ITC 2008-2009 Professional Development Calendar

ITC 2008-2009 Professional Development Calendar

Here is our list of upcoming professional development audioconferences through December 2008. If you are unable to make any of the live presentations, an archived version of the call will be available on the phone bridge for 60 days after each live event.  We only have 35 spaces for the live event – first come, first served.  However if you register for the live event, you and/or any member of your staff, are free to access to the archive (note that ITC owns the copyright for these audioconference so we appreciate your not making or storing any copies).

The registration fees are the same to access the live and archived versions: any 20 calls for $460 ($23 each) or one call for $25. These fees are double for non-ITC members. Since we don’t have 20 calls scheduled yet, you can choose any of the 11 we have so far and carry a credit for what is left over.

Register online at  If you have questions please contact Ginger Park at or 202/293-3132.

A big thank you goes to Dallas TeleLearning for contributing the use of their phone bridge to us so we can keep our costs down! Please send us your ideas for topics or presenters as we develop the schedule of audioconferences which begin in January 2009!! We hope you value this ITC member service and we would love to hear from you! Drop me a line at or call 202/293-3110. Thank you!


September 2008

Innovative Techniques for Teaching a Hands-On Lab Course Over the InternetSept. 16, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Jennifer A. Herzog, Assistant Professor of Biology, Herkimer County Community College

A stumbling block for offering entire degree programs online is the requirement that students complete at least one lab science course to graduate. In response, Jennifer Herzog developed an online general biology course for non-science majors taught with an accompanying hands-on laboratory component. This course is completely asynchronous, and open to traditional and non-traditional students. She devised several methods for conveying the on-campus learning environment over the Internet. For the course’s lecture section, she uses movies, novels, TV shows and interactive Web sites to reinforce concepts and principles, while students analyze current biological issues by threaded discussions. Students purchase a lab kit and manual from so that they can perform hands-on experiments at home. Course assessment is built directly into the modules: students can use online office hours, question and “talk to the professor” areas to provide instant feedback on activities, examinations and Herzog’s teaching methods. Students provide more in-depth responses through a culminating activity in a questionnaire format.

Authentic Learner Assessments for the eLearning Environment
Sept. 23, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Jean Runyon, Dean, Virtual Campus, Anne Arundel Community College

Assessment is taking the center stage in the eLearning environment. Assessments designed to evaluate student performance in traditional courses are often ineffective for the e-Learning environment. Educators must develop and utilize assessment strategies that align with and promote the achievement of course learning outcomes while being authentic, reliable, and engaging. Participants will explore principles of authentic assessment and examine assessment methodologies that can be used in online and hybrid courses to assess course-related knowledge and skills, student attitudes and values, as well as reactions to instructional methods.

Online Program Advising
Sept. 30, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Lynn Ward, HIT and HICS Program Director, Faculty, and Ryan Schrenk, Director of Technology-Facilitated Learning, Montana State University Great Falls

As a new program director working from a distance, Lynn Ward developed a way to advise students from a distance through the use of Montana State University-Great Falls’ learning management system. While working for MSU from her home in Maine, Lynn developed a course shell that is used for advising students in her Health Information Technology and Health Information Coding programs. This audio conference will cover the needs for the course shell, how it was developed from both the faculty designer and distance education department perspective and how the course shell has helped Lynn keep in touch with her advisees from a distance.

October 2008

Intellectual Property Rights and Ownership of Online Courses
Oct. 14, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Dr. Stephanie Bulger, Vice Chancellor for Curriculum and Learning Technologies Wayne County Community College District

Is your institution developing more online courses and training more faculty to teach online than ever before – often with a limited understanding of its actions on the institution’s and faculty’s intellectual property rights? Is interpreting the intellectual property rights of online courses relatively new ground for you? Participants in this audioconference will hear the results of a survey of ITC member institutions about their intellectual property rights (IPR) policies and practices, an analysis of their IPR policies, and how case law informs IPR. Join us to discuss this provocative subject and discover potential areas for improving IPR policies and practices at your institution.

Using Controversial Topics as an Effective Teaching and Learning Tool in the Online Classroom
Oct. 21, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Darlene Smucny, Professor and Academic Director, Social Sciences, and Katherine Humber, Assistant Professor and Academic Director, Gerontology, School of Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland University College

Discussion of controversial topics can be a powerful pedagogical tool; however, instructors may be hesitant to deal with such topics in the asynchronous online environment. We identify challenges to addressing controversial topics in the online classroom, and provide best practices, including: establishing “ground rules” for each discussion, using misunderstandings as teachable moments, and assigning students to online study groups to debate a variety of perspectives. Above all, instructors need to create and actively foster an atmosphere of safety and respect in the online classroom. Once established, controversy can actually serve as the basis for effective teaching and learning opportunities in the online classroom.

