Measuring Digital Professional Development: Analytics for the Use of Web and Social Media

Journal of Applied Research in Higher EducationMy colleagues and I at NIU were recently notified of the publication of our article, Measuring digital professional development: Analytics for the use of web and social media.

Purpose

As faculty professional development increasingly occurs online and through social media, it becomes challenging to assess the quality of learning and effectiveness of programs and resources, yet it is important to evaluate such initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to explore how one faculty development center experimented with using analytics to answer questions about the use and effectiveness of its web and social media resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study was based on direct observation of the center’s practice and review of selected data generated by the analytic tools.

Findings

Unfortunately, while some analytics are available from a variety of sources, they are often distributed across tools and services. The center developed an analytics strategy to use data from Google Analytics and social media reporting tools to assess the use of online and social professional development resources. Initial results show that the center’s online and social professional development resources are widely used, both within and outside the university. However, more work is necessary to improve the strength and scope of the available analytics.

Practical implications

As a result of the analysis, the center has streamlined online resources, targeted social media use, and has begun developing methods to allow faculty to report online resource use as professional development for academic personnel purposes.

Originality/value

Many faculty development centers have not explored methods of evaluating online and social media resources. This paper outlines a strategic evaluation plan to measure the usage of online resources as well as engagement and interaction through social media.

Citation

Rhode, J., Richter, S., Gowen, P., & Krishnamurthi, M. (2015). Measuring digital professional development: Analytics for the use of web and social media. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 7(1), 19-31.

Infographic: Keeping Pace with the Changing Face of Online Learning

Over the past two decades the Internet has made it possible for anyone anywhere to pursue an affordable degree; for adults to continue their education in efforts to remain productive; and for universities to reach a greater number of people who want to learn. Infusing online learning into higher education provides educators with innovative ways to connect with students, wherever they are, and offers incredible, new career opportunities. This infographic by the Online Learning Consortium highlights a few of these changes.

OLC Infographic 2015

2014 Survey of Online Learning Report

2015 Online Learning ReportGrade Level:Tracking Online Education in the United States is the twelfth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The 2014 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson and Tyton Partners, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 percent from the previous year. While this represents the slowest rate of increase in over a decade, online enrollment growth far exceeded that of overall higher education.

Key report findings include:

  • The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
  • Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
  • Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
  • The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.

Download the full report [PDF] or the infographic [PDF], displayed below.
2015 Infographic

Click image above to enlarge

2015 #et4online Conference Preview

2015 Emerging Technologies Symposium

Recently, I had the opportunity to join my colleagues from the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan-C), MERLOT, and the Emerging Technologies steering committee to share a sneak peek of what lies ahead at #et4online. We hung out to share details about the upcoming conference being held April 22-24, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.

Who attends #et4online?

who-attends-et4online

image c/o @brocansky

6 Reasons Why You Should Join Us for #et4online

Or hear what the #et4online Steering Committee Members have to say in our 1/30 Google+ Hangout ON AIR (recorded):
Michelle Pacansky-Brock Conference Chair – @brocansky
Jason Rhode, Assistant Conference Chair – @jasonrhode
Jane Moore, MERLOT Program Chair – @janepmoore
Laura Pasquini, OLC Program Chair – @laurapasquini

Here are just a few of the MANY highlights for the #et4online program that we shared:

  • The Unconference – dig into topics and direct the agenda as you like it
  • Technology Test Kitchen – a maker space to explore, play & learn for ed tech
  • Keynote & Plenary Speakers – talks about connection to learning, networked identity, collaborative knowledge, and then some
  • Featured Sessions & Workshops – are just a few of the program items NOT to miss and learn from
  • Discovery Sessions with VoiceThread – to augment interaction and learning between presenters and attendees
  • The Launch Pad & Teacher Tank- Where #edtech start ups can show case their wares to our Ed Tech “sharks.” Submission Deadline Closes February, 13, 2015 – apply now!

Interested in attending (virtual or on site)? Register TODAY! Early bird pricing ends on February 25, 2015. Do you have questions about the conference or program? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter @jasonrhode

Beyond the Headlines: A Decision-Making Rubric for the Next Phase of Online Program Growth

As the number of online degrees have proliferated in recent years, it is even more important for institutions to take a more thoughtful approach to program selection. Often, a university must consider key issues like course offerings and schedules, degree specialization, and admissions requirements in order to offer a competitive online degree.

In this webinar offered 11/12/2014, academic leaders from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Ohio University discussed the key market forces that are present today, and how universities can best position their prospective degrees in the market. Panelists provided practical insights and recommendations on how to handle the change management for a university to offer competitive degree programs.

The participants in this webinar learned about:

  • How to effectively plan for the online marketplace, validate program expansion, and reduce risk
  • How to influence change across the institution to prepare to take degrees online
  • Key considerations when evaluating online program management services

More details and a copy of the webinar slides, are available here.