Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Continuing education and

the NFL. Football players don't care about school?

Try telling that to the 95 NFL players now availing themselves of the league's continuing education program at some of the finest business schools throughout the country. Given an opportunity to learn from top teachers and professionals, they network, take copious notes and make plans for the years that will follow their playing days.

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, went back for a second helping. He took classes at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 2005 and spent part of the first week of March at Stanford University.

"We went from 8 a.m. to 7:30 at night," Brees says. "There's a lot of reading, case studies on companies, and then the heads of those companies come in and we discuss the decisions they made and why they made them."

About 220 players take part in a variety of programs each year, finishing their undergraduate degrees, beginning work on advanced degrees or through internships. More than 300 players have earned degrees through this venture since 1992.
NFL Insider: Classroom time can prevent players' 'bad deals'

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Mid-Atlantic chair

Jim Duffy conducts the business meeting. Tim Stanford is chair-elect and program chair (responsible for the next regional meeting program) and Jackie Martin is assistant program chair. Louise Chagnon is treasurer, and Renee Cook is secretary. Tim gathered input on what to do about next year's regional meeting in light of tight budgets and a tough economy, but the consensus was to hold the meeting. One comment was memorable--"If we cancel the meeting and no one makes us, we're saying that the meeting was not that important to begin with. And that's not true."

I may have mentioned that

Sunday, March 29, 2009

From the Woods

And the ACHE Mid-Atlantic spring meeting. http://tiny.cc/vnjoG
Here's former President Jerry Hickerson entertaining at the Coffee House. I almost have no cell phone reception for iVanna. I had to march up a hill to call home. I'm feeling a bit disconnected. Untethered. I talk first thing in the morning at 8:00 tomorrow.

On this date

in 1886. Co-cola was invented.
There is only one soft drink in the South, and it's Coke. It's not Coca-Cola, it's Coke. Southerners have never heard of Pepsi, Mr. Pibb, Tab, or other carbonated beverages; and even if they have, they still call them Coke. To the Northerners visiting the South, it is a dead giveaway that "you ain't from around here" if you order a "pop," a "soda," or a "soft drink" in a restaurant. It is also bad form to insist that those are the correct terms for a carbonated beverage while in the South. Shootings have occurred over less.

Off to the ACHE Mid-Atlantic

Regional Conference in West Virginia.

I decided to take my new convertible to The Woods Resort in Hedgesville, West Virginia. I will be speaking on the state of ACHE and learning from the speakers and concurrent sessions. I'll post a couple of pictures. http://www.thewoods.com/

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who do you list

As a reference?

Rhode Island strip club holding job fair
Business is so good at the Foxy Lady in Providence, Rhode Island, that owners need to hire 25 to 30 more people. And not just dancers. Club co-owner Tom Tsoumas said he also needs managers, waitresses and other behind-the-scenes workers.

Tsoumas said because of the poor economy he is expecting to be shocked by the quality of applicants on Saturday. The state's unemployment rate is 10.3 percent. Read the story at WPRI's Web site.

And don't forget about Continuing Education for Exotic Dancers http://tinyurl.com/crah8s

More on what the stimulous means

To higher education in Tennessee. From insidehighered.com:

A similar pattern emerged this week in Tennessee, which is due about $970 million from the state stabilization fund. The budget proposed by Gov. Phil Bredesen would give Tennessee's public colleges $470 million of the $770 million fund that is supposed to be spent on filling holes in education budgets -- $100 million to replace cuts the institutions suffered in the current year, and another $370 million to make up for expected reductions in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 fiscal years.

In addition, the budget would give public colleges another $136 million -- money the state itself must produce to fulfill the stimulus legislation's mandate that states continue to spend at least as much on higher education as they did in 2006, says Russ Deaton, director of fiscal policy & facilities analysis at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. (That "maintenance of effort" provision, as it is called, has put the stimulus funds at particular risk in those states that saw their state aid for higher education drop significantly since 2006; Nevada has already sought a waiver from the requirement, and Rhode Island is reportedly planning to seek one.)

The total of $600 million in one-time funds Bredesen is proposing is surely good news for Tennessee's public colleges, but their officials, while relieved, are hardly jumping for joy, says Deaton. That's because they know, he says, that the federal monies forestall, but do not erase, the reality that the colleges will eventually have to learn to live with 15 percent less money in their base operating budgets.

"There is no cavalry coming on the horizon after the federal money runs out" in two and a half years, Deaton says. "We keep searching for the right metaphor, but it's like rather than having to jump off a cliff, we get to hang glide off a cliff. The cliff is still going to occur when the federal money runs out, but we get to transition to that lower base over 27 months rather than immediately in three months. And hopefully that means that we can be more deliberate in thinking about how we are going to change the way we operate, rather than doing it all at once." http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/03/27/stimulus

Friday, March 27, 2009

Giving academic conferences

A bad name. Margaret Brooks, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, describes "Red Flag" conferences, meetings that sound like a combination presentation-mill and vanity press. What a brazen concept. Someone could establish a conference, solicit presentations and charge the presenters a conference fee, collect the money, hold the meeting on the cheap (or I suppose, not at all), then publish the conference proceedings. I had never come across this. Brooks writes:

I found one group that sends out a series of garish, unsolicited e-mail messages to publicize its Las Vegas conference and associated journals. Everyone who goes to the meeting must pay a presenter fee, even merely to attend. In 2008 that minimum fee was $325. The name of the journal in which presenters will publish their papers is already preprinted on the online conference registration form. Participants are instructed not to e-mail the organizers before the event for any reason, even if they have a scheduling conflict for presenting their papers.