Reducing Math Anxiety in an Online Classroom
Oct. 28, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Dr. John Beyers, Professor and Academic Director, Mathematics and Statistics, University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

Many have tried to define math anxiety – some refer to medical or psychological terms, others attempt to describe the symptoms, while others include the causes and effects. Sheila Tobias’s popular definition in “Overcoming Math Anxiety” (1995) describes math anxiety as “feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of problems in a wide variety of ordinary life and academic situations.”

College math classes are generally offered in more than one delivery mode or format. Each modality presents a whole new set of challenges to consider. At UMUC, math classes are offered in three formats: traditional (face to face), traditional with Web enhancement, and distance education. Some math-anxious students choose a distance education format to avoid some of the negative experiences they expect with traditional classes. This may be their greatest educational experience or their worst nightmare. Often students do not choose a delivery format based on the best match for their learning style. They choose a format for convenience or because their life circumstances will not allow other choices. When this is the case, we need to help students adapt to distance learning. John Beyers will discuss the cumulative experiences of more than 100 faculty and thousands of students in online math classrooms over several years. His presentation is based in part on an online workshop some leading experts at the University of Maryland University College developed called “Reducing Math Anxiety.”

November 2008

The Distance Practical Nursing Program at Northland Community and Technical College
Nov. 4, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Barbara Forrest, Practical Nursing Instructor, Program Director, Northland Community and Technical College

A description will be coming soon!

Complying with the TEACH Act and Copyright Issues in Distance Education
Nov. 18, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Fritz Dolak, Copyright and Intellectual Property Manager, Copyright and Intellectual Property Office, Ball State University

What does the TEACH Act mean for distance educators? TEACH amended the U.S. Copyright Act to allow educators at accredited highed education or recognized K-12 institutions to transmit portions of legally acquired audiovisual works over distance learning networks, without having to first obtain permission from the work’s copyright owner. Fritz Dolak will also review the list he created for the Indiana Partnership for Statewide Education Do’s and Don’ts for transmitting copyrighted materials. Learn how to use the TEACH Act and the CONFU Multimedia Guidelines to legally use those portions of copyrighted works for you distance education classroom.

December 2008

Sustainability: Teaching Environmental Science Online
Dec. 2, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Christopher A. Nichol, Sr., Natural Science Department – Earth Science, Oceanography and Marine Biology, St. Petersburg College

Christopher Nichol will outline the evolution of today’s environmental buzz-word, “sustainability.” This concept is changing as fast as the PC and not only presents challenges in its definition but in the teaching of such a dynamic concept. He will highlight his new online course, “Sustainable Systems, Design and Development” and examine how an instructor can use a multidisciplinary perspective to help learners not only create a personal definition that will inform their actions, but examine the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability. Nichol will discuss how this concept can be taught online and describe the various “hands on” experiences he has incorporated to make the class come alive. He will explore the pitfalls of teaching such a course in the online environment and how to overcome them.

Social Networking for Beginners
Dec. 9, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Mathew Erins, Center for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Miami University

Students use Facebook to build connections and make friends with people from around the world. Why can’t professors? With the growing use of personal profiles and the sharing of documents and media, online communities are moving to the forefront. This presentation will give participants an in-depth look at various forms of social networking that can serve to enhance their courses and learning communities.

Teaching Geology Online – Including Labs!
Dec.16, 2008 – 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Dr. Robert Altamura, Professor, Montana State University, Great Falls, MT

Robert Altamura will describe an online introduction to geology course he designed and teaches, in which he introduces geologic principles with an emphasis on processes (ex. plate tectonics, mountain building, weathering and erosion, water, etc.), earth materials (minerals and rocks – igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic), and geologic hazards (ex. volcanoes and earthquakes). The course covers geologic time, water and mineral resources, landforms, and glaciers. A laboratory portion guides students in the areas of mineral and rock identification; topographic map reading; basic interpretation of geologic maps; and other activities dealing with topics covered in lecture.

Course objectives are similar to those for the on-ground introduction to geology courses Altamura has taught. These include: becoming familiar with geology terminology, examining the theories of plate tectonics and mountain building, using observations of different properties to identify minerals and rocks, differentiating the three principal rock types – igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic, understanding the nature of volcanoes and earthquakes and the hazards they pose, learning about water and mineral resources and appreciating they are limited, and examining the origin and nature of variety landforms including coastal features.

