Richard Sebastian

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A Date with Data: NC-SARA Spring 2016 Reporting Guidelines

If your college is currently a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), the dates for reporting your Spring 2016 enrollment data are May 9-20, 2016. This means you GCC, JSRCC, LFCC, NRCC, NVCC, TCC, and WCC. “Wait? What data reporting?” you ask. One of the requirements of all institutional members of NC-SARA is to share out-of-state distance […]

Better late than never: Bb (finally) releases new cloud options for Ultra

You might have missed the announcement  from Blackboard a few weeks ago, which was overshadowed by Blackboard’s other announcement.  Two new Software as a Service (SaaS) LMS offerings are finally available, six months after they were promised. The new offerings–Blackboard SaaS Plus and SaaS Advantage–join the already available Saas Standard, released at Blackboard World last July. Here is a description of these new […]

Hot Off the Presses: 2016 Horizon Report

The 2016 Horizon Report for Higher Education was officially released during the annual meeting of the Educause Learning Institute (ELI), which wrapped up yesterday in San Antonio, TX. If you aren’t familiar with  it, the annual Horizon Report for Higher Education, now in its 13th edition, is an ongoing collaborative research project between the New Media Consortium and ELI designed to “identify […]

Report: Textbook Costs and Student Financial Aid

College textbooks cost too much. If you’ve watched the news or read a newspaper in the past few years, you are aware of this. If you are the parent of a college student, or a college student yourself, you, and your wallet, know this firsthand. The soaring cost of college textbooks is well-documented. Since 2006, the prices of college textbooks have increased […]

Many hands make light work: USDOL adopts CC-BY licensing

OER advocates scored a major victory on Monday with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) announcement that it has adopted a department-wide Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license requirement for all intellectual property developed with funds under a competitive Federal award process. Requiring a CC BY license on DOL-funded resources has a number of advantages: The DOL increases the impact, reach and scalability of […]

NMC Summer Conference Correspondent

nmc_logo_url_RGB_jpg__675×600_I am heading up to Alexandria tomorrow for the New Media Consortium (NMC) Summer Conference. The NMC is best known for producing the Horizon Report, several annual publications that for the past decade or so have charted trends in educational technology and–although the organization has always distanced itself from this word–predicted the level of adoption of these technologies will have in various educational domains–higher ed, K12, museums, and libraries– along several adoption “horizons”–one year or less, two-to-three years, and four-to-five years. I’ve always found these prognostications problematic, untrustworthy, and ultimately not really useful. More useful is the sections of the reports that document current trends and provide links to case studies.

The focus of this conference is very different from the ones I usually attend, emphasizing creative educational practices using emerging technologies, and I’ve wanted to attend for a number of years. Either the location (Portland, OR last year) or schedule conflicts have prevented this. However, having the conference in DC this year (OK, technically Alexandria) has made it too convenient an opportunity to pass up this year. So, I have decided to jump in with both feet as well, as I have also volunteered to be a NMC Conference Correspondent. During the conference I will be crossposting from my social media accounts to the NMC conference blog and Twitter feed (@NMCorg #nmc15) mainly, as well as to the NMC Flickr group and Instagram account. We’ll see how it goes and if I can successfully keep all of these digital balls in the air.

First in the World Grant

Home___U_S__Department_of_EducationOn Monday, the US Department of Education announced another round of First in the World grants, offering $60 million to eligible colleges and universities for the development and testing of innovative approaches and strategies to improve postsecondary education attainment.  A significant chunk of the grant funds–$16 million–is reserved for institutions designated as minority-serving institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

From the USDOE’s FITW website:

The First in the World (FITW) Program will provide grants to institutions of higher education to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes and make college more affordable for students and families, and to develop an evidence base of effective practices. Institutions of higher education or consortia of such institutions are eligible applicants for FITW grants. We encourage applicants to partner with public and private institutions and agencies that can assist the applicant to achieve the goals of the project.

The deadline for applications is June 26, 2015.  The grants will be awarded no later than September 30, 2015. For more information on the grant program, go to http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fitw/applicant.html

What’s the (OER) Story Morning Glory?

OER World MapThis is not a request you get everyday: the creators of the OER World Map, a new project to “share information on behalf of the worldwide OER community, using local knowledge to describe the OER ecosystem” have extended an invitation to this community to share your OER story. From the website:

We invite you to share your OER story with the community and tell others about your OER activities! These could be OER projects or initiatives, Open Educational Practices like generating OER or teaching with OER, the development of guidelines & institutional policies on OER, new insights and research on OER, as well as the development or use of helpful infrastructure tools for OER. Please include a title and a text no longer than 5000 characters that describes the who, what, when, where and why of the activity. A photo connected to the story would also be great. Please note that stories will be published under CC-BY.

