Educause: 2002: 2003 : 2004 Distance Teaching & Learning: 2004

Educause 2004 Summary: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Key presentations:
Wednesday: Evolving Faculty Development: A Model for Responding to Change
Thursday: The One Thing You Need To Know
Friday: Dot COM Meets Dot EDU: Giving Life to Online Teacher Evaluations

Key themes: less cohesive for me this year, I focused on course evaluations and hybrid models

Tuesday, 8:30: What You Need to Know to Create Successful Hybrid/Blended Programs

This pre-conference workshop was a great hands-on interactive experience. First the conveners mapped out their 10 strategies for developing hybrid courses:

  1. Develop a plan that supports university goals
  2. build a broad base of support by partnering with key units
  3. secure funding and resources
  4. provide incentives
  5. initiate a committee on hybrid instruction to make recommendations and study results
  6. define and learn from a pilot program
  7. expand the pilot program
  8. incorporate a plan for evaluating success and reporting outcomes
  9. offer best practices and support for faculty and students
  10. offer ongoing support

We then broke into groups of 5 and role-played the creation at a fictional university. We all had different roles with different agendas. After bringing things together in the larger group we partnered up with someone and "interviewed" them about their institution and their hybrid plans. I look forward to exploring their annotated bibliography and materials.


Wednesday, 8:15: Keynote - Preparing for the Revolution: Redux

Duderstadt was a good speaker. The chairs were quite uncomfortable though. He was focused on research institutions but did hit upon how the current 18-year olds assimilate knowledge. Something I'm getting more interest in due to Educational Gaming and the Digital Native/Immigrant stuff (part 1, part 2, rebuttal).

In a nutshell: good opening keynote, not as powerful as Thursday keynote

Wednesday, 10:30: Institutional Leaders, This Is Your Wake up Call: You Have Major E-Learning Responsibilities

This session outlined goals to get leadership behind elearning:

  1. Get Leaders actively involved
  2. Get technology viewed as a strategic asset
  3. Faculty issues must be addressed
  4. An elearning success model must be deployed

 They noted how some of the promises of elearning haven't been met, but others have to some extent (see Augsburg eteam report). They saw collaboration and sharing as the biggest gains. Some noted sites were Pew Project, MITOpenCourseware, Merlot, Beetle Science, Einstein Archives, Valley of the Shadow,, Mentornet, Shakespeare: subject to change, Muvees, Go ask Alice.

I knew of several of these but not all. They are all great resources. Everyone should visit them all.

In a nutshell: best heard by leadership, preaching to the choir, resources great

Wednesday, 11:40: Summer Online Courses: A Novel Approach to Expanding Distance Learning Enrollments

This session underscored how doing summer online at Augsburg is a no-brainer. They had bottlenecks to student graduation -- required courses not offered enough, study abroad/travel interrupted progress. They created a Summer Institute that tied intensive faculty immersion in course development with delivery of the class soon after. The process was proposals, review, winners ($2000 stipend), immersion workshop, course development, delivery, pre- and post-assessment of course, faculty present, review and revise. Faculty also commit to teaching 2 summers for sustainability.

They also talked about the paradox of the university: modern ideas with a medieval structure. Cited "Come the Millennium, Where the University?" by Casper, 1995. I'll have to read that when I have some time.

The program went through some phases:

Formative: phase 1, year 1
fear of cannibalizing the on-campus summer programs, various shallow concerns, costs, registration, tuition

Developmental: phase 2, year 2
formal reviews, stats and tracking, q's about quality, compensation by course not enrollment (large classes = more work = same pay as small class), assessment of learning outcomes

Maturity: year 3
scaling issues, expectations rising, resource allocation and revenue distribution issues, early adopters looking for programmatic view, grew a community of practice

The impact was some rapid growth and rapid diffusion/infection through the faculty, spillover into fall and spring for more offerings, really has stressed the organization to sustain

In a nutshell: more support for continuing the summer online pilot, pitfalls useful to watch out for

Wednesday, 12:30: Lunch

I saw a Tiger preview at the Apple booth. Spotlight is amazing and will completely change how Mac users organize their files -- no need for folders or careful filenames. With 'smart folders' you can organize your files by metadata criteria. It was amazing!

