Recommended Reading: A Digital Chief from Publishing Talks Anonymously

A recently published article in Digiday provides an insider view of ongoing tensions that are still playing out in the world of publishing. The interviewee speaks to the challenges of running two parallel businesses, one that’s in decline but still generating cash, another that is growing but requiring significant investment, and the internal conflicts that are inherent to that dichotomy.

“It creates a real clash because of how these competing business models play out on a daily basis. Everything from salary disparities to space or resource allocation. If you’re throwing resources at a problem to make it move faster — that generates huge resentment from people whose resources are being chopped to slow losses. It creates a “them and us” situation which isn’t helpful.”

In the educational publishing sector, most publishers recognized the need to transition to digital several years ago. That recognition, however, doesn’t make it so overnight. It’s a difficult slog, fraught with strategic, operational and human challenges.

Posted in Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Explainer Videos on Course Exchanges and the Shared Infrastructure Behind Them

Two months ago O’Neal Spicer and I wrote an op-ed for the Community College Daily describing our observations on the California Online Education Initiative (OEI). We don’t often write about clients of ours, but in this case we felt it would be useful to share our thoughts outside of the consulting context, and the OEI staff agreed.

While some argued that a parallel system of MOOCs, unbundled course and third-party operators should step-in, the state opted to re-invest in its existing faculty and infrastructure. At the heart of what became known as the Online Education Initiative (OEI) was a system for an online course exchange that could help to improve access to courses that were oversubscribed or not available at local campuses.

California was not alone in making the move toward a system where a consortium of campuses pooled resources to offer online courses for students across multiple campuses. North Carolina has done so, as has Colorado and Mississippi and several others. Part of the attraction of course exchanges comes from the acknowledgement that with online education, the campus walls do not need to be an artificial barrier.

Ryan Craig wrote a separate piece for Forbes on the upcoming release of the OEI course exchange as did Ashley Smith at Inside Higher Ed.

We thought it would be useful to explore this concept of course exchanges more broadly.[1] OEI is not the first course exchange – Colorado Community College System, University of North Carolina SystemMississippi Virtual Community College, Kentucky Virtual Campus, to name a few other initiatives[2]. What is the concept of course exchanges and what problem is being addressed? In a nutshell, you can think of this as removing the traditional boundaries of higher ed, as described in our first video.

(Video source: https://youtu.be/HBCVAau8hK8)

Continue reading

  1. Disclosure: Our e-Literate TV series of video case studies and explainer videos is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. []
  2. Disclosure: Besides OEI, Colorado Community College System and Mississippi Community College System are past clients of either MindWires or its predecessors. []
Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Price Of Faculty Not Using LMS? $39 million for CCSF

This morning the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about City College of San Francisco (CCSF) having to repay the state of California $39 million due to an audit of distance education courses.

City College of San Francisco, struggling for every dollar it can muster, must repay the state nearly $39 million because it can’t prove that instructors taught thousands of students in hundreds of online classes from 2011 to 2014, an audit revealed.

City College has been unable to verify teaching about 16,000 students in 587 online courses — from Accent Improvement to Cardiorespiratory Emergencies — over the three-year period, according to the state-commissioned audit that ended in September.

It took a little bit of digging during a conference call (shh, don’t tell the hosts), but it looks like the issue was that the vast majority of faculty teaching online or hybrid courses chose to not use the centralized Moodle LMS system despite district policy that the LMS is the official record of student and faculty interaction.  Continue reading

Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Openness | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

UT Austin and SMOCs: What do we know about whether they work?

In episode 1, we looked at an effort by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin to develop SMOCs – Synchronous Massive Online Courses – where the core of the redesign centers on the synchronous online experience for large lecture courses (1000+ students in some cases) courses.[1] In episode 2, we took a deeper look at how SMOCs work as well as a discussion of high-level course design costs. In this concluding episode, we ask the question of whether SMOCs work, in terms of improved learning outcomes and / or learning experiences.

(Video source: https://youtu.be/yoIppZ97Ko4)

 

Continue reading

  1. Disclosure: Our e-Literate TV series of video case studies and explainer videos is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. []
Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UT Austin and SMOCs: What these synchronous courses look like and cost

Last month we shared a video describing how the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin is taking a different approach than some of the courseware-based or other course redesign efforts.[1] In many of these other redesigns, there is an emphasis on the asynchronous elements of lab section and lecture preparation and even fully flipping the classroom (no lectures in class on the course content). In contrast, the UT Austin approach to improving the large lecture course centers on SMOCs – Synchronous Massive Online Courses – where the core of the redesign centers on the synchronous course lecture. Watch episode 1 to get a better feel of what problem they are trying to solve and how this SMOC approach appears to keep faculty in their traditional role, albeit with additional preparation time and video production.

In this episode, we’re taking a deeper look at how SMOCs work as well as high-level course design costs.

(Video source: https://youtu.be/MAHm_JU6upU)

Continue reading

  1. Disclosure: Our e-Literate TV series of video case studies and explainer videos is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. []
Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment