At CEOEL we are starting to work on developing a new degree for UW System’s Flexible Option. Before embarking on this new journey, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the last one. I had the opportunity to work with a great group of faculty and instructional designers this past year while developing UW Extension’s first degree, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA). In this post, I’ll highlight just a few ways that this degree incorporates research-based recommendations for designing and delivering learning experiences to self-directed, self-paced learners. These practices address factors such as learner characteristics, assessment methods, and presentation of materials.
It’s a busy time around here! With the fall semester starting and new competency-based program development in full swing, everyone is working hard to deliver the best learning experiences possible. Back-to-school season is exciting but challenging for learners, instructors, and those of us in supporting roles. Part of that hard work is curating learning resources – open educational resources (OERs). Today’s post will explore how some of our faculty are approaching OERs.
In the midst of all this preparation, I’ve recently heard conversations about how important thoughtfully curated learning resources are to a student’s success, and it occurred to me it might be interesting to look back at the transcript of a conversation I had with Kim Kostka about using OERs. Kim and her colleagues Tom Neal and Tony Millevolte assembled and annotated an array of OERs for one of our Flexible Option competency sets.
Here are some of the highlights from my conversation with Kim.
While Virtual Reality (VR) has been around for some time, it is only recently that major companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and HTC have been developing headsets for home use. While many new VR owners are using these headsets for games, there also exists potential for VR in other environments. Oculus & Facebook, the owners of Oculus and the Oculus Rift VR headset, recently held their inaugural Launch Pad event at Facebook HQ
in Palo Alto, CA to discuss how to further the possibilities of VR in areas outside of games. Participants were asked to fill out an application detailing what they thought was missing in the VR space, and how they feel they could best contribute to the field. I was one of those 100 participants invited out to Facebook for a day of workshops and support from the Oculus team to try to develop a tool in VR, in my case a visualization tool for our Data Science program.
I once heard that fall is “conference season.” At the time it didn’t mean anything to me, but for some reason it
stuck in my head. This past year I got a taste of what this means. By happenstance I had the opportunity to attend two conferences back to back in October: the OLC International Conference and UPCEA Central Region Conference.
OLC is huge. There’s no doubt about it. This is both good and bad. It’s good that there are a lot of high-quality sessions to choose from, and it’s good that there are a lot of people to connect with. On the other hand, it’s so large that one’s ability to absorb knowledge is compromised by the din of all the activity, especially when poster sessions are held in the exhibit hall, as they were at OLC. The focus of the conference is online learning. The UPCEA regional conference was small and intimate with a broader focus of strategies for continuing and higher education institutions. It was special because it was local and celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first UPCEA conference, which was also held in Madison, WI.
So, why am I writing about these conferences today? From these two very different events, I was reminded of a couple important things.
In July of 2015, D2L honored six Excellence Award winners from around the world, including our instructional design team. The award honors the delivery of innovative, collaborative or impactful learning experiences via the Brightspace platform. D2L recognized the UW-Extension team’s support for UW Flexible Option. View article for more detail.