Category Archives: Change

Why Thurgood Marshall College Fund is Building Blended Lab Schools

Presented at USDLA 2014 by Mickey Revenaugh from Connections Learning and Juontonio Pinckney from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

I attended this session because I’m very interested in other partnerships between higher ed and K12. It’s something we are trying to strengthen within our system, so it’s always nice to hear what others are doing. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is looking to create partnerships to increase the success rates of black males in particular. They are starting by partnering with the high school that is in the same town or affiliated with an HBCU in that town. In addition, they are partnering with Connections Learning to add a blended learning space – that is way beyond the traditional lab of computers for taking online classes. It’s a space to inspire students – that is attractively organized, includes space to collaborate, discuss, access online resources, and even has a fitness center! I am very intrigued by the convergence of whole person education, personalization, online, face-to-face, and reaching an underserved population. Inspiring!

The Calming Effect of a Metaphor During Chaotic Change

by Armchair Aviator

I’ve been thinking more about the usefulness of the rebuilding the airplane metaphor that I’ve been using to explain the change process we’re going through with the Griggs University / Andrews University merger.

A metaphor can bring clarity to a situation… and make it easier to bring meaning and order to what is happening. It clarifies our thinking and manages expectations.

Clarifying Our Thinking

Before I thought of the “rebuilding the plane” metaphor for our work, it was difficult to make sense of the mountain of work. We all have so many ideas of where we want to be; visions for the future. Yet we are busy with the daily care for our current students; and it can feel like progress is slow. Before the metaphor, sometimes I felt panicky, wondering how on earth we’d ever get to where we want to be.

But when we realize we are rebuilding the plane while we are flying it, we can calm down; be patient with the process, and realize the value of changing one piece at a time! We recognize that if we change too many pieces at once, the plane will crash!

The plane metaphor helps us remember that for everything we change, we have to consider the long term (rebuilding) and the short term (flying). When we decide to change something for long term, we also have to think carefully through what that change will break in the short term, and how to work around the broken piece for a few months.

Before the metaphor, it was easy to want to change everything at once. But the metaphor reminds us that we are still flying the plane and serving our current students. It reminds us to change one part of the plane at a time, with careful thought to how it affects our current students, as well as the reasons to change for the future. The metaphor calms us down so we can take one step at a time, thoughtfully and carefully.

Managing Expectations

The other value of this metaphor is to manage expectations – expectations across campus, and expectations outside of Andrews University and Griggs University. Sometimes people ask how the merger is going. They may feel that we are changing too slowly. Or they may feel that they can’t see any change at all and they wonder what we are doing.

I’ve noticed that when I explain what we are doing using the “rebuilding the plane while we are flying it” metaphor, it makes sense to people. They realize more of the magnitude and complexity of the work of a merger. They are more likely to be sympathetic, patient, and understanding.

Metaphors…

So… what about you? Have you ever used a metaphor to explain your work? Did it help you? How? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Rebuilding the Plane While Flying It

by Armchair Aviator

Wondering why I’ve been so quiet on this blog? I’ve had a huge learning curve in my new job, but it’s also the chaos of a merger!

I’ve been making sense of it all by using the metaphor that we are rebuilding the plane while we are flying it.

The plane is Griggs University with all of its online students; as well as Andrews University and all its online students; as well as the off-campus programs of both Griggs and Andrews.

Griggs uses the open enrollment model, which means we always have students. There is no way to “stop” and start over! So as we have moved to Andrews University and are now working on merging with Andrews, all the changes need to be made while we are still serving students. And as we merge with Andrews, we have to consider the “Andrews way”, the “Griggs way”, and create some new way that is most efficient for everyone!

Here’s a brief overview of some of the work in our horizon:

  • Merging two student information systems
  • Merging two financial systems
  • Merging two learning management systems
  • Figuring out how to create new processes to support open enrollment students in a primarily semester-based Andrews system
  • Inventory of all distance courses of Griggs and Andrews and identify needed course upgrades
  • Determine needs of Griggs and Andrews faculty to identify needed training and faculty development
  • Infrastructure: building and streamlining processes and support technologies to better serve distance students

That’s a little peek into my world…

Fun fun!! Onward & upwards!