ITC 2008-2009 Professional Development Calendar

Candidate Positions, iPods, EdTech, eTextbooks, Periodic Table, Visualized Experiments, Free Courses, WebJunction, ePortfolios, Twitter, The Process

My favorite listing here is the Periodic Table of Videos – please forward it to your science faculty – it is an excellent student resource! Chris.

McCain, Obama Put Out Tech Agendas
by Gregg W. Downey
Aug. 25, 2008, eSchool News

“eSchool News in recent months has kept you up-to-date on where the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates stand on education issues. Now, Senators Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have issued policy statements specifically regarding technology. I urge you to read each candidate’s statement in full, but I’ll provide the highlights here.” . . .

Welcome, Freshmen. Have an iPod.
by Jonathan D. Glater
Aug. 20, 2008, New York Times

“Taking a step that professors may view as a bit counterproductive, some universities are doling out Apple iPhones and Internet-capable iPods to students.” . . .

“While schools emphasize its usefulness – online research in class and instant polling of students, for example – a big part of the attraction is, undoubtedly, that the iPhone is cool and a hit with students. Basking in the aura of a cutting-edge product could just help a university foster a cutting-edge reputation. Apple stands to win as well, hooking more young consumers with decades of technology purchases ahead of them. The lone losers, some fear, could be professors.”

“Students already have laptops and cellphones, of course, but the newest devices can take class distractions to a new level. They practically beg a user to ignore the long-suffering professor struggling to pass on accumulated wisdom from the front of the room – a prospect that teachers find galling and students view as, well, inevitable. “When it gets a little boring, I might pull it out,” acknowledged Naomi J. Pugh, a first-year student at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., referring to her new iPod Touch, which can connect to the Internet over a campus wireless network. She speculated that professors might try harder to make classes interesting if they were competing with the devices.” . . .

Essay: At School, Technology Starts to Turn a Corner
by Steve Lohr
Aug. 16, 2008, New York Times

“COUNT me a technological optimist, but I have always thought that the people who advocate putting computers in classrooms as a way to transform education were well intentioned but wide of the mark. It’s not the problem, and it’s not the answer. Yet as a new school year begins, the time may have come to reconsider how large a role technology can play in changing education. There are promising examples, both in the United States and abroad, and they share some characteristics. The ratio of computers to pupils is one to one. Technology isn’t off in a computer lab. Computing is an integral tool in all disciplines, always at the ready.”

“Web-based education software has matured in the last few years, so that students, teachers and families can be linked through networks. Until recently, computing in the classroom amounted to students doing Internet searches, sending e-mail and mastering word processing, presentation programs and spreadsheets. That’s useful stuff, to be sure, but not something that alters how schools work. The new Web education networks can open the door to broader changes. Parents become more engaged because they can monitor their children’s attendance, punctuality, homework and performance, and can get tips for helping them at home. Teachers can share methods, lesson plans and online curriculum materials.” . . .

Course Correction: How Digital Textbooks are Off Track and How to Set Them Straight
The Student PIRGs
August 2008

The authors of this survey of 504 students and 50 commonly assigned textbook titles confirmed that digital “e-textbooks” failed to meet criteria for affordability, printing options, and accessibility. Open textbooks are a “perfect match.”

• The e-textbooks we surveyed cost on average exactly the same as a new hard copy of the same title bought and sold back to the bookstore.
• The e-textbooks we surveyed cost on average 39% more than a used hard copy of the same title bought and sold back online.
• Printing was limited to 10 pages per session for each of the e-textbooks we surveyed.
• Buying and printing half of an e-textbook was three times the cost of buying a used hard copy and selling it back to the bookstore, for the books we surveyed.
• Students have to choose between using the book online or using it offline – they cannot do both.
• Most (75%) of the e-textbooks we surveyed expired after 180 days, so students do not have the option to access their books in the future.

The Periodic Table of Videos
University of Nottingham

Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century – but this modern version has a short video about each one. In the short time since launching this site, our videos have been watched more than 1.8 million times. But we’re not finished yet. We’ve started updating all the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments. So once you’ve watched all 118 videos, make sure you come back and check on our progress. We still have a few surprises up our sleeves!

The Journal of Visualized Experiments, JoVE, is now indexed in PubMed & MEDLINE
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is an online open access research journal employing visualization to increase reproducibility and transparency in biological sciences. Categories include: basic protocols, neuroscience, developmental biology, cellular biology, plant biology, microbiology and immunology.

