Archive for July, 2008
So why did eLearning Pundit post the story about TSTC in Second Life first?¬† I have been traveling!¬† Last week I went to Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, SC.¬† We visited the new Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT).¬† It is a truly awesome facility.¬† Please visit the link.
For the last five days I have been in Orlando at the SACS COC Summer Institute.¬† It was very informative and has helped me get a handle on the requirements I wrote about as an even newer administrator in December (here and here)
I will posting more about both of these soon.No comments
Our local paper - the Waco Tribune-Herald, had a FRONT PAGE ARTICLE with a big color picture about TSTC’s coming digital media certificate and associate degree in Second Life (go read it - the picture is not online.¬† eLearning Pundit noticed and gave us a little write-up, too.
Here is a link to the vTSTC campus website, which eLearning Pundit points out is a work in progress.No comments
We recently had a visit from representatives of Datatel (makers of Colleague - our student information system).¬† One of them, Dr. Susan Hallenbeck, has a blog called Refracted Higher Education.¬† She viewed a presentation of TSTC efforts in Second Life.¬† She posted about the presentation here.1 comment
I drove across campus to the building where I used to teach the other day (the John B. Connally Technology Center).¬† As I drove up I saw one of my former students.¬† He came in as a partially disabled Navy veteran who needed better IT skills in order to get a better civilian job.¬† He left as a distinguished graduate.
He now has a successful career at a very big Storage Area Network company.¬† Why was he back?¬† He came back to find more graduates to work for his company.
I love what we do!2 comments
There is a great article in the New York Times about how colleges use tax-exempt endowments. It features Berea College, which actually uses its endowment to provide a free education to Berea students. The usual questions are raised about rising tuition and increased spending while endowments continue to grow huge.
I would support a requirement that encourages expenditures to provide wider access to education. If the standard is not met, then the endowment becomes taxable.
In January, the Senate Finance Committee requested detailed endowment
and spending data from 136 colleges and universities with endowments of
at least $500 million, with a possible eye to forcing them to spend at
least 5 percent of their assets each year, as foundations are required
to do. Large, tax-free endowments ‚Äúshould mean affordable education for
more students, not just a security blanket for colleges,‚ÄĚ said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who is reviewing the data.
Read the whole thing.No comments
I am in Amarillo for a family gathering.¬† My daughter and I had planned to attend a night time hike at Palo Duro Canyon State Park last night, but it was canceled due to heavy rain.¬† Tonight we will return to the canyon to see a show in the ampitheater there.¬† We hope that will not be rained out.
Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the U.S., although I believe it is a pretty distant second.¬† It is still a beautiful and awe-inspiring place:
One thought that I had as we drove here (420 miles) that is related to T. Boone Pickens’ plan to add more wind turbines to west Texas - There is still PLENTY of room and wind!
Related to that, the Texas Public Utility Commission has voted to build nearly $5 billion worth of transmission lines from west Texas to urban areas in the east of the state.¬† The plan will increase capacity from the current 5000 MW to 18,000 MW.¬† This is half of what was requested, but Pickens’ 4000 MW farm should have it made.
If you want to see more of the canyon, you can view this video I found on YouTube.No comments
I have a lot of respect for the accomplishments of the University of Phoenix.¬† Although I regularly take for-profit schools to task, those are usually the non-accredited technical
schools which I believe provide an inferior education at a superior price. University of Phoenix falls into a different category for me - an accredited university with more diverse offerings.
Some would argue that UofP also provides an inferior education at prices that are too high.¬† The cost is not far out of line for a private university.I have had colleagues who were continuing their educations through UofP that eventually changed to lower-cost public college online programs. They all seemed happy with their classes and learning but they could not pay private university prices
What I admire about UofP is their focus on customer service and access to education. Many universities seem to believe that these values are inimical to a university education. It is the focus on making a profit and expanding market share that causes UofP to act the way it does. Institutions of higher education that are insulated from the market by large endowments and public funding have no motivation to change.
I recently noticed a UofP ad campaign that I think is brilliant. You can view an example below from YouTube:
Thinking ahead ad (you have to go to YouTube to view - embedding is disabled)
I went through these ads to record the messages being delivered:
University of ‚Ä¶
- boundaries are nothing
- next level, here I come
- I don’t want to miss a thing
- classes that escape the classroom
- where I am is not where I am going to be
- class is in session when I so choose
- I am not a hamster and life is not a wheel
Every ad ends with the confident statement, ‚ÄúOne university understands how you live today, and where you want to go tomorrow.‚ÄĚ Emphasis is very heavy on the word, ‚ÄúOne.‚ÄĚ The ads aim right at the needs, desires, and fears of the audience UofP is addressing. Is the message fair and not misleading? Certainly the idea that only one university can deliver this kind of program is incorrect, but I think the message is dead on for helping UofP capture more market share. Other colleges and universities tend to focus on prestige in their commercials aired around NCAA sporting events.
Will other universities start to focus on these kinds of customer needs? I think it all depends on whether or not they are exposed to the market forces that UofP faces.
If you have thoughts or experience with UofP, please share them in the comments section.No comments
TSTC Waco, with help from a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) grant*, is hosting a Summer Bridge program for Waco ISD rising 11th and 12th graders.¬† The students are raising their placement test scores, eating well, having fun, and getting their hands on some cool technology.¬† They are also receiving some survey class college credit.
These students will be academically prepared for college.¬† The video indicates that they will be enthusiastic about continuing past high school, as well.¬† I can’t think of a better way for them to spend a summer.
*The grant did not cover the cost.¬† TSTC and WISD had to help.No comments
I blogged before about the plan of T. Boone Pickens to build a 4000 MW wind farm in west Texas.¬† Now he has a website that shows his plan for weaning America off of foreign oil.¬† Whether you believe all of the global warming claims or not, using something besides fossil fuels makes sense (as I pointed out in my least politically correct post).
Watch the Pickens video.¬† Does it make sense to you?
Our friends in Sweetwater are mentioned again.¬† Pickens also says his new wind farm will be located near Pampa.¬† That will make Rep. Chisum from that district happy.¬† He is a big supporter of alternative fuels that help the country leave dependency behind.1 comment
I know - I have never been that long without a blog post.¬† I will be starting again soon.