NW/MET Conference Proposals and Registration is now open!

NWMET 2015




NW/MET is traveling from the verdant Willamette Valley to the beautiful Blue Mountains in Walla Walla, WA for the 2015 annual conference, April 22-24, hosted by Whitman College.

We have “peered” from the peaks toward the road ahead and navigated amazing digital feats in the Oregonian territory. We hope that at this year’s conference, participants will come away with renewed energy and know-how to head current and future challenges in instructional support in higher education, encompassing topics such as online learning, accessibility, and active learning.

Registration: Now Open

NW/MET Membership: Renew / Join

Proposals: Submission Form Open until Feb 13th!

Hashtag: #NWMET15

2015 Conference Webpage 

About NW/MET:

NW/MET is the Northwest College & University Council for Management of Educational Technology.

NW/MET is an organization bridging tradition and innovation for academics. We are an organization of Educational Technology units at universities and colleges in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and in western Canada.

Contact JJ Johnson in eLearning for more information about NW/MET and the conference.

7th Annual QM Conference – Call for Proposals Now Open!



Call for Proposals Open

Submit your Proposals by Wednesday, April 8 for the 7th Annual QM Conference on Quality Assurance in Online Learning being held at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter! Go West, QMers!

If you submit your proposals by Friday, March 6, you’ll receive early decision notification AND a discount of $100 on the regular presenter rate. You will receive an e-mail with information about returning to your proposal to make changes once you’ve submitted it.

Proposal Formats

  • 25-minute Presentation: Suitable for one to three presenters, with audience Q & A
  • 50-minute Presentation: Suitable for two or more presenters with planned audience participation beyond simple Q & A
  • 50-minute ‘Conversation that Matters’, an interactive discussion
  • 50-minute Presentations: Posters

For more information, please see https://www.qualitymatters.org/events/7th-annual-conference  (link will open in a new page)

QM Works! Great Northwest QM Conference

2015 QM Regional Conference Banner

QM Works in the Great Pacific Northwest 2015, “Designing for Impact” offers:

  • Sessions facilitated by experts on QM implementation
  • Research-supported information on QM’s impacts on course quality and learner outcomes
  • Opportunities to interact and share stories with other educators

This year’s conference is being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, Seattle, Washington.

Registration is open now! This will be a great use of professional development funds, working, networking and learning from other QM users in the region.

For more information, please visit https://www.qualitymatters.org/events/northwest-conference  (note: link will open in a new window/tab)


WACUG Conference Canceled / Canvas Day at SPSCC

Canvas Logo

We are sorry to announce the 2015 WA Canvas User Group Conference (WACUG) has been canceled. There was a very low number of proposals submitted, so the organizing committee decided the best course of action was to wait until next year and try again.

Because the WACUG conference was canceled, South Puget Sound Community College and Pierce College are working together to have a Canvas Day at SPSCC on March 27th (Friday). I will post more information about it as we go.

2015 Washington Canvas Users Group Conference! March 23-24, 2015

canvascon logoCANCELED

Presentation proposals for the 2015 Washington Canvas Users Group conference are open now and you are invited to submit your presentation proposal using this link (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NPueZHFzHx0flpZd1h2KBZYO1E3Wg1_5hRAdx-GWgH4/viewform).

The 3rd annual conference will be held on the campus of Lower Columbia College on March 23rd & 24th, 2015.  If you are interested in attending, I encourage you to submit a proposal soon.  These are the tracks that will be offered:

  • Instructional
  • Technical
  • Collaborative (includes Student Services)

QM Works! The Great Pacific Northwest Quality Matters Conference

2015 Northwest Conference Banner

2015 Northwest Conference Banner

QM Works in the Great Pacific Northwest 2015, “Designing for Impact”

Did you know we are having a regional Quality Matters conference in April, 2015, right here in Washington state? We are! The 2nd QM Works! in the Great Pacific Northwest will be held on April 9th and 10th, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, Seattle, Washington (SeaTac).

The Call for Proposals is now open. Submission deadline is Tuesday, December 16.

