Sep 242014
 

Education_Commission_of_the_StatesThe Education Commission of the States, an organization that, among other things, tracks state educational policy trends, recently released a report titled Open-source textbooks can help drive down the overall cost of collegeThe report highlights both legislative and non-legislative initiatives in a number of states that have been launched to address textbook affordability.

The short 5-page report gives some of its precious ink to the VCCS, mentioning the Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grants, TCC’s Z-Degree, and the OER projects at NVCC and Reynolds. You can download the full report here: http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/14/37/11437.pdf

 Posted by on September 24, 2014 News, OER, Research No Responses »
Sep 182014
 

VCCS News

  • Chancellor DuBois announced the 2014-15 Chancellor’ s Innovation Fund (CIF) call for proposals.
  • NVCC President Bob Templin has announced that he will be retiring. Wytheville Community College’s Charlie White follows suit.
  • The VCCS moves forward with the IT Help Desk and Financial Aid modules of Blackboard Student Services
  • The Virginia Education Wizard adds another prestigious award to its already crowded living room mantle.

Tech News

  • Apple unveils a spate of new and updated gadgets to a collective ‘meh‘.
  • The Google Classroom roll-out was accelerated and the new platform is now available to any Google Apps for Education institution.
  • Lots of data breaches: Gmail. Home Depot. JP Morgan. George Mason. Forbes.com has a good Data Breach Round-up here.

Upcoming Meetings, Conferences & Events

More VCCS-related events can be found at http://edtech.vccs.edu/upcoming-events/. For more official VCCS news visit the VCCS blog at: http://www.vccs.edu/vccsblog/posts/

 Posted by on September 18, 2014 VCCS News No Responses »
Sep 092014
 

open_innovation_off

Today Chancellor Glenn DuBois announced the call for proposals for the 2014-2015 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF). This fund provides crucial support to college faculty and staff who are driven to develop innovative projects, test out their ideas, and investigate new, inventive ways to meet the goals of Achieve 2015, particularly the goals of supporting access and increasing student success.

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 OER-Based Associate Degree Project, and a number of crucial workforce certifications and academic programs.

Awards range from $5000 to $50,000 for innovative proposals from colleges. Of particular interest to the CIF Selection Committee are proposals for projects that address the following areas of need:

  • Competency-based learning
  • Credit for prior learning
  • Employability skills
  • Expedited program pathways
  • Innovative approaches financial aid disbursement
  • Innovative student success strategies
  • K-12 alignment & transfer
  • Open educational resources
  • Structured program pathways

Proposals are due by 11:59 pm October 10th, 2014. The announcement of awards will be made after October 24th, 2014. CIF awards must be spent by June 30th 2014.

You will find all of the application materials and online submission form at http://edtech.vccs.edu/educational-technology-resources/cif/2014-15/.

 

Sep 082014
 

The Virginia Education Wizard has once more cast its spell on the Commonwealth, winning  a 2014 Governor’s Technology Award in the Innovative Use of Technology: Education category for the Virginia Education Wizard Mobile App. The special award ceremony was held at the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) in Richmond on Sept. 3, 2014. The Wizard app was developed as a native app available for both iOS and Android platforms, and designed for both phone and tablet platforms.

The development of the mobile app was to ensure the greatest usability for the greatest number of users, particularly the increasing number of users for whom mobile devices are their primary access to the internet,” states Director of Student Support Technologies Chris Pfautz.

2014 COVITS Wizard

VA Wizards Erika Poindexter and Chris Pfautz showoff invisible technology award

The Wizard app simplifies the often overwhelming process of gathering information about occupations and colleges. With a free account, users can access supply & demand for numerous occupations in the user’s area, median salary for occupations, and colleges in Virginia offering relevant college programs of study), college details (admission criteria, application closing dates, application & tuition fees, average per-student cumulative undergraduate indebtedness, & more) for colleges across the U.S., and a cost calculator to compare the cost of attending Virginia’s community colleges with four-year colleges, demonstrating to the user annual savings and transfer savings.

The Governor’s Technology Awards were presented to honorees in nine categories. Winners were determined by a panel of government information technology (IT) experts. You can find a list of the other winners and finalists on the COVITS website, http://covits.virginia.gov/winners.cfm. Contact the Man-Behind-the-Curtain, Director of Student Support Technologies Chris Pfautz, for more information on the Virginia Education Wizard.

Sep 042014
 

Tsk, tsk. However, you’re in luck, thanks to my Ronco® Video Majik Webinar Playback Recorder and Rotisserie. During the hour-long webinar I not only talked about the upcoming release of the Call for Proposals for the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund but also prepared a delicious rump roast for my entire family, with no pots to scrub or webinar grease to clean up afterwards!

Kidding aside: you can find a link to the recorded session here and a copy of the slidedeck here. The infomercial for the Ronco Rotisserie and BBQ is posted below for your enjoyment.

Aug 042014
 

The 2014 VA Bug Conference will take place on Friday, October 24, 2014 in Roanoke, VA at the Holiday Inn at Valley View. No, it is not a conference for Entomologists or Pest Control Professionals. It is the 5th Annual conference for the Virginia Blackboard Users Group, a ragtag team of rogue LMS users meeting in secret to share knowledge and ideas with Blackboard users from across the Commonwealth. 2014_VA_bug

Of course, you probably know this already but October in the Roanoke Valley is simply exquisite, with the luminous fall foliage at its peak. The Holiday Inn at Valley View is located just a few miles off of Interstate 81 and is short distance from Roanoke’s historic downtown market area. It is also just a short drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can take in the beautiful fall colors.

Registration is, ahem, FREE.  The call for proposals will go out soon for presentations in the following areas:

  • Blackboard administration
  • Instructional design
  • Faculty best practices
  • K-12 best practices

You can find out more at the VA Bug website: http://vabug.org/

Jul 242014
 

SCALE_Institute copy_strother9th Annual Cooperative Learning Institute at Patrick Henry Community College

The modified quote above is of course from the iconic Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, and has no connection whatsoever to the institute except that Martinsville, VA was named after Strother Martin, the actor who issued the famous line from the movie. Actually, this isn’t true at all, but I wish it was. Anyway…

Patrick Henry Community College, known for its focus on and expertise in Cooperative Learning, is offering its 9th Cooperative Learning Institute this August.  The Institute will be held over two days from August 14th until August 15th. Breakfast and lunch on both days are included in the cost of the Institute.

Participants can choose from four Cooperative Learning tracks:

  1. Fundamentals of Cooperative Learning for the Community College Classroom – this track is required for all new faculty or those faculty who have not yet completed a two-day Fundamentals section;
  2. Fundamentals of Active Critical Thinking (FACT) – an advanced track with a Fundamentals pre-requisite;
  3. Advanced Student Engagement Techniques (ASET) – an advanced track with a Fundamentals pre-requisite; and
  4. Cooperative Learning for Distance Learning (CL for DL) – an advanced track with a Fundamentals pre-requisite (aka Active Learning in an Online Environment)

The two-day Institute costs $250 per person and  is open to full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, and educational administrators of the VCCS who seek to understand the importance of active and cooperative learning, now part of the full-time faculty evaluation process. Faculty from institutions currently active in the Achieving the Dream network of colleges (Danville Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, and Mountain Empire Community College) will have the $250 registration fee waived thanks to a generous grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Registration and payment deadline: August 8 by 5 pm

For more information on the Institute, or to register, please go to PHCC’s Southern Center for Active Learning Excellence website at http://scaleinstitute.com/