Virtual School Meanderings

December 19, 2014

OCUFA Report, December 17, 2014 – OCUFA Announces Online Learning Workshop

I don’t normally post this one, but note the online learning workshop listed below…

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Happy holidays from OCUFA
On behalf of everyone at OCUFA, OCUFA Report would like to wish all of our readers a safe, restful, and happy holiday season and a very happy new year.

OCUFA announces online learning workshop
OCUFA is pleased to announce an upcoming workshop designed to help faculty members develop high-quality online courses while protecting academic freedom and intellectual property. The Faculty Leadership in E-Learning Workshop will be held on March 20, 2015 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

Layoffs continue at Nipissing
On December 8, 2014, Nipissing University completed “Phase 1” of its planned layoffs. Local media reported that 16 positions were lost, including 14 in senior management. The university administration is indicating that two more rounds of layoffs are imminent: one affecting unionized support staff, and a final one affecting faculty on teaching contracts

Ontario ties student loans to inflation
On December 8, 2014, the Government of Ontario announced that it would index maximum student levels to inflation. The government also announced a new program – the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation Program – that will allow borrowers in default to bring their loans back into good standing.

Happy holidays from OCUFA
On behalf of everyone at OCUFA, OCUFA Report would like to wish all of our readers a safe, restful, and happy holiday season and a very happy new year.

We’ll be taking a break over the next few weeks, but will return with a new issue onJanuary 14, 2015. The coming year promises to be an important one for OCUFA, as we will be announcing major initiatives around university pensions, contract faculty, and online learning. We will also be closely monitoring the Government of Ontario’s differentiation agenda, while preparing for a potential review of the university funding formula in Ontario.

Layoffs continue at Nipissing
On December 8, 2014, Nipissing University completed “Phase 1” of its planned layoffs. Local media reported that 16 positions were lost, including 14 in senior management. The university administration is indicating that two more rounds of layoffs are imminent: one affecting unionized support staff, and a final one affecting faculty on teaching contracts.

Layoffs of support staff and contract faculty will have a negative effect on the quality of learning at Nipissing. OCUFA is urging the administration to abandon this harmful course of action, and preserve existing positions. We are also working closely with our colleagues at the Nipissing University Faculty Association (NUFA) to monitor, and respond to, the proposed layoffs.

Nipissing’s administration claims that the layoffs are needed to cope with a budget deficit created by, among other things, the Government of Ontario’s cuts to teacher training programs. While this policy was ill-advised and has removed significant public funding from the institution, it remains an administrative choice to pursue layoffs. OCUFA continues to call for the restoration of education funding at the provincial level.

OCUFA announces online learning workshop
OCUFA is pleased to announce an upcoming workshop designed to help faculty members develop high-quality online courses while protecting academic freedom and intellectual property. The Faculty Leadership in E-Learning Workshop will be held on March 20, 2015 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

Join us for a day of discussion, skill-building, and action for faculty members interested in e-learning. This OCUFA workshop will focus on the opportunities for pedagogical improvement created by online learning and the challenges associated with deploying new learning technologies to improve educational outcomes, not institutional bottom lines. The workshop will be action oriented, gathering information from participants and working towards the development of an action plan for professors, academic librarians, and faculty associations across the province.

Of interest to faculty who are engaged in issues relating to online pedagogy as well as chief negotiators and bargaining team members, this workshop is your chance to reflect, engage, and work for positive change. Register today!

Ontario ties student loans to inflation
On December 8, 2014, the Government of Ontario announced that it would index maximum student levels to inflation. The government also announced a new program – the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation Program – that will allow borrowers in default to bring their loans back into good standing.

Under the student aid changes, the maximum loan package available to students will increase according to the prevailing rate of inflation. The “debt cap” – or the yearly ceiling beyond which debt forgiveness kicks in – will also be indexed.

While these changes will help students to afford higher education in the short term, it does not address Ontario’s high tuition fees. OCUFA has long argued that students are paying too much for their education, both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of university operating budgets. As Ontario prepares to examine the university funding formula in 2015, it is important that it also look at how to make higher education more accessible and affordable for students from all backgrounds.

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REL Midwest Research Update Newsletter Winter 2014

From Tuesday’s inbox…  Note the REL Appalachia report on Online and Distance Learning in Southwest Tennessee: Implementation and Challenges at the bottom.

To view this email as a web page, go here.
Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes for Research

Research Update
Newsletter

Winter 2014–2015
Vol. 3, No. 4

Grade school children in hallWelcome

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is one of 10 RELs funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and is administered by American Institutes for Research (AIR). Each edition of REL Midwest’sResearch Update brings you news of how our scope of work is unfolding in your state and across the region, offers information about resources available from the REL program and other research and technical assistance providers, and highlights important topics within education research. In this issue, we continue to show how research influences practice and policy—with examples from our School Turnaround Research Alliance and our Making Connections events.

