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School’s Back in Session…7 Red Flags an Online Degree isn’t Legitimate

September 11, 2017

onlinedegreeFor prospective online students, searching for a degree program can sometimes feel like being adrift in the wilderness, with no map and no way of gauging the intention of approaching strangers.

Students have so many online programs to choose from – some with promises of quick, effortless degrees that seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, they sometimes are. And students who are duped by the schemes are left with a hole in their wallet and no legitimate credential.

While anyone can fall prey to an online degree scam, international students and first generation college students can be particularly vulnerable to degree mills, says Karen Pedersen, chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, a group dedicated to advancing the quality of online learning. “If you don’t know what you don’t know, it can seem like a really intricate maze,” she says.

Below are several signs that an online program may not be legit:

1. Accreditation status is murky. When students start looking for a program, they want to know the information they are seeing on a website is trustworthy, says Tim Willard, spokesman for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or CHEA. For students looking at U.S. programs, “a good place to start is to determine if the institution is accredited,” he says.

Of course, not all accrediting groups are equal. To make sure the accrediting organization is legitimate, students should make sure it is recognized by either CHEA or the U.S. Education Department.

If prospective students suspect a school is falsely claiming accreditation, they can always contact the accrediting agency and ask, says Leah Matthews, executive director of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which accredits online programs. She says her group gets calls regularly.

Students looking into non-U.S. distance education programs should start by contacting the ministry of education in the country where the program is based to ask about its accreditation or authority to operate, Willard says. They can also visit CHEA’s international directory for a list of quality assurance and accreditation bodies and ministries of education around the world. Granted, every country may have different quality standards for its programs.

2. The name seems prestigious, and vaguely familiar. Sometimes programs will “steal a renowned name and modify it jut a little bit,” Matthews says. Some even fabricate faculty names and credentials.

If a student comes across, for example, a professor Joe Smith at a school with a name like Harvard Technological University, he or she might want to do more research.

3. Earning a degree seems fast and easy. Prospective students should hear warning bells as soon as they are told they can get a degree without much time or effort, experts say.

“If you are able to earn this degree with just a resume review, it’s a clear red flag that this is not a legitimate degree granting institution,” says Pedersen. “Any legitimate institution is going to require that you complete a certain number of credits at their institution.”

4. There’s no​ evidence of student services. Legitimate online programs should have a host of resources available to students, including technology support, advising and library services, Pedersen says. If prospective students don’t see evidence of those resources, or if they can’t speak to other staff members, then they should be suspicious.

“Poke around a little bit on the website to ensure that it isn’t just a movie set where it’s just the front and that’s it,” she says.

5. An address is hard to pinpoint. Students are right to raise an eyebrow if a program won’t provide any information about a campus or business address and relies only on an email address. Plus, most legitimate online operations in the U.S. have websites that end with “edu.”

6. There’s a lot of pressure to enroll.​ Another sign that a program may be a degree mill: the salespeople will not leave you alone. If one of these outfits is being really aggressive and you are feeling uncomfortable, that’s when you say, ‘I need to stop and think about this and be in touch.”

7. The program requires a lot of money upfront. “I would be highly suspicious of a program if it requires a substantial upfront financial commitment,” says Pederson with OLC. “With most legitimate academic programs, you pay for the courses you are taking that term or that semester. That’s a sign for me. I would dig a little deeper.”

If​ you’re having problems vetting a degree, let another source do it for you. Go to companies or magazines who have done the work and done the research.​

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Why Giving Effective Feedback Is Trickier Than It Seems

August 21, 2017

One of the most effective ways to give feedback that is relevant to a student is to ask questions that encourage the learner to think more deeply about what they are doing and why. When learners are trying to answer their own questions, they are actively involved instead of just getting more ‘input’ from the teacher. The teacher also benefits from asking questions by getting more information about how the student is thinking.