Free Online Courses and Lectures from Great Universities
by Dan Colman, Director and Associate Dean, Continuing Studies, and, Ed Finn, Graduate Student, English Department, Stanford University
Open Culture

About Us: “Open Culture explores cultural and educational media (podcasts, videos, online courses, etc.) that’s freely available on the web, and that makes learning dynamic, productive, and fun. We sift through all the media, highlight the good and jettison the bad, and centralize it in one place. Trust us, you’ll find engaging content here that will keep you learning and sharp. And you will find it much more efficiently than if you spend your time searching with Google, Yahoo or iTunes.”

An online community for library staff. “We build and support collaborative environments (like this one!) where library staff come together to connect, create, and learn. We are driven by the vision of relevant, vibrant, and sustainable libraries in every community. WebJunction is hosted by the Online Computer Library Center, OCLC. We’re slightly different from other OCLC products and services because we started with support and investment from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Our ambition is to be a fully self-sustaining online community service for the library field by 2012.”

Background Paper on e-Portfolios
May 2008, National symposium on e-portfolios

This paper has been prepared to provide background information for participants in the National Symposium on e-portfolios being conducted by limited, on Wednesday, 11 June 2008 in Adelaide. The paper provides background information about: users of eportfolios, potential benefits of eportfolios, types of e-portfolios, issues to consider. A synopsis of a pre-symposium survey of stakeholders regarding e-portfolio use and issues is also included. Also see

The Proper Way to Use Twitter
by John Krutsch
April 18, 2008

The Process: Redesigning the Stop Sign
This video is pretty funny – instructional designers will definitely get a kick out of it

Candidate Positions, iPods, EdTech, eTextbooks, Periodic Table, Visualized Experiments, Free Courses, WebJunction, ePortfolios, Twitter, The Process

Open Textbooks, Blackboard, Broadband, Libraries, Michael Wesch, Learning Tools, Advice for Students, Blended Learning, How Buildings Learn

Open Textbook Meets Community Colleges
by Andy Guess
Aug. 12, 2008, Insider Higher Ed

“Proponents of the open textbook movement have long envisioned a world of free (or almost free) educational materials, available to print or download, written by experts for others to read, share, improve or modify as they see fit. For one popular textbook, at least, that vision is now a reality. Connexions, a prominent online ‘open educational resources’ hub based at Rice University, announced Monday that it has published a statistics textbook online that’s widely used in transfer-level community college courses. Officials at the site hope the zero-dollar price tag will help students deterred by ever-increasing textbook prices.”

“The book, Collaborative Statistics by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean, is not only available as a full download. The content between the covers has been sliced and diced into “modules,” Connexions’ basic building blocks, that any student or instructor can rearrange or adapt for their own use. Developers of the project also plan on adding videos of class lectures by Illowsky as well as other supplementary classroom materials, effectively uploading an entire course experience to the Web.” . . .

Blackboard, Inc. Analysis, Part 1: Software Licenses
by Jim Farmer
Aug. 11, 2008, e-Literate

“As the dominant supplier of learning system software, Blackboard Inc. is “mission critical” to colleges and universities in the U.S. It has been more than two years since Blackboard completed the acquisition of WebCT. Reviewing Blackboard’s performance may provide some insight.” . . .

“Although the total number declines because of the decline in basic licenses this does not imply the associated revenue declined. Those licensing the Basic System could (1) migrate to the Enterprise license and, according to Blackboard officials, many did, (2) could have migrated to Managed Hosting, or (3) discontinued use of the product. According to CEO Michael Chasen, Blackboard’s current renewal rate is 92%-four percent more than WebCT and two percent more than Blackboard in October 2005. Analysis of Educause survey data for 2002-2004 reveals: “The average course management system has been installed for 3.8 years and 13% expect to replace it within three years.” “Analysis of the data shows institutions are [in 2004] changing their course management systems sooner than expected replacement.” 4% planned replacement each year while 13% were replacing the course management system. Because Blackboard has the largest number of licenses, if rates for all are equal, then Blackboard when dominant will lose licenses until equilibrium is established at a lower number-the same number as any other supplier.”

“During the August 6th Earnings Call, Chasen said: “Our renewal rate for the quarter was in line with where we ended 2007 at 92% and we expect that our renewal rate will remain strong throughout the remainder of 2008.[14, page 4] Another supplier has estimated the renewal rate for their learning system at 98%, [15]” . . .

