Angela Au and Jan Tucker, both adjunct faculty in School of Business & Technology, presented two papers at the Creating Futures Through Technology Conference (CFTTC) in Biloxi, Mississippi on March 3, 2016. The focus of the conference was on integrating technology strategies in the classroom, understanding emerging technology, managing networks, and working with enterprise systems and services.
The first presentation, Designing an Online Bachelor’s Degree Using Open Education Resources, explored an online, for-profit university’s attempt to build low-cost business degree programs using open education resources (OERs). A discussion of OERs, licensing and technology issues, and other challenges this online university encountered were discussed. The evaluation process the online university used to critically examine the alignment and relevancy of the OERs chosen was shared with the audience. The lessons learned from the implementation including the fact that there is no single warehouse for OERs, resources vary significantly in terms of quality and accessibility, the time consuming process of vetting the resources, and the difficulty scaling the project was discussed. The presentation concluded with the sharing of new and emerging technology which may be on the horizon for higher education institutions. These technologies include wearable technology, mobile learning, cloud computing, gamification, 3D printing, and virtual reality. The audience was intrigued by the types of OERs available and the challenges the online university faced during the implementation process. The audience also asked questions related to competency based education.
In the second presentation, Birds of a Feather Flock Together: College Administrators and Entrepreneurs? Au and Tucker explored current trends in higher education including declining enrollment, shrinking budgets, and an increasing focus on the international market. The presentation examined some of the trends which are shared by both higher education administrators and entrepreneurs including a lack of resources, constricting policies, limited budgets, negative publicity, and staff shortages. For college administrators, these obstacles make promoting programs, initiatives, and the university difficult which can hinder student enrollment and retention rates. Social media was discussed as a viable option for both entrepreneurs and college administrators as a cost effective way to market. Utilizing social media to generate word-of-mouth marketing, create branding, maintain customer relationships, and other strategies which utilize no to low-cost online tools were explored. The push and pull marketing strategies were discussed in terms of how these strategies can be applied to colleges administrators who may benefit from running their departments like successful small businesses. The presentation concluded with practical push and pull marketing strategies for college administrators.
Au and Tucker also attended several presentations on ways to integrate technology in the online classroom. They are eager to experiment with some of these tools such as Google apps, screen casting, audio and video cams, and MP4s when facilitating their Excelsior online classes.