The conference sessions are decidedly low-tech, with only overhead projectors (no PowerPoint) available for presenters. The journals containing the participants' articles are printed in limited numbers and handed out at the registration table. The organization's six journals have official-sounding titles but are not generally known, despite its assurances that they are listed in Cabell's Directory of Refereed Publications and Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. Most of the six journals are difficult to access through standard print and online sources. Red-Flag Conferences

As a concession to the recession

We're forgoing Dollywood season tickets this year. I'm sure to lose some of my redneck cred, but Kathy and I are a little too busy to get down there often enough to make it worth our while.
One sure sign of springtime in the Smoky Mountains is Dollywood's opening day which is Saturday, March 28. Mark your calendars and make plans to enjoy Dollywood's 24th season. Explore the best in award-winning rides, live entertainment, authentic crafters and fantastic food plus four of the South's largest festivals, beginning with Festival of Nations (March 28 - April 27). It's the Smoky Mountain family adventure, and you'll only find it at Dollywood! http://www.dollywood.com/

Joe's continuing education blog

Today is National Joe Day.

When : Always March 27th
National Joe Day is a chance to change your name, if only for today. Many people do not like their given name. They wish they could change it. A few actually do. On National Joe Day, it is perfectly okay to have everyone call you "Joe". Why Joe, and not Bob or Mike or Radcliffe? Simply, because everyone likes the name Joe.

This is referred to as a "National" day. However, we did not find any congressional records or presidential proclamations for this day. http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/March/joeday.htm

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Call for

Proposals. You are invited to submit a proposal to present a concurrent session or roundtable discussion for the 2009 AAACE Conference on a topic of concern and/or interest to practitioners, managers, teachers, faculty, advisors and/or students of adult and continuing education programs. The Conference, Adult Education: Together We Can!, will be held November 3 - 6, 2009 at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.

Proposals should be submitted online: Click Here for full information and application. The deadline for proposal submissions is Friday, May 15, 2009.

The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education is dedicated to the belief that lifelong learning contributes to human fulfillment and positive social change. We envision a more humane world made possible by the diverse practice of our members in helping adults acquire the knowledge, skills and values needed to lead productive and satisfying lives. Through its annual conference, adult educators can become more effective in assisting adult learners to succeed in the global marketplace, at the workplace and in their communities.

If you have any questions, contact the Program Team: Clare Klunk, Trish Coberly, Linda Sayre, Jean Fleming, and Lilian Hill, at mailto:2009proposals@aaace.org.

Early college

It seems counter intuitive, but there is a growing trend to combine high school and lower division college work as a way to keep students from dropping out. From insidehighered.com:

Among the innovations . . . is the Early College High School Initiative, coordinated by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative, begun in 2002, recognizes more than 250 “early college high schools” in 24 states and the District of Columbia. These schools encourage their students -- currently more than 100,000 annually -- to graduate with not only a diploma but also an associate degree or two-year’s worth of college credit.

Practitioners argue that they can improve the outcomes of their at-risk and underrepresented students by challenging -- instead of simply remediating -- them. In the process, these schools hope to boost their graduation rates, prepare their students for high-skill jobs and reduce the amount of time it takes them to earn a college degree. www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/03/26/echs

Employees like to be treated well

But they also like to be used well.

Willis M. Watt, writing in Faculty Focus, lists the Top 10 Traits of an Effective Academic Leader . Here is the list. For more detail on the items, follow the link above.

Number 10: Follow procedures and adhere to policies.

Number 9: Submit to the authority of others.

Number 8: Take risks.

Number 7: Commitment.

Number 6: Be proactive.

Number 5: Expect conflict.

Number 4: Tell the truth, but with compassion.

Number 3: Listen.

Number 2: Love people.

Number 1: Check your attitude.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I may have mentioned that

I love my iPhone. My wife calls her Ivanna. Or iVanna might be the proper spelling. Now you can use it to help the environment. Salon has Go Green: 8 iPhone Apps to Help Save the Planet. Here are three of them:

Go Green (free) Displays a tip each time you launch it. That’s it. I came across a useful tip or two that I hadn’t considered before.

Green Tips (free) Displays a tip at launch. Hit the refresh button for more tips (though there are not many to cycle through).
The Green Lemur (free) By far the most full-featured of these three. Search, add tips to favorites, or browse by category. I did find some interesting ideas here as well.

Don't rock the boat, baby

The East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology will present an Executive Briefing at the Millennium Centre on Thursday, April 2. After registration starting at 7:30 a.m., the program begins at 8:15 a.m. and will feature an address by Capt. Michael Abrashoff, speaking on “It’s Your Ship.” A question-answer session follows the presentation.

When he was the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet, Abrashoff was selected to take charge of the U.S.S. Benfold, which was experiencing exceptionally low morale and unacceptably high turnover in personnel.

Abrashoff transformed the Benfold into the best ship in the U.S. Navy. His philosophy empowered his crew to take charge and use ingenuity and initiative to improve every aspect of running the ship so that it excelled in efficiency and readiness.

To achieve his goals, Abrashoff developed a system he calls GrassRoots Leadership to improve conditions on the ship. Commitment and cohesion replaced command and control. Every individual accepted a share of the responsibility of achieving excellence. “It’s your ship” became Abrashoff’s motto. As a result, personnel turnover on the Benfold decreased to one percent under his guidance, and operating expenses were slashed by 25 percent.

Abrashoff also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf at the time of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and he was executive officer of the cruiser Shiloh in the Persian Gulf as it supported the United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

During the past four years, Abrashoff has released three books: It’s Your Ship, Get Your Ship Together, and It’s Our Ship.

The program is free, but pre-registration is necessary by March 27. For more information or pre-registration, contact the College of Business and Technology at (423) 439-5300 or casteel@etsu.edu.

Turn off your work computer

When you go home.

Even during an economic meltdown, when companies are scrambling to cut costs, businesses are wasting billions of dollars by leaving their PCs on at night.

U.S. organizations squander $2.8 billion a year to power unused machines, emitting about 20 million tons of carbon dioxide — roughly the equivalent of 4 million cars — according to a report to be released Wednesday.

About half of 108 million office PCs in the USA are not properly shut down at night, says the 2009 PC Energy Report, produced by 1E, an energy-management software company, and the non-profit Alliance to Save Energy. The report analyzed workplace PC power consumption in the USA, United Kingdom and Germany.

Wastefulness does not just affect a company's bottom line, it creates environmental concerns, the report says. If the world's 1 billion PCs were powered down just one night, it would save enough energy to light the Empire State Building — inside and out — for over 30 years, it says.

"Workers do not feel responsible for electricity bills at work, and some companies insist PCs remain on at night so they can be patched with software updates," says 1E CEO Sumir Karayi. He says 63% of employees surveyed said their companies should take more steps to save PC power.

"It is scary how much energy is wasted," says Michael Murphy, senior manager of global environmental affairs at Dell, a business partner and customer of 1E. It has used 1E software to efficiently manage its 50,000 PCs globally, saving about $1.8 million a year.

Simply shutting down PCs at night can save a company with 10,000 PCs over $260,000 a year and 1,871 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the report says. "PCs can be a tremendous drain on electricity," says Doug Washburn, an analyst at Forrester Research. "During a nine-hour workday, it isn't always in use because of lunch, meetings and other things."

By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY http://tinyurl.com/cchzyq

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lumina Special Report

on college attainment available. I've written in ACHE's Five Minutes http://tinyurl.com/dalc6o about how continuing education can help meet the President's goals for higher education. The Lumina Foundation has a new report available through the link below that outlines their goals to increase college attainment:
Higher education has been elevated as a key topic on the national agenda in the last few months, spurred on in part by President Barack Obama's commitment to make American higher education "the best in the world." The President's goal aligns with Lumina Foundation's own 'Big Goal' to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality, two- or four-year college degrees and credentials from 39 percent to 60 percent by 2025. A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education provides a detailed explanation of Lumina's goal, along with state-by-state degree-attainment data and statistics.

ETSU's Alliance

for Continued Learning started its spring schedule today. Meeting in the Carnegie Library on the V.A. Campus, ACL President Rich Hayward, a retired policeman from Florida, is seen here welcoming the participants in this learning in retirement organization. From 10:00-12:00, the Jonesborough Novelty Band performed in their Habitat for Humanity Concert. The ACL schedule of events can be found at http://www.acljc.org/content/contentScheduleSpring2009.htm

Monday, March 23, 2009

The digital generation


The second annual Norton Online Living Report offers a dizzying cornucopia of facts and figures on the online habits of 9,000 people in a dozen countries that include the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, China, Japan, India and Brazil. But one conclusion is inescapable: There is a major disconnect between young and old.

The digital divide is most apparent in the two groups' attitudes toward the Internet. Six in 10 parents say that kids spend too much time online. And their kids spend nearly twice as much time online as their parents realize -- 39 hours a month. There, kids socialize, use Twitter-like services (23%) and make friends, according to Symantec, which commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the survey.

On one point, old and young agree: Seven in 10 adults say the Internet has improved their relationships, and nearly all of them use webcams and social networking. On average, they spend about five hours a week socializing online. They also go online to flirt, rekindle romantic relationships and share secrets (25%). It's also a dandy way to keep in touch with family members, which includes their kids.

From Jon Swartz at usatoday.com at .

ACHE South

2009 Conference

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
April 27-29, 2009

New: Tuesday only Day rate of $115.00 and a Grad student rate of $75.00

For the Conference Program, Click Here

To register for the conference, visit http://tinyurl.com/cpncty
For more information:
Thad Laiche

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Today is

National Goof Off Day.

