Dispatch from WCET12: November 2, 2012

We enjoyed another great day in San Antonio for the WCET Annual Meeting.  We’re happy to share some highlights with you.

Equity: The Answer to National Completion Goals

David Longanecker, WICHE President, introduced Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education, who gave evidence that we cannot reach our national completion goals without vast improvements in the completion rates for Latinos.  After providing statistics (many of which can be found in a related publication) on the problem she gave some insights on differences in technology usage among different populations.

Some key observations from Deborah:

  • “So few discussions in higher education are about who the students are.”
  • “A large part of my job is ‘ignorance abatement.’  If you are ignorant, then you just don’t know.  On the other hand, for stupidity, I can’t help.”
  • In looking at the coming demographic changes, why are so many natural disaster metaphors used.  Terms like “tidal wave,” “tsunami,” and “fault line” all have an ominous tone.
  • Degree attainment for Latinos is 21% as compared to 30% for blacks, 44% for whites, and 57% for Asians.  When increasing Latino collegiate participation, we need to remember that many of them will be the first in their family to attend college.

The percentage of populations using the following technologies:

Latinos Whites Blacks
Internet 65% 77% 66%
Home Broadband 45% 65% 52%
Cell Phone 76% 85% 79%

Deborah said that she recently visited a public institution in Texas and found that many Latino students taking online classes need to come to campus to use the computer.  This brought us back to one of her first points:  if you are planning to use technologies to reach underserved, we need to know who those students are.

Bits of Wit and Wisdom

On the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, the Presidents Forum and the four regional higher education compacts are working together on one final agreement.  At the same time they are getting input from the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Education, which is supposed to release its final report in February.  In 2013 the agreement will be finalized and states will be recruited.

On state authorization reciprocity, Sharyl Thompson said that “everybody has to give up something” and acknowledged that is difficult for some people.  Deb Gearhart echos the importance of accessibility and reciprocity.  “Thanks to a small group, Dakota State University is making great strides in making courses accessible, F2F and online, and are willing to help faculty discover how easy this can be.  We all need to work through our institutions and states to move forward with SARA.  It only makes sense.  We had great sessions today.”

There was great energy about WCET’s “Who’s Got Class?” sandbox project in badges and game-based learning.  WCET was encouraged to obtain feedback from players about what they got out of the experience and plans to share more about what was learned from the experience.   Speaking of Who’s Got Class?, we would be remiss if we didn’t share with you the winners of the game.  A special congratulations goes out to Ed Bowen and the entire team from Dallas County Community College District as our top player and team in Who’s Got Class?  We also want to give a shout out to our Who’s Got Class? WCET Rockstars – Mike Abbiatti, Christy Boggs, Ed Bowen, and Ritchie Boyd.  Their contributions to the game and to WCET are immeasurable and we’re lucky to have them among our members.

The Awards

Each year WCET recognizes exceptional efforts by WCET members in implementing technology in higher education, especially in outstanding innovation, quality improvement, or achievements in using educational technology tools, techniques, or services.  This year’s WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) are:WOW Award 2012

For more in-depth information, check out our press release or connect directly thorough our winners websites.

The final award given each year during the awards ceremony is our Richard Jonsen award, is given each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the e-learning community and WCET during his or her career.   With great pride we honored Rhonda Epper, Assistant Provost at the Colorado Community College System, as this year’s award recipient.  An official announcement will come out next week but we wanted to bring our community ‘into the know.’

A strong close to the day

Luc Comeau, during the WCET Smackdown.

In front of a large and lively Friday afternoon audience, our Smackdown, powered by Pecha Kucha, featured 8 brave souls who presented 20 slides, for 20 seconds each with no pausing, no going over time allowed.  All of our speakers got our wheels turning and kept us on our toes.  They addressed issues from engaging adjunct faculty to free range learning and the motivation for improving learning – the next generation.  And with that, we’ll leave you with the quote that’s echoing throughout the twitterverse – “I’m trying to learn like I’m four.”  From Luc Comeau in reference to his learning inspiration, 4 year old Maya.

Thank you to the Program Committee and all you participated!!!
We learned, we had fun, we ate Southwestern food.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: 

WCET’s 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting
November 13-16, 2013
Denver, CO

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