Wednesday, 2:15: Evolving Faculty Development: A Model for Responding to Change

Boise State U. they pursued 3 larger group projects instead of individual faculty projects. This session was my most energizing one.

  1. don't have name (all broad projects)- mainstream new-media technology with mainstream faculty, create online resources, do skills training
  2. don't have name - infuse technology into curriculum, create an online general education program, provide student support
  3. again no name written down - create 50 hybrid courses, compare their effectiveness vs both online and f2f, maximize facilities use (creative scheduling, section A uses room first half of term, section B uses it second half)

The sought to transform teaching through the appropriate use of technology to improve learning outcomes. 2-part strategy
a) effective training
b) sponsored projects create an enabling environment

faculty must know what's possible to spark their imagination, but they must master technology before going to the next level, focus on faculty perceived needs by asking them!

Smart training

Their approach to training was very smart. They started with an instructional problems questionnaire (not asking about technology problems but teaching problems), along with a ranking of their problems. Next they did a training needs survey. Then an institution-wide infrastructure assessment.

They followed best practices in adult training --adult development, staff development, planned change, and motivation theory. Also created a guide to best practices for all the trainers along with instructional guides and templates.


To raise awareness they showed what was possible, started a newsletter, created online tutorials, a database of instructional software (purchasing info and reviews of it by other faculty), and a database of innovative practices.

Skills and Instructional Design

They saw effective instructional design is not taught, but arises from reflective application. They also modeled effective design and embedded some pedagogy in the skills training.

The followed a graduated model of application -- 1st semester training, 2nd semester a web presence, 3rd an interactive website, 4th they pilot an online version, and 5th semester the refine and revise their online course.

Experiential training

8-week hybrid seminar. Was both challenging and rewarding for faculty involved. They learned the course design process, active learning strategies, and gained the student perspective to a hybrid course.

Immersive training

8-week development institute. 25-faculty cohort. They worked full time on course development, had peer reviews, consultant reviews, did media trailers (showcases), attended pedagogy workshops and technology demos.

All these things lead to institutional culture change

Enabling environment - robust technical infrastructure (classrooms/network,access to dev hw and sw, CMS, help and consultants). The mid- to late-adopters need no barriers. To them it was a cost-benefit analysis -- what do I get for the time investment?

Supportive Polices - intellectual property, copyright, promotion and tenure, flexible assignments to courses, technology strategic plan

Support Administrative Procedures - online student services (support, orientation to online 1 credit /audit course, catalog notation of online and hybrid), online services, help desk (drop-in,online,phone)

Public recognition and rewards - promotion and tenure, recognition from administration, publicity on and off campus, incentives and support (stipends, laptop, release time, student tech assistants), food, communicated priority (this is important to institution), make training like a conference (name badges, notebooks with logos, etc)

Institution initiatives should be aimed at a specific course or population

Individual project focus (the old way of doing it)

  • let 1000 flowers bloom
  • unrestrained creativity
  • diverse projects
  • sense of empowerment
  • rewards initiative
  • lacks sustainability
  • no barrier removal (no institutional reason to respond)
  • low impact (invisible, low # student impact)
  • limited replicatablity
  • engages only early adopters

The institutional project focus

  • barriers addressed institutionally
  • policy is altered or created
  • bureaucracy made to yield to reason (entrenched depts become malleable)
  • resources more willingly invested
  • public success is important priority
  • clearly communicated priority and importance to campus
  • vest ownership across institution
  • enlist those who would not otherwise participate
  • generate facilitative responses

Institutional transformation

In a nutshell: great presentation that really inspired me to look towards larger institutional projects rather than smaller individual projects

Wednesday, 3:50: Faculty as Authors of Online Courses: Support and Mentoring

Unfortunately this presentation used a lot of videos of faculty talking about their experience and the presenters literally read paragraphs from their paper.

Faculty had usual concerns about online teaching -- loss of quality, what if it goes awry and grows too big to control, one had no concerns which should have been a concern. Faculty found they had to be explicit about their teaching and had to develop a new skill set. Some also have taken what they've learned back to their face to face classes. The compared an online class to a manuscript -- revisions are part of the process.

In a nutshell: poor presentation, standard findings with regard to how faculty reacted and grew

Wednesday, 5:00: Desire2Learn meeting

We met with 2 people from d2l. I had met Michelle back at Distance Teaching & Learning 2004 and had been emailing her since. We had a web demo of d2l and wanted to learn more about the company.