Conference presentations will be 50 or 30 minutes in length, with a ten-minute transition period between sessions. Presentation formats include:

  • Theatre-Style Presentation (presentation + Q&A) (30 minutes)
  • Panel Discussion (coordinated panel discussion with audience participation) (50 Minutes)
  • Roundtable Format (interactive discussion throughout) (50 minutes)
  • Course Tours

So, consider submitting a presentation proposal now!

I will post information regarding registration soon. Start talking with your division coordinator or dean about attending. I’d like to see a large contingent of Pierce College faculty attend the conference.

For more information, visit  https://www.qualitymatters.org/events/northwest-conference



Of Five Trends – #5 is Need for More Online!

I came across the following blog post at the LearningHouse’s “The Online Learning Curve”.
Screen image of the learning Curve Blog logo and article title.

The author’s information and thoughts align well with a couple current areas of focus; Budget Planning for 2014-15 and planning for Strategic Enrollment Management.

In budget conversations we talk about the ‘right class schedule’ to meet the needs of students and offering an array of sections in the most efficient way possible with our limited funding.  In our enrollment management work we are looking at the community, asking who they are (relative to educational attainment), how they feel about our college, what do they need and how can we best reach out to them. The bottom line is our traditional sources of new students are diminishing; high school graduates are declining and incumbent workers aren’t going to college because they are back to work after the recession. And for those who do want to go to college, financial aid isn’t keeping pace with rising tuition and other costs to attend. How can we possible grow enrollment and fill a schedule of sections if the students are simply not there?

It is the last trend that give us hope; #5 – more Online! We don’t offer and promote online degrees adequately. As a district exceeding our capacity, we’ve not needed to. Our general transfer degree courses fill in the first few days of open registration when current students are enrolling.  That leaves little opportunity for new and returning students to get into these courses.  Those general transfer program courses could be supplemented with new courses that provide transfer paths for specific majors, like Psychology, Business and Education. Did you know we offer fully online professional programs in Homeland Security, Fire command Administration and Occupational Safety & Health?  If not, I wonder who in the community knows…and how far does the community extend when you are talking about online? Offering programs online is one way to attract those incumbent workers and time-bound students who want to earn their degrees. It makes going to college flexible and convenient for those high school graduates and returning adults who need to work part-time to fill the funding gap.

We want the online educational experience to be a quality one, however.  That means professional development for our faculty, like training on the strategies and best practices unique to this type of teaching.  We need to support them by having designers and technical staff who can facilitate continuous ‘just-in-time’ learning and assist with course construction. The ratio of faculty to staff is currently too high. Students need to be prepared, too.  Forming online degree cohorts and investing in their preparation to be online learners can pay great dividends in retention and success. We need to engage them in their eLearning community from the day they submit an admissions form through the day they cross the virtual podium to receive their degrees! We have the tools to do it!

eLearning systems give us a leg up on the problem.  Employing an eLearning philosophy and its related tools minimizes the need to be in one place at one time.  We are empowered to connect with the students who want a higher education! We are facing “the hard times.” Do we have the will to “adapt and  innovate,” then ultimately succeed? Please share your creative ideas and questions using the forum below!


“Survey Says…” Our DE Efforts Are Similar!

The Instructional Technology Council, an Affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges, surveyed colleges to track the impact of eLearning and based on what the 143 respondents reported,our efforts are much like theirs! Two major trends were noted: “online enrollment is a predominant source of enrollment growth…during the past nine years” and “growth in online enrollment continues to slow” when compared to the double-digit percentages seen in recent years.

