Is your travel budget under lock and key? eLearningToolBox.com presents our FREE Summer Webinar Series providing you with valuable information and no travel involved. With featured speakers Dr. Michael Theall, Lori McNabb, and Dr. Mac Adkins, our webinar series will be covering a range of topics in distance learning like faculty/course evaluation, academic integrity, student perceptions and ways to enhance your distance learning program. The webinar series will be a strong professional development resource for you. Similar webinars can cost up to $700! We want to help give your training budget a break without missing out on these valuable resources. Space is limited so sign up today at www.eLearningToolBox.com/webinars!
Entries Tagged as 'ELTB 101'
With over 10,000 profiles, FacultyFinder.com is a great place to connect with good candidates to fill your open job positions. Using the detailed searching criteria, it is easy to find qualified individuals who meet your specific needs. In addition, FacultyFinder.com includes the ability to place job ads.
Announcing the Faculty Finder Stimulus Package! For a limited time, eLearningToolBox.com is offering job ads for only $50 each! With your job ad purchase you will also get 5 free profile unlocks! This is a $250 value for just $50! Compare this to the cost of job ads on other national search job boards. FacultyFinder.com is the most inexpensive way to connect with potential employees! Don't wait, this offer ends soon. To purchase your $50 job ad today, go to www.FacultyFinder.com/jobads.
What are your plans for the future? Do you want to run a 10K? Are you planning to have children? Would you like to own a home? We all recognize the importance of making plans for the future. Usually those plans center around our age, health, what we plan to accomplish, and is based in part on what is currently going on in our life. Businesses must also map out a plan for the future. Knowing the right audience, what the market will bring, and how to position themselves positively to capitalize on opportunities are crucial to steady growth. Unfortunately with poor planning lives and businesses can fall apart. The same holds true for educational institutions. It is sufficient to say that most universities, colleges, and secondary schools aren’t “going out of business” in the economic downturn. Nevertheless, not including the current economic times and the climate of our nation in future planning could result in multiple failed opportunities and ultimately represents bad business practices.
When students are planning for college it is becoming increasingly important to investigate what jobs are available and what fields are emerging prior to enrollment. With the cost of college tuition, a college degree is quickly approaching one of the largest investments a person will ever make. People wouldn’t put a large sum of money into a bank or stock without understanding the return on investment. The same holds true for a college degree. Especially in the current economic state, it is crucial to use an education as a step in securing a strong future as part of a long term plan. The students of today are educated consumers looking for a school that meets their needs based on research.
Educational leaders charged with managing change must use their eyes and ears to determine what programs will be necessary to sustain these incoming students. What jobs are disappearing? What fields are holding a shortage? What new jobs will be created based on current government spending and agendas? Answers to these questions should dictate what a school’s future offerings look like. In addition, schools must look at evolving technology and determine to integrate it into teaching methods, course delivery, and alternative learning environments.
Now is the time for educators to be proactive in creating new strategic plans to move their educational institutions into the next decade. We are citizens of a new world filled with green initiatives, cleaner air, more technology choices, and unlimited access to almost everything. It is up to the education community to investigate all the options and get moving!
At eLearningToolBox.com we provide a set of tools to help educational leaders be strategic and proactive. FacultyFinder.com can be used to efficiently identify qualified, experienced faculty. READI is a strong tool for helping students to be successful thus boosting retention rates. PostCourse.com allows leaders to collect the disseminate useful metrics about course quality. Let us know if you would like to discuss how your school can use these tools in its strategic plan.
Now that most of us have settled in for the fight ahead wrestling with the economy and obvious budget cuts, it is time to reevaluate the way we do business. While reducing spending is a great place to start, reallocation is also a crucial step in restructuring business practices that impact the bottom line. While our time continually proves to be our most valuable resource, what we do with it can make a difference in these tough economic times.
Travel budgets. The dreaded words! If you’ve ever worked on a budget committee, you know that travel or other “unnecessary spending” is the first to go on the chopping block. And while travel may be an obvious first step in cutting back, the repercussions can be costly. Typically travel through colleges and universities include conferences that cover valuable information to keep faculty and staff up on the latest offerings and often times include required credit for certifications or licenses. Unfortunately even though travel budgets are cut, the need for new information and networking with colleagues is not mitigated. So what can a school do to minimize the impact low travel budgets have on morale and potential training credit? In response to this need, many companies are now sponsoring webinars on a variety of topics that allow multiple participants from one location with no travel involved. Wimba, a leading provider of collaborative learning software solutions and services to the Higher Education and K-12 markets, conducts many free webinars in various topics of distance learning. Elluminate, Inc. provides proven, best-in-class solutions for real-time online learning and collaboration that deliver exceptional outcomes, including enhanced learning experiences, increased retention and completion rates, and higher ROI. Elluminate is another company that has a complete list of free webinars.
Organizers of traditional travel conferences have been painfully aware of the budget cuts, based on low enrollments. Texas Distance Learning Association is doing something about it! Through a clever marketing plan, the annual TxDLA conference hosted in Corpus Christi decided to create a Corkboard. This provides attendees a place post classifieds such as needing to carpool to the conference or looking for a roomy to share the hotel bill.
