Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Distance Learning Administration Annual Conference - June 19-22

In June, I (Tiffani) attended the DLA conference in Jekyll Island with several coworkers from the DLC. This was a really great conference on a nice island that doesn't get real crowded. I loved it so much that I stayed an extra few days with my family for vacation!

Awards Ceremony

me holding the award
Me with the Pearson Outstanding Instructional Support Award

On Sunday night before the conference, there was an award ceremony and dinner event, where I was honored with the Pearson Outstanding Instructional Support Award for 2016 and then spoke a little bit about some of the projects I've been working on this year for affordable learning. The award is beautiful, and very heavy! I also presented on the textbook I've been working on with Tammy Powell, Jonathan Arnett, Cassie Race, and Monique Logan over the last year and some of the cost and copyright issues to think about when creating or using an OER; you can read my paper published in the conference proceedings starting on page 199.


I went to several really interesting sessions at the conference starting one on virtual communities of practice by Leslie King from Franklin University. He showed us how his institution is attempting to help distance students get the most from their degrees while also giving them an identity within the institution. They have created a "community of practice" that is very similar to a university-run LinkedIn or other professional social media website where students, alumni, and faculty can post, comment, and engage with one another outside the classroom.

Lending Library

Georgianna Laws from Augusta University, who I know through Affordable Learning Georgia, talked at the conference about how she made herself more readily available to her faculty as an instructional designer with limited funds by creating her own website with tools, resources, and scheduling solutions. What I found really interesting about her setup though, was that she actually has a lending library full of hard copy resources that she has collected over the years and continues to collect, and her faculty can check them out from her to use.

Universal Design for Learning

Thomas Tobin from Northeastern Illinois University spoke about Universal Design for Learning. One of the really good tips I got from his presentation was to give 10 minutes of watch/read/listen content, then 2 minutes of doing something (and repeat as necessary). This could help a lot with keeping students focused and engaged with your course content.


Camille Kilbourne from the University of Central Oklahoma's Student Transformative Learning Record program spoke about STLR, which is an e-portfolio solution that UCO has created and is now implementing to help better prepare their students for post-graduation needs using transformative learning methods. 
  • process of becoming a responsible, productive, ethical, functioning adult
  • brought about via perspective shifts
    • having an "aha" moment
    • reflecting on experience critically
    • rational discourse internally or with others
    • leading to (making meaning from process)
    • interative process (wash, rinse, repeat)
Bloom's Taxonomy by Mia McMeekin of
Epigogy, Inc. and anethicalisland
Overall, their approach to e-portfolios is interesting because there are actually many degree programs that require an e-portfolio as a graduation pre-requisite (including my masters program now), but they are centering the process around meaningful experiences in a student's professional life and how they can portray that meaningful experience in a portfolio and get feedback and assessment on it.

P.S. According to Kilbourne, D2L has an e-portfolio feature. That doesn't mean that KSU has it integrated into our D2L, but it might be something to look at in the future.


Sheikh Drammeh from the University of West Georgia gave a step-by-step presentation on being omnipresent in online courses. He gave a lot of good strategies for managing your time in online courses so that you can be very present in your course as well as some strategies for making it seem like you're even more present than you really are to your students. He also had some interesting thoughts on flexibility in both course design and delivery - I found it really interesting how open and flexible Drammeh is on assignment deadlines and formats.

Interesting Bloom's Chart

One group of presenters were talking about StudyMate by Respondus, which they use at Georgia Southern University. They introduced a really nice Bloom's Taxonomy graphic that I wanted to share with you all (image to the right).

Netiquette and Respect in the Classroom

Another presenter, Thomas Schneid from Eastern Kentucky University presented on professionalism in the classroom - specifically from the instructor's side. He covered a lot of the basics, like politics and religion, jokes, and personal issues, but there was also a great discussion after his presentation on professionalism and respect between instructors and learners (specifically millenial students). The session became more of a debate on how teachers should approach difficult student situations and how to keep the classroom professional throughout the semester.

Overall, DLA was a really great conference in a beautiful location!

Jekyll Island sunset by Zhigang Li, Instructional Designer
for the College of Computing and Software Engineering,
KSU Marietta Campus