Tuesday, August 19, 2008


We're moving into a discussion of Wikis now. The wiki for the class site is http://nwcet-web2.pbwiki.com/.

Web 2.0 Training

Today I am in the first of a 4 day training on Web 2.0. Now, I am already relatively familiar with Web 2.0, but my hope is that I will learn more about it, particularly podcasting - which I listen to but have not formally done much of.

Out first task is to make a blog. Since I already have several, I thought I'd use the time to post a little update. If I learn anything that I think you'd find interesting, I'll post it here.

Some of the class content is on a weblog - http://aasako.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

eTutoring demo

The Camtasia recording of the demo turned out fine, though a bit squished. The audio was recorded from the telephone, so some of the voices are a bit distant.

NW eTutoring Consortium

Today, I am joining an info session on the Northwest eTutoring Consortium. Here is a brief description of it by Connie Broughton from WAOL:
$3500 plus 5 hours of tutor time per week gets 24 x 7 tutoring for all your enrolled students for the first year. The $3500 first year cost includes $1000 to brand your own space. Second year users will pay $2500 plus tutor hours. It’s going well.

This sounds like a good deal to me, so I thought I would learn a bit more about it and share out the information. Also on the call is Eastern Washington University.

Student discomfort with eTutoring: eTutoring is a supplement to traditional tutoring, not a replacement. When centers are not open or when no one is available face to face. Great for working students. Not getting any feedback from students that they find it uncomfortable. Participation at schools is increasing, so no indication of discomfort.

Training and consistency: eTutoring University info, particularly for the writing lab. 4 - 5 hour training and at the end each potential tutor reviews a paper and critiques it; senior tutor reviews critiques. Senior tutor then continues to observe tutor comments to students for quality control. Everything that happens in the eTutoring platform is recorded for later review. Rubrics and instructions are available and continue to be developed. Results in a great deal of consistency.

Will student know who they are working with? Is there a schedule so that students can work with same tutor? Yes, there is a schedule that the students can see. It has the name, but does not have the school. Thus far, folks are sending their very best tutors to the consortia

Meetings: Meetings with tutors, tutor coordinators 3 times a year (though anyone can come). Group very active in developing materials, solving problems and glitches. Have been face to face, but may move to Elluminate for some meetings. Joining consortia means one commits to sending a rep to the 1 day meeting

Blackboard participation - go in once a week to revew things that might be brought up - about 1/2 an hour.

Time Commitment: At very beginning there is time spent learning platform, learning how system works. However, given things that tutor coordinator regularly does, this saves them a ton of time with their own scheduling, training, etc.

We're about to go into a demo, which I will try to record on Camtasia. Let's see how that works. . .

Monday, August 4, 2008

Green Schedule?

At each eLearning meeting we go around the table to identify what is going on at the other colleges. Spokane Falls Community College identified a "Green Schedule" which identifies the courses, including online and hybrid, that are environmentally sound.


We're looking at having some new coding that will better describe distance learning courses. That coding was approved within the system and is now being sent out to the 4 years and being compared to some national coding. The plan is to experiment to make sure everything is fine in the next year and formally adopt the new coding in Fall 09.

Quality Matters

We are currently in a pilot of Quality Matters, a rubric for evaluating the design of online courses.

2 faculty members from each college have the opportunity to get trained as reviewers. There was a training in April (which I attended). There will be another training in September (no date yet). Tori Saneda will be our second evaluator and Todd Lundberg is lined up as a backup if Tori can't make it.

Each college will be able to submit 1 course for QM review. I'll be presenting this question to the Distance Learning Committee to see how we might select that course.

There is a plan to have a master reviewer training in November. The pilot is planned to wrap up in December, though I'm not sure it can all be accomplished by then. At the end of the pilot, the eLearning team will determine whether it makes sense for the state to adopt Quality Matters as is system wide or whether we should grow our own using QM as a model or toss QM and do something else.

WAOL shared course fee

Moving from $40 to $50 in Fall 08. The hope is that this will make it easier to hire new faculty. It will be moving up gradually annually to get to where it should be ($65). Of course, by the time it gets to $65, the costs will have risen again. The eLC will work on models for coming up with a good fee structure.

Elluminate Rollout

There is fabulous online training for Elluminate that is the starting point for training. They are short, hour long live modules or recorded modules to observe.

We have an unlimited license, free to college. We also get Elluminate Plan and Elluminate Publish.

We will have access before the end of August. Cool!

Elluminate integrates with Blackboard and Angel. However, WAOL will not be integrating with Blackboard. They are focusing all of their energy on the Angel roll out. That does not mean that you can't use Elluminate with your class, it will just mean that you'll link out to Elliuminate instead of having it integrate seamlessly.

Angel roll out

Fall 08 - very limited pilots with students (I believe I have a class that will be in this pilot, POLS 200)

Winter 09 - larger pilots, testing whole chunks of instruction - maybe one college, maybe WAOL shared courses. One big question is how long/what is involved in converting course for faculty.

Spring 09 - any existing WAOL users who want on Angel who wants to be on Angel can do it. Non-WAOL colleges might be able to add it at this point too.

Summer 09 - Blackboard goes away and Angel is the tool.

There was a rumor that Angel's ePortfolio would be available for fall. This is not the case.

WAOL Technology Fee

The tech plan envisions the WAOL Technology fee going away. When is that going to happen? SBCTC has the ability to find the dollars to take the Tech fee to zero this year. However, the big question is how they can take it to zero in the long haul. They realize that they can't take the fee to zero for this year and then have some fee, even a minimal one, in the future. So, they are pending funding on other stuff.

They'd like to do this by Fall 08 (wow - that's coming right up!). The practical implication of this is that the fee we pay for Blackboard ($40,000), the 24/7 support, Elluminate and all other services provided by WAOL would be free (woo hoo!).


A question popped up about rehosting. How can we think about new technology for eLearning when we don't know what is going on with Rehosting? Well, first we've got to get with the new language. It is now called "re-platforming". We don't know. Since they are still really up in the air on rehosting, there is no saying whether and how the plan will go forward.

eLearning Council Meeting

I'm at the Summer eLearning meeting in lovely Port Angeles. The weather is beautiful and our meeting is in a Longhouse on the Pennisula Community College campus. Our hostess, Vicki, has done a marvelous job preparing and the meeting has just begun.

Cable Green announced that the Technology Plan has been approved, after unanimous approval by the college presidents. This is great news. Now we just need to have the legislature approve funding (about $21.5 million) for it, in this challenging economic time. On the plus side, the SBCTC has set this technology initiative as its #2 funding priority.

Cable has also announced a new WAC technology committee. They will be using the Technology Plan as their guiding document. They have also committed to searching for a Plan B if the legislature does not adequately fund the Tech Plan.