I have been under the weather so I apologize for not getting this out sooner. At any rate I have attended several League for Innovation conferences over the years and have always been amazed at the solutions presented and the dedicated professionals who are doing great work in challenging circumstances. The League for Innovations annual Innovations conference profile pages tells us,
“the conference regularly attracts a diverse group of community college educators, administrators, and staff from around the world. These attendees are the decision-makers and influencers from their respective colleges who are seeking innovative solutions to issues affecting their campuses.”
I think if you look at the workload of community college faculty and staff you have to be even more amazed. The difference between the work environment of faculty at more traditional colleges and that of faculty who work at community colleges was driven home for me during this trip. I had the privilege of eating dinner with a former colleague, his wife and one of his wife’s former elementary students. The former student taught at one of the many prestigious Boston-area universities and at one point in the conversation it was noted that the former student taught one (1) section of their specialty and two (2) labs. Meanwhile, my former community college colleague taught 5 classes (15 credit hours) every semester.
This reminded me that innovative solutions are not a luxury at the community college, they are necessary for survival. Heavier workloads, underprepared students, and often fewer institutional resources almost always mean that community college college faculty must be among the most dedicated people in the teaching profession. I think we just get used to our work environment and take it for granted how much effort is involved in teaching so many students semester after semester. My hat is off to all that teach and work at this level.
The 2015 League for Innovation at the Community College in Boston was again a great treat for me in other ways. I spent most of my time attending sessions about data and analytics tools. There is more and more pressure to report and comply and to do less with less. I heard that term spoken more than once and I hope that the continued dedication of faculty and staff at this institutions offsets this troubling trend. We all understand doing more with less….but admitting we must do less with less is one of the great challenges of the future. Here are a few of the key statements I heard related to this topic.
CC’s will strive to serve all but will turn some away because of completion concerns
IPEDS is the data have to use to tell our story and it doesn’t tell the CC story well
I do hope accreditors want to be partners rather than compliance police
I think most institutions will be reeling from compliance fatigue
Modal experience for Community College Presidents is now 1-5 years ,3 years ago it was 6-10 years, 6 years ago it was 11-15 years
The pressure on the book publishers was also mentioned in more than one session I attended. Here is my favorite comment,
It is not my job to fix the BROKEN publisher model
It seems OER is gaining traction to the point that many of the doom and gloom predictions about book publishers may finally start coming true. If they don’t have a plan B, now is the time.
I also did my presentation Sunday. A small but enthusiastic showed up and we had a great discussion about our experience rolling out LaunchPad as a replacement for our campus portal with single sign on capabilities. Here is the description and a link to the presentation resources
Is your campus portal more cluttered than your worst closet at home? This is a light and cheery look how Casper College changed their campus intranet to LaunchPad’s device agnostic cloud desktop for customized content aggregation and single-sign on (SSO).
Link to my League 2015 Presentation Materials: http://bit.ly/191gEsk
Twitter at the League 2015
I also had a chance to meet in person a couple of tweeters with whom I have had many twitter interactions. Professional networking continues to be a primary reason for using this particular social media tool. Additionally, here are always so many sessions reporting on schools doing so many good things it is hard to get to your fill of all that you want to see and do. The conference Twitter feed was busy but not that much busier than 2014. There were roughly 1% more tweeters in 2015 than in 2014 and about a thousand more total tweets than in 2014 as shown in the chart below:
Top Tweeters for #innma were as follows:
The League has also made available conference materials for about 6 weeks at the following location:
Other Resources You might find useful from League 2015
EdReady EdReady was the most intriguing product I saw and it is FREE! Per their web site:
EdReady can be used to check mastery in a course of study, to plan for college and career opportunities, and to prepare for commonly used placement exams, such as AccuPlacer, Compass, SAT, and ACT. High school and GED students, homeschoolers, and adult learners will benefit from EdReady.org.
Rodney Hargis wrote a really great blog post about online learning and the newfangled elevators at the League for Innovation 2015 Conference. If you want to know about the challenges of newfangled elevators….and online course design this is a really great post. He was actually referred to on Twitter as the “Elevator Blog Guy”
Here are the control panels for the newfangled elevators at the Boston Marriot Copely.
That is all I have for now. Hope you find some of it useful.