Posts Tagged USM

Engagement, Persistence, and Retention: How USM use ConnectYard to Successfully Enhance these Key Factors

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 2012 Blackboard World Conference in New Orleans, LA.  Blackboard World is always a huge conference with a lot of information.  Like years past, there were a lot of useful sessions and time well spent collaborating and meeting new folks from other schools learning about their experiences and key take aways.  There were several things I thought they could have done better, but the big negatives were the food and location.   Considering we were in a city known for their great food, what they provided at the conference was a disappointment.  And, although I love New Orleans, having to shuttle back and forth to the convention center from my hotel was a pain and the few times I had to walk the 2 miles to get to the other end of the convention center wasn’t pleasant, although admittedly the exercise was good for me 🙂 Overall, though I’m glad I was able to attend.

On the first day of the conference, along with my colleagues Sheri Rawls and Cindy Handley, we presented with ConnectYard.  We have been using ConnectYard for about a year to enhance the communication within our online courses.  ConnectYard provides the ability to set up alternate communication channels within Blackboard so students and faculty can self-select how they would like to receive discussion postings and announcements from their courses. They can select channels such as Facebook, Twitter, cell phone text messaging, or e-mail.  Feedback from our students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive.  They like the customization of the service and that it allows them to access their messages from anywhere on their mobile devices.  We are currently pursuing other use cases for ConnectYard, such as for marketing and recruitment for our online programs and university wide communications among departments and online students.  To view our presentation, see below.

How USM Uses ConnectYard to Successfully Enhance Engagement, Persistence, and Retention Efforts from ahornton
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Creating Flexibility for Online Students: Partnership with MSVCC

My colleagues, Sheri Rawls, Chad Seals, and myself gave this presentation at the 2011 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference in March. We spoke about the consortium agreement between The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC).  This agreement allows USM students enrolled in a fully online program to have access to additional online general education courses offered by MSVCC, and not currently offered online through USM. This presentation included a discussion about what lead to this agreement, benefits, and lessons learned after piloting for one semester.  The presentation also included discussion of where they see the future of online going for USM.

To view our presentation, please click on the link below:

Creating Flexibility for the Online Student: The University of Southern Mississippi and MSVCC partnership http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/8143499
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Training & Development Certificate Program

I recently completed the Training & Development Certificate Program offered through the Workforce Learning & Performance Institute at The University of Southern Mississippi.  The program requires that you complete 84 hours of in-person hours and 4 extended learning activities outside of the in-person sessions.  Participants complete the program over a 4 month period where  they attend 3 full day sessions a month.  The program covers 35 competencies outlined by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

This program was the best experience of my life.  I made some wonderful friends and professional contacts as well as learned a lot about the field of human resource development.  The all day sessions include a variety of activities working in groups to allow you to learn from the facilitator as well as the other professionals in the program.  I took so much away from this program and have implemented many of the things I learned in the program already.  I will never forget this experience and would recommend this program to anyone in the field of Human Resource Development or Training.

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The Pilot Use of Wimba at USM

Recently, at the 2009 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference, me and two of my colleagues presented on “The Pilot Use of Wimba at USM.”  In this session we discussed why The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) chose to use Wimba classroom, the pilot implementation phase in spring 2007, and the evaluation of that implementation.   We discussed the methodology and the instruments used to conduct the research study as well as the results of the data analysis and the conclusions. Results discussed in the session included items such as: (1) all of the instructors and more than half of the students had used collaboration software prior to using Wimba Classroom, (2) students reported that they found learning to use Wimba Classroom easier than did their instructors, and (3) instructors reported using application sharing more than twice as much as their students.  We have revised the instruments and are preparing to administer the questionnaires to multiple institutions, which use Wimba classroom. Data collected will be compared to see if findings are consistent across multiple institutions and provide further evidence for the generalizability of these findings.  Below are the slides from our presentation…
Pilot Use Of Wimba At USM
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