US Department of Education – Higher Education Opportunity Act – 2008
Status of Negotiated Rulemaking
The 13 members of the panel the U.S. Department of Education created to discuss accreditation issues (Team III) as part of its Negotiated Rulemaking for the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) met in Washington on March 4-6, 2009. Members include Linda Michalowski, vice chancellor for student services and special programs for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (with alternate Jim Hermes from the American Association of Community Colleges) will represent two year public institutions. Michael Offerman, CEO of Capella University, (with alternate Muriel Oaks, dean of distance and professional education at Washington State University) will represent distance and non-traditional education, and Terry Hartle from the American Council on Education (with his co-worker Becky Timmons as the alternate), among others. See the full list is at http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/accred-protocols.pdf .
I met with Jim Hermes from AACC yesterday who said that the panel only touched on the issue of distance learning authentication at their March meeting, but will spend more time on it during their upcoming meetings on April 21-23 and May 18-20, 2009. The position AACC and ITC (and presumably other representatives from the higher education community) will take is to follow the advice of the clarifying language which is attached to the HEOA.
“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.”
WCET has outlined a similar position on its Web site at http://wcet.informz.net/wcet/archives/archive_267322.html
Pam Quinn Elected to AACC Board of Directors
Congratulations are in order to Pam Quinn, president of the Dallas County Community College District’s R. Jan LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications, and thank you to everyone who asked their president to vote for her. Pam will serve as ITC’s representative on AACC’s board of directors for a three-year term – from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2012.
As I mentioned in the e-mail I sent back in February before the election, “At a time when advocacy for distance learning and community colleges is so critical – as a tool that could help solve so many of our nation’s problems – it is important to have someone on the AACC board of directors who understands distance learning and education technology and can advocate its use among other community college presidents who may not be as familiar with its applications. In addition to the general support of distance learning, there are several legislative actions, such as the recent reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and the lack of support for online learning in the passage of the GI Bill that would benefit from a consistent distance learning advocate.” Congratulations and thank you!
The Stimulus Package: Broadband and Technology Opportunities
Thursday, March 26, 2009 – 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)
For free registration contact Akua Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.776.2919
Dow Lohnes and Dow Lohnes Government Strategies will offer a free Webinar on opportunities for broadband and technology funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. They will discuss “funding opportunities at the NTIA and Rural Utilities Service; requirements for obtaining funding, including eligibility and use of funds; and the timing and logistics of obtaining funding.” Presenters will include J.G. Harrington and Meg Miller of Dow Lohnes, Ken Salomon of Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, and David Murray, former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
As I mentioned in the e-mail I sent yesterday, the Department of Commerce and the Rural Utility Service will continue to receive comments from the public on how they should craft their guidelines for receiving grant applications and distributing the funding through April 13, 2009, but this Webinar from Dow, Lohnes and Albertson should help colleges become aware of how they can respond and benefit.
Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning
by George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger, University of Manitoba
This Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning (HETL) has been designed as a resource for educators planning to incorporate technologies in their teaching and learning activities. How is education to fulfill its societal role of clarifying confusion when tools of control over information creation and dissemination rest in the hands of learners, contributing to the growing complexity and confusion of information abundance?
The handbook examines –
– Change Pressures and Trends – Global, political, social, technological, and educational change pressures are disrupting the traditional role (and possibly design) of universities. Higher education faces a “re-balancing” in response to growing points of tension along the following fault lines…
– What we know about learning – Over the last century, educator’s understanding of the process and act of learning has advanced considerably.
– Technology, Teaching, and Learning – Technology is concerned with “designing aids and tools to perfect the mind”. As a means of extending the sometimes limited reach of humanity, technology has been prominent in communication and learning. Technology has also played a role in classrooms through the use of movies, recorded video lectures, and overhead projectors. Emerging technology use is growing in communication and in creating, sharing, and interacting around content.
– Media and technology – A transition from epistemology (knowledge) to ontology (being) suggests media and technology need to be employed to serve in the development of learners capable of participating in complex environments.
– Change cycles and future patterns – It is not uncommon for theorists and thinkers to declare some variation of the theme “change is the only constant”. Surprisingly, in an era where change is prominent, change itself has not been developed as a field of study. Why do systems change? Why do entire societies move from one governing philosophy to another? How does change occur within universities?
– New Learners? New Educators? New Skills? – New literacies (based on abundance of information and the significant changes brought about technology) are needed. Rather than conceiving literacy as a singular concept, a multi-literacy view is warranted.
– Tools – Each tool possesses multiple affordances. Blogs, for example, can be used for personal reflection and interaction. Wikis are well suited for collaborative work and brainstorming. Social networks tools are effective for the formation of learning and social networks. Matching affordances of a particular tool with learning activities is an important design and teaching activity
– Research – Evaluating the effectiveness of technology use in teaching and learning brings to mind Albert Einstein’s statement: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”. When we begin to consider the impact and effectiveness of technology in the teaching and learning process, obvious questions arise: “How do we measure effectiveness? Is it time spent in a classroom? Is it a function of test scores? Is it about learning? Or understanding?”
Conclusion – Through a process of active experimentation, the academy’s role in society will emerge as a prominent sensemaking and knowledge expansion institution, reflecting of the needs of learners and society while maintaining its role as a transformative agent in pursuit of humanity’s highest ideals.
Digest of Education Statistics, 2008
National Center for Education Statistics
March 18, 2009
The 44th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.