Broadband Growth Plummets In 2q, Cable Stronger
Aug. 11, 2008 Associated Press

“The number of new broadband Internet subscribers in the United States fell in the second quarter to the lowest level in at least seven years. The 20 largest cable and telephone companies added a net 887,000 high-speed Internet subscribers in the three months ending June 30. The number of new customers is half that of the second quarter of 2007. Saturation of the marketplace, along with the slowing economy, are likely reasons for the slowdown. Leichtman Research believes the decline in new customers was likely exacerbated by decisions at the two largest phone companies, AT&T and Verizon, to emphasize faster, more expensive services over entry-level DSL. Cable companies did much better than phone companies in the quarter. While the two industries have usually divided new broadband customers evenly between them, 76 percent of the new business went to cable companies in the quarter.” . . .

Pollster’s New Book Likens Online Universities to Zip Cars in Their Growing Appeal
by Goldie Blumenstyk
Aug. 11, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education

“National surveys show that a majority of Americans think online universities offer a lower quality of education than do traditional institutions. But a prominent pollster, John Zogby, says in a book being released on Tuesday that it won’t be long before American society takes to distance education as warmly as it has embraced game-changing innovations like microbrewed beers, Flexcars, and ‘the simple miracle of Netflix.’ The factor that will close that “enthusiasm gap” is the growing use of distance education by well-respected universities, Mr. Zogby predicts in the book, The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream (Random House).” . . .

Libraries Step into the Age of iPod
by Paul Thomasch
Aug 7, 2008, Reuters

“It may be about time to dig out that old library card. Hoping to draw back readers, libraries have vastly expanded their lists of digital books, music, and movies that can be downloaded by their patrons to a computer or MP3 player — and it doesn’t cost a cent, unlike, say, media from Apple Inc’s iTunes or Inc.” . . .

Michael Wesch and the Future of Education
June 17, 2008, University of Manitoba

“Dubbed “the explainer” by popular geek publication Wired because of his viral YouTube video that summarizes Web 2.0 in under five minutes, cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch brought his Web 2.0 wisdom to the University of Manitoba on June 17. During his presentation, the Kansas State University professor breaks down his attempts to integrate Facebook, Netvibes, Diigo, Google Apps, Jott, Twitter, and other emerging technologies to create an education portal of the future. “It’s basically an ongoing experiment to create a portal for me and my students to work online,” he explains. “We tried every social media application you can think of. Some worked, some didn’t.”

Directory of Learning Tools
by Jane Hart
Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies – Knowledge, Skills and Tools for the Learning 2.0 Age

A directory of more than 2,400 tools (freeware/open source and commercial) for learning in two main sections:

1. for creating, delivering and managing learning and performance support solutions

2. for managing your own learning and productivity, for sharing resources, as well as group collaboration (also includes some enterprise tools)

What to Advise a Student About Using the Web
by Seb Schmoller
May 20, 2008, Fortnightly Mailing

“Students are like many users of the Web. You are short of time, easily distracted, and you’ve probably given little thought to how you use the Web. Here are 8 9 things to do that will make life easier, and your studies more fulfilling.”

Online Student Survival Guide
Western Governors University

A blog with entries/articles on how to “survive” as an online student. Includes: “Setting Goals,” “Communicating with Online Faculty, Mentors, and Advisors,” “Writing Exercises,” “Eating as an Online Student,” “Quick and Healthy Meal Ideas for Kids.”

Blended Learning Wiki
Created by Peter Tittenberger
University of Manitoba’s Learning Technologies Centre Wiki

1 What is blended learning?, 2 Some existing definitions, 3 A proposed definition, 4 Is it blended learning?, 5 Why Blend?, 6 From Blended Learning to Blended ONLINE Learning, 7 Links, 8 Resources, 9 Blended Learning RSS Feed via

How Buildings Learn – Six Episodes on Google Video
by Stewart Brand
1997, BBC TV

Stewart Brand writes, “This six-part, three-hour, BBC TV series aired in 1997. I presented and co-wrote the series; it was directed by James Muncie, with music by Brian Eno. The series was based on my 1994 book, “HOW BUILDINGS LEARN: What Happens After They’re Built.” The book is still selling well and is used as a text in some college courses. Most of the 27 reviews on Amazon treat it as a book about system and software design, which tells me that architects are not as alert as computer people. But I knew that; that’s part of why I wrote the book. Anybody is welcome to use anything from this series in any way they like. Please don’t bug me with requests for permission. Hack away. Do credit the BBC, who put considerable time and talent into the project. Historic note: this was one of the first television productions made entirely in digital— shot digital, edited digital. The project wound up with not enough money, so digital was the workaround. The camera was so small that we seldom had to ask permission to shoot; everybody thought we were tourists. No film or sound crew. Everything technical on site was done by editors, writers, directors. That’s why the sound is a little sketchy, but there’s also some direct perception in the filming that is unusual.”