They consider themselves strategically different than Blackboard or WebCT because they focus on teaching and learning, commmunication and collaboration. They started in 1999 working with a University in Canada, I believe. They grew the product by incorporating features requested by the users. They are privately held, have no external investors, are employee owned, have been profitable each year. They focus on R&D and support for staff growth and are slow to expand their sales staff. More often their customers sell their platform for them.

When the UW system adopted d2l over a year ago that was their first North American contract. Before that they were Canada only. Now they are used by MnSCU, North Dakota, U of IA, Ohio State. Being from Canada makes me think of Agresso.

It seems like a strong replacement for Blackboard, though a pilot seems in order to test it out in a controlled setting.

Thursday, 8:10: Reaching Critical Mass: Liberal Arts Colleges Collaborating on Instructional Technology

MITC is made up of 26 colleges in Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the Great Lakes Colleges Association. These are old consortia, 35 and 40 years respectively.

The have similar professional development needs, concerns, and problems. Since people play multiple roles in these colleges they created campus-based teams instead of a single contact person. They gave 3 examples of programs they've done. MITC provided logistical support for these programs. Grant funded for now, eventually supported by member institutions.

Professional Development for Instructional Technologists -

They tried to define the profession and provide an opportunity to get away and concentrate. They ran workshops, seminars, and posters/networking.


They wanted to expand the GIS community, build expertise and share expertise. GIS is so complicated that no one is ever an expert. They did a 2-day symposium with posters, projects, keynote and included students (50 attendees). Then kicked out those people and did 5-day workshop with teams working on a project (25 attendees). They were eligible for a mini-grant if they planted seeds at their institutions.

Workshops to Go

These short 1-2 day events were to bridge the time between larger events. Grounded in pedagogy, for sharing expertise, these went to campuses with a need.

In a nutshell: I like the first example, but the consortia are a bit exclusive so Augsburg will never get in -- maybe ACTC or MPCC can look to this model?

Thursday, 9:30: General session: The One Thing You Need To Know

Chris has an excellent detail of this session in his new blog. Check it out.
I wasn't sure about this before the session but found Marcus Buckingham an excellent speaker. I was worried it'd be a bland motivational session. It turned out to be very applicable to my interests. I may even buy his book.

He talked about the roles of manager vs leader.
Managers should focus on what is unique about people, help build their strengths and manage around their weaknesses. He had an interesting point that the opposite of bad is not good, rather, it is simply not bad.
Leaders should focus on what is universal about people, use your ego to drag everyone towards your vision. You don't have to be right, but have to be clear about your vision.


Thursday, 11:45: Fairleigh Dickinson's Online Learning Requirement: From an Idea to Maturity, (global issues gateway)

Fairleigh Dickinson University has a missions-driven focus on making global citizens. Saw the internet as something to bring the world to campus and the campus to the world. Each year a student has to take 1 distance course -- yr 1 "The Global Challenge", yr 2 a college requirement, yr 3&4 disciplinary electives. They moved from purely distance to hybrid because it worked better. This grew rapidly and the became a strain on the staff (little to no staff growth over the 3 years to support it).

In a nutshell: nice to see technology used to further institution goal, also interesting to see another example of hybrid surpassing totally online

Thursday, 12:30: Lunch: Small Colleges constituent group

I had recently joined the small colleges email list to see what it has to offer. The group meeting was mainly hand raising -- "how many people are using X?" "how many people are doing X?"
Then the focus turned to security and too much time was spent on learning about what Educause was doing for security. There really wasn't time to talk with colleagues at other small schools which was my goal.

Thursday, 2:20: Comparing Delivery Costs: Online vs. Face-to-Face Courses

University of Texas system - 15 institutions (9 academic, 6 health/medical). TeleCampus supports distance learning -- funds development of courses, courses from member campuses, tuition goes to campus, campuses pay annually based on offerings

They compared the delivery costs of 8 courses -- both online and on-campus, grad and undergrad, 1/campus. Development was not counted as it's hard to calculate the cost of developing a traditional course that may have grown over many many years.

First they tried a survey instrument. Data was useless. Then used the reporting data to state of Texas. Also looked at capital costs with depreciation and amortization. They compared semester credit hours as the unit. Telecampus was on low end of average. Not cheapest but below average.

