KeO BLoG

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My Thoughts on the Title III Grant

The administration of Carteret Community College is committed to retooling and upgrading its distance learning course offerings and adding more viable web components to its traditional classes.

Training college faculty in the latest distance learning methodology and instructional technologies is a huge but imperative undertaking. The demand for online courses is growing annually and students are arriving in these courses with more advanced and sophisticated technological skills (awareness) than ever before due to the cyber / media culture they have grown up in.

Instructors can no longer rely on the archaic industrial age educational model to teach these students skills they’ll need to succeed and thrive in a highly technological, creative and entrepreneurial work environment.

CCC wants to be on the “cutting edge” of instructional pedagogy, but needs to undergo a dramatic transformation in mindset and teaching skills to meet the instructional demands of tomorrow. It’s crucial that all staff and faculty members be in synch when it comes to teaching, challenging, inspiring, counseling and making the effort to retain today’s computer / web savvy students.

This can no longer be accomplished with yesterday’s outmoded teaching methods. The didactic talking head standing in front of neat rows of students imparting knowledge on a given subject is no longer effective or viable when compared to the way global businesses and industries conduct business over and through complex and secure digital networks.

Business and industry have embraced and continue to harness a variety of sophisticated communications and educational technologies such as video conferencing, Pod casting, streaming video, interactive online forums, blogs and digital informational / educational media (content) exchanges.

The web provides a vast amount of information for instructors who truly understand how to apply, channel and integrate this vast web content into their courses. Distance learning provides the best (and most flexible) instructional environment for connecting and exposing students to the resources (and information) being generated exponentially around the world.

Our goal is to train Carteret Community College instructors to be the facilitators, mentors, and guides into this new frontier of data, information, content and multi-media.

This is a very exciting yet intimidating and challenging time for educators. If we don’t aggressively retool mentally and technologically we (in my opinion) are going to eventually become obsolete and other forward thinking educational venues will fill the void we leave due to being left in the dust by the rapid growth and evolution of technology and web culture.

This is market driven, technologically driven and student (client) driven as far as the demand for more technically sophisticated and a more socially / culturally relevant approach (vision) to education.

This Title III Grant will help CCC make great strides towards moving its staff and faculty forward on the fast paced technological and instructional continuum of the 21st century. It will provide much needed training, technology and instructional resources needed for a vast array of professional development initiatives planned over the next few years.

We at Carteret Community College are committed to excellence in all aspects of learning and receiving this grant would be a huge step towards moving us out of the industrial, instructional model to the creative, conceptual, technological model being demanded by those individuals that come to us for an education.

The sense of urgency is high and now it’s a matter of breaking out of the outmoded industrial model, in and beyond the information age and into the creative, conceptual age where we can educate and train our students in the technologies being used in the global marketplace.

This is no longer just an option – it is an absolute MUST if we are going to remain a viable and competitive force in higher education.

Patrick Keough
Director of Distance Learning
Carteret Community College

Check out these links for more thoughts on this topic!

Revenge of the Right Brain by Dan Pink

David Warlick Thoughts on the future of Education

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8 comments on “My Thoughts on the Title III Grant

  1. Don Staub
    June 12, 2006

    Patrick,

    I’ve think you’ve well articulated the situation. It has made me reflect on the issue of CCC students and technology and the lone course that I have taught here at CCC (a traditional, classroom-style ENG 112). did, however, rely to a great extent on the internet — using email to pass writing back and forth (i.e. no papers ever physically changed hands), getting students to research topics on the internet, and so on. Because of my experience in that class, a number of things struck me about the use of technology by the 17 students (out of 25) that completed the course .

    1) One student had never been on email before; 4-5 needed to learn how to send attachments (i.e. we can’t assume that everyone walking through the door who is younger than us is actually more wily than us when it comes to computers) ;

    2) My biggest struggle throughout the class was pulling students’ attention from MySpace. http://www.myspace.com/ (I resorted to having one student do researching/writing on it.) While students were supposed to be writing/researching in class, I would have to stand behind them and monitor their monitors. Their web pages were the result of what they should have been learning in the class (gathering information, analyzing, critical thinking, etc…), yet…

    3)…when it came to transferring those skills to the actual task at hand, it was a different story. When given the opportunity to choose a topic to research and write about (from a suggested list of about 30 broader topics to choose from), they invariably struggled with the whole assignment — choosing topic, researching, writing, etc… Many (albeit, not all) would turn to shortcuts: plagiarism, cutting and pasting from Wikipedia, etc…

    Therefore, to me, it’s the “same ol’ same ol'”. Most (but not all students) may possess technological savvy, but they also still possess short attention spans, a (in some cases, severe) lack of critical thinking skills, and a tendency to cut corners wherever possible. My point being (again, after only one course) that we MUST emphasize technology in professional development. At the same time, we must also emphasize that the rudiments, such as critical thinking, should remain an integral part of the syllabus — indeed, if every google search turns up six million websites, then students must arguably learn to be far more critical than we needed to be as undergrads.