Too bad it's Sunday.
When : Always March 22nd

Now here's a day that just about everybody can relax and enjoy. It's a day to do anything and everything.....except what you're supposed to do today.

Assuming you won't get in trouble at work or school, go ahead and play some golf, or play video games all day. Spend extra time surfing the net. Go out and spend the day window shopping with your favorite friend. Or, just read sit down and read a book or watch Tv. This day is set aside for you to do anything you enjoy doing.

A few years ago, a survey was performed to identify the most popular activity for goofing off. The top activity was playing video games. Who conducted the survey? Ninetendo.......no surprise. It kinda makes you wonder just who might have had the brainstorm to create this day......hmmmm. http://www.holidayinsights.com/other/goofoffday.htm

Friday, March 20, 2009

Today is the Spring

Or Vernal Equinox. You can celebrate by standing an egg on its end. You can also do that to celebrate Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and my birthday. Says badastronomy.com:

Bad Astronomy: Only on the day of the Vernal (spring) Equinox, can you stand a raw egg on its end.

Good Astronomy: If you can stand a raw egg on end, it has nothing to do with the Equinox. http://tinyurl.com/odn2

And from universetoday.com:

Spring officially arrives for everyone, including astronomers on March 20. The word "Equinox" literally means "equal night". It's all about the balance of light - not the myth of balancing eggs. On [Friday], both the day and night are the same length. But what's so special about it? It's a date that most of us recognize as symbolic of changing seasons. North of Earth's equator we welcome Spring, while people south of the equator are gearing up for the cooler temperatures of Autumn.

These all too brief, but monumental moments in Earth-time, owe their significance to the slightly more than 23 degree tilt of the Earth's axis. Because of our planetary angle, we receive the Sun's rays most directly during the Summer. In the Winter, when we are tilted away from the Sun, the rays pass through the atmosphere at a greater slant, bringing lower temperatures. If the Earth rotated on an axis perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, there would be no variation in day lengths or temperatures throughout the year, and we would not have seasons. At Equinox, the midway between these two times in Spring and Autumn, the spin axis of the Earth points 90 degrees away from the Sun. http://tinyurl.com/cywxfu

How do we increase the number of adults

who have bachelor's degrees? Currently only about 25% of adults in this country have a baccaleaute degree. Start with low hanging fruit. ACE details some program in its recent CenterPoint site:

Reaching "ready adults" who have some college credits but lack a degree is one strategy that states are employing. The Non-Traditional No More project of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education helps states identify their ready-adult population and establish policies and services to reach out to them and help them finish. Recent grant recipients include the states of Arkansas, Colorado, and Nevada. Increasing the number of GED® credential recipients and two-year college students transitioning to four-year institutions is a focus of Kentucky's Double the Numbers Initiative, which involves postsecondary institutions in every region of the state.

Providing academic credit for prior learning experiences is a practice postsecondary institutions are employing to bring ready adults closer to completing a degree. Through initiatives like Oklahoma's ReachHigher degree completion program, institutions help ready adults effectively navigate the degree path by enabling them to earn college credit through prior learning assessment. An electronic degree audit at the University of New Mexico shows adult learners their academic credit for previously completed college coursework. To ease the transition process, colleges and universities also offer designated assistance services, including counseling programs, open houses, and orientation events. Community colleges in several states, such as California and Colorado, are holding transfer fairs to connect adults to four-year institutions and bring them closer to degree completion. At Montgomery Community College in Maryland, working adult students can attend "evening transfer" events to learn about degree programs geared toward them. At the University of Maryland, the Returning Students program offers a one-credit, introduction to college course that covers time management, study skills, campus resources, and hosts weekly "coffee and conversation" gatherings. http://tinyurl.com/dxmkob

I spoke at the Reach Higher Conference in Oklahoma City a couple of years back. The program survived, probably because Amy Johnson also presented. Reach Higher has received an ACHE credit program award.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Faculty Majority Day

Is coming up next month. We should take note. After all, we use a lot of part-time faculty in continuing higher education. It's often not our choice--in credit programs the department chair typically hires faculty--but we rely on them nonetheless.

New Faculty Majority Day: Thursday, April 30, 2009
This day is dedicated to raising the visibility of all faculty teaching outside of the tenure system. http://thenewfacultymajority.blogspot.com/

For more information, contact Bob Samuels: http://%5Bmailto:%5Dbobsamuels_us@yahoo.com/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I may have mentioned that

I love my iPhone. It keeps getting better.

The tweaks include many features iPhone users have long lobbied for. They include the ability to cut, copy and paste text; rotate from portrait mode to landscape mode in key applications; and the ability to send photos, locations and audio information over the cellphone network via MMS.

Other tweaks include Spotlight, a single application that allows users to search for information in Apple's mail, calendar and music applications; shake the phone to shuffle between songs; and record and share voice mail.

