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Online Learning

Online and Multimodal Learning Update

October 8, 2012

Dear Faculty,

Welcome back! Many of you have seen the news of the recent growth in online learning at CWU: declared online majors have tripled in one year to 478 this Fall, while overall online enrollment is up 18 percent over last year, with about 20 percent of all CWU students (2,028) taking one or more online courses. These increases positively impact enrollments, as well as student access to courses and time-to-degree completion.

Recognizing that faculty engagement with online learning and integration of information technologies in face-to-face and blended courses can serve to enhance teaching and learning throughout the institution, Provost Levine initiated an Office of Multimodal Learning, with a new half-time faculty director to oversee the development and support of online learning and other instructional modalities. Following are recent enhancements, new initiatives, and information related to multimodal learning at CWU:

Office of Multimodal Learning – The Office of Online Learning is now the Office of Multimodal Learning, but continues to be housed within the office of the Associate Provost, and is charged with providing oversight for the delivery of online courses, faculty development, and support of online learning and other instructional modalities. The Multimodal Learning team includes:

  • Christopher Schedler, Director, Associate Professor/English, x1357  SchedlerC@cwu.edu
  • David Rawlinson, Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor/ITAM, x1019 RawlinsD@cwu.edu
  • Jane Chinn, Blackboard Administrator, Instructional Technologies Specialist, x1224  Chinn@cwu.edu
  • Delayna Breckon, Blackboard/Collaborate Specialist, x1172 DBreckon@.cwu.edu
  • Geri Hopkins, Instructional Design Librarian, x1925  Hopkins@cwu.edu 
  • Janis Orthmann, Office Assistant, x1456 orthmann@cwu.edu 

Dr. Schedler and Dr. Rawlinson lead an instructional design team that is available to consult with departments and individual faculty in designing and delivering quality online and hybrid courses. Please contact Dr. Schedler to set up a consultation with the instructional design team.

New Online Degree Programs – CWU continues to enhance its offerings of online courses, majors, minors, certificates, and graduate programs, launching the following new online degree programs: B.A. Law & Justice, M.Ed. Higher Education, M.Ed. Instructional Leadership, M.Ed. School Administration, M.Ed. Literacy, and M.Ed. Special Education.

New Website – The online learning resources website has been redesigned for improved usability by different audiences: future online students, current online students, and faculty. Please visit our new site at http://www.cwu.edu/online-learning for the latest information and resources related to online learning.

24/7 Blackboard Support – Student and faculty support in using our Blackboard learning management system is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Blackboard support services. Blackboard users can access help and support resources from the Blackboard login page, by clicking the Help button in Blackboard, or from the online learning website: http://www.cwu.edu/online-learning/blackboard-help-support. There you will find self-help resources and access to phone and web support, including live-chat.

Enterprise Upgrades – Blackboard was successfully updated over the summer to provide enhancements and new functionality, including a cleaner interface that simplifies movement between courses through task-based navigation, a new pallet of course structures and themes, and automatic regrading of assessments to correct problem questions. Collaborate, our real-time web meeting platform, was also upgraded to support mobile collaboration on iPhones and iPads, remove the requirement for participants to have headsets, integrate with the Blackboard Grade Center and Calendar, and allow invitation of guest speakers and outside experts who are not part of a Blackboard course.

GO Central Network – A new online communication and collaboration platform, using Web 2.0 tools to increase academic engagement among faculty, students, and staff, will be piloted this year beginning with online degree programs, Faculty Senate, Douglas Honors College, Living Learning Communities, Strategic Planning, and Professional Development. Based on the experiences and feedback of these early adopters, GO Central will then be rolled-out to other campus users. For more information about this initiative, please contact Dr. Schedler.

Waypoint Outcomes Assessment – Another pilot program provides faculty and departments with a robust learning outcomes assessment and reporting tool integrated directly into Blackboard. With Waypoint, instructors can create assessment rubrics, linked to specific learning outcomes and competencies, evaluate student assignments online using interactive rubrics, digital mark-up tools, and a library of comments. Assessment data can then be collated and analyzed on course, program, and institutional levels to streamline program review. For more information about using Waypoint, please contact Dr. Bret Smith, Assessment Coordinator, BPSmith@cwu.edu

Professional DevelopmentTraining Workshops on Blackboard and other instructional technology tools continue to be offered each quarter, both face-to-face and via online Collaborate webinars for faculty at the University Centers and those who prefer training from the comfort of their office. Register for workshops from the Online Learning website or directly at http://www.cwu.edu/online-learning/faculty-workshops-canvas. Online Learning Communities of practice continue to be led by Dr. Schedler and Dr. Rawlinson. Two groups are available for faculty participation, based on relative experience and expertise in teaching online.  Both groups (Vanguard for the more experienced; Explorers for beginners) provide a chance to share best practices and receive tools and resources to improve your online and hybrid classes. Faculty at remote locations can also participate in the meetings via Collaborate. Please contact Dr. Schedler to join one of the communities.

Your suggestions and comments regarding these or other multimodal learning initiatives are welcomed.   

Sincerely,

Christopher Schedler, Director of Multimodal Learning