Taylor and I have been learning so much at the OLC Conference. It’s been great to hear where other universities are in the development of their own online programs and classes. So far, I’ve attended sessions on developing Online Orientation programs (Colorado Tech), implementing a robust continuum of faculty training (University of Maryland), dressing up a Discussion Board (Kennesaw State), creating an engaging asynchronous learning environment (Wiley Faculty Fellows), best practices for curating OERs (University of Wisconsin), and using social media in an online course (Bethune-Cookman University). There is so much diversity provided at this conference, and it’s been difficult to narrow down which events to attend.
Last night, we heard our Keynote address from Golden Bluemstyk: “American Higher education in Crisis? Myths and Realities.” Blumenstyk, the author of American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know, is a higher-education journalist. She spoke on a variety of topics, but focused specifically on how higher education is more profit driven than ever before. She cited the increased use of adjunct faculty and rapidly rising student debt among other things to make her argument. Her talk, paired with the discussion occurring through the #OLCTODAY and #OLC15 hashtags on Twitter, was engaging (The conference Twitter feed has really been encouraging me to try to use social media in my courses). Blumenstyk encouraged all online instructors, designers, and facilitators to keep this financial crisis in mind as we make our own changes to the university setting. It will be interesting to see where the conversation goes from here.
This afternoon, we’ll hear a few more sessions. I’ll be attending sessions on diverse socioeconomic students in online classes (NC State) and strategies for creating instructional videos (Southern New Hampshire University)!