Oct 052015


Road sign to  education and future

Road sign to education and future CC-BY-SA-4

Coming to the Distance Learning Peer Group this Friday and Saturday at Reynolds in Richmond?  Please join us for some Zx23 OER/DL love and entertainment, as Richard Sebastian, Nate Angell and Cheryl Huff help kick off the meeting at the opening lunch. 

Nate and Cheryl, of the VCCS partner Lumen Learning, will be there all day, both days, with presentations, but mostly OPEN House time: bring your ideas, questions, curiosity, Zx23 team challenges, and OER/DL energy! 

See you there! 

 Posted by on October 5, 2015 VCCS News No Responses »
Oct 012015


Are you doing plenty of building of your OER course(s)? Working in the Lumen Platform with Candela can make it easier to build, curate, and share. If you are working collaboratively with others on a course, it is the ideal common workspace and repository.

Join us in one of our daily OER Office Hours and we will set you up with a space and a training session.

We hold virtual OER office hours every weekday, with real humans ready to help you. OER Office Hours schedule and connection information:
See you there!
 Posted by on October 1, 2015 VCCS News No Responses »
Oct 012015

Quick update: we are hosting two OER Office Hours collaborations tomorrow: Spanish and Biology!

Spanish is here, from 1-2pm ET: https://www.uberconference.com/doorman or phone audio 503-847-9119

Biology is here, from 1-2pm ET:  https://www.uberconference.com/oerofficehours or phone 503-345-7712

Join us to talk about what you have and what you need! No need to sign up – our door is open! 

 Posted by on October 1, 2015 VCCS News No Responses »
Sep 252015

VSU Digital Course FairHey, are you are looking to check out some new digital course tools and materials to possibly incorporate into your instruction to engage your students? If so, you may want to check out Virginia State University’s Digital Course Fair. According to VSU’s Director of Distance Education, Art Fridrich, the goals of this event are “to introduce or reintroduce college faculty to the rich variety of digital course tools currently available to facilitate learning, enhance or create new partnerships, and reduce the cost of education for college students.”

Some of the things you’ll see at this event are adaptive learning courseware built upon Carnegie Melon University Open Courseware, new products and services from publishers like Cengage, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill, open educational resources vendor Lumen Learning, and much more.

The event is free. There will be refreshments (yes!) and door prizes (I never win). If interested, please register by clicking on this link: http://vsu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1BQzyxy2qdYlqVD

If you want more information or have questions, please contact VSU’s Director of Distance Education, Art Fridrich at afridrich@vsu.edu.

Sep 232015

Please join us in an OER BIO 101 + 102 development collaboration during our OER Office Hours on Friday, October 2, 1-2pm ET.

As you know, the goal of the Zx23 Grant Program is to share and enrich the development of key courses for each Z-degree planned, and we have ample materials for BIO 101, with plans for 102 as well. We hope you can join in this conversation, even if you are not on a Z-team. If you think of someone who might be interested, please spread the word – this is fully open to all interested in BIO 101, 102 and onward. 
We will meet in our Uberconference space where we can share screens, etc.; instructions for a quick, easy log in are here – no pin or registration needed: http://lumenlearning.com/office-hours/
We look forward to seeing you all together, making this happen!
 Posted by on September 23, 2015 Zx23 No Responses »
Sep 162015

open_book_neonYesterday during a bus tour stop at the Williamsfield Unified School District in Illinois, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the hiring of the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand Open Educational Resources (OER) in K-12 schools. I know, I know–this is K12 news, you say–but it is a significant development for all educational institutions that are leveraging OER to improve educational access, opportunity, affordability, and degree completion. Why Williamsfield? Over the past two years, Williamsfield has worked to replace a set of traditional textbooks by adapting and localizing OER, creating a more engaging classroom experience for students and generating savings that the schools reinvested to develop a cutting edge STEM program. Read the full announcement below posted to the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) blog:

Today the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the hiring of the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand Open Educational Resources (OER) in K-12 schools. This announcement marks a critical step for ED and the Obama Administration toward leveraging OER as a solution at a time when improving educational access, opportunity and affordability is at the forefront of the nation’s mind.The new open education advisor will work with K-12 schools across the country to transition from traditional textbooks to OER, enabling states and districts to adapt and modify materials to meet student needs, and also free up funding to invest in other innovative ways.

Secretary Duncan announced the position during a bus tour stop at the Williamsfield Unified School District in Illinois, which offers a perfect illustration of how schools can leverage OER to improve teaching and learning. Over the past two years, Williamsfield worked to replace a set of traditional textbooks by adapting and localizing OER, creating a more engaging classroom experience for students and generating savings that the schools reinvested to develop a cutting edge STEM program that would have otherwise been impossible with traditional materials.

While the focus of the position is K-12, the impact of this work will also extend to higher education by enabling schools to better prepare students for college and support momentum for the OER movement as a whole.

