Oppose Higher Education Act Language on Distance Learning: Contact your Congressman or Senator Today!

Legislative Alert: Contact your Congressman or Senator Today!

ITC would like you to be aware of a provision in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that could severely impact our distance education programs. The bill requires institutions “to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit.”

The language is vague, but we are concerned the Department of Education or other regulatory agencies could impose some onerous regulations to force colleges to comply with their interpretation of the bill once Congress has passed it – requirements that could be costly or prohibitive, such as forcing colleges to make all distance learning students take face-to-face proctored exams.

The Senate and House have each selected their conference committee members for the reauthorization which the Senate and House have passed (see below). In the next two weeks they will look at their respective versions to create a single bill that will go back to their respective chambers for final passage, and to the President for his signature.

If you are concerned, you must act quickly. Contact your congressman and/or senators and tell them:

1) You oppose this language in the bill

2) Ask them to help delete the language

3) If necessary, suggest they submit compromise language that makes this provision only apply to institutions where the distance education enrollment is more than 50 percent of the overall institutional enrollment

Call the Capitol switchboard at (202)224-3121 to be connected directly with your congressman or senator’s office. Here is a proposed e-mail you can send below. You can find the contact information for your congressman or senator at http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/:

To a Senator:

The Honorable (full name)
__(Rm.#)__(name of) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington , DC 20510

To a Representative:

The Honorable (full name)
__(Rm.#)__(name of) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington , DC 20515

Dear ______________________________,

I oppose the language in Section 496 (20 U.S.C. 1099b) of the Higher Education Act re-authorization bill, specifically, (1) sub-section (a) (A) (4) (B) (ii) which states:

`(ii) the agency or association requires an institution that offers distance education to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit

I oppose this language for several reasons:

1) there is no evidence to suggest a problem exists. Campuses have accepted practices for admission, registration and attendance in place that apply to traditional face-to-face classes and to those that are delivered at a distance – distance education classes are just a different method of delivery and must adhere to the same campus standards and expectations.

2) distance education administrators are accountable to the institution’s regional accrediting agency and required to meet their standards, expectations, and provide an “equivalent” learning experience as a traditional class.

3) the costs for complying with any additional regulations that could result from this legislation could be substantial, and could force colleges to increase tuition and fees to fund compliance.

4) regulations that result from this legislation could undermine the benefits of distance education for – active duty military personnel at home and abroad, working students or single parents with young children or other family obligations that prevent them from taking classes during regular classroom hours, and/or rural residents who live or work too far from the college to travel to campus to make earning their college degree an option.

I ask that you support efforts to remove this language from the current bill, or, at the very least, to support compromise language that would limit these provisions to institutions that have distance education enrollments which are more than 50 percent of their total enrollment so the vast majority of legitimate, accredited colleges are not affected by this legislation.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.



Here is the list of conferees who are considering the Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization Legislation (H.R. 4137, S. 1642) See http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ for their contact info.

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Edward Kennedy (MA), Chairman
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Patty Murray (WA)
Jack Reed (RI)
Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY)
Barack Obama (IL)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)

Michael B. Enzi (WY), Ranking Member
Judd Gregg (NH)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Wayne Allard (CO)
Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK)

House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness

Ruben Hinojosa (TX), Chairman
George Miller (CA)
John Tierney (MA)
David Wu (OR)
Timothy Bishop (NY)
Jason Altmire (PA)
John Yarmuth (KY)
Joe Courtney (CT)
Robert Andrews (NJ)
Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA)
Susan Davis (CA)
Danny Davis (IL)
Mazie Hirono (HI)

Ric Keller (FL), Ranking Member
Thomas E. Petri (WI)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA)
Virginia Foxx (VA)
John R. Randy Kuhl, Jr. (NY)
Timothy Walberg (MN)
Michael N. Castle (DE)
Mark E. Souder (IN)
Vernon J. Ehlers (MI)
Judy Biggert (IL)

Please do not hesitate to contact the ITC if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your time!

Fred B. Lokken
-Associate Dean forTMCC WebCollege
Truckee Meadows Community College
7000 Dandini Boulevard , SIER 104
Reno , NV 89512-3999
phone: 775.673.7148, fax: 775.673.7176

Oppose Higher Education Act Language on Distance Learning: Contact your Congressman or Senator Today!

Children Online, Orphan Works, Coastline CC, Podcasting, Trends, Wikipedia Accuracy, LMS Transition, E-Failure, Web 2.0, Radiology Site

Here are some recent articles. Note that we archive these ITC News e-mails which I send out for ITC members at https://cmullins.wordpress.com/ . Let me know if you need any help accessing this site. Chris.