In a nutshell: seems expected that online could be cheaper to deliver, but development is always sticker shock since they are new courses

Thursday, 3:45: Learning Space Design

This session present some results of a recent NLII meeting on Learning Space Design. They broke it down into learning principles (activity causes learning) and design principles (space that support those activities). The principles were not specific, what one should be able to do in the space. Ex enables small groups or display images.

They presented 2 cases studies -- U of Az and MIT. Both were ambitious remodels/construction that uses unconventional design processes. One idea I liked was the intentional creation of soft spaces -- comfy furniture, incandescent lights, adaptable. A strong contrast to the conventional classroom or computer lab. Also to design for people, not ephemeral technologies -- enable technology to be brought into spaces rather than provide technology for the spaces.

In a nutshell: progressive approach to learning space design, difficult to do the same elsewhere

Friday, 8:10: The Influence of Learning Management Systems (LMS) on Campus-Based Undergraduate Student Engagement

This session presented the results of a research study on U of Melbourne students. Because LMS conversations have focused on either the technology or teaching, what is known about their impact on student learning or engagement?

Student Engagement

Online LMS

  • significant driver
  • rapid corporatization
  • rapid adoption
  • despite costs, complexity, risks, almost every university seems compelled to have LMS

Attraction to LMS

  • access, cost,quality, capacity
  • claims of new efficiency in teaching
  • institutional competition
  • students expect latest technology
  • package/regulate teaching for university
  • most aren't related to students

If LMS is changing teaching and campus environment then it is likely to be influencing engagement.

But there is a lack of research

Theoretically-based research-driven framework to focus understanding.

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) provides measures.

This study is of 1st and 2nd year students at 4 Au schools.1051 students took a 3-stage multi-dimensional study. He defined 7 qualities of online engagement

Found that time on task doesn't matter. Results are the same. Non-native speakers were more engaged online.

After doing a statistical clustering procedure 4 styles of engagement rose:

These clusters appeared in both NSSE and online scales. But a given student could be in one area online and another in general. He presented this topology:


In a nutshell: a very statistically technical study and analysis, presentation was so dense with info I couldn't get it all down. excellent presenter -- did NOT read PPT to us!

Friday, 9:30: Dot COM Meets Dot EDU: Giving Life to Online Teacher Evaluations

U of Mississippi - 14,500 students
1998 - started serious assessment of evaluation process
1999 - fall, started delivering results via web, previously on reserve in library
2003 - fall, web-based delivery/collection

Course Evaluations hot topic - huge body of literature, 2000 studies, chronicle articles, practice started in 1920. One article noted was "Web-Based Student Evaluation of Instruction: Promises and Pitfalls."

grade inflation - higher grades yield higher evaluations
different academic fields rate differently - hard sciences lower vs fine arts
rated on popularity not teaching effectiveness

Found that online women responded more, response rates are lower, but results similar. They noted that faculty are already being evaluated at Here's Augsburg's page (you might not want to look).

formative - improve teaching
summative - personnel decisions
feedback from students
student consumer guide

Phase 1 - 1999
access restricted to on-campus (security)
institution could withhold results from publication
graphical display of results, also can compare to similar courses and all courses
VIP reports - summary to Deans etc
cooperatively designed with faculty committee on evaluation of instruction
scan in forms -> enter into mysql database -> display results with CGI using gd library
access now better, but it is still slow, costly, time-intensive (2-months turnaround), used class time, written responses still have handwriting issue

Then motivation strikes, student accidentally shreds over half the eval forms, hits media, administration pushes for wholly online system.

Phase 2 - 2003
concerns - low response rate, hear from extremes (disgruntled and happy) but not midranges
LDAP authentication, no-longer on-campus restriction, mysql->oracle, created amazon-style student comments, 5-star rating system, added student eval comments to fac and VIP views, handle multiple instructors better

response rate dropped from 70% to 30%, needed incentives -- if 100% evals done student gets to register 1 day early next term, added extra step in grade viewing, <50% evals encourage fill-out, >50% see grades right away
response rate up to 60% with incentives

The Amazon-style comment system popular. See PPT for humorous examples.

In a nutshell: nice evolution of course eval system, provides some guidance for Augsburg