DETC NEWS SPRING 2004
Lambert Invited to Serve on Servicemembers Opportunity College’s Advisory Board
In this issue: Results of DETC Survey on Online Learning Confessions of an Early Internet Educator Distance Learning and the Brain DETC’s “Special Delivery” Schools
DETC NEWS -
Contents Still Time to Register for DETC’s 78th Annual Conference ..........................
Executive Director’s Diary ........................................................................
Report from the Accrediting Commission ....................................................
Newly Accredited Institutions ....................................................................
DETC Invited to be Member of the Servicemembers Opportunity College’s Consortium ..............................................................
Results of DETC Survey on Online Learning ..............................................
Godfrey Receives DETC Award................................................................
Confessions of an Early Internet Educator by Jack R. Goetz ........................
Plan to Attend DETC’s Distance Education Workshop in October ...............
Distance Learning and the Brain by Carolyn J. Cottrell ................................
DETC’s “Special Delivery” Schools ...........................................................
On Cover: Mr. Michael P. Lambert, DETC, and Dr. Steve Kime, President of the Servicemembers Opportunity College.
DETC NEWS—Published by the Distance Education and Training Council, 1601 18th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 (202234-5100). The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) a nonprofit, voluntary association of accredited distance study institutions, was founded in 1926 to promote sound educational standards and ethical business practices within the distance study field. The independent DETC Accrediting Commission is listed by the United States Department of Education as a “nationally recognized accrediting agency.” The Accrediting Commission is also a charter member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
DETC Staff: Executive Director: Michael P. Lambert Assistant Director and News Editor: Sally R. Welch Director of Accreditation: Susan M. Reilly Director of Meetings and Accounts: Cynthia G. Donahue Assistant to the Accrediting Coordinator: Adriene L. Crossland Information Specialist: Laura M. Walter Legal Counsellor: Joseph C. Luman
DETC NEWS • SPRING
Still Time —
To Register for DETC Conference
The Westin Grand Washington, D.C.
The Westin Grand will host the DETC and its 78th Annual Conference on April 18-20, 2004. This beautiful hotel is centrally located in Washington, D.C.’s fashionable West End. You will be within minutes of some of D.C.’s greatest buildings, where America’s Presidents and leaders have changed the course of history. To visit the Westin Grand, go to their web site at www.westin.com. At the Westin Grand you can expect nothing but the best accommodations and service. With neoclassic architecture reminiscent of fine European hotels, The Westin Grand’s spacious guest rooms are every bit worthy of their prestigious Gold Key Award designation in the category of guest room design. The Conference starts on Sunday, April 18, 2004 with a reception and dinner aboard the cruise ship, The Odyssey of Washington, and ends on Tuesday, April 20th with the DETC’s Annual Banquet at the Westin Grand.
Exciting Program Planned The following are the sessions presently on the program: • Maximizing Market Penetration • Aim High and Reach Your Dreams • Department of Education Update • Voluntary Education in Today’s Military • To Serve Him Who Has Borne the Battle • Inside Washington • Accrediting Managers at Work • Competency-Based Education: New Ways to Measure and Credential Learning • The Promise of Distance Education in Africa • Wide World of Distance Education • DETC Outstanding Graduates Tell Their Stories • Evaluating Student Transcripts for Transfer • Web-Based Marketing Today (continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Still Time to Register for DETC’s Conference, continued) Social Program Sunday, April 18th, you will depart the hotel at 5:00 p.m. for a dinner cruise on the Potomac River aboard the “Odyssey of Washington.” The only vessel designed specifically to travel beneath the historic bridges spanning the Potomac, the Odyssey III offers exclusive river views of the nation’s greatest monuments from every table. The exterior boasts an eighth of a mile open-air perimeter deck, perfect for watching the Potomac’s historic shoreline drifting slowing by. For more information on the Odyssey of Washington, please visit www.odysseycruises.com and select Washington, D.C. Monday evening, you will attend the Marine Corps Parade and Reception at the Historic Marine Barracks. Tuesday evening begins with a Capitol Hill Reception for Congress at 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. After the Reception you will return to the Westin Grand Hotel for DETC’s Annual Banquet, which is always an affair to remember! Register Today The registration fee includes all sessions, meals and activities listed in the program. Registration is for the full Conference. There is no partial registration and no exceptions. Any cancellations must be made by no later than April 1, 2004 for a refund. The DETC Member rate for the Conference is $850 for the first person,
DETC NEWS • SPRING
and $800 for each additional person. The non-member rate is $1,100 for the first person and $1,050 for each additional person. The spouse fee is $425. This fee is for meals and spouse tours/activities. You may register by filling out the “Conference Registration Form” on page 36 or it may be downloaded from DETC’s web site at www.detc.org (select “About Us” and “Meetings and Reports”). Send the form to Cindy Donahue, DETC, 1601 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 with your check made payable to “DETC.” If you have any questions, please contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-234-5100 ext. 104. The cut off date to register for the Conference is April 12, 2004. You are registered for the Conference only when your payment and registration form are received and a confirmation letter has been sent. If you do not receive a confirmation letter, please call Cindy. Hotel Reservations The Westin Grand reservations should be made directly with the hotel. The special single or double DETC special room rate is $225. To receive this room rate, your room reservations at the Westin Grand must be made by no later than March 17, 2004. The “Hotel Reservation Form” on page 36 or it may be downloaded from DETC’s web site (see above). If you make your reservations by phone, please state that you are attending the DETC Annual Conference. We are expecting the rooms to go quickly, so to avoid disappointment, we suggest you make your reservations today by calling 1-800-Westin (or 1-800-937-8461) or 202-429-0100.