Apple discussed the updates as it offered a sneak peek of the next version of its iPhone operating system to developers and the press at its headquarters. The software will be available Tuesday as a developer beta and as a free update for iPhone customers sometime this summer. The software will cost $9.95 for iPhone touch customers. http://www.newsweek.com/id/189778

You can't just throw online programs

Out there to save money. A recent survey shows that community colleges are growing online courses but not programs. From insidehighered.com:

Online education is an area where community colleges appear to be responding quickly to student demand . . .but not necessarily with complete programs. The survey found that more than 71 percent of community colleges are reporting increases in online enrollments of 5 percent or greater. But there is a gap between enrollment in individual courses vs. in online degree or certificate programs.

The survey found that 40 percent of community colleges were reporting online course enrollment increases of 5-10 percent, and 31 percent were reporting gains of greater than 10 percent. But when asked about increases in online degree programs, only 20 percent reported increases in the 5-10 percent range and 10 percent in the greater than 10 percent range. The numbers reflect the fact that it is much easier for a college to add a course online than an entire program. . .

Further, the presidents' answers to other questions suggest an evolution in thinking about online education. Asked why they were adding online programs, 89 percent of presidents said that they were aiming to meet student demand. Only 39 percent reported hoping that online offerings would help reduce the cost of education. . . . the presidents clearly have learned that online education -- done right -- is not inexpensive. http://tinyurl.com/dxxpvl

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My new ride is

A new Mazda Miata, which is Italian for midlife crisis. No jokes please. I'm years away from midlife...

I hope there's still room

At the inn this fall. Usnews.com picks ten winners in the recession. Public higher education is number six, just ahead of Chocolate at #7 and just behind Resume Editing at #5.

6. Public Universities: The recession may be hurting public colleges' budgets, but it's boosting their appeal to students. The Connecticut State University System expects an 11 percent rise in applications this year, while Oregon State University's applications have grown by 12 percent. And in a record-breaking year at the University of Texas, numbers are up 6 percent.

We love our guns in Tennessee.

In fact, we're trying to pass laws to allow them in state parks and bars. I have no problem with people packing, and I'm reminded of Dolly Parton reminiscing that she never went to the big city (Knoxville) without bringing her pistol. But the increase in guns in the public schools should trouble even the NRA. Nashville Metro Schools are leading the state...

Ten guns have been confiscated by police from students, relatives and trespassers since school began in August. In the past five year school years, 47 weapons have been confiscated on school grounds.

That number is part of what put Metro at the top of the list of major offenses among Tennessee school districts in the past five years, according to records from the Tennessee Department of Education.

The state requires victimization reports anytime a school has an aggravated assault, an aggravated sexual battery, a dangerous weapon recovered on campus, or an assault against a teacher or authority figure.

There have been 70 total incidents reported in Metro schools since the start of the school year in 2004. The next-highest total was in Memphis, with 54. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090316/NEWS04/903160343/1018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day


Monday, March 16, 2009

Tips on hybrid courses

Or blended learning. The following tips on improving blended learning course design come from Ike Shibley, a Penn State Professor. The entire seminar is available for purchase on a CD from Faculty Focus at http://tinyurl.com/d46wor. Shibley's ten tips are summarized in a recent email as the following:

1. Start with Learning Goals: Your first thought should not be “what portions of my course can I move online?” But rather, “What do I want my students to learn, and how will I know they’ve learned it?”

2. Create Ways for Students to Learn Before Class: Assign work that addresses the lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy prior to class so students have some exposure to the topic.

3. Create Ways for Students to Learn In Class: When you’re face-to-face, build on the knowledge gained through pre-class assignments with more active learning exercises in class.

4. Create Ways for Students to Learn After Class: Activities include short writing assignments, homework problems, and online quizzes – anything that encourages meaningful interaction with the material.

5. Use Multiple Forms of Communication: Students need to feel connected to their instructor and fellow students. Create ways to blend online and in-class communication.

6. Encourage Collaboration: Students can get frustrated by collaboration projects, but the more your assignments encourage effective collaboration, the more cohesive your course will feel.

7. Utilize Online Resources: Given students’ comfort level with online tools, and the proliferation of relevant online resources, it’s wise to embrace everything from research databases to You Tube videos.

8. Utilize Both Low and High Stakes Grading: All courses benefit from multiple assessment measures, but blended learning courses offer the widest array of choices.

9. Seek Assistance from Professionals: Creating your first blended learning course can feel overwhelming at times, but you don’t have to go it alone. Ask for help from your school’s web and IT professionals, instructional designers, faculty developers, librarians and colleagues.

10. Stay Organized: A blended learning course has a lot of different parts, and it’s easy for students to get confused about what’s expected of them without proper communication and complete transparency.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A wine adventure

From continuing education at Texas Christian University. Hmmm. Obviously not a Baptist-affiliated university. After all, drinking could lead to dancing...

The 2009 Napa and Sonoma Wine Trip
(October 7 - 11) will open for registration on Tuesday, March 24th at 8:30am.
Only 41 registrations will be accepted, and it is on a first-come, first-served basis. The 2008 trip sold-out in 27 hours! Individuals registered for double-occupancy rooms must register at the same time. A $300 non-refundable deposit is required for registration. For more information on registration and trip information, please go to our website link listed below or contact our office at 817-257-7132.