With that, Katrina Schwartz’s Mind Shift: How Will We Learn article from early April struck a cord with us here at LiveText. Why? … because why, how, and what kinds of feedback we provide to students matters. All feedback is not created equally, and with LiveText, we help support the kind of effective feedback intended to help students grow — in fact, effective feedback is the foundation upon which LiveText was built, so let’s dive deeper and figure out…

Why Giving Effective Feedback Is Trickier Than It Seems

Direction

Teachers intuitively know that giving feedback on student work is an important part of the learning process. Research on different learning strategies conducted by John Hattie bears out what many know instinctively to be true — in order to improve at something humans need to know what they’re doing well and how they can improve. But giving effective feedback in the classroom can be trickier than it seems. It’s more of an art than a simple practice and requires the teacher to be disciplined and thoughtful about what is worthy of feedback, as well as when to give it.

“The job of feedback is to meet the student where they are and give them what they need to take their next steps,” said Susan Brookhart at the Learning and the Brain conference. Brookhart is an education consultant and author of “How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students.” She says often teachers she works with try to close all the education gaps a student has with one round of feedback. But when they do that it’s often too much information for a student to process. Instead Brookhart recommends praising the work’s strengths and then giving just one or two suggestions for how to make it even better.

And, crucially, this feedback must come at a time when the student can immediately act on the feedback, not at the end of a unit or essay when there’s no chance for the student to incorporate the feedback. “Don’t give any feedback on the final grade,” Brookhart said. “If they’re not going to be able to use it, it’s wasted time — yours and theirs.” Instead, she recommends building in time during the trajectory of the work to give feedback that students can immediately use to move them forward in their personal learning journey.

Often discussions about feedback focus on timeliness, but research from Andrew Butler’s lab suggests sometimes delaying feedback can be helpful, too. In his studies, the delayed feedback had the effect of forcing students to return to submitted work a week later, and that extra review helped them retain the information. The same principle can be applied to feedback given immediately, but used by students to improve over a period of time. In a situation oriented more toward process than memorization, using feedback inherently means spacing out learning.And, crucially, this feedback must come at a time when the student can immediately act on the feedback, not at the end of a unit or essay when there’s no chance for the student to incorporate the feedback. “Don’t give any feedback on the final grade,” Brookhart said.

“If they’re not going to be able to use it, it’s wasted time — yours and theirs.” Instead, she recommends building in time during the trajectory of the work to give feedback that students can immediately use to move them forward in their personal learning journey.

“If they’re not asking where am I going, what am I supposed to be learning by doing this, then feedback is just another set of teacher directions to follow, which may or may not in the student’s mind be related to anything other than the activity,” Brookhart said. She suggests that teachers think very carefully about the learning target and the success criteria for a specific activity and only give feedback on that target. Students want to learn and they want feedback that will help them improve, but they also want to know why it matters. When a teacher can connect the feedback to an important future skill, students have a reason to incorporate it and can see the transfer process more clearly.

A common feedback trap that Brookhart observes can happen when teachers forget the goal of an assignment and give feedback on things like grammar instead of the learning goal. For example, if a seventh-grade science lab is meant to teach a concept, but all the feedback is about how the student formatted the lab, then the teacher has missed an opportunity. “Feedback then becomes what do I need to do to please this teacher, not what do I need to do to learn,” Brookhart said.

She also points out that feedback depends entirely on the learning goals of individual students. One student may have trouble starting a problem, but generally understands the material, so simply reminding her of the learning target might be enough. Another student may have trouble starting because his grasp of the material is a little shaky, but some guiding questions might be enough to spark his thinking. Still a third student may be lost on the content, in which case working through an example with her might be the appropriate level of scaffolding.

FEEDBACK FOR DIFFERENT REASONS

Often teachers think of giving feedback as useful to the student, but it should also be fruitful for the teacher. An individual instance of feedback can give a teacher a close-up look at the student’s abilities with a specific skill, a snapshot of where they are in the scope of the class, and some ideas about where to go in the long term.

“Tell the students what you see in their work,” Brookhart said. That doesn’t mean merely writing “Good Job” or “Needs Work” in the margins. Those comments are evaluative, signaling the end of the conversation. “Without descriptions students don’t have the information they need to take that next step.”

Brookhart gave an example of an elementary class working on persuasive writing. Students were asked to write a letter to the librarian after a book was stolen, offering some reasons why she should buy the book again. One student wrote a paragraph explaining that the book was funny and had mysteries in it, so it was worth replacing. The teacher’s feedback focused almost entirely on the spelling, capitalization and format errors of the letter. And at the end the teacher wrote, “Add more.”