This exciting announcement is part of the growing momentum within the Obama Administration to support OER and public access to publicly funded resources. Last month SPARC and 100 other organizations signed a letter calling on the White House to ensure that educational materials created with federal funds are released to the public as OER. SPARC expects to work closely with the new Open Education Advisor and continue advocating with our coalition partners to advance open policy at the Federal level. Join the conversation on social media with @SPARC_NA using hashtags #ReadyforSuccess and #GoOpen.

The video below is about the Williamsfield initiative that accompanied the announcement from USDOE.

 Posted by on September 16, 2015 Creative Commons, OER 2 Responses »
Sep 142015
OER Courses Blackboard Learn

click to enlarge (+)

Over the past several weeks, we’ve added new courses to the OER Course Catalog in Blackboard Learn, bringing the total number of curated OER titles to 15. The newest open course, and one that has been heavily requested by colleges, is ITE 115: Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts.

All VCCS faculty have access to the OER Courses tab in Blackboard Learn. You just fill out a short form to request access to any of the available open courses in Blackboard, or you can preview a copy of the course materials (without assessments, quizzes, etc.) on a public site hosted by Lumen Learning. Just click Public Link.

Lumen Learning is offering daily online office hours for all of their clients. All VCCS faculty are welcome to consult with Lumen experts during these times about any open course or OER topic. You can find the Lumen office hours calendar here: http://lumenlearning.com/office-hours/.

 Posted by on September 14, 2015 VCCS News, Zx23 No Responses »
Sep 142015

CIDER logoThe 8th Annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy hosted by Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Development and (pant, pant…let me take a breath) Educational Research (mercifully shortened to the refreshingly delicious acronym CIDER) is, according to the CIDER website, “focused on higher education teaching excellence and the scholarship of teaching and learning. The conference showcases the best pedagogical practice and research in higher education today. Sessions address disciplinary and interdisciplinary instructional strategies, outcomes, and research.” If you have something to share, get on the stick: proposals are due today, September 14, 2015. Here is more from the event page on the CIDER site:

Faculty are, on a daily basis and in very unassuming ways, demonstrating a renewed energy and focus toward the scholarship of teaching and learning. This is further evidenced by our attention to academic assessment, the integration of technology and learning, and even in the change in our teaching lexicon as we incorporate active engagement and reflective practices into instruction to encourage authentic learning.

The conference has grown steadily over the past six years, from 288 participants in 2009 to over 1000 participants in 2015 from 200+ institutions, 48 states, and 50 countries, including community colleges, liberal arts colleges, medical colleges, research universities, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Join us as we showcase and share our collective growth, innovation, and achievement in teaching and learning.

You can find the call for proposals and submission link here: http://www.cider.vt.edu/conference/cfp1.html.

Sep 112015
lightbulb refresh icon

CC-By Nataliia Lytvyn for the Noun Project

The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF) is a competitive fund open to faculty and staff of VCCS colleges to fund innovative, targeted projects that closely align with the new VCCS Strategic Plan, Complete 2021, and other system priorities. All CIF projects are developed, piloted, and assessed by the end of each fiscal year. Both credit and non-credit projects are welcome.

Past CIF recipients have used the funds to contribute such valuable, lasting projects as PluggedIn VA, the courses in the Teaching Online Program (TOP, IDOL, LOGO, TOTAL), Northern Virginia’s Digital Open OER-Based General Education Project, and a number of crucial workforce certifications and academic programs. All faculty and staff with innovative ideas are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity as we all work towards a common goal: a successful community college experience for all of our students.

If you have a potential project in mind and are wondering if it is the right fit for the CIF program, or simply want to find out more, please visit the CIF site and register for the webinar at the bottom of the Overview tab. You will receive the webinar link once your register.

The link to the CIF Informational Webinar recording is below:

noun_15342_ccWatch the CIF Informational Webinar recording


 Posted by on September 11, 2015 CIF, VCCS News, Webinar No Responses »
Sep 102015

WCVE logo Public radio fans in the Richmond metro area, listen up: the Zx23 Project will be featured on WCVE’s Virginia Currents radio program this Thursday, September 10 during NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The radio version will air on WCVE at 8:44 am and 5:44 pm respectively. There will also be a longer online version available on the Virginia Current’s site.

The piece includes interviews with Kerrigan Sullivan, Professor of Theatre and Department Chair for Visual and Performing Arts at John Tyler Community College, and yours truly,  about the Zx23 Program. The online version will also include interviews with Cora and Marcus, two of Kerrigan’s students. I will post the link to the program once it is released.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the longer, online version of the piece: http://ideastations.org/radio/news/virginia-community-colleges-building-degrees-no-textbook-costs


 Posted by on September 10, 2015 VCCS News, Zx23 No Responses »