Here are some bullet points I shared with the Deans:

  • Enrollment Growth Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 reported at 5.2% in online programs.
    • Our +3.2% growth rate for that period is limited by the number of sections we offer.
  • IPEDS data shows Fall 2012 26.5% of CC students enrolled in at least one DE course.
    • Our FTES reports show Pierce at 10.7% fall 2012 for “Reportable  FTES” and 9.4% for “Total FTES”, or as unduplicated headcount, 12.8%
    • Fall 2013 shows we were at 11.4% for “Reportable  FTES” and 10.3% for “Total FTES”, or as unduplicated headcount, 15.9%.
    • We don’t really have a comparable measure and an annual snapshot of all students and their enrollment in online would likely show a higher figure.
  • Student demand for online classes continues to grow at most, if not all, colleges.
    • Our tracking of courses enrollment shows most academic transfer courses fill and close within the first few days of registration.
  • There is a concerted commitment toward enhancing the overall quality and integrity of the college’s online program.
    • We have focused on quality by revamping our Teaching Online instructor training and adopting Quality Matters as a tool for peer reviewing of course design considerations.
  • The retention gap between students who learn online versus those who learn in a face-to-face classroom has narrowed dramatically.
    • We don’t have data regularly reported solely for Online enrollees.
  • Colleges are increasingly aware that they lack compliance with the accessibility requirements for online instruction (Sections 504 & 508 of the Rehabilitation Act).
    • A group is looking at the requirements and plans to report back to CLASS this spring.
  • Online program administration has shifted so that more academic administrators (deans and academic vice presidents) are responsible for distance education.
    • Prior to Re-Organization, our program was under the academic administration of Extended Learning and we now have shifted to Deans/VPs who have budgetary and supervisory authority.
  •  Distance educators have experienced dramatic, often traumatic, changes in the learning management system (LMS) market which have redefined the virtual learning environment.
    • In a phrase, Canvas – the LMS that keeps on changing every three weeks! Plus, there is a profound impact from having an online classroom for every course and managing our own Help Center!
  • Distance education administrators are encouraging their colleges to enhance online student support services, like college orientations, advising, libraries, and tutoring to bolster student success.
    • Online Library, Tutoring and Help support are strengths. AtD group intervention recommendations included initiatives to address equal access to student support services, particularly in the intake, orientation and advising areas.
  • Form many reasons, distance education administrators and faculty remain skeptical of massive open online courses (MOOCs).
    • Our online teaching philosophy is built on structured weekly work that mandates interaction and communication which doesn’t support scaling to ‘massive’ or enrollment openness.
    • Technology built into the LMS in support greater automated feedback and redirection to support self-paced instruction has not been a priority, except in cases like Math using WAMAP.
    • Stepping on the “Soap Box”, MOOCs seem best suited for social media driven, informal, just-in-time learning needs which could be suited to helping students prepare for college and navigate our in-take, orientation, initial advising and first registration processes.
  • Colleges continue to embrace the full spectrum of online course applications which include fully-online, blended, hybrid and Web-enhanced.
    • We sure do them all!  That means more exploration, learning and fun for us all!

My reflection on the report suggests Pierce College is in line with the national eLearning snapshot. Questions this report raise for me include:

  • Are we at the right mix of online and campus-based sections and would growth in online continue if we offered more sections?
  • How can find out how many of our approximately 10,000 students each year have taken an online course?
  • Did those that took online course in the Fall come back in the Winter and of those that didn’t graduate in spring, did they come back the following Fall?
  • How can we better leverage eLearning tools to support students in their in formal, social media driven learning in a way that supports engagement and success?

What are your thoughts and reflections?  Please share and discuss them below!

eCampus Vision

You have heard us refer to the larger ‘vision’ for the “eCampus” and you may wonder why we didn’t just call it Canvas, or brand the site as eLearning.  Here is a bit more on our thoughts.

On a very practical level, the eCampus idea was reinforced when we reflected on the need to change wording about Angel on the public eLearning Web site.  I didn’t count how many places we referred to the old name there and in handouts, but it was a lot! We brainstormed a bit about what else we could call it to eliminate confusion, and so we’d not have to change it ever again (like when the next LMS comes along…heaven forbid!).

We actually started out with eLearning on the log In page.  We quickly decided that would be confusing.  Suppose you had a question about logging in and we were to ask you, “Have you been to eLearning?”   That seemed to make it more difficult to work with students. “Are you referring to the Canvas site or the campus offices?”  So, we worked with Marcom to arrive at eCampus and they crafted a visual to go with that concept.

eCampus made sense for a couple additional reasons.