Brookhart unapologetically calls this bad feedback. A student reading this feedback would think the teacher cared only about grammar and format, not about his ideas or persuasiveness, the stated goal of the assignment. “The worst thing about this is that there’s something really good in this that the teacher doesn’t mention,” Brookhart said. The student did offer two specific reasons why he liked the book, but the teacher did not call out those strengths.

“Do not assume this kid knows that he’s got the kernel of persuasion in there. Part of your feedback should be to make explicit, so he knows that you know,” Brookhart said.

Better feedback would be to tell the student he came up with two good reasons and ask him to add some of the missing information, like the title of the book and examples of how the book was funny or had mysteries. Then, the teacher could offer some sentence starters to help the student “add more,” on the principle that he didn’t know how to do that, or else he would have. Brookhart says that because this feedback is related to the skill being learned, it’s more motivating to students, and doesn’t make students feel like they are playing the teacher’s game.

“Teachers that are more effective at formative assessment go for student thinking, not just how correct they are,” Brookhart said. After a feedback session the teacher should understand more about how the student is thinking than she could gain from merely looking at what he wrote. And, she can then use that insight to give the student opportunities to revise the work and push toward stronger understanding of the learning target.

Brookhart says surveys of students are clear on what they want from feedback. “In many different countries, some done in the context of formative assessment and sometimes summative assessment, what students want is information they can use and the opportunity to use it.”

EQUITY IN FEEDBACK

Another key thing to keep in mind when giving feedback relates to equity in thinking. It’s easy to see a moderate- or high-level student’s work that doesn’t have typographical errors and push on the thinking behind it. But often the student whose technical writing skills are lower will get only the typographical feedback without the push on further thinking. While done unintentionally, the difference in feedback reinforces bias and could contribute to different expectations for different students.

This is the difficult thing about differentiated feedback. It will necessarily be different, but kids who struggle should also be held to a high level of thinking, and have their ideas honored, even when they are still working to bring their writing skills up to grade level. When teachers focus only on the elements students are worst at, feedback can be demotivating. For the most part, it’s ideas that drive people to learn, not grammar.

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AAC&U Releases VALUE Report on the Quality of Student Learning

August 21, 2017

A groundbreaking approach to assessing student learning created and spearheaded by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) shows it is possible to evaluate undergraduate students’ achievement without relying on standardized tests and by using existing material. In On Solid Ground, a report released today, AAC&U shares the results from the first two years of data collection for the VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) initiative, a nationwide project that examines direct evidence of student learning. It represents the first attempt to reveal the landscape of student performance on key learning outcomes—Critical Thinking, Written Communication, and Quantitative Literacy—that educators, employers, and policymakers agree are essential for student success in the workplace and in life.

Key findings include:

  • The strongest student performance was in Written Communication. The results support the effect that institutional efforts focused on improving student writing over the last few decades seem to have had on writing proficiency, although the effective use of evidence to support written arguments in various contexts or genres continues to be a challenge.
  • In the area of Critical Thinking, students demonstrate strength in explaining issues and presenting evidence related to the issues. However, students have greater difficulty in drawing conclusions or making sense out of or explaining the importance of the issue studied.
  • Students demonstrate strengths in calculation and interpretation in Quantitative Literacy, while showing weaker performance levels in assumptions and application of their knowledge. The results suggest that more emphasis has been placed on the mechanics of math-related skills and less attention on the “why, when, and where” of using quantitative approaches.

“This project represents the first attempt to develop a large-scale model for assessing student achievement across institutions that goes beyond testing,” said Lynn Pasquerella, President of AAC&U. “It does so by relying on assignments that students have completed throughout their classes and across disciplines. The results are encouraging, and AAC&U and our partners regard the VALUE initiative as offering promise for improving student learning while addressing issues of quality and equity in undergraduate education.”

The VALUE initiative is the result of several years of collaboration with the State Higher Education Executive Officers association (SHEEO) and the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Quality Student Learning (MSC), the Minnesota Collaborative, the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Collaborative, and nearly one hundred public and private, two- and four-year colleges and universities. Over the course of the initiative’s first two years of data collection, faculty from participating institutions uploaded more than 21,189 student work products to a web-based platform. More than 288 specially-trained higher education professionals from a range of disciplines then scored the student work on a scale of four to zero. A third of students’ work was scored twice to ensure consistency.

“In a world awash in data, VALUE generates evidence that points to what is working well and, critically, to where there is room for improvement,” said Terrel Rhodes, Vice President for Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment and Executive Director of VALUE at AAC&U. “It empowers faculty to take ownership of student learning and challenges them to evaluate their teaching practices to help students master the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to be productive members of our workforce and our society.”

By design, the VALUE approach addresses the inherent complexity of the learning process by embracing the multiple moving parts that standardized tests and other assessment approaches try to control or eliminate. It includes: (1) the VALUE rubrics that provide the mechanism for scoring student work; (2) the faculty trained as scorers who use their expert judgment to evaluate student work products and assign a score based on the rubric dimensions and performance levels; and (3) the student work products generated in response to a faculty-designed assignment from an actual college course.

Released by AAC&U in 2009, the VALUE rubrics are the backbone of the VALUE approach. Developed to assess students’ most motivated, best work, the VALUE rubrics help faculty evaluators assess the level of proficiency represented in a student work product (paper, performance, community service project, etc.) done in real classes.

“The VALUE project is a bold, ambitious, unprecedented effort to demonstrate the viability of a national assessment system that documents authentic student learning using a consistent process at multiple colleges and universities,” said George D. Kuh, Founding Director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, and the Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus at Indiana University.

Establishing the methodological soundness of the VALUE approach was and remains a key priority. The report details initial work on validity and reliability, further demonstrating that the VALUE approach to assessment stands on solid methodological ground. Perhaps the most powerful testament to the validity and reliability of the VALUE approach to assessment comes from campuses that have paired participation in the VALUE initiative with rich, local assessment of student work using the same VALUE rubrics. Many participating institutions are using data from the VALUE initiative as a validation of their own local scoring of the same student work, thereby adding a more sophisticated, robust methodological element to campus-based assessment.

“A key feature of our assessment strategy is the scoring of authentic student work using a common rubric, which the AAC&U VALUE rubrics provide,” said David Switzer, Faculty Fellow for Assessment and Associate Professor of Economics at St. Cloud State University. “Our participation in the MSC and [Minnesota] Collaborative has given us both the knowledge and the capacity to assess student work from all across the university, and shed light on how to assess student learning in co-curricular programs.”

Moving forward, AAC&U is focusing on the disaggregation of results through the collection of robust demographic data associated with each student work product to discover any trends or patterns in learning across select student populations (e.g., low-income students). As George Pernsteiner, President of SHEEO, reported, “There is a hunger among policy leaders at the state level to make sure that our students are actually learning what they need in order to succeed in life and work. That’s motivated, I think, because of what employers are saying, but part of it is motivated by a more collective view of what is right for society in a given state.”

In addition, scores generated for each learning outcome are being examined in relation to key variables such as faculty members’ specific disciplines. The ongoing VALUE initiative puts learning outcomes quality and improvement in the hands of state and institutional leaders, faculty, and students—exactly where it needs to be if educators and policymakers are serious about preparing graduates for success beyond the first job and in their personal, civic, and social lives, regardless of what type of institution they attend.

VALUE has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, the US Department of Education, and the State Farm Companies Foundation.

For additional information about the VALUE initiative and to download a free version of On Solid Ground, visit http://www.aacu.org/value. For more information about SHEEO and the Multi-State Collaborative, visit http://www.sheeo.org.

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To travel or Not to travel should never be a question!

August 14, 2017

The answer is always to travel!

hiking-peakI don’t claim to be an accomplished traveler. In fact, I am a home body – always have been, always will be. However, in 2010, my husband wanted to go on a trip. I resisted. He persisted. So fine, we went on our first out-of-country trip for a week…and it changed me. It was exciting and thrilling to explore a new land, navigate a new language, solve problems on our own, and experience new adventures in a new setting. And I’ve wanted to travel ever since. We’ve been to 10 different countries since, and all along the way, I’ve found myself growing in perspective and enjoying the journey.

While I’m still quite introverted, enjoy independent work, and value my alone time, I know that if I had not started traveling seven years ago, my thoughts and ideas about the world and its people, along my ability to connect with others most certainly would have suffered. This is why I love to hear about others’ travels, see photos, and encourage those who are young to travel when the opportunities present themselves.

In fact, there are lots of opportunities for students to travel – be it to postpone your degree and travel the world, to take a study abroad placement, to take a group trip with a class, or to spend your summer months volunteering somewhere else.

Nationally, the number of U.S. students studying abroad for credit during the 2014-2015 academic year grew 2.9 percent from 304,467 students to 313,415 students. This represents just over 1.5 percent of all U.S. students enrolled at institutions of higher education in the United States and about 10 percent of U.S. graduates. A recent survey found that almost 40% of companies surveyed missed international business opportunities because of a lack of internationally competent personnel. When 95% of consumers live outside of the United States, we cannot afford to ignore this essential aspect of higher education.

It’s hardly surprising so many students decide to spend time away. The benefits of traveling are well documented. You can make new friends, broaden your outlook, and gain stories to tell. But that’s not all. You may also improve your brainpower and become more outgoing.

According to a study by Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, those who have lived abroad are more creative. His research found that the more countries people had lived in, the more creative their work tended to be. However, Galinsky says that just being a tourist isn’t enough to see any benefit. “Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment,” he says.

Gain confidence and independence

Traveling and living abroad can also affect the way we interact with people. Research by Dr. Julia Zimmermann and Dr. Franz Neyer compared the personality development of a large sample of German university students who had studied abroad for at least one semester with a non-traveling group.

The results showed that those who studied abroad were generally higher in extraversion than those who chose not to travel during their studies. The travelers were likely to enjoy being around other people more than being alone. When they returned home after traveling, the participants also tended to show an increase in openness to new experiences, agreeableness, and emotional stability.

Moving abroad also allows young adults to gain a new sense of responsibility and independence, and to manage their own finances. Nikitha Aithal moved to the UK from India when she was 10 years old, and later worked in Spain for a year as part of her undergraduate language degree at the University of Leeds. She says: “Living and working in Spain made me appreciate the struggle my parents went through when moving to the UK – simple things such as setting up a bank account or paying the water bills.”

Sharpening your mind is a no-brainer

The new and unusual situations we encounter while traveling – whether trying to figure out how to navigate the local metro system, or just to order a meal in an unfamiliar language – help to keep our minds sharp, according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association.

It found that challenging new experiences can boost cognitive health, as when your brain is exposed to an environment that is novel and complex, it reacts by forming new connections as it tries to categorize the new and unusual stimuli. This grows the brain and keeps it active in a similar way as taking up a new hobby or learning a language.

So if you’re in the fortunate position of being able to choose whether or not to travel, why not take the plunge and explore the world – your brain will thank you for it.

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An Assessment Conference Unlike Any Other…

April 24, 2017

A Conference that Gives You MORE!
LiveText’s 16th Annual Assessment & Collaboration Conference
July 10, 11, & 12  |  Renaissance Downtown Chicago Hotel

As one of the longest running assessment conferences in the country, LiveText’s Assessment Conference never disappoints. At our Conference, you have the opportunity to network with one of the most esteemed group of educators, assessment specialists, and consultants while exploring key trends in learning via assessment. Our speakers will share new insights and give you actionable, practical applications to take back to your campus.

Unlike other vendor conferences, the LTAC does not focus on product. Instead, LiveText’s Assessment Conference provides the most relevant concurrent, workshop, and keynote sessions around. With built-in opportunities to learn from your peers over the course of three days, the LTAC registration fee includes ALL programming: workshops, concurrent and general sessions, trainings, and collaborative networking events.

Interested? Learn More.

Click here for a glimpse into our featured speaker lineup.

Keynote Speakers 

Promoting Student Success
Mr. Horacio Sanchez
President
Resiliency, Inc.

What’s New in Accreditation:
Issues and Processes in a Time of Change

Dr. Belle Wheelan
President, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Having It Both Ways:
Ameliorating the Tension
Between Accountability and Improvement

Dr. Peter Ewell
President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)   

Workshop Topics: 

• Designing Quality Rubrics for the Institution
• Developing an Assessment Culture: Strategic Approaches to Faculty Development
in Assessment
• Transforming an Institution’s Culture of Assessment


Interested? Visit our Assessment Conference website to learn more. With a powerhouse lineup of speakers, it’s the one assessment conference you cannot miss!

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Dr. Ralph Wolff Presents at the LTAC17!

April 6, 2017

LTAC 2017 Banner Final

Quality Conference, Quality Topics!

LiveText’s annual Summer Conference hits the mark, featuring topics you and your colleagues want to explore most. Join us on July 10-12 in Chicago for speakers like Dr. Ralph Wolff and Simon Boehme, who will challenge you to consider new ideas for cultivating quality in your programs for purposes of student career readiness.

Don’t miss this opportunity to bring cutting-edge ideas back to your campus. Register today!

Increasing Quality In Higher Education

Minding The Gap: A New Student-Centered Quality Assurance Model to Connect Academic Goals and Workforce Preparedness

Dr. Ralph Wolff  |  Founder and President  |  The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education 

Mr. Simon Boehme  |  Director of Student Engagement  |  The Quality Assurance Commons forHigher and Postsecondary Education 

Surveys of academic leaders and employers consistently reveal a major gap between their perceptions of graduates’ preparedness for the workforce. This session will address how workforce readiness outcomes can be defined, evaluated, and verified in ways that can support students’, employers’, and institutions’ goals and needs. With funding from Lumina Foundation, The Quality Assurance Commons is developing and piloting new approaches to quality assurance that will address this gap. Uniquely, the QA Commons has made students an integral part of the new QA design, and we will share how students are engaged to co-design a new process.


Interested? Visit our Assessment Conference website to learn more. With a powerhouse lineup of speakers, it’s the one assessment conference you cannot miss!

Collaborate With Your Colleagues at #LTAC17…check out our workshops

March 30, 2017

LTAC 2017 Banner Final

 

Collaborate With Your Colleagues
Hands-on Assessment Workshops!

LiveText cordially invites you to join us at our 16th Annual Assessment & Collaboration Conference in Chicago, July 10-12.

Network with an esteemed group of educators, specialists, and consultants at our yearly forum. With expert assessments specialists and experienced practitioners on the program, you’ll leave with tried and true approaches to bring back to campus. Take advantage of workshop opportunities included with registration.

Designing Quality Rubrics for the Institution
Dr. Lance Tomei  |  former Director of Assessment, Accreditation & Data Management
University of Central Florida

This workshop includes a discussion on the value-added of high quality rubrics and when the use of rubrics is both appropriate and desirable. We will address basic rubric design strategies and the effect of intended usage on design characteristics. The workshop will recommend best practice rubric design philosophies and identify commonly observed rubric weaknesses to avoid. The attributes of high quality rubrics will be discussed and some examples of well-designed rubrics will be provided, including one that can be used to evaluate the quality of other rubrics.


Developing an Assessment Culture: Strategic Approaches to Faculty Development in Assessment
Dr. Donna Sundre  |  Emeritus Executive Director
Dr. Keston Fulcher ​​​​ ​​​|  Executive Director
Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS), James Madison University

Assessment practice provides evidence of student learning outcomes, a vital component of all regional accreditors. Through quality assessment, academic programs can trust their results and make informed program changes. Developing a culture of assessment is difficult but possible through strategic faculty development initiatives. The presenters will describe a model for developing faculty expertise in assessment. By knowing where faculty members are in their understanding and practices of assessment, we can more strategically assist them and further build campus assessment culture. In addition to providing effective development strategies, we will ask attendees to discuss strategies and challenges at their institutions.


Transforming an Institution’s Culture of Assessment
Dr. Peter Jonas  |  Professor 
Cardinal Stritch University 

This workshop is designed to help individuals and groups learn how to systematically and in a practical (and fun) manner truly use assessment to develop a culture of continuous improvement. Dr. Peter Jonas has 30 years of experience in research, assessment, higher education, and more importantly how to integrate humor into systems development. He has served as a professor of research and as a High Learning Commission peer reviewer. Consequently, this workshop will attempt to merge the research behind assessment, the criteria of accreditation organizations, and practical solutions on how to really use the data to move the organization forward. Remember, Assessment is like sex: Everyone talks about it. Nobody really knows how to do it. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.


Interested? Visit our Summer Conference website to learn more. With a powerhouse lineup of speakers, it’s the one assessment conference you cannot miss!

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The Value of an Assessment Conference

March 30, 2017

In anticipation of last year’s LiveText Annual Assessment Conference, I shared a bit of history regarding my long-standing relationship with LiveText, my high regard for their technology, their amazing customer service, and their commendable commitment to the education profession. That commitment is evident in their sponsorship of multiple national, regional, and state conferences throughout the year and is highlighted by their Annual Assessment Conference held each year in July. This year, I am eagerly anticipating LiveText’s 16th Annual Assessment Conference scheduled in Chicago July 10-12.

Having attended all 15 previous LiveText Annual Assessment Conferences (the first was held in 2002), I can’t begin to count the number of incredibly informative sessions I have attended during the history of this conference. Each year seems to further raise the bar on excellence in assessment conferences, which attracts some of the most highly regarded leaders and researchers in education and assessment as featured speakers. Concurrent sessions offer opportunities that meet the varied needs of all attendees and serve as a model in professional collaboration. Attendees do not have to be LiveText users to gain valuable insight on best practices in assessment—a topic that is increasingly important for all educational professionals.

Attendees that are LiveText users will appreciate the dedicated training sessions, interactive work rooms, workshops, and a variety of concurrent sessions all designed to help them enhance their assessment practices, hone their LiveText skills, and learn how to expand their use of the wide array of LiveText tools available. LiveText will also update attendees on the latest technology enhancements as well as planned improvements still in development. Throughout the conference, attendees have ample opportunity to provide user (and potential user) feedback to LiveText to help inform ongoing product development.

I have consistently found this conference to be the most relevant and valuable professional development opportunity available, both in terms of the many and varied formal sessions and in terms of the incredible collaboration opportunities that have always been a hallmark of this event. Each year, I have left the conference with new knowledge and skills that I could put to immediate use on the job.  That said, attendees can also always look forward to a couple of very special evening events that are entertaining while providing further opportunities for collegiality and collaboration. Simply stated, the annual LiveText Assessment Conference is a not-to-be-missed event for anyone who wants to keep pace with the rapidly evolving arena of assessment in higher education, explore or enhance their proficiency in LiveText exceptional array of technology tools, and expand their collaborative network.

I am truly looking forward to my 16th consecutive year of benefiting from this amazing event. Won’t you join me?

Visit www.livetextconference.com to learn more and register!

 Dr. Lance Tomei, President & CEO, LT Consulting LLC
(retired) Director of Assessment, Accreditation & Data Management, University of Central Florida

P.S. See some of these highlights from last year’s event!

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LTAC17 Session Spotlight…Meet a Featured Keynote!

March 20, 2017

LTAC 2017 Banner Final

Session Spotlight: Meet a Featured Keynote

Horacio-SanchezMr. Horacio Sanchez is the President/CEO of Resiliency Inc., an organization that applies brain-based science and best practice research to a framework that helps agencies learn how to accomplish reform and to implement it in order to achieve identified goals and outcomes.

Horacio has utilized his training as an educator and clinician toward the education and treatment of children with severe emotional disorders. The Maladaptive Council (Academy of Science) recognizes him as a leading authority in emotional disorders and resiliency. His approaches are not only based on sound scientific research but have been the foundations of his award winning mental health and educational programs. Horacio Sanchez has been a teacher, school administrator, Mental Health Director and Consultant to the Department of Education in NC, PA, and other states. Horacio’s diverse education and background has helped him to merge research, science, and practice. His new book, A Brain-Based Approach to Closing the Achievement Gap, provides a blueprint to help school districts close the achievement gap.

Interested in attending LiveText’s Conference this summer? Visit our Assessment Conference website for more information. 


