Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Access and Equity for All Learners in Blended and Online Education is Now Available.

Access and Equity for All Learners in Blended and Online Education is now available as a PDF on the iNACOL site.   Spread the word.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Out, Almost.

Well, it got a limited printing just in time for my presentation at the iNACOL Symposium on Blended and Online Learning.   When I say "just in time" I mean it.  It was actually printed in Palm Springs site of the Symposium.  I think they only printed two boxes.  That was all I saw.   I got to hand them out at my session however, and the rest were put on a resource table.

The link to the file should be posted on the iNACOL website this week.  When it is up, I'll post it here.

The feedback I heard about on my session was all positive.   The slides, similar (but better) than the set I used this summer are  below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do the Funders Know the Online Accessibility Requirements?

I was invited to participate in a symposium at Harvard in November.  This is a follow-up to a similar event about a decade ago resulting in the publication of Dede’s Online Professional Development for Teachers – Emerging Models and Methods (2006).

I had made it clear that I've not been doing online teacher professional development lately.  That I was currently more focused on issues of access and equity in online education.  I even recommended some other folks currently doing more with oTPD (online Teacher Professional Development).  But, they invited me anyway.

I was asked to write a piece for discussion.  It was interesting to go back to the online teacher professional development project and my attempts to bring more accessibility to our online courses. The laws haven't changed much over the past decade, but our understanding of what access is, and the enforcement has changed.

One thing I was thinking about though, was that at the time, the program officers never mentioned access.  I don't think it was on their radar screen.  Clearly, every grant that's funded by either ED or NSF carries with it agreements to meet applicable civil right legislation.  

I asked, in my paper, if the oTPD programs that exist today are meeting their accessibility obligations, and if the funders are asking.

I'll post more about the reaction to my paper, after the event.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Post Conference Impact.

One of the participants at my Speaks Volumes session is employed by one of the large third party producers of online content.  I did mention in my presentation that 7 different vendors' materials had been identified in OCR compliance reports as not being accessible.  (I didn't mention names.)

After the session I got email from this person asking if I could provide them with any of the OCR materials.  I responded that the person's employer had been mentioned in the findings for the South Carolina Virtual Charter School findings, and pointed her to Michael Barbour's blog post on that, which includes links to the OCR finding and resolution.

I do intend to post all the OCR findings I have when the iNACOL publication I've been working on all summer is published.  That was how I was able to get the information, and OCR has said I can publish the reports.

But, I don't have a date for that to be published yet.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 01, 2014

TxVSN Speaks Volume Keynote session

Here are the slides from my session on July 31st.  It was interesting with only a few higher ed folks.  My goal was to shake them up a bit, and based on comments, I was successful.


Friday, July 18, 2014

speaks VOLumes conference July 30-Aug 1 is nearing!

The 4th Annual speaks Volumes July 30 - August 1st, 2014 conference audience is primarily K-12 district/campus administrators, student mentors, online instructors and online course developers with an interest in online learning, implementation, student/educator support, instructional strategies, course development and a vision of the future
There is NO COST to participate in these 3 days. 

I will be presenting  

July 31, 4:30pm CST Legal Update - How to Avoid Jail-Time - Making Digital Resources

The session title was originally presented as a joke, but the conference folks liked it, so that's the title.

It's free, register.  There will be some interesting sessions.

Friday, April 25, 2014

OCR is finding access issues in a couple of virtual charter schools.

If you don't follow Michael Barbour's Virtual School Meanderings you missed this post.  He has posted a press release from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights about a settlement with the Virtual Community School of Ohio.  And, towards the bottom of the page, there's the announcement of a settlement with the South Carolina Virtual Charter.

Both of these compliance reports should be very informative for all online education programs, and also for anyone doing blended education.  The findings are the first real indication of what constitutes access under Federal civil rights legislation.  In particular Section 504, 508 and Title II of ADA.

I'm writing a new publication for iNACOL that will help focus online education on their responsibilites as relates to access and equity.

Higher education institutions are not immune, and most in fact, have not been meeting their legal obligations based on OCR findings.  They should pay attention in particular to findings against the University of Montana.  You can read about that here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Dynamite Tips: Changing your DFWs into Successful Learners (another TxDLA 2014 conference presentation)

With my partner, Alese Smith (the Smith in Rose & Smith Associates) we did this session at TxDLA 2014.

What are DFWs?  No, not Dallas-Fort Worth Airport; DFWs are drops, failures, and withdrawals.

We believe there's not one magic bullet to reduce the DFW number. But we've seen, through almost two decades of experience with online education, that there are a series of changes, predominantly in design, that will produce incremental reductions to DFWs.

Monday, April 07, 2014

5 Steps to Improving Access and Equity in Online Courses (a presentation at TxDLA 2014)

Here's the set of slides from my session at TxDLA.  The first five were running before the session began as a preview of one of the issues to be discussed.  

It was frustrating and informative to see how few of the instructional designers in the session indicated familiarity with the legal mandates on online education to make their courses accessible for people with disabilities.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SITE Conference session review from Virtual School Meanderings....

I presented a session at SITE today, and here's Michael Barbour's review.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Expectations About Higher Ed Online Courses -- Take a Step Back?

"After two years of hype about massive open online courses, academic leaders' expectations of all of online education have taken a small but remarkable step back."

That is how Inside Higher Ed begins the story about Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States 2013 a new report by the Babson Survey Research Group.

I'm not surprised. I've never been a fan of MOOCs and have always expressed concern about their quality. And, the fall out from MOOCs shouldn't impact the rest of the field, but we still have the problem of seeing online courses as a singleton. But: all online courses are not alike, and reading the report on the survey, its clear that the overall concern about MOOCs is painting all online with a bad image.

But that lead missed other important points in the report.

This survey also reveals that in 2013:
  • 7.1 million of higher education students are taking at least one online course.
  • The 6.1 % growth rate represents over 400,000 additional students taking at least one online course.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those as in face-to-face instruction, grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013.
  • The number of students taking at least one online course continued to grow at a rate far in excess of overall enrollments, but the rate was the lowest in a decade.
That last point is significant! Growth in online is slowing. And in the report it's clear that many of the smaller institutions that don't yet have online courses aren't starting online programs. But, looking at the local environment, online graduate programs seem to be growing both in number and in overall enrollments. 

Market saturation?  I don't think so.  Caution on the part of some institutions more likely, especially with the hype and hoop-la about how MOOCs were going to change higher education.  

MOOCs are another story like Second Life.  Remember back when Second Life came on the scene? Colleges bought land in Second Life to create online campuses and deliver courses there.  Hear much about Second Life these days?  Let's see if MOOCs are still part of the discussion in a couple of years.