About My New Job

As many of you know, I started a new job with Andrews University / Griggs University on July 1.

In this first post in my new position, I want to give you some background, particularly for those of you wondering where I went and why!

Quick Facts

  • Andrews University gained ownership of Griggs University and International Academy on November 1, 2010.
  • Griggs has been involved in international home study, correspondence learning, and distance education since 1909.
  • Both Griggs and Andrews University serve the Seventh-day Adventist world church.
  • Griggs University serves approximately 2900 students, and Griggs International Academy services 1200 students.
  • Griggs has projects in all areas of the world.

Further Reading

So far, we’ve been unpacking boxes from the move and getting settled. It might be quiet here for a while as I get my feet on the ground. But I hope to be sharing what I’m learning; results of research I’m doing on various e-learning topics; and pictures from travel (sounds like trips to Asia are in my future). So stay tuned for more!

"One Technology Girl" No Longer

Today is my last day at Berrien RESA as an Instructional Technology Consultant. I have accepted a position as Associate Dean for Higher Education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University (also here in Berrien Springs, MI) starting tomorrow!

I will be moving my blog over to http://blog.janinelim.com so that I can blog about a broader set of distance technologies: including videoconferencing, online learning, blended learning, and webinars / webconferencing. Soon, I’ll tell you more about my new job on that blog. There’s nothing there yet! Still have a bit of set up to do. I’ll let you know here when it’s ready for subscriptions.

But today, I’d like to thank all of you, my readers, for your great comments, input, and feedback over the 6+ years that I’ve blogged about videoconferencing. It’s been such a great learning journey and a great continuous conversation! I hope that you will continue the conversation with me on my new blog!

What will happen to VC Out on a Lim?

This blog is hosted on WordPress.com, and so will be here “forever” as vcoutonalim.wordpress.com for sure, and for another year or two as vcoutonalim.org.

I am also hoping to make an index to this blog sometime in the next month or two so it’s easier for you to find the information that is buried here. So watch for another post with that!

What about TWICE?

I’ll be staying on the TWICE board for another year at least. Sustainability plans are in place!

  • Sue Porter will continue to coordinate Read Around the Planet and be the front line support for CAPspace. Polycom‘s support of these two projects is still in place of course!
  • Scott Sherrill, our programmer for CAPspace will continue to improve the site. There are still many improvements we want to make to CAPspace!
  • Max Graves will take over the coordination of the TWICE Verification Partners.
  • The TWICE ASK committee has taken over the management of all the ASK programs, and billing will come from TWICE instead of Berrien RESA.

What about MysteryQuests?

The MysteryQuest and HistoryQuest sessions I’ve been running have been bequeathed by Berrien RESA to Whirlidurb, an excellent curriculum videoconferencing services provider. Roxanne Glaser, Content Director, is the best multipoint facilitator I’ve ever known, and she has assisted with materials development and facilitation slides for my Quests since 2007. In addition, Whirlidurb has the bridging capabilities (thanks to super bridge dude Shane Howard) to continue this project with a high level of quality for your experience.

Everything Else

The other videoconferencing activities of Berrien RESA, including VCcontentproviders.org and the Teachers’ Favorite Awards will be taken over by my replacement. Check our website in early September to get new contact information.

Keep in Touch

To keep in touch, please note these links/resources:

Thank you again for being part of my learning community and sharing feedback, ideas, resources, and suggestions!

A New LifeSize Express Arrived Yesterday Afternoon!

Yesterday afternoon we were privileged to receive a grant through Views On Learning to receive a new LifeSize Express system, plus a really cool Ergotron cart and 50 inch display.

Views on Learning, Inc. (VOL) is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established to provide our Educational Broadband Service (EBS) schools with distance education opportunities that meet the requirements of NCLB and improve student learning.