We made a big processing change this fall.  There is a classroom shell for every course in the Class Schedule (eSchedule).  That means we created an account for every student that enrolls and gave them access to those classrooms.  Everyone in our Pierce instructional community is using the system. It was not a big leap to think, the same online tools that support teaching and learning (discussions, Web meetings, quizzes/surveys, calendars, modular presentation of content and personal messaging) can also support other interactions with student services and student programs! Students who can’t readily come to campus could get support services in the same way the online courses support their learning experiences.

Having a rich, interactive environment that supports all learners, not just those taking fully online or Hybrid classes, makes a great deal of sense, as well.  The public Web site offers a lot of information and some personal data when using Web tools like MyPierce. That information most often gets used in partnership with faculty and staff, like during “New Student Orientations” or advising sessions.  Why not get your information and have the opportunity to use it all online? The tools are available to avoid having to print it out and bring it to an office on campus. This idea aligns with an element of our eLearning mission and is reflected in what we see in the world around us; “21st century students at Pierce College thrive in a mobile, collaborative, personally networked, anytime, always learning environment.

Another ‘awesome’ thing about the Canvas platform is it’s open software architecture and capability to integrate other Web tools to share information and offer a seamless user experience. Called Learning Tools Interoperability, it opens the door to an interactive portal-like experience. Achieve the Dream sub-groups have been looking at third-party tools like Cranium Cafe that offer appointment scheduling with online staff, easy web meetings and collaborative work.  Picture going over a form or planning Web site and then capturing the work done with your adviser. That ‘work’ can be readily available for later review or sharing.

That is a nice vision, but don’t expect 24 by 7 access to services students typically use!  Like the construction of a physical campus, we are just starting the “Master Planning” effort.  It takes time to rethink processes.  We need to design them so they work well, protect student privacy, simplify effort and eliminate confusion. It also takes a great deal of training to get college personnel skilled at using the system and designing their services in ways that tap into the capabilities found in the Pierce eCampus.  We are just beginning that planning and will want to be sure to focus on high priority areas that lead to access, engagement and success.

We invite you to share your ideas for taking the eCampus to the next level. What would you like to try today?  What parts of our community do you see being served by the  eCampus?  Post and discuss below!

The eCAMPUS Count-down is Done!

The deadline is here!  (Tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc….ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!)

Fall classrooms have generated for every course in the eSchedule, all 2,157 items numbers and 24,288 enrollments.

Training continues after a busy summer at this Fall’s Welcome Back In-service on September 19th, There will be  two Paint By Numbers introductory sessions (schedule coming – no sign-up needed), so look for the agenda in your email!  More opportunities will be available as we get past the start of Fall, so watch for alerts.

Voice your interest (using this form)  in joining an afternoon Canvas Exhibits Developers Workshop, on the 19th, from 1-4:30 PM, after the morning In-service sessions and after lunch!  Bring your course materials (or old Angel content) and your new-found “Canvas” skills, we’ll work in a lab setting and answer questions or brainstorm ideas as the mode strikes us!

We will have a credit-card sized handout to give to students and new users of the eCAMPUS.  The information on that ‘fits in your bill-fold’ sized reminder will remind student about the new system and entice them to the eCAMPUS Kiosk (http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/go/ecampus).

At the eCAMPUS Kiosk, students get information on

  • How to login,
  • Resources for ‘getting started’,
  • Access to the SmarterMeasure readiness survey
  • Tips for ‘eLearner success’,
  • FAQs and tutorials,
  • Monitor eLearning’s twitter feed.

We have 7 new retractable banners reminding all passersby of the these exciting developments! We will be setting them up at key locations at both campuses.

If you have a department meeting coming up, Tony or I would love to visit, walking you through the changes and discussing how the eCAMPUS resources can best meet your needs!  The opportunities are endless!

Welcome back!