At eLearningToolBox, we are also doing our part to help ease the burden of costly seminars and travel associated with tradition conferences. This summer we begin our first annual Webinar Series. Topics include testing integrity, student authentication, finding qualified online faculty, and student readiness. The best part about the webinars is they are FREE. Featured speakers include Dr. Mac Adkins, CEO eLearningToolBox, Dr. Michael Theall, Assoc. Professor of Education, Youngstown State University, and Lori McNabb, Assistant Dir. Student and Faculty Services, University of Texas System TeleCampus. Don’t miss out on learning about the latest challenges in distance learning and robust solutions that will help your institution.
Now is a good time to ask yourself, why did you get involved in education? Use those creative thinking powers and think outside the box to invent new ways of meeting economic challenges. Travel is one of many budget line items to discuss. Come back next week to learn more about crucial aspects of planning for the future. While I can’t promise a crystal ball to see into the future, we will discuss some clear signs of where educational programs should be heading based on current events.
For the last decade, distance learning in higher education has grown exponentially. Distance learning is a phenomenon born out of a need for alternative learning environments, demand for flexible learning schedules, and low enrollments. Because of these influences, colleges and universities had to get creative in making learning from a distance a reality. Struggling with misconceptions from students, institutions were faced with students who wanted to take online courses, but simply weren’t ready. Over time, these students began to drop out and attrition rates for distance learning suffered. Many research articles reported that retention rates in distance education courses were often substantially lower than the rates for traditional courses. Schools began asking themselves what they could do to better serve their online students and in the process turn their poor retention rates around. One potential road block to student success in distance learning was lack of student readiness for learning at a distance. Students simply did not have the recommended skill set to successfully complete all the course requirements. Not only did some students have poor technical skills, but they also lacked personal attributes that assist in a student’s motivation level, ability to prioritize, and time management skills. Another challenge was students had some general misconceptions about learning from a distance. “It is easier online than in the classroom”, “I can do my class work anytime I want”, and “It will be an easy A” were some of the general thoughts that served as road blocks when students realized there was more to online learning than logging into a computer. Often time students would drop out of the course simply because it was not what they were expecting.
These trends were red flags that distance learning administrators began to pay attention to. With a growing demand these administrators were forced to sit up and take notes creating a better system to prepare their students for online learning. Many schools implemented improved communications with online instructors, tutorials of their learning management systems, and online orientation courses. These were the first steps in creating a stronger connection between prepared students and online courses. Some schools even added a “Are you ready for distance learning” 10 item quiz on their web sites. Although this effort did not go unnoticed, it was a weak attempt to get to the root of the problem. It was time for a complete readiness tool that truly measured students’ strengths and weaknesses in relation to learning at a distance; a tool that provided students with immediate feedback and remedial resources; a tool that provided a clear insight about students entering a distance learning course to the institution.
Coming from humble beginnings, READI was created by a group of distance learning administrators who decided it was time to answer the challenge of improving learner readiness. With a dream, limited funds, and a research team, the work began to create a complete resource for schools to use in bridging the gap between a student’s perception of distance learning and reality. The resource would measure a student’s readiness for distance learning in 5 areas: Personal Attributes (procrastination, motivation, etc), Learning Styles, Technical Competency, On-Screen Reading , and Typing Speed & Accuracy. It was officially named READI as an acronym for Readiness for Education At a Distance Indicator and would be completely web-based and include immediate feedback for students and administrative access. Owned by DECADE Consulting, LLC, annual licenses were sold to several colleges and universities who inquired about it in the first few years. By 2005, with 30 clients, and a sales department, DECADE Consulting began officially marketing READI at conferences to colleges and universities. As the company grew, eLearningToolBox.com was created as a marketing portal in 2007, serving as the sole provider of READI. With a team of 10 professionals, eLearningToolBox has also created additional solutions to common challenges of distance learning including FacultyFinder.com, TestProctors.com, and PostCourse.com. By 2008, the client base had grown to over 300 colleges, universities, including state consortiums in Texas, Mississippi, and Georgia.
Since 2003, READI has evolved through 6 major upgrades to be the most comprehensive, complete tool on the market of its kind. Through upgrades in recent years, a technical knowledge and vocabulary section was added, Reading Speed and Comprehension was changed to Reading Rate and Recall, multiple grade level reading passages were added, lots of custom features, and much more. With patent pending status, READI started the year 2009, by launching version 6.0 including a completely redesigned administrative panel, improved student reporting, multiple custom features, and a secondary version geared towards 8th-12th graders. The secondary version is already being considered by several state systems including Texas Virtual School Network and Florida Virtual School. Although still a relatively new concept in K12, distance learning continues to grow and READI is available to assist those students in their quest to be successful in distance learning. Over the past 6 years, READI has found its way into over 300 colleges and universities serving almost 300,000 students along the way. As the demand for alternative learning environments grows the need for READI will remain steady.
Learning at a distance student readiness is a challenge felt by all types of schools including those abroad. Through a recent partnership with Open University of Malaysia, we are working together to offer READI to their students this year. Going international is quite an accomplishment for READI. A conversation has also begun with National College in Puerto Rico about the possibility to translate READI and associated services into Spanish.
As new challenges present themselves in distance learning, eLearningToolBox is a company dedicated to creating tools that make elearning better. With a complete suite of solutions and additional services in the works the company’s future is strong. To learn more about eLearningToolBox, check us out on the web www.eLearningToolBox.com.