I recently attended the 2012 Conference on Teaching and Learning at the University of South Alabama. This conference included a lot of great presentations although the 15-minute time slots made it difficult when you really wanted to hear more about the topic being covered. The highlight for me was the closing keynote. Dr. Mark Milliron, Chancellor of Western Governors University Texas, gave a fantastic and inspiring presentation. He spoke about how in education we need to go back to focusing on the student. Our number one priority should be the success of our students and doing whatever necessary to ensure our students receive a quality education and building personal relationships with our students and their individual success. In higher education, we can get wrapped up in the politics and seeing everyone as a statistic. It should be about learning. I was really impressed by the way Western Governors University concentrates on students reaching competencies and constructing a personalized learning experience for each student based on the the experience they bring with them instead of as most higher education institutions which are stuck in the idea that all students must take certain classes and a certain number of hours. Students learn at different rates and the model that Dr. Milliron talked about really takes that into account.
Along with 3 of my colleagues, we gave a presentation on “Avoid Dead Air: What you Need to Know about Facilitating a Live Virtual Session.” In our presentation we discussed tips for ensuring a successful and engaging experience. Presentation slides can be viewed below.