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Thoughts from our Deans

Ashford University Executive Deans

The Deans shared information in several areas:

New Programs, courses and course development

17 new programs launching as soon as January 2! Rest will have staggered launch through June of 2018.

Love the innovation in course development! How exciting with all the new programs and especially how we are experimenting with new course models. COE innovating the new competency based Masters, as well as the synchronous requirement mentioned by COHHS. Love the talk of badges, micro-credentialing, Universe of One, and much more.

Courses are aligning with career competencies, including requirements such as practicums, practice experiences, in-field experiences, virtual service learning requirements, internships, student teaching and practice teaching with a virtual element.

Canvas supports video feedback, video lecturing (short targeted videos), YouTube channels for courses that elaborate on topics and assignments.

Future of online learning involves competency based stackable learning objects. Moving toward skills learned than courses completed.

Pay attention to Blockchain (encrypted database) as it gives the power of the transcript to the student. MOOC providers are going strong and innovating new degree/certificate choices.

Pay attention to student income share agreements that leverage future earnings. The price of higher education may come way down if we can implement these technologies.

Free learning coming (maybe it is here?) Comment: So how do we add value to our courses? Why do students need to attend college? Think about it!

Evaluations, teaching efforts and Faculty success

What can we all do to better meet student needs? We always need to strive for improvement! Never rest on our laurels. Never settle for good enough. Check out the resources in the CETL!

My thoughts (though no one asked me and I am not a Dean but anyway). Start slowly! Add one new thing per course and do it consistently until you own it. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed so that you are paralyzed (ok note to self to follow my own advice). Be better today than you were yesterday (great quote by Business Dean).

Even though we are a teaching institution everyone needs to understand and practice research. And get it out! Does not have to be complete; share it on social media outlets. Lots of opportunities for research at AU!

Reminder that we are all about Student Success! Need to practice and live the disposition of caring with our students. We are not only content experts we are nurturing educators. We need to teach each other, provide professional development for each other, and continually grow as educators. We all have things to teach our peers and we all can learn from them!

Comment from me – great point that sometimes we do something (virtual chat, office hours, etc.) and perhaps few students show up. Hang in there! For one thing, you impact the students who do show, and eventually more will come. Keep it up!

There are a ton of initiatives happening!

Chat bots in the classroom!! Yes let’s use technology to free up faculty for teaching – for forming relationships with students and meeting individual student needs. So glad to hear about more student to student interaction – we need this!

Faculty of Practice role is resulting in increased engagement with students, and students are noticing.

Retention – never ending – we always want to improve this! Well maybe when we reach 100% we can take a short break😉

Augmented reality in discussions with Google Cardboard. Headed for virtual reality. Using social media more such as Twitter feeds, responding to politicians or other real world peoples’ tweets. Expanded late policy can lead to gains in retention. Biggest impact on retention is Empathy. Keep in mind our students have jobs, families, adult problems, real world issues – college is second or third in their lives, as it has to be. They have to earn a living, take care of families, and then achieve a dream (college).

Project Pineapple helps students who do not submit a week five paper pass the course without having to file an Incomplete. It works!!

Equity issues a big theme this year

The panel discussed the Black Minds Matter course going on right now. Email Justin Harrison or Newton Miller for information – it is not too late to join. I have not missed a session and can tell you it is amazing! The guest speakers are wonderful!

As faculty develop courses, we need to focus on how to weave in multiple voices especially underrepresented groups. Clubs can help all share their voice. Responding to life issues is one way we all can help all students! Assume the positive in students.

Great panel! Wonderful to get to know all the Deans and to hear their ideas.

Dr. Judy Donovan

Program Chair, College of Education

Ashford University

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