Built withopen data technology, OER World Map is attempting to use data visualization to represent OER projects and use as they spread across the globe. The OER World Map also supports a range of widgets and tools through powerful statistical analysis. OER World Map is built by hbz and graphthinking GmbH with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

To share your or your institution’s OER story, send it to info@oerworldmap.org.

 

EdTech@VCCS 2015-04-15 10:59:55

Hands-on_with_Higher_Ed_Tech

Featured Event

April 29 2015
New America Foundation: Hands On with Higher Ed Tech
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Washington, DC & online


Community colleges are often the only or the last chance for a college education for many of America’s students. Some students enroll in a couple of classes or a short-term certificate to gain new skills, some enroll to obtain their associate degrees, and some enroll with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution. The open access of community college is one of America’s greatest postsecondary strengths, but also one of its greatest challenges. While almost anyone with minimum qualifications can enter a community college and pursue a postsecondary credential, few will actually complete.

Community college students need access to more high-quality, flexible support services, courses, and credentials to succeed. Students should be able to take at least two courses a semester—two in the fall, two in the spring, and two in the summer—so that they can complete their associate degrees in two to four years. Innovative use of information technology can help get them there.

On April 29th, New America’s Education Policy Program will host an event that focuses on the use of information technology at community colleges. In February, New America released Community College Online, which features case studies of how community colleges are harnessing technology to improve remediation, student services, and content delivery. Join us for a highly interactive technology expo where we present many of the innovations featured in the report.

Please note that only the opening remarks and innovation presentations will be live streamed.

Take part in the conversation online using #CCOnline and following @NewAmericaEd.

Register for this event

OpenVA 2.1: Powdered Wig Version

Thomas Jefferson Reenactment

“P.S., citizens: ye should license openly all of mans’ intellectual endeavors to avoid some serious problems down the road.”

OpenVA is putting on its breeches and tri-cornered hat, hopping on its pony,  and heading to Williamsburg, VA. OpenVA is evolving from a centrally-organized, annual summit to more of an umbrella term for a collection of institution or group-sponsored gatherings focused on all forms of openness. This is a good thing, I think, and was the goal anyway, shared at the close of OpenVA 2.0 last October at Tidewater Community College with the idea of the college “drive-by.”

The W&M event is really an ideal format for the next iteration of OpenVA. Jamison Miller, previous OpenVA participant and graduate student in W&M’s Higher Education Program, organized OpenVA 2.1 to address particular needs at his institution, but has designed the event with input from the the broader open community in Virginia. Here is the announcement Jamison posted to the OpenVA mailing list:

We are excited to announce “OpenVA 2.1”, a 3-hour workshop on Open Educational Resources (OER) that will be hosted at the College of William and Mary on Saturday, May 2nd. Although OER are gaining exposure and adoption across the globe, awareness remains one of the chief obstacles to implementation. This event, then, is about fostering a rich and varied awareness of the many faces of OER. We are organizing two focused panels to critically discuss:

  1. the current OER landscape and what constitutes OER and,
  2. first-hand accounts of OER implementation from a variety of disciplines and contexts.

These panel sessions will be broken up by an expectedly spirited keynote address from Gardner Campbell, Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success at Virginia Commonwealth University. Space in the agenda will be reserved for audience input, as we hope to encourage an engaged dialogue relevant to attendees. And lunch is on us!

It is good to see the DIY, guerilla spirit of the first OpenVA conference continue. The first conference was created 2 1/2 years ago out of spit and polish, rolls of duct tape, Werner Herzog-recommended bolt-cutters, pure, unrefined human ingenuity, and a small roll of bills that constituted a budget. We referred to it as an “inaugural” event at the time, but that was purely aspirational. Here we are today, with another exciting event at one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious colleges. Who’d a thunk? Details below. It’s free, but you have to register.


Saturday, May 2nd, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (doors open at 10 for coffee)
Media Center, Ground floor, Swem Library
The College of William and Mary
400 Landrum Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185

Free weekend parking available in all campus lots
Directions: https://swem.wm.edu/about/directions-parking
The event is FREE, but pre-registration is required as there is a cap of 50 attendees. Register at http://openva.org/register-2/. Please distribute immediately to interested staff and faculty. For questions, please contact Beverly Covington or Jamison Miller.

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