A Different Corner

What are your plans for National Distance Learning Week (NDLW)?

Back in the day, as the leader of an online unit, I struggled with National Distance Learning Week (NDLW). People who know me know I haven’t met a special occasion I don’t like but NDLW was always a head-scratcher for me. Maybe it’s because I associate events with in-person attendance and that’s pretty much the antithesis of online learning. Maybe it’s because I am an unreliable attendee of virtual events and I couldn’t imagine highlighting NDLW with anything other than what we see our good friends in student affairs doing (cotton candy machines and t-shirt cannons FOR THE WIN).

A few years ago our good colleague Witt Salley suggested to a group of us in the Online Administration Network that we craft a resolution and try to get our states to recognize NDLW. I managed to get that done in Kentucky in 2015. For the life of me, I cannot find evidence of this work other than the press release.

Yet there are leaders among us that are actively and consistently highlighting NDLW. I think their good work is notable and could serve as an example for the rest of us.

  • University of Illinois Springfield – Wow, their NDLW featuring UIS students that learn at a distance has a lot of nice stories. I am told they’ll be hosting a competition for their campus in honor of NDLW. I’ll be adding that link to this post!
  • Penn State  – Well, you had to know Penn State was going to do something great – they have an event and a ton of webinars! Check them out here.
  • Purdue University – Purdue Online is hosting synchronous and asynchronous events next week. You can check out their program here.
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville – They are hosting a gala along with a Virtual Distance Dash 5k and Anti-5k. Two things…1. I don’t think we use the word gala enough. I, for one, would attend just about anything if the organizers used ‘gala’ in the event title. 2. An anti-5K? What’s that, you ask? Check out their link. Serious. Genius!
  • Our good friends at Quality Matters are hosting two workshops during NDLW on social media and teaching. You can find out more here.

Did you wait until the last minute to plan for NDLW? Did this post convince you that you should plan something? Well, Tonya Amankwatia, the Director of Instructional Innovation at Regent University shared with me some of the activities she experienced at a previous institution:

  • University portal announcement and special persistent banner—appreciation by Provost and list of activities
  • Created informational pages for faculty
  • Student videos of their favorite place to study posted online
  • Highlight collections for online learning and open up for recommendations of acquisition
  • Big cake and coffee in the PM for non-traditional learners
  • Posting and promoting USDLA’s webinars and support resources

So, my friends, on this the eve-week of National Distance Learning Week, consider how you might highlight distance or online learning at your institution. Plan something and make it part of your internal and external advocacy work (ooh, she slides in a reference to the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership at the very end, sneaky)!

Enjoy NDLW and feel free to share your NDLW events in the comments for this post or in UPCEA’s Member Forum on my original post.

Julie Uranis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Uranis serves as the Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives at UPCEA. In this capacity she is the Managing Director of the National Council for Online Education and leads the planning efforts for the Summit for Online Leadership and Administration + Roundtable (SOLA+R). Prior to joining UPCEA she lead the distance learning and continuing and professional development teams at Western Kentucky University as the Director of Distance Learning and Continuing & Professional Development. Julie began her career at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where she held both teaching and administrative positions. Julie has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, a Master of Science in Technology Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership from EMU.


ABOUT

A Different Corner is written by Julie Uranis, Vice President, Online & Strategic Initaitives, and Managing Director of the National Council for Online Education. This blog veers into topics du jour in PCO and as the title of the blog might imply, a George Michael lyric or ten.


Click here to learn about the National Council for Online Leadership.


UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership

Developed with a goal of identifying the range of what will constitute successful online leadership, the Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership include standards, aspirations and principles essential into the foreseeable (and not so foreseeable) future of online education. The Hallmarks identify seven facets of leadership and organizational development: internal advocacy, entrepreneurial initiative, faculty support, student support, digital technology, external advocacy, and professionalism.


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