"Six Scenarios" NUTN Panel Smashing Success

"Six Scenarios" NUTN Panel Smashing Success

Our "Is the New Normal Anything But?" panel at the recent 2010 NUTN Summit rocked! Thanks to Susan Kannel, Lisa Cheney-Steen, and Cynthia Calongne, my fellow panelists*. The "six scenarios" seemed to provide an excellent framework for our conversation; the interaction with our audience and each other was excellent, and the discussion could have gone on for hours.

As always, I'm grateful to learn lots from each of you and from the audience. Among the forces which Susan and Lisa identified that are pushing us in a "Steady as She Goes" direction:

  • Degrees are not going away
  • The credit hour pricing model is a major obstacle to modularizing learning
  • Learning management systems were once new, but now are instruments of incremental or no change -- for instance, they make it difficult to integrate labs into courses or integrate learning resources across courses
  • Paradoxically (to my mind at least), fast growth also supports a "steady as she goes" direction because fast growth makes it really hard to do anything but focus on keeping up (CCCO has experienced 25% annual growth over the past couple of years).

I also loved Susan's insight about the distinction between "students who work" and the clientele they serve, which are "workers who study." They find the label "2-year degree" insulting because they are on a different timetable (4-6 years) to complete that amount of study within the constraints of a full-time work schedule. So we need to be careful about the labels we use.

At the same time, Cynthia advocated the Quantum Leap scenario as she gave us a glimpse of how virtual worlds such as Second Life are enabling us to make a huge leap forward in teaching and learning. She introduced me to the concept of heutagogy (thanks Lisa for setting me straight on this!). There is hope for the Quantum Leap scenario, if Cynthia's contagious enthusiasm and deep knowledge are any indication. For more on Cynthia's work and presentations, see her slide show collection.

I was too busy moderating and taking notes to remember what I said, but it seemed to move things along well. There was an interesting discussion at the end about how to get small liberal arts (in this case, rural Christian) colleges more involved with technology and online learning (my suggestion: start with summer online courses/program).

*Susan Kannel: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Lisa Cheney-Steen: Colorado Community Colleges Online (CCCO)
Cynthia Calongne: Colorado Technical University

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