Notes on Academic Advisory Board teleconference meeting, 22 Feb 2017

Notes on Academic Advisory Board teleconference meeting, 22 Feb 2017

Attending:

  1. Patrick Bradley, faculty development
  2. Elizabeth Brunn, collegiate and CUSF member
  3. Jim Coker, collegiate
  4. Frank Concilus, Asian traveler collegiates
  5. Sabrina Fu, collegiate and CUSF member
  6. James Kennedy, stateside adjuncts
  7. Dan Mintz, program director
  8. Alexander Philips, European traveler collegiates
  9. Theo Stone, AAB chairman & administrator
  10. Cynthia ________, librarian

[Albert Nekimken, adjunct, has been invited to listen to the meetings as a member of CUSF and add comments, as needed, to supplement reports on CUSF meetings]

Dan Mintz reported on discussions underway to revise the UMUC main webpage to make it more useful to prospective faculty applicants who are having difficulty using it. He also pointed out that, rather than showcase UMUC faculty members to highlight the quality of education offered, the current webpage doesn’t mention faculty anywhere, least of all individual names.

Kara van Dam reported on her recent trip to Europe and Asia as acting academic head of these divisions. She mentioned that there are 55 traveling faculty members in Asia and about the same number in Europe.

Patrick Bradley described the work of the Faculty Development group that offers various programs for voluntary participation.

Theo Stone summarized an as-yet unpublished report on UMUC’s “innovations,” that include OER, ELM and project-based learning.  He described a meeting chaired by Arik Krause before he departed that revealed problems with the ELM program.

For example,

  • There were many links to web pages that no longer existed.
  • There was much student confusion about case studies at the heart of the “project-based” courses. Students did not know what they were supposed to do and assignments were unclear. They often did not know what the “deliverables” really were.
  • Students were defeated by educational jargon, leaving them unable to understand instructions; some were counter-productive.
  • The open-educational resources initiative was being hampered by student complaints that course work using them suffered in the future when links were no longer operable. Student needs appear to be better served by traditional textbooks, either in print or online formats.
  • Kara van Dam is now responsible for the ELM program.

Cynthia  reported on the problem created by UMUC’s reduction on CUSF next year from three to two. (David Herschfield’s term as alternate ends at the end of the current academic year.) Theo Stone commented that he had, as yet, received no official notice of this situation from Robert Kaufman, the current chair of CUSF. He proposed that the AAB wait until it had a statement from Kaufman.

James Kennedy began a discussion of a general problem at UMUC: students are often enrolled in courses for which they are unprepared. As a related issue, he mentioned the problem of unclear guidelines on class size. There seems to be significant inconsistency between academic programs and program directors.

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