When Web Time Is Playtime
by Warren Buckleitner
May 8, 2008, New York Times

“If you’ve been noticing an increase in the number of smudgy fingerprints on your computer screen, it may be because your young children are spending more time online. With new services coming from companies like Lego and Disney that are aimed right at them, it might be wise to keep some glass cleaner nearby. These services are increasingly social in nature, places where your children can interact with other children, and they are becoming a central part of the business plans of the people who make TV programs, toys and cereal.” . . .

Library Group Favors Senate Over House Bill on Orphan Works
by Andrea Foster
May 6, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Ed

“The American Library Association is urging its membership to contact their senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress and press them to support the Senate version of a bill, S 2913 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.2913: ), that would make it easier for people to exploit orphan works. These are books, films, photographs, music, and other creative works that cannot be reused by scholars and archivists because they are unable to find the works’ owners. Those who make use of the material risk incurring penalties for copyright infringement.”

The Virtual College
by Marla Fisher
May 6, 2008, Community College Week

“You’re walking around a college campus, but this one’s not built of bricks and mortar. It exists only in the virtual world, where an avatar representing you, the student, can walk around, interact with people, even visit faculty members during office hours. That’s only one of the projects being designed by California ’s Coastline Community College , which specializes in distance learning and develops learning tools that train many thousands of students each year who have never set foot on its real campuses in Southern California ..” . . .

“The projects include:
* Arabic Village , a virtual world that teaches the Arabic language. Avatars controlled by the students can walk around streets that look like real Middle East settings, talk to locals and practice their skills. Afterward, their teacher gets a printout of how well they succeeded.
* A project called OLLI that will teach English to 50,000 middle-schoolers in China . Designers are using manga cartoon animation to create interactive characters that will delight the students and encourage their English usage.
* A virtual campus that replicates the real campus of Coastline, including the ability to interact with live people “behind” their screen depictions.”

Education On the Run
by Paul Bradley
May 6, 2008, Community College Week

“You’ve seen them. The seemingly sullen and distant college student, ear buds snugly inserted, seemingly oblivious to all that surrounds them, embedded deep in a private world while their favorite tunes blare or downloaded video clips play on their iPod. Or maybe not. These students could, in fact, be learning – listening to a podcast of a chemistry lecture, reviewing the nuances of the iambic pentameter or learning about the proper manipulation of an injured hand. They could be studying in a fashion characteristic of a new generation of students – the so-called “digital natives” who came of age in the era of the Internet, e-mail, Facebook and cellular phones.”

“Just as the iPod revolutionized the music industry, the portable media player now is transforming higher education like few distance education initiatives before it. Fueled by the development of iTunes U – a section of Apple’s ITunes music store where colleges and universities can deliver free audio, video and other educational information to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection – podcasting is fast becoming an essential educational tool for colleges and universities.”

Leading the Way: Online Enrollments Tilting Toward Community Colleges
by Paul Bradley
May 6, 2008, Community College Week

“Community colleges, with their legions of non-traditional students, are leading the way in providing distance education opportunities of all kinds. That is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Sloan Consortium, which promotes standards of online learning and has been tracking distance education for the past five years. The study found that that in fall 2006, about 3.5 million college students were taking at least one online course. That figure represents almost 20 percent of the nation’s 17.6 million college students.” . . .

Students Protest Cuts of Distance Learning: Distance-Learning Supporters Fear Budget Reductions
by Scott Wong
Apr. 30, 2008, The Arizona Republic

“. . . Sporting red, blue, orange and yellow T-shirts, students from 14 distance-learning schools performed high-energy dance routines, sang musical numbers from Annie and Les Miserables and chanted “save our schools” in front of the Capitol. The schools use technology-assisted methods, such as online classrooms and tutoring, electronic field trips and group chat sessions.” . . .

Automatically Assessing the Quality of Wikipedia Articles
by Joshua E. Blumenstock
April 1, 2008, School of Information, UC Berkeley

“. . . Due in part to the open, collaborative process by which content is generated, many have questioned the reliability of these articles. The high variance in quality between articles is a potential source of confusion that likely leaves many visitors unable to distinguish between good articles and bad. In this work, we describe how a very simple metric – word count – can be used to as a proxy for article quality, and discuss the implications of this result for Wikipedia in particular, and quality assessment in general.” . . .