Part I – Flow, Part 2 – The Low Road, Part 3 – Built for Change, Part 4 – Unreal Estate, Part 5 – Romance of Maintenance, Part 6 – Shearing Layers

Open Textbooks, Blackboard, Broadband, Libraries, Michael Wesch, Learning Tools, Advice for Students, Blended Learning, How Buildings Learn

Anthropoligical Intro to YouTube, Learning Online, U of Phoenix, FCC, NY Digital Divide, Postsecondary Students, Moodle, E-mail

An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube
by Michael Wesch
Aug. 5, 2008, YouTube

You must watch this presentation – it is fascinating! Stephen Downes writes, “I finally found 55 minutes to watch Michael Wesch’s anthropological introduction to YouTube. Media, says Wesch, isn’t about communication or content. It’s a way to mediate relationships between people. Which means that when the media changes, so do the relationships. What’s happening is that we are becoming increasingly individualized, connected only by roadways and TV, and we long for community. And culture is increasingly commercialized, and we long for authenticity.”

The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism
by Barry Wellman, Anabel Quan-Haase, Jeffrey Boase, Wenhong Chen, University of Toronto; Keith Hampton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Isabel Isla de Diaz, Open University of Catalonia; Kakuko Miyata, University of Tokyo
April 2003, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

“We review the evidence from a number of surveys in which our NetLab has been involved about the extent to which the Internet is transforming or enhancing community. The studies show that the Internet is used for connectivity locally as well as globally, although the nature of its use varies in different countries. Internet use is adding on to other forms of communication, rather than replacing them. Internet use is reinforcing the pre-existing turn to societies in the developed world that are organized around networked individualism rather than group or local solidarities. The result has important implications for civic involvement.”

The Best Way to Learn in an Online Course
by Susan Smith Nash
Aug. 5, 2008, E-Learning Queen

“A well-designed online course will guide you through the course content, and will also guide you in the best way to learn the material and to achieve desired learning outcomes. The course will bring together cognitive and behavioral approaches. In addition, self-regulation (motivation, goal-setting, etc) will be incorporated in a seamless way so that you’re learning how to manage time, how to practice for exams, and how to plan for achieving outcomes.”

“There is quite a bit of support for an integrated learning approach. In 1996, H. Tait and N. J. Entwistle published the results of a study that revealed very useful connections between behavioral, cognitive, and emotional strategies. They concluded that the most effective learning strategies were ones that reinforced each other in a seamless, integrative manner. These insights are very useful for designers, instructors, and administrators who can develop and guide courses in ways that can naturally incorporate the acquisition of learning strategies.” . . .

U. of Phoenix Lets Students Find Answers Virtually
by Paula Wasley
Issue dated Aug. 8, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education

“For the 345,000 students enrolled in the for-profit university’s online or campus-based courses, the virtual schools and businesses function like case studies, in that students use them to diagnose and solve typical problems of organizations. The big difference from textbook-style cases, say the program’s creators, is in the level of realism and interactivity.” . . .

“Phoenix students, instead, can tap into a virtual world where each fictional school or corporation comes with detailed, simulated scenarios that employees are likely to encounter in the workplace. The scenarios aren’t fully interactive virtual worlds like Second Life – they don’t provide second-by-second feedback – but they do bring real-world problems to life.”

“The programs also offer more variety than working out of a textbook, says Adam Honea, Phoenix’s dean and provost. In a typical business course, he says, students work on one or two case studies at a time. “But because this is computer-generated, we can have a hundred scenarios and randomly assign them so that each student in the class would get a whole different assignment.” And, unlike case studies, in which information comes neatly packaged, students using the Phoenix software have to hunt for data in multiple files, documents, and records, some of them confusing or incomplete, just like in real life.” . . .

F.C.C. Vote Sets Precedent on Unfettered Web Usage
by Saul Hansell
Aug. 2, 2008, New York Times

“The Federal Communications Commission formally voted Friday to uphold the complaint against Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, saying that it had illegally inhibited users of its high-speed Internet service from using popular file-sharing software. The decision, which imposes no fine, requires Comcast to end such blocking this year. “Kevin J. Martin, the commission’s chairman, said the order was meant to set a precedent that Internet providers, and indeed all communications companies, could not keep customers from using their networks the way they see fit unless there is a good reason. ‘We are preserving the open character of the Internet,’ Mr. Martin said in an interview after the 3-to-2 vote. ‘We are saying that network operators can’t block people from getting access to any content and any applications.’ “

“The case also highlights the broader issue of whether new legislation is needed to force Internet providers to treat all uses of their networks equally, a concept called network neutrality. Some have urged legislation to make sure that big Internet companies do not discriminate against small companies or those that compete with their video or telephone services. “

Plugging America’s Broadband Gap
by Roger O. Crockett
July 31, 2008, Business Week

“Should speedy Internet service be free? Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, wants the agency to vote on a plan in August that would let any household in the country cruise the Net at broadband speeds, at absolutely no cost. But his idea faces heated opposition from companies such as AT&T (T) that worry their profits will be threatened by a free alternative.”

