April 1 News from Dr. Easley

Faculty Survey Report

Thanks to all of you who participated in the Faculty Development Needs Survey. We had a great response and gathered some very meaningful data. Congratulations to John Davis and Ronald Scott, the winners of the $50 Amazon gift cards drawing. Some interesting observations from the survey results. First, Competency (26%) and Caring (35%) were the 2 areas that faculty said meant the most to them. That matched the results on the question of which two areas faculty felt they were strongest in. Again, 32% of you said you were strongest in Competency and 38% said it was Caring.

On the more important question of where you all are most interested in getting help, it was primarily split between three answers: Competency, Connection, and Unknown. When we drilled down further in a later question, this same three areas were also reported but with more specificity. When we asked which of the 12 Characteristics you most wanted more help in, the top 3 were Technology (75% of you picked this), Personalized Classroom (41%) and a tie between Creative Initiative & Active Engagement (38%). All of this confirms what we’ve begun to sense this last year: You are wanting to be more involved, have more ownership, and make better use of the tools that are out there!

You can view the full summary of the survey results here at this link.

It also confirms much of the thought behind the development of the 4CQ Model. That is, that good faculty want to be hands-on, want to invest, and want to have the freedom to shape the classroom and the learning experience to better fit themselves and the particular group of students. The institutional challenge, particularly for online programs and adult programs that rely heavily on adjuncts, is how to ensure a high level of consistency, quality, and adherence to program goals and institutional standards. The 4CQ Model was developed specifically to bridge this gap and more effectively allow both desires to be realized.

Rest assured the AGS team has heard you! We are going to use the results of this survey to select some targeted workshops, training, and resources over this next year. As a group, you also indicated a preference for a blend of opportunities and modalities for pursuing some training, slightly more favored online delivery. While the specifics of exactly how and where we will deliver these is still to be ironed out, we will find creative ways to provide excellent, quality training and professional development in both face-to-face as well as online settings.

Dean’s Collaboration

Every quarter I am going to host a virtual collaboration session for a dozen or so of our online instructors. This will be via Zoom or GoToMeeting and will last approximately 1 hour. This Collaborate event will be a time to engage in general dialogue about AGS, the OKWU online program, ask questions, share ideas, and so forth.

I am scheduling 2 different sessions in later April/early May, so you may choose to attend either one.

View upcoming Event list here.

Participation will be limited to the first 12 people to register online. You can reserve your slot by going to the Events link at the top of the Connect:ED faculty website and clicking on the link for the particular session you are wanting to attend. There will be a place for you to put your name and email and register to attend.

This is also a promo for the new Events feature on our site where we will be providing information, links, and registration for upcoming workshops, meetings, or other activities.

Technology Competency

We are continuing to briefly explore each of the 12 Characteristics of the 4C Quality Faculty model . Last issue, I briefly touched on Competency in Subject Expertise. This issue, a quick word about technology.

This characteristic relates to your understanding of and comfort level with technology as a vital part of the learning process. Become skilled at using a wide variety of learning tools available to connect with your students and the course content. The simple truth is that your teaching is happening in the middle of a digital culture. Digital technology – mobile devices, the Internet, social media, text messaging, ebooks, Amazon, Google, and YouTube – have radically shifted the paradigm of education.

Digital technology is deeply integrated in the everyday lives of the vast majority of your students. Even if we did not use technology to help us teach, our students routinely use technology in almost every facet of their lives. In fact, the concept of digital culture means that technology is no longer merely a tool we use to perform a task better or faster, but that digital technology has become woven in the fabric of society itself to where it is a fundamental component of how we communicate, exchange information, share experiences, maintain relationships, make decisions, store knowledge, express our feelings and fears, and experience the world around us.

I was in the car the other night with a colleague. He remarked at seeing his recent cell phone bill for his college-age daughter.

“Guess how many text messages she sent,” he asked us?

“Three hundred,” somebody said. “Five thousand,” guessed another.

He just shook his head and smiled: “Thirteen thousand texts. Thirteen!” He paused for a beat, then, “Guess how many cell minutes she used.”

I had a feeling it was coming. Sure enough, “Zero. Not ONE phone call,” he laughed.

A Quality Faculty member recognizes the reality of technology and is skilled at teaching and engaging students in that kind of a culture. Consider how will you incorporate technology into your teaching. In some cases, that may already be done for you. Online courses, for instance, require the use of an online learning system, Blackboard. You likely already use email or text messaging to communicate with others, so extending that to include your teaching and connection to students is a natural fit.

What tools are you aware of that are available for use in teaching? Where will you go to learn more about what is available? What can you do to be a student of technology and try different things out to see what works?

You can find a good number of suggestions for this characteristic in the 4cQ Characteristics Guide available on here. In time, we are expanding the website to include a list of ideas, resources, links, and so forth for each of these 12 faculty areas.

In the meantime, there are some excellent web resources and organizations out there providing plenty of good tools and ideas you can use. Some of my personal favorites are Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Edutopia, Educause, Western Consortium on Educational Technology (WCET), and Faculty Focus. All of these have great websites, email feeds, Twitter feeds, and resources you can use that relate to the excellent use of technology to support effective learning and teaching.

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Bryan Easley

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Dean of Online Education, Oklahoma Wesleyan University

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