Executive Director’s Diary by Michael P. Lambert
Global Leader in Distance Learning Accreditation
The Distance Education and Training Council and its member institutions are enjoying another banner year. As DETC members gather in our nation’s Capitol this April 18-20 for the 78th Annual Conference of the Council, they will have every reason to be filled with a sense of satisfaction for past results and solid optimism for the future. The reasons for our sense of well being include: • DETC is growing significantly, and last year our Council experienced a 14% growth in the number of accredited members. • Applications for initial DETC accreditation are at an historic high, and 18 applications are pending for the June and January Commission meetings. • Enrollments at accredited schools increased by over 13%, and total enroll-
ment at all DETC institutions now exceeds 1.6 million. • Global accrediting activities are on the increase. This spring, four major public Australian universities are applying for DETC accreditation. Currently, DETC accredits institutions in the U.S. and six other nations. Clearly, DETC is emerging as a global leader as our website proclaims. • The number of new programs being developed by DETC institutions also set a record last year, and over 65 new programs, ranging from skill level certificate programs to first professional degree programs, were approved. And programs in criminal justice, health care administration, business and associate degrees led the list of new programs. • The number of DETC institutions embracing the Internet for enrollment, in(continued ) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Executive Director’s Diary, continued) struction and student service has increased dramatically: 6 in 10 DETC members now require students to have a PC in order to study, and 6 in 10 now permit students to submit exams and assignments online. For the first time, the number of students enrolling via the Internet has eclipsed enrolling via mail or fax or phone. • The number of DETC Outstanding Graduates was at an historic high in 2004, with 32 graduates earning awards this year. Reading through the booklet describing the achievements of these wonderful men and women is a moving experience. DETC members are in the business of changing people’s lives! • DETC has gained representation on more prestigious higher education boards, including the ACE Commission on Lifelong Learning and on the Servicemembers Opportunity College Advisory Board. For the first time in history, DETC is a sponsoring association of SOC (see story on page 12). • The preliminary results of the new DETC Outcomes Assessment program show that the overwhelming majority of students at DETC institutions are satisfied with their studies, and we expect the average of all DETC institutions’ survey data to document that well over 90% of DETC alumni are happy campers. As DETC members gather in Washington this April, there will be much to celebrate and much to anticipate. In spite of increased and intense competition from nearly every sector of education, in spite 4
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of the rise of global competition, and in spite of the increase in distance course offerings at over 3,000 competing universities, DETC members are still increasing enrollments and still adding new programs at record levels. This may prove the adage that open and fair competition is healthy for every education provider. As we look ahead to the coming months, DETC members will be watching for these developments and trends: • Will Congress finally, after months of debate, authorize online distance education institutions for federal student aid funding (Title IV of the Higher Education Act)? • Will Congress be willing to make the “playing field level” in terms of academic credit acceptance policies throughout higher education? • Will college registrars and faculties finally come to accept the principle that denying credit transfer based solely on the source of “recognized” accreditation is “one dog that will simply no longer hunt?” • Will Congress—or any regulatory body for that matter—be willing to tackle the growing problem of academic diploma mills that have become a global scourge, thanks largely to the Internet? • Will state legislators and regulators enact restrictive new laws targeted specifically at distance education? • Will corporate tuition assistance administrators be convinced that national accreditation is every bit as reliable as (continued on page 22)
Report from the Accrediting Commission The DETC Accrediting Commission met on January 9-10, 2004 and took action to accredit three new institutions and reaccredit eight institutions. Here is the report from the Commission on its actions and other developments. Three New Institutions Accredited • IMPAC University 900 West Marion Avenue Punta Gorda, FL 33950 (Phone: 941-639-7512 or 1-866-IMPAC4U; Fax: 941-639-6679 Web Site: http://www.impacu.edu; E-mail: email@example.com) Mr. Richard L. LeBlanc, President/CEO Founded 1998 (2004/2008). Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Administration in Public Administration, Master of Science in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Development (OBHRD), and Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS). Certificate Programs in Business Administration, Management Information Systems, Executive Leadership Development, Business Basics (with specialties in Health Care, Retail, Financial Services and/or Manufacturing.