Don't cripple us

When we're needed the most. From The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education's The Challenge to States: Preserving College Access and Affordability in a Time of Crisis at http://tinyurl.com/c4etk3
The world has changed in ways that render the traditional patterns of response to economic downturns—reducing college access and
affordability—counterproductive to the economic well-being of the states and the nation. With rising unemployment, the need and demand for higher education will only increase as displaced workers seek new skills. When the nation and the world emerge from this recession, the competitive knowledge-based global economy will continue to demand more college-educated workers. As 78 million baby boomers—the largest and best-educated generation in the nation’s history—prepare for retirement, those who will replace them in the workforce must equal and exceed their levels of education and skills. Yet large proportions of our young and growing populations face major hurdles in getting to and through college.

Didn't we just have

A Friday the 13th?

Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.

One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.[2]

Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales,[6] and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.[3][7] It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because, according to Christian scripture and tradition, Jesus was crucified on a Friday. [8]

On the other hand, another theory by author Charles Panati, one of the leading authorities on the subject of "Origins" maintains that the superstition can be traced back to ancient myth:

The actual origin of the superstition, though, appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil - a gathering of thirteen - and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as "Witches' Sabbath."[9]

Another theory about the origin of the superstition traces the event to the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar. According to one expert:

The Knights Templar were a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem in 1118 C.E., whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. Threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Philip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 - Friday the 13th.[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flirting will get you nowhere

I'll give you 30 minutes to stop. And you really don't like Star Trek?

Lie, Cheat, Flirt. What People Will Do to Keep a Job

Given the state of the economy, perhaps it comes as no big shock that 13% of the survey respondents said they would outright lie or exaggerate to keep their jobs — even though such behavior is forbidden by many company ethics policies. About 2% said they would take credit for someone else's work or flirt with the boss to get ahead, and 4% would lie about having common interests with their boss to deepen their bond with a superior.

On this date

In 1912. The Girl Scouts were founded. http://www.girlscouts.org/

Survey says

Higher Ed Can Still Make a Difference

From Dian Schaffhauser at campustechnology.com at http://tinyurl.com/de2awb

While the majority of Americans see their country falling behind other nations economically, they also believe the nation can improve its standing with more college degrees, according to a new survey from Kaplan. The Kaplan University Education Insights Survey found 83 percent of adults in the United States agree that the country is falling behind, with seven in 10 saying that the nation can improve its standing if more people earn college degrees.

"America has the talent to be competitive," said Peter Smith, senior vice president for Academic Strategies "If we can help close the ‘degree gap'--by making higher education more accessible to more Americans--we will stop wasting our talent, increase our global competitiveness, and get more people into sustainable, higher paying careers."

This finding comes on the heels of a study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems that found that the United States will need to produce 63.1 million degrees to match leading nations in the percentage of adults with college degrees by 2025. At the current pace, the country will fall short of that threshold by 16 million degrees.
The survey also found that:

*Nine in 10 American adults feel finishing a degree, seeking a higher degree, or continuing education makes someone more attractive to potential employers.

*Also, 90 percent report that furthering one's education can increase one's earning potential and opportunities for promotion.

*Eighty-four percent of high school-educated, employed adults have concerns about their jobs--and specifically about losing their job or not being able to find a new job if let go--while 63 percent of college-educated adults are worried.

*Fifty-five percent of Americans between 18 and 34 years say the economy influences their education decision. Women, who make up six out of every 10 students enrolled in college, are more likely to be influenced by the economy
(63 percent) than men (46 percent) in this age category.

"During tough economic times, college applications tend to rise and this slowing economy is no exception," said Smith. "People go back to school to sharpen their skills or obtain credentials that enhance their competitiveness, and the investment pays off. U.S. census data shows that in 2007 people with bachelor's degrees earned 90 percent more than high school graduates. On average, college graduates earn $59,365 annually compared with high school graduates who earn $33,609."

The "Education and the Economy" survey was conducted online for Kaplan by Harris Interactive this fall among 2,256 U.S. adults, of whom 1,276 are employed full time and/or part time.

Don't worry

Be happy.

If you’re interested in how happy and healthy people are in your area, go to the State and Congressional Resource for Well-Being home page. There, you can find well-being index numbers broken down by Congressional district level. You’ll discover, for example, that California’s 14th district, located between San Francisco to San Jose, has the highest well-being index level. That district, considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley, also happens to have the second highest median family income of all 435 districts — and the first highest median male income of any district in the country. Catherine Rampell at http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/the-happiest-states-of-america/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mrs. Bill Gates

Has suffered enough. Set her free, Bill, set her free...

"Every now and then I look at my friends and say, 'Ooh, I wouldn't mind having that iPhone'."
Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft mogul Bill, discussing the fact that Apple gadgets are banned from the couple's mansion. http://www.newsweek.com/id/188177

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Still accepting registrations

The Redesign Alliance
Third Annual Conference
March 22 - 24, 2009
The Rosen Centre Hotel
Orlando, FL

The Third Annual Redesign Alliance Conference will bring together faculty, administrators and staff from institutions and companies who have been engaged in large-scale course redesign and will create a place where new colleagues can learn about the benefits of course redesign and how to implement course redesign on their home campuses. The meeting is open to the higher education community.