Thank you to Jeff Gangloff and Les Turner of Views On Learning for coming to install our new HD videoconferencing system! We’re excited to partner with Views on Learning to bring engaging learning opportunities to more students via videoconferencing. I’m looking forward to facilitating the Jazz workshop this summer from this system too.

One of our elementary schools was also able to receive a grant through Views on Learning. You can read more about that here.

Hooking Teachers on Videoconferencing

The perennial challenge of videoconferencing is to get teachers to use it! They have so many good reasons to resist using it! If you’re just getting started, here are some ideas to get past that first block.

Select a Couple Teachers

Think about who you could start with. Pick someone who:

  • Willing to try something new
  • Flexible
  • Based on content/what’s available

Ask Teachers Questions

As you try to find videoconferences that meet curriculum and teacher interests, ask your teachers these three questions from Linda McDonald.

  • Ask what about the critical target objectives based on testing data.
  • Ask about areas of curriculum that teacher think are important but don’t seem to have time to teach.
  • Ask which content students struggle understanding.

Plan on a Progression of Support

Start off with a very high level of support, and then slowly teach your teachers additional skills so they are more independent.

  1. In the first year, or at least for the very first videoconference, do everything for your teachers. Register for them, give them prep information and help them know how to prepare, remind them a few times before the VC, connect for them and run the camera / remote for them.
  2. As soon as you can, teach your teachers how to do their own registrations.  Keep assisting with connections  and using the remote.
  3. Next, start handing the remote to the teachers and have them mute/unmute, move the camera, and use presets during their VC. Help them set the presets before the VC.
  4. Finally, teach them how to dial on their own too!

Through all of this progression, staying available to assist is critical for the sustainability of the use of videoconferencing in your school/area.

Your Turn

What about you? What tips do you have for hooking teachers on videoconferencing their very first time? Think of the last teacher you got started with VC. What was it that caught his/her interest? Please comment!

TxDLA: Inspiring Teachers' Use of VC

Here are links and resources for my first TxDLA presentation today (Inspiring Teachers’ Use of Videoconferencing):

Other blog posts on working with teachers:

Feel free to comment or ask questions!

Day 20: Why We Use Video Conferencing in K-12 Classrooms

This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing, particularly the section on dialing.

Each January, we write these 20 Day Video Conference Challenges to share our experiences with others. In the early days of video conferencing, it was cumbersome and expensive. Today, we can have excellent H.323 quality connecting a variety of endpoints to different MCUs and other endpoints to create a smaller world for our students.

We have seen the power of effective curriculum video conferencing can have on student motivation and success. If the technology is not properly set up or does not work properly, that creates a barrier to implementation and educators who already have so many things that they are responsible for are going to be less likely to attempt to reach outside their classrooms.

Using advanced video conferencing technologies, we can create exceptional learning opportunities for students in rural schools, suburban schools and inner city schools. Each has a unique need that can be bridged with a quality curriculum video conferencing solution.

Here are links to assist you in continuing to Talk Like a Techie. It has been a learning experience for us as we researched and wrote this challenge and we hope that it has helped you in learning more about video conferencing.

LifeSize
Day 13: How to Dial with a LifeSize Remote

Polycom
Day 11: How to Dial with a Polycom Remote

TANDBERG
Day 12: How to Dial with a Cisco-TANDBERG Remote

Firewall Traversal Units
Day 7: Working With Your Firewall Traversal Unit

We also encourage you to review the past 20 Day Challenges:

If you have ideas or suggestions for future 20 Day Challenges, please comment! Or if you think we missed something from this technical challenge, we’d love to hear from you as well!
Team-written by Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.

Matrix of Videoconference Implementation

The London Grid for Learning has a new blog about their videoconference program. Check it out!

While looking around, I found this awesome Matrix to assess your implementation level posted on Tuesday. It’s specific to their situation (JVCS is the national videoconferencing bridging service); but is still useful to think about your own implementation of videoconferencing. You want to reach a level 1.

What level is your school?

What activities do you think it takes to get a school from level 5 to level 1?