IN THIS ISSUE

Our Work
REL Midwest’s Research Alliances: Making an Impact

Bridging Research and Practice: REL MidwestMaking Connections Events

News, Events, and Activities
Learn about people, organizations, and issues in the region.

Resources to Explore

Contact Us
REL Midwest
1120 East Diehl Road
Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
866-730-6735
www.relmidwest.org
Follow REL Midwest onTwitter.

Our Work

Making an Impact: School Turnaround in Michigan

Education leaders in Michigan want to know more about how schools with risk factors for low student achievement are performing better than expected. With the help of REL Midwest and our School Turnaround Research Alliance, Michigan is reconsidering how it identifies schools that are “beating the odds” and learning more about the characteristics that set these schools apart.

Since fall 2010, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has used two statistical approaches to identify schools statewide that, despite having risk factors for low student achievement such as high poverty rates, are performing at higher levels than expected. The first approach compares the predicted performance of each school with its actual performance. The second approach compares the performance of each school with the performance levels of the 29 demographically most similar schools in the state. Based on these approaches, schools can be designated as Beating the Odds schools and receive special recognition from MDE.

The School Turnaround Research Alliance at REL Midwest—which comprises education stakeholders across Michigan, including representatives from MDE—focused on learning more about schools that are performing better than anticipated. In the first year of the School Turnaround Research Alliance, researchers conducted empirical analyses of MDE’s current statistical approaches to identifying Beating the Odds schools.

REL Midwest researchers found that identification of Beating the Odds schools can vary because of decisions made in statistical approaches, and fewer than expected Michigan schools are being consistently identified as Beating the Odds schools in part because of those differences.

MDE’s knowledge of these findings has inspired the department to rethink its Beating the Odds identification policies. Because the different statistical approaches used may identify different schools as Beating the Odds schools, MDE is considering the practical implications for districts and schools that are misidentified. MDE also is considering how the sample used to identify Beating the Odds schools might be changed to improve the accuracy of its statistical approaches. With the help of REL Midwest, the School Turnaround Research Alliance is empowering MDE to improve its Beating the Odds initiative and continue recognizing the exceptional work of schools and districts in Michigan.

At the same time, members of the School Turnaround Research Alliance who work at MDE also are interested in learning more about possible instructional and organizational differences between Beating the Odds schools and demographically similar non–Beating the Odds schools. Knowing what sets Beating the Odds schools apart from other schools with similar demographic characteristics is important as state officials consider actions to sustain Beating the Odds school performance and improve the operations of low-performing schools statewide.

To further this work, REL Midwest is analyzing the results of a Beating the Odds survey administered to Beating the Odds schools and comparison schools. The analysis of survey results will enable the School Turnaround Research Alliance to identify differences between Beating the Odds schools and non–Beating the Odds schools. In particular, the survey will help the alliance identify the instructional and organizational practices that the research literature suggests are associated with Beating the Odds schools, including effective leadership, a challenging curriculum with a focus on literacy, significant professional development opportunities, a positive school culture, and ongoing data use to inform instructional decisions.

MDE, in collaboration with REL Midwest, is finding evidence-based ways to improve student achievement in schools across Michigan. Check our website, or follow us onTwitter , for further updates from the School Turnaround Research Alliance.

Making Connections: Building Partnerships for Improvement in Education

REL Midwest recently brought together experts in collaborative research from the William T. Grant Foundation, AIR, the Education Development Center, and Toledo Public Schools for the Making Connections public television event “Building Partnerships for Improvement in Education. ” Panelists discussed collaborative research approaches and their effect on education, highlighting the shifting dynamics between research and practice. They also covered current education initiatives that use collaborative partnerships to improve research, practice, and policy in the interest of schools, students, and communities at large.

Vivian Tseng, Ph.D., vice president of programs at the William T. Grant Foundation, kicked off the conversation with insights into the current gap between research and practice and the structures needed to build successful partnerships. It is not a simple process whereby research “facts” are passed from researchers to decision makers, according to Dr. Tseng. Researchers and practitioners need to build two-way streets that foster engagement, joint research agendas, and shared commitments. Dr. Tseng asserts that effective research-practice partnerships should ultimately build the capacity of researchers and districts to produce more useful work and translate these research findings into practical improvements in education.