    We must do a better job of understanding where our students are coming from. At the same time, I believe that we must stress that the use of technology should be understood as a means to an age-old end: becoming knowledgeable, creative, critical thinkers. Technology should not be a barrier to acquiring these skills (as a preliminary analysis of online courses that I’ve done has revealed)

  2. keoughp
    June 12, 2006

    Excellent points Don! I should have gone into more specific detail concerning our students limited understanding of web / computer technology that they have grown up with (and take for granted) like myspace. You are on the mark in your statement…

    Therefore, to me, it’s the “same ol’ same ol’”. Most (but not all students) may possess technological savvy, but they also still possess short attention spans, a (in some cases, severe) lack of critical thinking skills, and a tendency to cut corners wherever possible. My point being (again, after only one course) that we MUST emphasize technology in professional development. At the same time, we must also emphasize that the rudiments, such as critical thinking, should remain an integral part of the syllabus”

    I see this more and more each year. So many of my younger students struggle with basic reading and writing skills in addition to lacking critical thinking skills. How do we address and begin to solve this problem in the technological environment we as educators find ourselves? I am still teaching much of the same course content, however I am using different tools to do it than I did 10 years ago.

    For example I taught Graphic Design with construction paper, Xacto knives and glue 10 years ago and now I do it completely on the computer – same basic design concepts, but with new, more sophisticated computer tools. Many of my students really struggle with design theory, however it was easier and more familiar for them to work with the computer imaging and layout software – teaching them that was the easy part and yes…most of them have a real difficult time with focusing on the task at hand, short term and long term goal setting and creative thinking.

    One one hand this is a very exciting time to be an educator however, our job as teachers in my opinion is more difficult due to so many of our students being seriously ill equipped to succeed in a viable college course, therefore unfortunately the dumbing down process begins and that only makes matters worse.

    Technological tools don’t teach students – excellent teachers do. I see this grant as a resource for helping our instuctors upgrade their technical skills and at the same time provide new prefessional development opportunities to help them teach their course content in this new post industrial age environment.

  3. Don Staub
    June 12, 2006

    Patrick,

    I don’t know if Louise has shared with you the brief report I wrote on a qualitative analysis of end-of-term evaluation statements made by students of on-line courses. I was looking at the evaluation comments made by students primarily from a “what’s wrong” perspective. I was able to compile those findings into said report.

    At the same, although I barely mention it in the report, there were a number of instructors who received consistently high marks from their students. My read is that these instructors (some of whom are highly regarded as classroom instructors) have taken their classroom style (or what they know about teaching and learning) and have effectively presented it on the web.

    It may be worth our while to take a look at those instructors and see what they are doing “right” and perhaps incorporate their ideas into PD. Maybe even have those instructors conduct the PD workshops for online teaching themselves(?). A couple of names stick out in my mind (I can tell you those names through another medium), but if we go back and look at the evals again, I’m sure more would crop up.

  4. keoughp
    June 12, 2006

    Sounds good Don! I would like to look at that report – send to me Groupwise. I can’t do all the pd workshops alone – I still teach a full load of classes in addition to being dl director.

  5. Louise Mathews
    June 12, 2006

    thanks for the good thoughts, Patrick. I just downloaded Warlick’s book. Who knows? I might actually read it on a screen, which would be a whole new thing for me.
    More later.

    Louise

  6. Johnny Underwood
    June 29, 2006

    Patrick,

    I would be happy to work with you to coordinate some PD for faculty on strategies for effective teaching in distance learning. I know we all have so much on our plates, but I agree this is an important iniative. I know that one of my weaknesses remains the technology aspect- the teaching aspect I have crafted from my classroom strategies and personality.

  7. Patrick Keough
    July 1, 2006

    Thanks Johnny! My DL PD initiative is going along smoothly. I have more training sessions coming up in July and August. The next one is more advanced concerning Podcasting and Blogging for instructional use + the use of vide clips in online courses. The faculty have really been excited and receptive my dl retooling initiative. I do believe this will make a difference in student retention in our online classes.

    Patrick

  8. Rosie
    February 16, 2007

    I thank you for your comment.

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This entry was posted on June 10, 2006 by in Distance Learning.
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