Toppers at Sea – Recognized for service learning

toppers at sea logoThe Toppers at Sea – Climate Change Challenge – was recognized by the $100 Solution ™ for outstanding service.

Hosted by the WKU ALIVE Center, the national training center for THDS ™, the Toppers at Sea faculty-led study abroad program implemented five $100 Solution ™ projects during the summer 2014 voyage on board the MV Explorer.

Learn about the $100 Solution and the WKU ALIVE Center initiatives here.

Learn more about the Toppers at Sea program here.

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The Cooperative Center for Study Abroad – CCSA

ccsa logo blue and blueToday we launch a new adventure.

The Cooperative Center for Study Abroad is now officially housed at WKU. We have three new staff members joining us. Two will be at WKU with our Study Away crew and one will work remotely from Michigan for the coming year.

Our new folk are:

  • David Nelson, Data Specialist
  • Robert Bedard, Business Accounts Coordinator
  • Robin Byerly, Program Coordinator (working from Michigan)

I will bring our two new gentlemen around today or early next week to say hello. They will be working from temporary digs for the next two weeks until the Office of Study Away moves to Tate Page Hall.

More on CCSA at this link… http://wkunews.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/wku-selected-as-new-home-for-the-cooperative-center-for-study-abroad/

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OLRO Presentation at International Conference on Online Learning

Just wanted to share some good news.  The Online Learning Research Office (OLRO) has supported 12 research projects over the last 14 months – and we submitted a proposal to the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan-C) to present some preliminary results from one of these projects at their international conference in Orlando in October.  Our proposal, entitled “Assessing the Impact of E-Text, Flipped Classroom and iPad Usage in an Anatomy and Physiology Course,” was accepted for the conference.  Dr. Kerrie McDaniel (Department of Biology) and Thomas Patterson (GA in the OLRO) will be presenting the results of our research in 35-minute informational session on October 30 from 4:10-4:45pm in Orlando.  Details on the research project and some of our preliminary findings are available here.

Hopefully the first of many presentations and publications for the OLRO.

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What’s Next for Blackboard?

180405695WKU has been using Blackboard as our learning management system (LMS) since 1999. Over the years, I’ve seen many changes in how our faculty use it to teach, collaborate with students and create a sense of community.

I’ve also been very aware of the increased quality in the competition in the LMS world. Frankly, I’ve wondered whether Blackboard would go the way of WordPerfect.

BbWorld, Blackboard’s annual conference, just wrapped up this week. According to Michael Feldstein (@mfelstein67) there were some amazing announcements. Check out his blog post, Blackboard’s Big News that Nobody Noticed.

In response to Instructure, Canvas’s LMS that has been creating a storm in the online learning arena, Bb has made some serious changes, and I would say it’s about time.

Mr. Feldstein said it so well, “Who would have thought in a million years that the LMS space could become interesting again?”

Now I’m sorry I missed that conference!

 

 

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WKU developing competency based education

Reading a blog this morning I came across this quote by Vernon Smith, an attendee of the WCET Data Boot Camp: “Innovation meets a need in a new way. Be prepared to fail. Then fail fast and move on.”

Experts today are looking at higher ed and thinking about innovation and failure with the hope of really changing the landscape. I had already begun thinking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of innovation, too, after reading an Atlantic article, Are Universities Going the Way of Record Labels? by Martin Smith.

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It certainly paints a dismal picture for schools and universities outside the elite class of Harvard or MIT. These institutions, he writes, will scale the content of their prestigious professors, replacing that of professors from “second tier” institutions.

Mr. Smith believes the “unit of content” is no longer the degree but the course. As music lovers have come to buy songs a la carte on iTunes without having to buy the album, students will seek courses instead of degrees.

With the building interest in competency-based education, there are leaders in higher education distance learning who think the unit of content is the competency, not the course.

Programs with competency-based formats are now being developed, where courses are analyzed and broken down into skills, abilities and knowledge mastered instead of a progression through courses to earn a degree.

Western Kentucky University is at the forefront of this innovation, most recently through our newly redesigned degree in Advanced Manufacturing, which is in a modularized competency-based format. We believe this program of study will be especially attractive to adults looking to improve their employability.

As part of this development, I do not agree with Mr. Smith. I disagree that the unit of content is getting smaller. I would argue that the unit of content continues to be the credential — and we must not lose sight of this fact. Competency-based education is a way for both students and instructors to have a greater transparency of the path toward that credential, and that is what makes it so valuable. Credentials are the key . . . and they may not just be for credit.

Workforce and professional development credentials, as we have seen with the growth of badges, are making waves in the employability market. Credentials do matter, and they will continue to matter, and higher education institutions must find ways to make them deliverable and marketable as students try to decipher what programs are important to them.

Universities and colleges can bridge the gap between teaching and learning through whatever means, including flexible time, better student service, more customer support and finding the right mix of modalities for interaction. We must build the bridge of understanding to better meet the needs of the larger population of potential students: adults who require or desire credentials in order to advance in their careers.

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WKU selected as new home for the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad

ccsa logo blue and blueThe Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA), a consortium of American colleges and universities that offers study abroad programs and internships in English-speaking regions, has selected WKU to serve as the new host institution. The Division of Extended Learning and Outreach will serve as the liaison between CCSA and WKU through the Study Away office.

Read more…

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Study Away, Faculty-Led Study Abroad expand opportunities

flsa-delo-logo150Fifty WKU students took advantage of Faculty-Led Study Abroad (FLSA) or Study Away course opportunities during spring 2014.

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WKU Glasgow campus students to explore Kentucky in spring 2015

wku study awayWKU will offer an opportunity during spring 2015 for WKU Glasgow Campus students to experience Kentucky through a new program designed specifically for them.

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Kentucky Study Abroad Symposium

wku study awayWKU Study Away will host the Kentucky Study Abroad Symposium on April 19 at the Knicely Conference Center. Undergraduate and graduate students from postsecondary institutions will present informative sessions regarding their experiences studying abroad or away.

More:  http://wkunews.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/study-abroad-symposium-2014/

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Study Away… really out there.

wku study awaySpring still a bit cool here in KY.  But geology students found a way to warm up in Death Valley & Mojave Desert over spring break.

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