The event also featured stories, recommendations, and takeaways from researchers and practitioners involved in collaborative partnerships. Panelists included Mindee O’Cummings, Ph.D., principal researcher at AIR, and Laurie Kruszynski, data coordinator at Scott High School of Toledo Public Schools, both from REL Midwest’sDropout Prevention Research Alliance. Dr. O’Cummings and Kruszynski shared their challenges and successes instituting trust, collaboration, and co-ownership to improve student outcomes in the district. Julie Riordan, Ph.D., director of research at REL Northeast and Islands, discussed how these partnerships affect the ongoing development of the researchers themselves. Carrie Scholz, Ph.D., senior researcher at AIR, examined how invested stakeholders beyond researchers and practitioners can play a role in collaborative partnerships, with specific examples at the local level.

Following the taping, the panelists answered questions from audience members in a large-group discussion and in an informal meet-and-greet session. WTTW Chicago Public Media will air the panel discussion and question-and-answer session onFebruary 20 at 7:00 p.m. Please visit the REL Midwest website to view the video archive after the broadcast.

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News, Events, and Activities

  • A new REL Midwest study, The Utility of Teacher and Student Surveys in Principal Evaluations: An Empirical Investigation, examined whether student and teacher surveys contribute relevant information on principal performance. Using data from one midsize urban district in the Midwest, REL Midwest investigated whether adding student and teacher survey measures to existing measures increased the power of a principal evaluation model to explain across-school variance in student achievement. The study found that two survey-based measures—classroom instructional environment and instructional leadership—contribute new information on the link between principals and student achievement. This information will help district superintendents, principals, and other district leaders understand the quality and utility of these surveys and make informed decisions on whether and how to include them in principal evaluations. The report also demonstrates a process for evaluating measures that are candidates for inclusion in evaluation models.
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Resources to Explore

  • Creating a Content Strategy for Mobile Devices in the Classroom, a new resource from the Center on Innovations in Learning , aims to help teachers, curriculum and technology specialists, and administrators answer the fundamental question of “Now what?” when mobile devices arrive at school.
  • To understand which students with disabilities are at greatest risk of leaving school without a diploma, REL West examined the rates at which Utah students with different types of disabilities moved to other schools, dropped out, or graduated compared with all students with disabilities and with general education students. As a group, Utah students with disabilities had poorer outcomes than their general education classmates, but outcomes varied by disability category. By examining this variation within the population of students with disabilities, this study can inform decisions about which students with disabilities most need interventions, suggest refinements to state and district data systems, and suggest areas in need of further research.School Mobility, Dropout, and Graduation Rates Across Student Disability Categories in Utah was released in November 2014.
  • Evaluation of Teacher Preparation Programs: Key Considerations and Methodological Issues, a recent REL Central webinar, provided an overview of efforts to evaluate teacher preparation programs. Presenters included Robert Floden, Ph.D., associate dean for research at Michigan State University, who drew from a recent National Academy of Education report, The Evaluation of Teacher Preparation Programs: Purposes, Methods, and Policy Options . The webinar is archived online.
  • A new report from REL Appalachia sheds light on online and distance learning in rural areas. Online and Distance Learning in Southwest Tennessee: Implementation and Challenges was intended to help district leaders from the Southwest Tennessee Rural Education Cooperative (SWTREC), a coalition of superintendents from 12 districts (half of which are rural) surrounding Memphis, gauge the supply and demand for online and distance learning courses in their region. The report includes the survey that was administered to SWTREC members, which may be adapted and used by coalitions of schools and districts interested in sharing access to online and distance learning courses with one another.
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Contact Us

For more information about any of the items in this newsletter or to speak with a member of our staff, please contact us by telephone (866-730-6735) or e-mail (relmidwest@air.org). We look forward to hearing from you.

REL Midwest at American Institutes for Research
1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
866-730-6735
www.relmidwest.org

This material was prepared under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0004 by Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, administered by American Institutes for Research. The content of the publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce in whole or in part for educational purposes is granted.
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December 18, 2014

Plugged In | 12.18.14 | (powered by iNACOL)

A final word today from the neo-liberals….