• Sonoran Desert Institute 10245 East Via Linda, Suite 102 Scottsdale, AZ 85258 (Phone: 480-314-2102; Fax: 480-314-2138; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web Site: http://www.sonoranlearning.com) Mr. Thomas A. Kube, President
• Southwest University 2200 Veterans Boulevard Kenner, LA 70062 (Phone: 504-468-2900; Fax 504-468-3213; E-mail: email@example.com; Web Site: http://www.southwest.edu) Reg Sheldrick, Ph.D., Administrator Founded 1982 (2004/2008). Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and Master of Arts in Organizational Management.
Eight Institutions Re-Accredited The following institutions were reaccredited: · Aspen University, Denver, Colorado · Diamond Council of America, Nashville, TN · Home Study International/Griggs University, Silver Spring, MD · Hypnosis Motivation Institute Extension School, Tarzana, CA · The Paralegal Institute, Phoenix, AZ · Richard Milburn High School, Woodbridge, VA · Seminary Extension Independent Study Institute, Nashville, TN · University of Leicester, Centre for Labour Market Studies, Leicester, England
Founded 2000 (2004/2008). Courses in Home Inspection and Gunsmithing.
(continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Report from the Accrediting Commission, continued)
Bachelor of Arts in Family Development
Change of Location
Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security
Master of Science in Fire Science Management Master of Arts in Homeland Security
The Commission approved the change of location for the following institutions:
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
• American Career Institute, 2340 Del Prado, Suite D-208, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102 (Phone:702-222-3522; Fax 702-2220754) • American Public University System, 322 West Washington Street, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414 (Phone: 877-4686268; Fax: 304-724-6863) Institution Name Change The Commission approved the name change forAustralasian College of Herbal Studies in Portland, OR to Australasian College of Health Sciences. Resigned Accreditation The Aviation and Electronic Schools of America, Colfax, California (also an office in San Diego, CA) resigned accreditation as of November 14, 2003. New Degree Programs Approved
Bachelor of Science in Public Health Master of Public Health Bachelor of Arts in Transportation and Logistics Management • Ashworth College Masters in Criminal Justice Masters in Business Administration • Aspen University Master’s in Education Programmer Track for already approved Master of Science in Information Technology • Columbia Southern University Associate of Applied Science in Business
• Education Direct Graphic Design Health Information Technology PC Maintenance Technology
• Global University Master of Divinity
The Commission approved the following degree programs:
• Grantham University
• American Public University System, American Military University
• The Paralegal Institute Criminal Justice Diploma Program Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management
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New Courses Approved The Commission also approved the following courses: • Allied Business Schools, Inc. Basic QuickBooks
• Australasian College of Health Sciences Nat 205 Structure and Function of the Human Body
• Cleveland Institute of Electronics Network + Certification and Computer Technology
• Diamond Council of America Colored Gemstones
• Gemological Institute of America Jewelry Business Management Diploma Program
• HTC Distance Education
Proposed Changes to Business Standards The Accrediting Commission also voted to approve proposed changes to Section III of the DETC Business Standards. These changes involve pricing disclosures. The Commission also approved changes to Standard “VI.A. Owners, Governing Board Members, and Administrators,” which would permit the Commission to withhold accreditation from an institution with a notorious reputation. To view the details of these changes, please visit DETC’s web site (www.detc.org) and select “About Us” “Accrediting Commission” and “Actions and Call for Public Comments.” Comments are invited by April 30, 2004. 2004 Accreditation Handbook
• Sessions.edu Digital Photography Illustrated Advanced Flash Web Site Design Web Design I Illustrator Basics Dreamweaver II
Policy and Guide Adopted In efforts to streamline the five-year reaccreditation process, the Accrediting Commission voted to adopt the new “A. 2. Guide to Self-Evaluation Report for 5Year Review” and the revised “C.5. Policy on Course/Program Approval.” Please visit DETC’s web site at www.detc.org and select “Publications” and “Accreditation Handbook” to view these documents.