“We found that, using article length alone, we could correctly distinguish between featured and non-featured articles with greater than 97 percent accuracy (see Table 2). The maximum accuracy was produced with a multi-layer perceptron model, but similar results were achieved with much simpler methods. For instance, the simple heuristic of classifying all articles with more than 2,000 words as “featured” and those with fewer than 2,000 words a “random”, one can achieve an accuracy of 96.31 percent. Using 1,830 words as the cutoff threshold, that accuracy increases to 96.46 percent (see Figure 3). Compared to the baseline accuracies of 86 percent (Stvilia et al.) and 84 percent (Zeng et al.), the simplicity of the word count threshold is quite compelling.”

Learning Management System Transitions
by Florence Kizza
May 6, 2008, The Greentree Gazette

“At this year’s ITC e-Learning conference in St. Petersburg , Florida , several presenters and their schools were in the midst of, or had just completed, switching their learning management systems. Those sessions got me wondering, what inspires a campus to undertake such a major switch and to consume the necessary time, money and resources?”

“Renee Aitken, John Primo and Chip Stoll helped me see the matter from their viewpoints. As a newly hired director of the Center of Instructional Technology and e-learning at Ohio Dominican University in 2005, Renee was told that the LMS in their use would no longer be supported. John Primo looked forward to Rose State ’s LMS purchase as a consortium deal to maximize purchasing power. And Chip Stoll began to look at other LMS options when the system they were using was acquired by another company.” . . .

Film School: To Spice Up Course Work, Professors Make Their Own Videos
by Jeffrey R. Young
May 2, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Sometimes Edward J. Berger leaves class with the nagging feeling that some of his engineering students at the University of Virginia just aren’t getting it. Maybe the concept he was trying to get across was too abstract. So he heads back to his office, films himself working through an actual problem, and posts the video to the course blog.” . . .

Learning to Leisure? Failure, Flame, Blame, Shame, Homophobia and Other Everyday Practices in Online Education
by Juliet Eve and Tara Brabazon, University of Brighton
April 2008, Journal of Literacy and Technology 3

“Rarely do educators hear about – and even more rarely do we read about – stories of efailure in the classroom. Funding agencies do not like such talk. Neither do writers of university strategic and corporate plans. However, in this article, we disclose and discuss an e-teaching failure. The causes of this failure are complex but invoke a significant warning for those who write curriculum. We map a singular teaching hypothesis: when using platforms most frequently positioned in leisure-based environments, such as the iPod, text messaging and discussion fora, there are institutional and ideological blockages to creating a successful learning experience and scholarly environment. We are interested in how leisure platforms can translate into education and how to manage the residues of conversation, informality, blame and shame.” . . .

Using Multimedia Anchored Instruction Cases in Literacy Methods Courses: Lessons Learned from Pre-Service Teachers
by Ruby Sanny, Purdue University , and William H. Teale, University of Illinois at Chicago
April 2008, Journal of Literacy and Technology 3

Multiple theoretical perspectives are employed in the analysis of interviews and written reflections from pre-service teachers who used web-based video cases in their literacy methods courses. The four theoretical perspectives: Transformational, Transactional, Deictic, and Critical illuminate the multiple and complementary aspects of pre-service teachers’ interactions with the web-based video cases. Findings are presented in four categories: 1) Patterns in Case Use; 2) Patterns of Transaction; 3) Patterns in Conceptions about Literacy/Technology Convergence; and 4) Issues of Equity and Access. Implications related to the intersection of web-based video case technology, literacy, and teacher education are drawn for literacy professors, researchers, and literacy teacher education.

The Future of Web 2.0: An interview with Washington State University’s Gary Brown
by Mary Grush
Feb. 27, 2008, Campus Technology

“As director of Washington State University ‘s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Gary Brown has stewarded the acceptance and growth of online learning, forged faculty development programs for early adopters and laggards alike, and struggled with the issues of assessment and accountability. But Brown sees more comprehensive changes ahead, especially as Web 2.0 technologies become widespread.” . . .

“Higher ed professionals are beginning to recognize that ePortfolios may be more effective than standardized tests when it comes to documenting student learning. The Association of American Colleges and Universities has released a survey that brings that point home. Employers, too, are telling us, ‘We don’t care about test scores. What we want is evidence that students have been involved in internships and service learning programs, and that they’ve done project work and have developed team, collaboration, communication, and leadership skills.’ “ . . .

Musculoskeletal Radiology

Online teaching materials from the radiology department at University of Washington . Includes modules for teaching radiology anatomy.

Children Online, Orphan Works, Coastline CC, Podcasting, Trends, Wikipedia Accuracy, LMS Transition, E-Failure, Web 2.0, Radiology Site