2012 on Thursday, July 12, 2012 from 2:50-3:45PM.
Once upon a time, it was popular to angelize. Now it’s time to de-angelize. At Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences (FHCHS), our plan to de-angelize is still on track though the ANGEL learning system has recently been put on indefinite life support. Although ANGEL has served us well, its unscalable chat tool has been the Achilles’ heel since the beginning when we used it in the synchronous distance delivery of our three distance degree programs.
The transition to Blackboard Collaborate this year is a timely and critical change. If your institution is experiencing various challenges in the quality of distance delivery, there are ten reasons why you need to attend our session, seven of which are on how Collaborate is a great solution to distance education challenges and three reasons why the transition has been smooth and quite painless.
There’s no doubt that the growth of digital learning content is accelerating. Multiple resources indicate that a higher ed world of blended and online learning is rapidly approaching, some resources even cite the “flip to digital” occurring in the next 5 years. Textbooks aren’t going away any time soon but their use in the classroom is declining steadily. And, expectations are that instructors will graduate from eTexts to the more sophisticated integrated learning systems being developed by publishers.
What does this mean for you?
Blackboard can be a channel for all this content and tools, helping faculty make sense of the numerous digital content options available to them. Blackboard offers a broad choice of content to choose from right within the Blackboard Learn course. I would like to take a moment to look at one of our newest providers of digital content: Cengage Learning.
As a member of the professional college and university community, one topic that has been of great interest to me as of late is the future of student assessment. Considering that many students at proprietary institutions come from non-traditional backgrounds, should these students be assessed differently than their more traditional counterparts? What can the education community do to improve academics across the board while finding accurate measures for student achievement at career colleges?
The Higher Education Capacity Gap
During last month’s PCUS gathering, higher education attorney David Harpool put this concept of student assessment into the context of the “megatrends” seen in higher ed today. Harpool began by highlighting the education capacity gap in the United States, which continues to grow as demand for education increases while admission rates at traditional universities remain static.
Earlier this month, the Blackboard team sponsored the 3rd Annual Professional Colleges and Universities Summit (PCUS)
along with our host, Harrison College
. We first began these summits to form a network for our clients across the professional college and university sector. From our perspective, it is critical that stakeholders at proprietary institutions come together to share best practices and communicate about the collective challenges they face, especially within the current regulatory environment and fast-paced changes in learning technology.
Through meetings like this, I firmly believe that we can work together to highlight the great things schools in our sector are doing – and that’s exactly what happened at this year’s PCUS gathering.
Of the many things I learned during the summit, here are some of my top takeaways from PCUS 2012:
- Connections between students matter, even in online learning environments. One school found that being connected to just one other person radically increased their students’ success and retention rates. The more that students participate in course-related social networks, for example, the more likely they are to graduate – and this is especially true for those who enter with multiple risk factors.
Every year, those of us at Blackboard look forward to the opportunity to discuss important topics in learning technology with our colleagues and partners at our BbWorld conference. This year, we are particularly excited for opportunities to connect with those in the professional education sector at BbWorld 2012 in New Orleans.
It’s been a big year for us at Blackboard ProEd, from our partnership with salesforce.com to our expanding role in military training to our growing partnerships with professional colleges and universities. We can’t wait to build on these milestones by attending sessions and meeting other stakeholders. Below is a list of just some of the professional education sessions that will be featured at this year’s BbWorld conference: