What I learned at the LiveText Annual Conference

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There is a positive energy that you can feel in the air from the moment you arrive at the LiveText Assessment Conference. This is no accident because the people at LiveText are all about continuous improvement, and they get us all pumped for it. When I walked into the Conference, there were plenty of smiling new faces and delightful familiar ones.

A common theme at this year’s Conference was that implementing assessment to improve student learning requires a systems-level approach.  Dr. Maggie Bailey knocked it out of the park in her discussion on how to strategically connect assessment with program review and resource allocation. In my own workshop, we explored RACI as a method to heighten clarity and accountability in our decision making processes.

Another commonality is that supportiveness and communication are key ingredients to building a culture of assessment. It is important to celebrate successes. At one point during Alice Hambright’s talk, “Developing Management Superpowers”, she had our whole group in stitches on sharing information and making training fun for faculty.

What resonates with me at conferences is that we need to create activities for our students in a manner that is better aligned to the non-linear way that learning and development occurs. Towards that end, we need to be intentional in our methods, and we must be sure to meaningfully use data that we do collect.  In quoting Light, Keynote Dr. Tom Angelo really got us thinking when he said, “you can’t fix in the analysis phase what you bungled in the design phase.”

We also had the opportunity to learn about LiveText’s technology offerings. On the technology forefront, the LiveText Via platform promises to offer a seamless way to engage learners to trace their own growth and achievements with portfolios. And LiveText’s Assessment Insight System gives us a dashboard to gauge our progress in building out our plans and templates cohesively.

Apart from the structured sessions, some of my personal highlights included seeing family, and my pre-dawn 5 am 5-mile run with LiveText’s Rahul Nandi along the Chicago River. As a collective group of conference attendees, our conversations around and the view of the skyline at night from Lake Michigan took place in a way that left us with a sense of peace and hope for the future. When you attend a LiveText annual Assessment Conference, you will find that professionals share common bonds in part because we experience similar challenges: speaking a common language, embracing change, establishing trusting relationships with faculty and staff, and sustaining our efforts over time.

If you haven’t yet attended a LiveText Assessment conference, then you’ll definitely want to get out there to the next one in 2017, my friend!  See you then and hopefully sooner.

Dr. David Turbow, Outcomes Assessment Coordinator, Office of Assessment and Institutional Research, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

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