“Martin is concerned about a U.S. broadband gap. Only 60% of American households have speedy Net access. That puts the country in 15th place among developed nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. It’s a mighty fall from 2001, when the U.S. ranked fourth.”

“There are three basic options for catching up. The government can take the lead, making its own investments in broadband. Second, the government can mandate that existing providers make the service available more widely. Most realistically perhaps, the government can create incentives for private companies to roll out more broadband. That’s what Martin is trying to do. He wants to auction off wireless spectrum and require the winning bidder to provide free broadband throughout the country. The company could make money by selling advertising and advanced services.” . . .

Minority-Serving Colleges to Receive Money for Technology Improvements
by Andrea L. Foster
Aug. 1, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Colleges serving minority students may receive federal money for computer hardware, software, and network upgrades under a provision in legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The bill cleared Congress Thursday and is expected to be signed by President Bush.”

“The provision largely restates the Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act of 2007, HR 694, which the U.S. House of Representatives approved in September. The provision would create a program at the Department of Commerce to distribute money for technology upgrades at colleges serving blacks, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Hispanics, and Native Alaskans. Institutions receiving the funds would be required to provide a 25-percent matching contribution or $500,000, whichever is less. But the requirement would be waived for institutions with no endowment. Unlike the House bill, which authorizes $250-million for the first year of the program, the Higher Education Act provision does not specify how much money would be allocated for the four-year program.”

Big Divide Found in Internet Access
by Ken Belson
July 30, 2008, New York Times

“New Yorkers are a diverse bunch, but when it comes to broadband connections at home, there are two distinct groups: The haves and the have-nots. According to a report released today by the city’s Broadband Advisory Committee (, 26 percent of low income households have broadband connections at home compared to 54 percent in moderate-to-high income households.”

Descriptive Summary of 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students: Three Years Later
July 30, 2008, National Center for Education Statistics

… “This report provides a description of the characteristics and enrollment patterns of a nationally representative sample of students who began postsecondary education for the first time during the 2003-04 academic year. The report describes the background, academic preparation, and experience of these beginning students over 3 academic years, from July 2003 to June 2006, and provides information about their rates of persistence, program completion, transfer, and attrition. The focus is on differences among students beginning at either 4-year, 2-year, or less-than-2-year institutions.”

“Some highlights: Most of the first-time students who began at 4-year institutions in 2003-04 were age 19 or younger (85 percent) compared to 54 percent of students who began at 2-year institutions and 32 percent who began at less-than-2-year institutions. Among those under age 24 who began at a 4-year institution, nearly all (94 percent) had taken algebra II or higher mathematics courses in high school, and about one-fourth had taken calculus. Of students who began at a 4-year institution, about one-half had a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, and about one-fourth had earned credit for courses taken at a college while still in high school. Eighteen percent of the students who began at a 4-year institution in 2003-04 transferred from the institution where they had started.”

Moodle and Social Constructionism: Looking for the Individual in the Community
by Luke Fernandez, Weber State
July 15, 2008, Academic Commons

. . . “Conceived this way, it is both the Moodle technology and the Moodle community, with all their associated beliefs and practices, that foster the constructionist and highly collaborative learning Dougiamas explores in his doctoral work and that Brown celebrates on stage. At the San Francisco Moodlemoot, the convergence of technologies, communities and keynote addresses stopped just short of epiphany. In the wake of the Moodlemoot, I left feeling evangelized. After listening to Brown, one gets the feeling that we are experiencing–or have already gone through–some epistemic change where traditions of scholarship based on discipline and lonely hard work in isolated garrets have given way to a more playful, fun, and collaborative form of learning and work. Listening to Brown one might be inclined to think that the singularity has arrived, that the new technologies have allowed us to transcend the human condition, and that a new triumphal communitarian beehive has arrived where we can Twitter and chat and upload each other into an era of unprecedented human clarity and enlightenment. Given my own communitarian leanings, I’m sympathetic to the message. But I think it does need to be qualified for two reasons.”