Keynote Session:

Promoting Student Success

Self-regulation is the one mental process that overrides obstacles that hinder planning, attention, learning, memory, and the coping skills required for students to achieve immediate goals and obtain long-term success. Without the skill to self-regulate, students will succumb to the whim of every thought, distraction, emotion, and desire. The lack of self-regulation is the root of many of the behavioral and academic issues education faces today. The development of self-control enables students to transcend life’s obstacles and engage in new skills that promote academic success (Inzlicht, Bartholow, & Hirsh, 2015). Therefore, educators need to know how to promote self-regulation in order to maximize student achievement. In this session, we’ll learn the key steps identified by neuroscience to promote self-regulation. The steps identified in the research have been found to help students placed at-risk by life’s circumstances to experience life success.

Concurrent Session:

Understanding the Male and Female Brain

Unique structural differences between the male and female brain begin to explain why boys and girls see, feel, and respond to experiences so differently. These structural differences illustrate that the brains of males and females can experience the same event and yet have very different perceptions and reactions. It is now believed that male students and female students learn, communicate and even feel differently. The conclusion that neuroscience has reached is that every person needs to possess a working understanding of how the male and female brain process. This improved understanding can help improve discipline, instruction, and relationship building.

Want to know more?


Read more and register by visiting our Assessment Conference   website.

What’s all the Buzz? If you’ve attended before or have followed the buzz on Twitter, then you know the value of our Conference. As in years past, we’re busy building a powerhouse lineup of speakers and sessions that you just can’t find at other conferences. Our sessions will inspire and challenge you, and ultimately send you back to campus with new ideas and a renewed energy to take your student learning assessment initiatives up a notch! Click below to hear a few thoughts on the value of the Assessment Conference from our past attendees!

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The Value of an Assessment Conference

March 17, 2017

LTAC 2017 Banner FinalIn anticipation of last year’s LiveText Annual Assessment Conference, I shared a bit of history regarding my long-standing relationship with LiveText, my high regard for their technology, their amazing customer service, and their commendable commitment to the education profession. That commitment is evident in their sponsorship of multiple national, regional, and state conferences throughout the year and is highlighted by their Annual Assessment Conference held each year in July. This year, I am eagerly anticipating LiveText’s 16th Annual Assessment Conference scheduled in Chicago July 10-12.

Having attended all 15 previous LiveText Annual Assessment Conferences (the first was held in 2002), I can’t begin to count the number of incredibly informative sessions I have attended during the history of this conference. Each year seems to further raise the bar on excellence in assessment conferences, which attracts some of the most highly regarded leaders and researchers in education and assessment as featured speakers. Concurrent sessions offer opportunities that meet the varied needs of all attendees and serve as a model in professional collaboration. Attendees do not have to be LiveText users to gain valuable insight on best practices in assessment—a topic that is increasingly important for all educational professionals.

Attendees that are LiveText users will appreciate the dedicated training sessions, interactive work rooms, workshops, and a variety of concurrent sessions all designed to help them enhance their assessment practices, hone their LiveText skills, and learn how to expand their use of the wide array of LiveText tools available. LiveText will also update attendees on the latest technology enhancements as well as planned improvements still in development. Throughout the conference, attendees have ample opportunity to provide user (and potential user) feedback to LiveText to help inform ongoing product development.

I have consistently found this conference to be the most relevant and valuable professional development opportunity available, both in terms of the many and varied formal sessions and in terms of the incredible collaboration opportunities that have always been a hallmark of this event. Each year, I have left the conference with new knowledge and skills that I could put to immediate use on the job.  That said, attendees can also always look forward to a couple of very special evening events that are entertaining while providing further opportunities for collegiality and collaboration. Simply stated, the annual LiveText Assessment Conference is a not-to-be-missed event for anyone who wants to keep pace with the rapidly evolving arena of assessment in higher education, explore or enhance their proficiency in LiveText exceptional array of technology tools, and expand their collaborative network.

I am truly looking forward to my 16th consecutive year of benefiting from this amazing event. Won’t you join me?

Visit www.livetextconference.com to learn more and register!

 Dr. Lance Tomei, President & CEO, LT Consulting LLC
(retired) Director of Assessment, Accreditation & Data Management, University of Central Florida

P.S. See some of these highlights from last year’s event!

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