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Jennifer goes to Washington pt 2: a summary

January 17, 2011

I’ve been thinking about other ways to get involved since my last post about state library associations.  I thought maybe I would throw out another association that I believe is valuable for career college libraries to follow.  Last summer I’ve had the opportunity to attend a panel event in Washington, D.C.  For any who don’t know I attended a Q & A panel in Washington co-hosted by the ASPCU and the UPCEA.  It was interesting to attend an event hosted by these two organizations because the Association of Private Sector College Universities and University Professional Continuing Education Association both have histories working for “opposite” sides of the educational sector.  I’m glad to see them both working together.  As my current mentor says; we have much to learn from each other.  Here is a quick summary…

The event was split into two separate sections each discussing a specific topic area in e-learning.  Specifically, trends in technology for education and successful application of e-learning strategies.  The questions were quiet varied and overall I was satisfied with the panel.  (I should say that this was the first event like this that I have attended).  I found the second panel questions to be more directly related to my current position so I will focus this post on that discussion.

Robert Letcher, Director of Instruction for High School at K12 Inc had wonderful things to say about the digital divide and knowledge gaps that exist with computer literacy and the typical career college student vs. a more traditional 4 year university student (though it seems in the news that students everywhere are under-prepared for college).  Mr. Letcher also spoke to “mass customization” of education, a concept that is new for me. (Would love to discuss how this comes against grade inflation)

The other panelists in the second discussion also had great understanding and I found comments from all of them to be well thought out and insightful.  Judy Komar, Vice President of Educational Technology for Career Education Corp mentioned showing her faculty how to be “content curators” and I think the idea is intriguing.  I wonder what role librarians can play in shaping that concept?  In that particular panel I asked about the digital divide and limited access to equipment in college preparedness.  It is a reality that many of our students don’t have a personal computer in which to create a Word document, let alone Internet access.  It is important to remember that when thinking about implementing e-learning options in the college environment.  Mr. Letcher field that question and made reference to the need for students to be introduced in K-12 education.  I completely agree, I wonder if the possibility exists for collaboration between high schools and the career college?  Similar to what some community colleges do with local area high schools.

The first panel was a little more administrative and policy focused.  Ironically the topic point for that discussion was on trends in technology for education.  The typical hosts were discussed; cloud, mobile, blended learning, etc.  Perhaps I really am at an above average knowledge level in terms of technology, much of what was mentioned seemed old hat to me.  I think the idea I found to be the most interesting from the first panel was the idea of data sharing, maybe it’s because I’m a librarian.  The data brought up in the panel were learning outcomes for accrediting bodies and reporting agencies.  It was also mentioned that for any kind of e-learning initiative to be really successful that the institution must find value in that education.  A small but critical point.

I was surprised that more wasn’t said about faculty training, copyright, and specific tools that are being used in and out of the classroom.  I would love to be part of an event that discussed case studies of how a digital learning initiative was taken on. Perhaps I should email Brian Moran, Interim CEO and President of APSCU and pass along the suggestion.  🙂

So, there you go.  I know this is long and it’s just a summary.  It was a great event and I’m over joyed with the opportunity to have been there.  Do you have any additional insight into these areas and how that impact librarianship?


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