You’ve Got Too Much E-mail
by Leslie Brenner
July 31, 2008, Los Angeles Times

“It happened with cigarettes. It happened with red meat. And carbs. And SUVs. And now it’s happening with e-mail. The preferred communication channel of millions of Americans is no longer cool. According to a growing number of academics, “technologists” and psychologists, our dependence on e-mail — the need to attend to a constantly beeping in-box — is creating anxiety in the workplace, adversely affecting the ability to focus, diminishing productivity and threatening family bonds. The problem has become so severe that a new crop of entrepreneurs has sprung up with antidotes — which sometimes involve creating more e-mail.”

[The Times made this correction to this story] FOR THE RECORD: “The research firm Basex calculates that unnecessary e-mail and instant messages take up 28% of the average knowledge worker’s day, and that this did not include “recovery time.” The worker’s recovery time – the time it takes to resume work at the point it was interrupted – is actually included in the 28%. In addition, the article stated that Basex’s calculations will be reported in a study to be published in October. The study was published in 2005.”

Anthropoligical Intro to YouTube, Learning Online, U of Phoenix, FCC, NY Digital Divide, Postsecondary Students, Moodle, E-mail

Clarifying Language for Section 496 of Higher Education Act Reauthorization Helps Allay Some Distance Ed Concerns

On July 31st, the House and the Senate approved their final language for the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act (House 380-49 and Senate 83-8). The president is scheduled to sign the legislation this week.

In May, we asked you to contact your congressmen and senators to express your concern regarding the language in Section 496 which states that colleges must have “processes” that establish 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.”

Although we were not able to eliminate the language or change the wording, thanks to your phone calls, e-mails, and efforts by the lobbyists at AACC and other distance learning organizations, the staff from Senator Harry Reid’s office was able to add clarifying language to the bill which explains the congressional intent of the legislation to Department of Education regulators.

This clarifying language:

1. affirms that the requirements of the bill focus on authentication (username and password) rather than more extraordinary requirements which ITC was afraid regulators would impose on our colleges

2. ensures protections for student privacy

See Section 496 language and clarifying language below. Please let us know if you have any additional questions. The ITC will continue to monitor legislation and will alert you to future issues and concerns. We will also work to more effectively represent the growing importance and value of distance education to our elected officials and federal administrators/regulators.

Thank you for all of your help on this,

Fred Lokken

ITC Chair


See the full text of the legislation at

Section 496 ‘‘(ii) the agency or association requires an institution that offers distance education or correspondence education to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit;”;

JOINT EXPLANATORY STATEMENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE [note from ITC: Congress adds this clarifying language to a bill to explain what the House and Senate meant when it crafted the legislation. The clarifying language does not have the rule of law, but it does go a long way to help regulatory agencies like the Department of Education know which direction they should follow when they craft their regulations.]:


Section 495. Recognition of Accrediting Agency or Association.

The Senate amendment and the House bill require an accrediting agency that has or seeks to include the evaluation of distance education programs within its scope of recognition to demonstrate to the Secretary that its standards effectively address the quality of distance education in the same areas in which it is required to evaluate classroom-based programs. The Senate amendment and House bill state that associations aren’t required to have separate standards for accrediting distance education programs.

The Conferees adopt the provision as proposed by both the Senate and the House.

The House bill does not require an accrediting agency to obtain the approval of the Secretary to expand its scope of accreditation to include distance education, provided that the accrediting agency notifies the Secretary in writing about the change.

The Senate amendment contains no similar provision.

The Senate recedes with an amendment to require a review at the next NACIQI meeting of any agency or association that expands its scope to include the evaluation of institutions or programs offering courses through distance education if an institution accredited by the agency or association experiences a growth in the enrollment increases by fifty percent or more within the institution’s fiscal year. [note from ITC – The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, NACIQI, advises the Secretary of the US Department of Education on matters related to accreditation and to the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education]

The Senate amendment and the House bill require accrediting agencies to require that institutions of higher education offering distance education programs have a process by which the institution of higher education establishes that a student registered for a distance education course is the same student that participates in, completes, and receives credit for the course.

The Conferees adopt the provision as proposed by both the Senate and the House. The Conferees expect institutions that offer distance education to have security mechanisms in place, such as identification numbers or other pass code information required to be used each time the student participates in class time or coursework on-line. As new identification technologies are developed and become more sophisticated, less expensive and more mainstream, the Conferees anticipate that accrediting agencies or associations and institutions will consider their use in the future. The Conferees do not intend that institutions use or rely on any technology that interferes with the privacy of the student and expect that students’ privacy will be protected with whichever method the institutions choose to utilize.

Clarifying Language for Section 496 of Higher Education Act Reauthorization Helps Allay Some Distance Ed Concerns