HETL 2013 in Orlando!

I’m in Orlando again…at another conference-do you see a trend of conferences in a sunny region? I’m excited to be here presenting with a colleague, fellow online faculty member Miranda Dyer. She and I have been working on the Live Lecture initiative at Rasmussen for over a year now, so it’s great to be finally meeting in person. She offers a great faculty perspective on how these synchronous sessions have dramatically improved her students’ engagement in the course, as well as their performance and retention in some cases. We start bright and early at 8am on Monday.

I wanted to share our slide deck in case you were interested in the most recent data from our Fall courses. I’ve talked about this project before in past posts, so I don’t know that I need to go into detail here. A quick summary though — we are requiring online students in a select group of Q1/Q2 courses to attending a weekly live class session using a virtual classroom tool (we’ve finally moved everyone to Adobe Connect!! Woohoo!!). The students interact with other students across the College in the same online class, as well as a variety of faculty teaching sessions throughout the week. We offer a variety of session times for students to pick from, as they are online students with busy schedules. You’d be surprised though at how many students attend a Friday or Saturday night class session, even Wednesday and Friday lunch hour sessions!

As we’ve passed the one year mark on offering these sessions, it’s time to step it up in regards to the activities in the sessions. My goals for 2013 are to push the faculty to offer more case study discussions, create breakout room sessions where students teach each other, add more faculty to our pool of ‘lecturers’, find creative ways to integrate more student-led discussions, and final change the name “Live Lectures” to Live Virtual Classrooms (or something similar, I just can’t decide). We are in a good place, but there are always room for improvements.

I’m excited for a fun-filled day of learning tomorrow — I look forward to making new connections and hopefully find time to reflect and share my findings here! Oh, I actually had a great experience at the Opening Keynote tonight — Eric Mazur filled both a physical and virtual room (we were in an overflow conference room because of the capacity of the auditorium) with great energy on his work surrounding a peer instruction model. I’m excited to read more on his findings and test these ideas out with our Live Lecture folks. Tomorrow looks to be just as engaging!

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About Heather Zink

searching for the right balance between face2face & online instruction -- manager of hybrid classroom initiatives at Rasmussen College
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