Registration: Click here to register.

Hotel Reservation: Call 1-800-204-7234 to make a reservation.
A block of rooms have been reserved at the Rosen Centre Hotel at the discounted single/double room rate of $175/night. To receive the discounted rate you must identify yourself as an attendee of "The Redesign Alliance" Conference.

Conference fee: Register before February 19 and save $100: member $300; non-member $650 Registrations received after February 19: member $400; non-member $750

My wife put this Dilbert strip

On our refrigerator this morning. And it has Internet access. Is she even listening?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Higher ed in Tennessee

Dodges a bullet.

Gov. Phil Bredesen says Tennessee's share of the federal stimulus money should avoid double-digit tuition increases at public colleges and universities.

The Democratic governor said at a news conference in Nashville Monday that the $4.5 billion in federal funds that will flow through the state will reduce the severity of budget cuts. He said he plans to lay out details of his budget proposal to lawmakers later this month.

Bredesen said the federal money will defer some of the more drastic cuts that had been considered at state schools.

He said higher education has "dodged a bullet" over the short term. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090309/NEWS02/90309031

Do you want your professional organization to advocate public policy?

Public policy? (This originally appeared in Five Minutes with ACHE http://tinyurl.com/cbl2x4 )

Does ACHE Speak for You?

You recently received an e-mail from me encouraging you to contact members of Congress in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. On the surface, this seems like a simple request. But the decision to contact you was actually quite complicated, and I want to tell you why. I also hope to get your feedback on the issue of advocacy as a whole.

First a little background. During the Board of Directors meeting at the Nashville Annual Conference and Meeting, a longtime ACHE member asked us to work in support of changing the Internal Revenue Service regulation on tax benefits for employer-provided educational assistance. Currently, $5,250 of the benefits can be excluded from counting as taxable income.

As the member explained, "Most employers in our area limit the total of tuition reimbursement to a figure of between $5000 and $5250. We understood that the IRS treats as taxable income the amount above $5250. Our employers are unwilling to pay above this amount when it is taxable."

A higher cap, in theory, would allow employees to take more classes or receive more training under their company’s reimbursement policy. Continuing higher education would benefit and so would ACHE members.

But we realized it wasn’t so simple. ACHE does not have a history of advocacy, at least a recent history. The board wondered if our members valued that neutrality. Perhaps they didn’t want us speaking for them. The whole issue is complicated, of course, by the wonderful diversity of our members –we range from community colleges to research universities; our work ranges from adult basic education to non-credit, workforce development programs, to off-campus centers, to graduate online degree programs. It’s not like we’re a trade union where legislative action and regulation affects the membership relatively uniformly. Even a sister organization like the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education has a membership more homogeneous than ours. Using the IRS example, maybe members from low-tuition institutions think the cap is just fine while those from more expensive institutions think it’s way too low. And then there are others who don’t want to rock the boat and call attention to a benefit that could be cut in times of budget reductions.

On the other hand, some argued that if we didn’t advocate, we weren’t adequately serving our membership. Why should you belong to an organization that doesn’t take stands? And so it went. The board deliberated and ultimately decided to send this request to the Coalition of Lifelong Learning Organizations (COLLO).

It was COLLO that contacted me concerning action on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill. I sent the request out to the rest of the ACHE Executive Committee for discussion. At first, I was going to use this forum in Five Minutes to encourage your support. Although it had the benefit of giving me some contemporary content for this column, unfortunately it was going to see print too late for effective action. Rather than do nothing, we decided that I would send out the e-mail in language that would encourage support but not insist on action.

So, here we are. This issue will come up again. I am interested in your thoughts on ACHE’s role as an advocate. Feel free to e-mail me, or as I visit your regional conferences, talk to me about this issue. We want to tread carefully, but we want to move in the direction you think best.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tennessee has the country's

Manliest city--Nashville. And thanks to Combos snacks for their support (I love Combos!). From the Associated Press:

Nashville came out on top in the study conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces. Mars Snackfood US and its Combos snack food brand commissioned the study. The ranking is part of the Combos launch of its Ultimate Man Zone Sweepstakes, which awards prize packages to upgrade men's tailgating, grilling, home theater or gaming zones."New York City finished last out of 50 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. City rankings

Cities lost ranking points for "emasculating" characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines. Nashville grabbed the top spot in the ranking thanks to its high number of NASCAR enthusiasts, popularity of hunting and fishing, and concentration of barbecue restaurants. Rounding out the top five were: Charlotte, N.C.; Oklahoma City; Cincinnati; and Denver.

