Instructor Update - June 2017
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AEA Learning Online
Instructor Update

Happy Holidays from AEA Learning Online

Hello to all of those who make AEA Learning Online what we are, our wonderful instructors! 

We hope you are having an excellent holiday season and are getting ready for an exciting 2019!  We will have many new things to look forward in this upcoming year, including (finally) the launch of the new registration system.

Speaking of that new registration system...

So, yes, you are probably expecting an update here.  We were holding off on giving an update in anticipation of coming out with some definitive news regarding the system, and here we are.

To review, we told you that we were definitely going to the new system in January.  Then definitely in April.  Then definitely July 1.  Then, we made it the beginning of September (we even switched you over to putting any course that started in August or later into the new system.  This was pushed back to October, and then a drop-dead date of November 5.  And here we are now, a bit in the same place.

First thing is first, you should have your vita added and approved in the new system.  And, you should be entering new course proposals and sections in the new system.  We will (on our end) copy the proposal and put it into the old system during this transition time, so that new courses can begin registration.  Yes, this does seem like we are duplicating our efforts, but this will make it easier for the eventual change-over.

So, what is the hold up?  The vendor we are working with, Performance Matters, has given us a few challenges.  The biggest issue is that when we connected the AEA Login to their systems so that the accounts would come over, it only worked for about a week or so, when the automated nightly import of users stopped working on their end.  That was in August, and caused us delay for the last two times.  Yes, there are a few other things that are not 100% perfect, but this nightly import of users is the only item we are holding off on.  However, before Performance Matters fixes the issue, they are working to import a few other AEA's course data first.

So... we are still waiting without much we can do.

We are admittedly frustrated by the lack of progress on this, as what we thought would be a transition time of a month or two has turned into one that is almost a year long.  This has had an effect on total enrollments in our courses, which you have probably noticed.  We have expressed to them the impact it is having on our business, but for now, we will continue to do what we are doing.

Working with "Slackers"

Wow... that sounds a bit negative.  Let's put a positive spin on that and say, working with those who have busy schedules, or those who aren't always on top of deadlines.

Regardless, we have all been there.  While most of our students work very well with deadlines in class, there are usually a student or two in each section that can be consistently behind deadlines.  As an instructor, you will need to gauge whether this causes an issue for your course or not.

One thing we have noticed recently is more requests to transfer to another online course after the current course is finished.  Our druther is to only transfer individuals to another class if they are in the first week of the course.  However, we do make a per-person decision based on the circumstances to transfer an individual later.  Obviously, a family emergency or crisis makes that an easy decision.  Someone who is struggling with the basic tasks of the course... not as easy a decision.

There are two important items for instructors here. 

#1. You have heard me say this before, but it is crucial that you state your expectations ahead of time.  It is better to state a policy that you will then choose to be more lenient on than a policy that you need to enforce a more strict consequence.  Several instructors have added specific language to their syllabus stating that failure to do X, Y, or Z will cause a student to fail a course.  If a student does fail to do X, Y, and Z, it makes it much easier for the instructor to point to the policy rather than simply telling a student they are failing.

#2. It is equally as important for teachers to do ongoing assessing of students.  Specifically, I mean just checking in with students to see if they are "getting it" or not.  It typically is pretty obvious which students will struggle with the technical aspects of a course within the first few times of logging in.  Not quite as obvious, but close, will be if students struggle with the content in a course.  The most critical week for this high level of active facilitation is that very first week of the course.  Check to make sure that all the students log in, and are "getting" both the general structure of how the course works as well as the content you are covering.  If students are not "getting it", either you know you might have to help them with additional supports, remind them of your class expectations, or help them if they need to transfer.  The last thing we want is for a student to wait until late in the course to determine that the course content was not applicable to them or too difficult and then request a refund, because we will not be offering one at that time.

Bottom line: We want to help all of our learners succeed.  For some, success is knowing that online learning is not for them.  It is okay for them to choose face-to-face learning opportunities instead of online ones, and we want to help them with that as early as possible.

Spring OLLIE Courses

We have the links for our spring OLLIE courses ready for you!  Here they are:

OLLIE: Online Learning 101 (3 credits) - 1/9 - 3/9*

OLLIE: Assessment, Feedback, and Evaluation (2 credits) - 3/20 - 4/23*

OLLIE: Facilitation (2 credits) - 5/1 - 6/4*
Personalized Learning (2 credits) - 3/27 - 4/25*

A reminder that courses are free to audit, or the minimal amount per credit (license renewal = $35, Drake = $85).

Next summer, we will for sure have Instructional Design again, as well as the Developer's Cohort and Designing Online Assessments & Activities.  Probably will have Designing Online Lessons as well.
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