Online Teaching Conference June 19-21

June 27, 2013

e teaching conference 2013Last week was the California Community College Online Teaching Conference held at Long Beach City College (founded in 1918).  We had the best of both worlds with the morning keynotes and large panel presentations held in the older and more scenic part of campus while the smaller afternoon sessions were held across the street in the smart classrooms with projectors and wireless access.   Four hundred attended in-person with several hundred virtual attendees for the biggest turnout in its 9-year history. The pace of the conference seemed just right this year with the afternoons devoted to individual sessions in multiple tracks while the morning started with breakfast, keynotes from interesting speakers, and time to meet up with other conference attendees.

Stephen Downes opened the conference with “What Constitutes Student Success?” and urged us to think about the course as more than just a final test with an outcome.  He illustrated how our culture (Western?) is obsessed with outcomes and closure in most aspects of our lives e.g. sports events, meals, etc.   Learning is a process and the end of a course should not end the learning.

The keynote was followed by a large panel of experts on the Future of Distance: Education: Disruption vs. Innovation featuring Barry Russell, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Chancellor’s Office
• Steven Downes • Jay Field, Associate VP, LBCC and TTAC 
• Linda Thor, Chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District
• James Glapa-Grossklag, Dean of Library and Technology, College of the Canyons
• Connor Diemand-Yauman, Project Leader, Coursera.  A scholarly debate between embracing educational technology startups and holding them at arms’ length threatened to ensue but was avoided by the lunch gong.

It was my pleasure to facilitate the well-attended afternoon CCCOER panel with four members of the Community College Consortium for OER including our president, James Glapa-Grossklag.   In addition Cynthia Alexander, Cerritos College; Katie Datko, Pasadena City College and Barbara Illowsky addressed the Kaleidoscope Project Phase 1 and 2, overcoming the challenges of OER integration, and the impact of open textbooks on students and faculty respectively.

I also attended a through provoking session on the Future of the Classroom lead by John Makevich, College of the Canyons, on potential integration of educational innovation including Google Glass and  MOOCs or “external online courses”.  We were asked to consider how to integrate promising new technologies into our college.  How might this benefit our students, enhance learning, or further our mission.

Friday morning’s keynote was with Dr. Tracey Wilen-Dauganti, an expert on the convergence of education, technology, and work.  As she described breakthroughs in nano-technology and robotic manufacturing, she introduced us to the 10 skills needed for the future workforce including: sense making, social intelligence, novel and adaptive thinking, cross cultural competency, computational thinking, new media literacy, transdisciplinarity, design mindset, cognitive management, and virtual collaboration skills.  She urged us all to retool (not just for students) as our life expectancy including work-life grows giving us opportunities for several significant careers in a lifetime.

Many sessions were recorded and slides will be available.

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