To view this email as a web page, go here.
International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

PLUGGED IN
  12.18.14
powered by iNACOL…

News…

CompetencyWorks
I work for the Sanborn Regional School District in New Hampshire, a district that was an early adopter of a K-12 competency education model, one that is now in its fifth year of implementation. My fellow administrative team members and I regularly receive…
Getting Smart
One of the most important trends in US education at the end of 2014 is the resistance to large scale end of year assessment. Combined with concerns about higher standards, incoherent federal policy, and privacy, the anti-testing vitriol reached new…
Christensen Institute
One of the core findings from our research on innovation is that technologies improve over time. We can see this happening with online and blended learning. For example, content is becoming more engaging, learning software is becoming more adaptive…
EdSurge
Niki is a senior at Clark Fork High School in rural Idaho, an 80-student high school in a town of 530 people, eight hours away from Boise. “I want to be my own person, get a job and take care of myself,” says Niki matter-of-factly. “I’m interested in aerospace…
Blend My Learning
In this rapidly growing space of personalized learning, there is a digital solution for each and every component that is needed to shift traditional schools to student-centric. We can wax poetic on which platform is best suited to meet students’ needs, and we can…
Digital Education
Can the lessons of individual schools and school networks that have shown success with “personalized” models of education be applied to whole systems?That’s the hope of a new partnership between Next Generation Learning Challenges and Education…
Next Generation Learning Challenges
Time and again, as local institutions transform into dynamic, international markets there is an explosion in variety and a relentless pursuit of more aptly and fully meeting the scales and diversity of demand. As products and services are uprooted from…
The Sentinel
Cumberland Valley School District expects to implement “blended learning” for students in the district by the start of next school year, Superintendent Frederick S. Withum III said Monday during the school board’s meeting. Blended learning is a hybrid of…
Charlottesville Tomorrow
A secondary learning academy operating under a new name and location opened its doors in early November serving Charlottesville’s public high school-age students. The Lugo-McGinness Academy, the alternative education center for Charlottesville City…
THE Journal
Today’s students are firmly entrenched in the digital world, both in class and out. Although they are digital citizens, they don’t always know what digital citizenship is. According to Mike Ribble, an author of books on the topic for both educators and…
Featured Resource…
iNACOL State Policy Frameworks: 5 Critical Issues to Transform K-12 EducationiNACOL State Policy Frameworks: 5 Critical Issues to Transform K-12 Education
Maria Worthen, VP for Federal and State Policy, iNACOL
Susan Patrick, President and CEO, iNACOL
FTAF 9
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Tips And Tactics To Secure 2015 OLC Conference Attendance Approval

From Tuesday’s inbox…

Online Learning Consortium twitterfacebookvimeoinstagramdribblereddit
How to Start Planning Your
OLC 2015 Conference Attendance Today
Now is the time to start planning your professional development for 2015. We know you value the information and networking that takes place at OLC conferences, but with shrinking budgets, proposing travel and conference attendance can be a hard sell to your administration.

We hope the tips and tactics below will give you some ideas on how to get your travel and attendance approved. We look forward to seeing you in 2015!

  1. Justify your attendance in a tangible way.
    • Identify specific sessions that are applicable to improving your teaching and learning skills.
    • Align what you’ll learn with your institution’s online learning goals. Are you starting an online program? Are you looking to validate where your institution is headed?
  2. Find ways to save money.
    • Plan early and save with early bird registration and hotel rates.
    • Try to share a room with a colleague or someone in your professional network.
    • Comparison shop by researching the cost of other events. OLC prides itself on being competitive and in some cases boast lower than average registration rates.
  3. Offer to share what you’ve learned with others.
    • Plan a meeting with others in your department to present findings and handouts. Most of our presenters provide their presentations and materials for post conference use.
    • Commit to coming back with a certain number of actionable items and ideas for yourself, department or institution.

Need more ideas? 

Learn more about how to justify your conference attendance.

 

OLC Collaborate Regional Event

February 24, 2015

Kansas City, MO

8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium

April 22 – 24, 2015

Dallas, TX

12th Annual Blended Learning Conference and Workshop

July 7 – 8, 2015

Denver, CO

21st Annual Online Learning International Conference

October 14 – 16, 2015

Orlando, FL

Details coming soon.

Best regards,
Christine

Christine Hinkley | Director, Conferences | Online Learning Consortium
Forward this email
The Online Learning Consortium | P.O. Box 1238 | Newburyport | MA | 01950

[L_OSBC_Announce] Sharing Newsletters

Something for my BC readers…

I’d like to share this newsletter from our colleagues in the Learning Division, highlighting “Focus on Skills.”
Check out all of the great programs that are going on around the province.
http://www.enewsletters.gov.bc.ca/Education/Focus_on_Skills_Dec2014/edition

Approved: For_Publication

I invite you to share this with your colleagues either by forwarding the email or by printing it and posting it in your common area.

Thank you,

Michael Cochrane
Educational Services Support Manager
Open School BC
Education resources and services

250 356-9456 FAX:250 356-6036
Toll Free 1-888-883-4766
Visit us online at: www.openschool.bc.ca
You can also follow us on Twitter: @_osbc
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OpenSchoolBC

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