Thought Leaders Blog

We are grateful to all of the individuals that contributed to the TLC Thought Leaders Blog. In these blogs, contributors offer their take on sessions beginning with the 2017 TLC. Click on "Read More" below to view the full content of each blog.

An approach to plagiarism

This session was presented by Jeff Meyerholz and Lynn Olson that started with a few statistics about our typical student body that includes: -The majority of ages fall between 25 and 50 – in that age range, these students are involved with many things such as family, attending their children’s extracurricular activities, mortgages, and so on, leaving little time to focus on school, so some may want to take short cuts in writing papers. -25% are in the military, so they are many times overseas, and have limited internet access. -51% are from the South of the U.S, may be first generations for completing college, and not have much of a support system from someone who has completed college level

Inclusive Excellence 3.0: Inclusive Equitable Excellence

A shout out to everyone who had a part in bringing Dr. Carlos E. Cortés to Ashford! His session, “Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity: Opportunities and Challenges for Ashford University” was timely, inspirational and refreshing. One of many quotes from his presentation which inspired me was, “An equitable and inclusive climate provides people the freedom and opportunity to draw upon their diverse cultures and experiences without feeling obligated to constantly represent ‘their people.’” Why the 3.0? Because this was not your grandmother’s version of inclusive excellence. Certainly, the term “inclusive excellence” has been in the higher education literature for almost two decades and has accomp

Thoughts from our Deans

The Deans shared information in several areas: New Programs, courses and course development 17 new programs launching as soon as January 2! Rest will have staggered launch through June of 2018. Love the innovation in course development! How exciting with all the new programs and especially how we are experimenting with new course models. COE innovating the new competency based Masters, as well as the synchronous requirement mentioned by COHHS. Love the talk of badges, micro-credentialing, Universe of One, and much more. Courses are aligning with career competencies, including requirements such as practicums, practice experiences, in-field experiences, virtual service learning requirements,

Diversity is our responsibility

The opening day of the TLC Conference was very encouraging. The opening session had a deep focus on being equity minded. The presentation by Dr. Yolanda Harper, Morgan Johnson, Jacquie Furtado and Poppy Fitch pointed out that as educators and support teams we all have a responsibility to recognize and eliminate outcomes that cause inequities in student outcomes. This effort is a University wide initiative that requires each of us to give attention to each group as an aggregate and also each student as an individual. One of the themes that emerged in the presentation was the need to create and use research that informs the faculty of equity concerns and that stimulates the development and use

The Medici Effect at TLC

Each year the TLC conference gets better and better, and this year is no exception! Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a presentation and workshop with Dr. Larry Ragan, of Penn State University, who helped us to tease apart some of the nuances and conditions necessary for innovation. Dr. Ragan brings a wealth of experience and education in the area of online learning innovation to Ashford University and shared a number of solid strategies for helping to evolve our learning model here and improve the experience and outcomes of our students. Though the entire experience was engaging and interesting, Dr. Ragan made reference to a concept that I hadn’t heard of called the Medici Effect,

TLC theme of Diversity and Equity

The session titled Brand Building Through Diversity and Inclusion included a wealth of information about the student and faculty demographics at AU and the gap between numbers of white male instructors and black female students. We learned about the AU Diversity and Inclusion Council for students, faculty and staff support. Climate, Recruitment, Retention and Success. Things we can do to promote diversity and equity: -Post a statement in our syllabi sharing beliefs in inclusion and diversity. -Choose articles and resources in our courses from diverse authors. -Appoint a Chief Diversity, Inclusion or Equity officer. -Establish student organizations such as AAA and EBA -Academic support – expa

Great Teaching Trumps Innovation

To steal a phrase from Dr. Craig Swenson’s keynote, “Time is out of joint” (Hamlet), we live in a world where we see increasing innovation happening in all facets of life – from AI, machine learning, unbundling of education, the rise of online education in traditional higher education, automation of jobs, to the kaleidoscopic diversity in our classrooms (Gates Foundation would call it “the new normal”). We live in crazy times. Think about this - forty years ago, Toyota sold mopeds, Oldsmobile was a well-known brand, and there were only three TV networks. What will be next? We are faced with unprecedented levels of technological complexity and new forms of competition. With that, I propose

Ashford is all about the Student

I had the opportunity to attend three sessions and listen to a keynote speaker during the first day of the TLC 2017 here at Ashford University, and I was delightfully impressed. All of the sessions were well planned, solid in expertise, rooted in resources, reached outside of the box of the status quo, and most of all, they screamed with ideology of how to help students succeed and grow as human beings as a result of their experiences here at Ashford University. I am amazed by the level passion each presenter exhibited as they shared their work and fielded questions from the viewers in their sessions. Not to slight any of the amazing presenters today, but I was particularly impressed by De

I still miss the face-to-face connections of an on-ground university

I really enjoyed this morning at TLC. The first three sessions I chose, along with the morning keynote, had me thinking about students and how best to connect with them. I’ve always been tech-forward and started using email to connect with students in the late 80’s. But I still miss the face-to-face connections of an on-ground university – the heart to heart chats during office hours, the dynamic in-class discussions with lots of participants, even running into a student at a grocery store or coffee shop. So, I’m always looking for ways to recreate a bit of that experience and these sessions did not disappoint. The first session focused on bringing in material from current best sellers t

We should be proud of our efforts at Ashford to promote equity, but we can do better.

In many ways, the online modality is a more intimate and a far more rewarding learning environment than the traditional brick and mortar classroom. Like many faculty, I started my professional career standing at the lectern in front of 125-250 students. I lectured, they listened, and then I tested. I thought to myself there must be a better way. I found that way at Ashford. I know my student’s names, their stories, and their challenges. I know the struggle of balancing the demands of home, work, and school. I know the challenges women face in society and in the workplace. However, I do not know what it is like to be too poor to own a computer. I do not have to work nights and weekends to sup

Let’s Keep Going……..

Each of us has likely had the experience of attending sessions at a national conference and being disappointed that there was nothing new to learn. Proud on the one hand that what we do in-house is typically more innovative, forward thinking, and aligned with the needs of today’s learners than what we can find elsewhere. Just like TLC. And at the same time saddened that there is so much work to do and so few colleagues who are contributing like us. Before you become too disheartened and think about giving up, remember this. Five years ago we did not have a Writing Center. Today we offer 24/7 writing tutoring, paper reviews returned within 24 hours, Grammarly for instant paper feedback

I loved the session titled "Invigorating Discussion Forums with the Best-Sellers List" wit

First I am a huge reader so I related completely to bringing current, popular books into the classroom. Students may not have had time to read them all, but they may have heard about these books and because they have been exposed to them in the classroom, are more likely to read one or more! I am designing a course with an optional discussion forum and love to hear how Dr. Lower makes this work. I love her idea of creating discussions with vitality – that attract students! Good points about alignment with course, and real-life application. Getting students interested in something other than the required assignments is a way to enhance the teaching (and learning) experience. Isn’t this what

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