A New Year … A New Opportunity!

2012The 2011 calendar year sparked many conversations about eLearning at William and Mary. The campus events below represent developments on exploring different pedagogies and unique technologies that enhance student learning.

During the summer, a new eLearning Course was offered to interested Mason School of Business faculty and was an immediate success. Led by Karen Conner and Sara Gividen, topics covered included pedagogies of eLearning (such as building community, course structure and development) and choosing effective eLearning tools (such as lecture capture, wikis and blogs).  The second iteration of the Masters of Accounting Business Law course taught by Bradley Ridlehoover (and delivered in a blended format) began in December.  Students enjoy the flexibility of taking the course over winter break.  Many students in the class participate in internships which would not be possible without the benefit of eLearning tools and techniques.

Also during the summer, the School of Education (SoE) welcomed its first cohort of the Executive EdD program in K-12 Administration, a blended program which provides working professionals a flexible option for advanced course work in educational administration.  Rosaline Cardarelli is a member of the cohort.  The SoE also used blended formats for projects and groups to deliver educational professional development and community outreach.  By August, a group of faculty and staff launched monthly eLearning Co-op meetings, hosted by April Lawrence.  The group’s goal is to share experiences of developing and delivering blended or online learning. An October brown bag showcased how 3 faculty members use WM wikis to support face-to-face, blended instruction, and study-abroad experiences. By November, several SoE faculty and staff rounded out the year by deploying Adobe Connect as a platform to support live web-based instruction and collaboration.

In response to the momentum of eLearning on campus, the W&M eLearning Community was formed and held its initial meeting in December. Gene Roche, Director of Academic Information Services, was there and stated:

When somebody comes to me and says, “I would really like to do distance learning,” my first question is, “What would you like your students to do?  What would you like them to be able to do differently at the end of the class than they could before?” And then, you’ve got this huge, wide range of different activities that you can involve them in, that will help them learn those things…And the technology makes it possible for us to do that in ways that, 10 years ago when we started on this, we couldn’t have dreamed of.

Happy New Year!

With so many options now available in eLearning, we thought it appropriate to focus on the needs and interests of the members of the eLearning Community as we determine our path in 2012.  Based on survey results from those who attended the meeting, blended learning is a topic of great interest and will continue the momentum of the eLearning movement well into the new year.

Save the date! February 24, 1:00 pm in Miller Hall 1013. Dr. Judi Harris, Professor and Pavey Family Chair in Education Technology, School of Education, will launch a “Blended Learning” series. Participants in the series will explore blended learning in a blended format! More details to be provided in February. Plan now to join us.