Top producers of minority associate degrees

Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, Tennessee was ranked 71 out of the top 100 minority associate degree producers in 2007. Southwest had 476 graduates, an increase of 22% over the previous year. Southwest was the only Tennessee institution listed. The top producer was Miami Wade College, and the top community college was Broward Community College followed by El Paso Community College. http://www.diverseeducation.com/TotalMinorityAssociateDegrees.asp

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The microlecture

And distance learning. From David Sheih, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The microlectures, which last from 60 seconds to three minutes, do little more than introduce key terms and concepts. In an online class on academic reading, for example, students learning about word construction listen to an 80-second microlecture that introduces word parts and explains that they have a bearing on the meaning of words, said Michelle Meeks, a reading instructor. Students then use an online dictionary to look up a list of 25 prefixes, suffixes, and word roots, writing up their findings and discussing them on a message board.

Sandra Tracy, dean of the school of extended learning at San Juan, said she initially doubted that microlectures could be effective — they just didn't seem long enough.

"At first it's one of the most unnatural things," Ms. Tracy said. "But it's an intriguing concept — it gets you away from the idea of a talking head; it's more like snapshots of learning." . . .

Ms. Meeks, who condensed a 10-minute lecture into the 80-second microlecture she uses in the word-construction lesson, said she was initially wary of the format. But when she replaced the in-depth explanations of word parts in the 10-minute lecture with a brief introduction to key words, little seemed to be lost except "verbiage," she said. Student feedback has been almost entirely positive, Ms. Tracy said, and administrators now recommend that new distance-learning programs use microlectures. http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i26/26a00102.htm

And you think English majors

Have a hard time finding a job. From UB Buzz at http://blogs.universitybusiness.com/ubbuzz/:

Here's some fun higher ed news from across the pond. Liverpool Hope University has launched a new Master of Arts degree in The Beatles, being touted as the first qualification of its kind.

The course, ''The Beatles, Popular Music and Society," will consist of four 12-week modules, involving specific issues relating to the Fab Four, plus a dissertation.

"There have been over 8,000 books about The Beatles but there has never been [a] serious academic study and that is what we are going to address," explains Mike Brocken, a senior lecturer in Popular Music at the university, in a media release.

Brocken cites the university, located in the band's hometown, is the appropriate place to offer such a study. He adds that officials at the British institution expect the MA degree will attract a great deal of attention in the UK and abroad. Inquires about the course are already coming from the United States.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Read ebooks

On your iPhone. The iKindle application is now available for the iPhone. I may have mentioned that I love my iPhone, but I'm not sure about reading books on it. My eyes may be a little too old...

Anyway, James Kendrick reports that the iKindle Rocks! on Salon.com at http://tinyurl.com/aojk3m:
I am also very impressed with the speed of Kindle on the iPhone. Things just happen instantly, which goes a long way to providing an enjoyable reading experience. Even changing the font size (five choices available) happens instantly, with no visible re-pagination needed. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere is the inability to read ebooks on the iKindle in landscape. It’s not something I do ordinarily but I know some folks like reading on the iPhone in landscape to provide a wider view. You can’t do that here; it’s portrait-only for now, I’m afraid.

The recession

And Number 2. From Punk Rock Human Resources at http://punkrockhr.com/2009/03/02/gallup/

I have a very good friend who once confessed to me that he only poops at work. Apparently, it is the American dream to get paid to poop. Why poop at home if someone is paying you to work? Might as well poop on the clock.

I thought this was crazy — until I started to hate my job and took this methodology on a test run. I only pooped at work. If I traveled, I waited until I arrived at the office or off-site meeting to poop. Even though I am an advocate of pooping when nature calls — and I take Benefiber to keep my plumbing in good shape — I starting holding my urge to poop until I arrived at the office.

Out at lunch and need to poop? Too bad. It had to wait until I am back in the building.

I am making this confession because your company is spending six figures to implement a Gallup employee survey and you are not asking a critical question:

Where do you poop?

Believe me, the answer is both a valid and reliable measurement of how employees feel about your company.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Georgia eliminating community colleges

and merging them with its technical college system?
From msnbc.msn.com:

Perhaps no state has been hit harder than Georgia, which is considering what officials acknowledge are extreme measures to close a $2.2 billion budget deficit.

Among them is a proposal to eliminate the state’s eight community colleges, essentially merging them into the technical college system. If that happens, they would be subsumed into a system that itself is contracting rapidly: 13 of the state’s technical colleges are scheduled to merge into six in July.

The proposal is under study by a working group appointed by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, members of which have tried to reassure Georgians that students would be able to transfer among institutions easily. But students and educators say the proposal, if enacted, would be a body blow to poor students and students in rural communities.

“A lot of people would probably be scared to leave home to go to a university, whereas here, you may drive 30 minutes to an hour, but you’re still at home,” said Denise Mosley, a sophomore at East Georgia College in Swainsboro.

Glenn Stracher, a professor of geology and physics at East Georgia College, said such cuts would debilitate scores of programs across Georgia.

“Some of the programs offered in two-year colleges might be cut, and that means there a whole bunch of students that would be denied the opportunity to pursue a particular career interest or program of study at a two-year school,” he said.

“In rural communities, that may mean that students take a look at the technical college and say, ‘Well, that school doesn’t have anything I’m interested in, so the heck with it — I just won’t go to college at all,’” Stracher said.