Q&A with #RUOnlineCon Speaker Deb Adair of Quality Matters
Higher education is now more “personalized” and “personable” than ever, thanks to higher education technology and instructional design combined with the indispensable understanding that experienced educators have about students.
That’s the outlook on the quality of online higher ed as seen by Deb Adair, a keynote speaker at the 7th annual Rutgers Online Learning Conference Mid-Atlantic Region (RUOnlineCon) January 11-12, 2016.
The fusion of educational technology, quality assurance, instructional design and good-old-fashioned pedagogy will be the focus of a keynote speech titled “Making Quality Matter in Online Learning: Past, Present and Future” by Adair, who serves as managing director and chief planning officer of Quality Matters.
Deb Adair, Managing Director & Chief Planning Officer of Quality Matters
She previewed her presentation in a Q&A:
1. In a nutshell, what does Quality Matters do in the world of higher education?
“We’re really in the middle of a revolution,” says Ray Schroeder, one of the most-experienced, innovative thinkers and leaders in online higher education.
“We are moving from what for centuries has been teacher-centered learning (that is, learning driven by the faculty member) in a push approach to student-centered learning—which is more of a pull approach,” says Schroeder, a keynote speaker at the 7th annual Rutgers Online Learning Conference Mid-Atlantic Region (RUOnlineCon) January 11-12, 2016.
The “push” and “pull” over learning will be the focus of Schroeder’s keynote speech titled “Students at the Center: Redefining Higher Education” at the conference. The event serves
faculty and staff who want to create enhanced learning environments using online and hybrid instructional resources.
One of higher education’s most-active bloggers, Schroeder is founder and director of the Center for Online Leadership and Strategy at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Rutgers is partnering with UPCEA’s mid-Atlantic region and NJEDge, a consortium of practitioners in online learning and educational technology.
The re-emergence of autodidacts—people “who learn on their own”—is just one of several societal trends reshaping higher education, points out Ken Ronkowitz, senior designer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and one of five keynote speakers at the upcoming Rutgers Online Learning Conference Mid-Atlantic region (RUOnlineCon) Jan. 11-12 2016 in New Brunswick, N.J.
Ronkowitz—who in addition to creating instructional design solutions teaches in the NJIT graduate program in professional technical communications and at Montclair State University as an adjunct English instructor—will invite participants to learn about societal trends in a talk dubbed “The Disconnected.”
Kenneth Ronkowitz, senior designer, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Trends like the sharing economy, the maker movement, the do-it-yourself movement, open source coding, “cord cutting” of traditional cable television, and a “rent rather than buy” mindset could affect higher education significantly in the future, opined Ronkowitz.
Part 2: Collaborating with a Specialist on Learning & Tools
The online course environment is an attractive instructional option for graduate-level programs. In fields as diverse as business and social work, online courses draw people who work full-time, have family responsibilities, and live some distance from campus.
Dilafruz Nazarova knew that the students coming to her Rutgers political science course shared these characteristics. She also knew that online learning could offer a rigorous learning environment.
But she didn’t know how to get there.
While she had taught in face-to-face classrooms, Nazarova wanted professional guidance in transitioning to an online teaching environment. At first she was unsure about what instructional technology could offer her and her students.
The summer of 2015 was “my first experience teaching an online course,” recounted Nazarova, a scholar in international law and Rutgers political science lecturer and doctoral candidate. Her course was on the topic of international law and the United Nations for a new program in political science: the M.A. in the United Nations and Global Policy Studies.
Part 1: Creating An Online Course from Scratch
Dilafruz Nazarova was an accomplished scholar and advocate in human rights law when she arrived at Rutgers in 2010 to pursue a doctorate in political science. Born in Tajikistan and fluent in four languages, Nazarova had earned her law degree and worked for her government and international organizations focusing on international law.
She wanted to dive into yet another field—teaching online—but lacked experience and expertise.
But she’s now an enthusiastic and attentive online learning instructor—crediting the Rutgers Online Learning Conference (#RUOnlineCon), the instructional design teams available at Rutgers, and her political science department for her takeoff into the world of online instruction.
Dilafruz Nazarova, Rutgers lecturer and scholar of international law. ~Credit: Charles Wasilewski
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Some of the nation’s top experts in online education and hybrid learning will share innovations and best practices at the Rutgers Online Learning Conference (RUOnlineCon) Jan. 11-12, 2016.
The conference will explore available and emerging technologies, use of learning management systems, ancillary software and sites, new instructional methods, assessments, audio/video elements, and faculty training and resources.
Jeff Selingo, best-selling author of College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students, will be keynote speaker. In his book, Selingo argues that demographics, economics and technology are converging to force fundamental changes in the traditional college education experience. Through a process he calls “unbundling,” Selingo reports that education is shifting from a time-served model (where higher education degrees are based on credit hours earned) to models featuring new modes of learning, including “online degrees and credentials based on what students actually know rather than how much time they spend in a classroom,” according to Selingo’s book.