The 2004 edition of the DETC Accreditation Handbook is available from DETC for $30. You may also print the new edition directly from DETC’s web site for free. Just visit www.detc.org and select Publications and Accreditation Handbook. Institutions Seeking Re-Accreditation The following institutions are up for reaccreditation in 2004: American College for Prehospital Medicine, Navarre, FL American College of Computer & Information Sciences (ACCIS), Birmingham, AL
(continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
American Institute of Applied Science, Youngsville, NC
International Sports Sciences Association, Santa Barbara, CA
American Public University System, Charles Town, WV
Lansbridge University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Atlantic University, Virginia Beach, VA
Rescue College/Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, N. Kansas City, MO
Canadian School of Management, Toronto, Canada Concord University School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
Southern California University for Professional Studies, Santa Ana, CA Southern Queensland University, Australia
Education Direct, Scranton, PA
University of New England, Australia
Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, IL
University of Philosophical Research, Los Angeles, CA
International Management Centres Association (IMCA), Buckingham, England Institute of Public Administration, Dublin, Ireland
YorktownUniversity.com, Dolores, CO
John Tracy Clinic, Los Angeles, CA Learning and Evaluation Centers/Keystone National High School, Bloomsburg, PA Revans University, University of Action Learning, Boulder, CO
Institutions Seeking Initial Accreditation
The Commission invites comments from any interested party. Please send your comments by April 30, 2004 to the Executive Director at the DETC offices or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next Meeting
Abraham Lincoln University, Los Angeles, CA
The next meeting of the Accrediting Commission is June 4-5, 2004. All matters to be considered by the Commission should be brought to the attention of the Executive Director by April 30, 2004.
AHS Institute (Association for Hebraic Studies), Suffern, NY
Fall Accreditation Seminar
The following institutions have applied for accreditation:
American College of I.T., Saint Joseph, MO Anaheim University, Newport Beach, CA At-Home Professions, Fort Collins, CO Blackstone Career Institute, Emmaus, PA California Coast University, Santa Ana, CA Central State University, Riverside, CA Deakin University, Australia Monash University, Australia 8
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The Commission will hold an Accreditation Seminar on October 11, 2004 at the Center for Continuing Education at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. The Seminar will be held in conjunction with DETC’s Distance Education Workshop, October 12-13. Watch DETC’s web site for more information.
Newly Accredited Institutions IMPAC University Punta Gorda, FL As a natural evolution from implementing productivity enhancement systems to businesses in more than 67 countries, in the late 1990’s, when James B. Irwin, Sr., the Chairman of the Board and the senior corporate management team of the IMPAC, Integrated Control Systems, Inc. began to explore the feasibility of founding a formal educational institution that could reach a broader base of individuals who would benefit from their expertise in business and industry, and it could formalize its commitment to the value of learning and pursuing knowledge. Educational specialists were sought out and in December 1998, IMPAC University, L.L.C. was founded. Throughout 1999 and into 2000 IMPAC University developed formal Masters and certificate programs in a number of business-related areas. IMPAC University offers a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and, through the School of Business, also offers specializations in the MBA Program in Public Administration and Health Care Administration. IMPAC University also offers a Master of Science in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources and a Master of Science in Management Information Sciences. Each program is designed with a focus on incorporating the best business applications through learned technology provided in an academic environment. The rigor, research, and scholarship emphasis of a university have been
combined with the expertise and wisdom of leaders in our professional business community. The programs are designed to respond to the needs of today’s business world with the flexibility to adjust to those needs as they evolve IMPAC University is a private graduate university dedicated to meeting the educational needs of business. Programs in business, behavioral science, and technology, and the interface among these three areas are offered. The central focus in all programs is the linkage of academic learning with real life business goals and strategies. The connection of IMPAC University and IMPAC represents one of the first international endeavors to combine expertise from the business world and the educational world in a formalized university setting. While IMPAC University and the IMPAC Integrated Control Systems, Inc. are independent entities, their relationship is a complementary one. For more information, please visit www.impacu.edu.
Richard LeBlanc, President/CEO DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Newly Accredited Institutions, continued)
Sonoran Desert Institute Scottsdale, AZ The Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) in Scottsdale, Arizona has been providing career and vocational training through traditional correspondence courses since 2000. The school offers diploma programs in Home Inspection and Gunsmithing, as well as specialized certificate programs in Home Inspection. SDI holds the distinction of offering the only accredited home inspection programs licensed by the State Board for Private Postsecondary Education in Arizona. The Sonoran Desert Institute was the long-time aspiration of its founder and CEO Thomas A. Kube â€“ a former executive director of a national proprietary school accrediting agency. Rather than acquire a school, he chose to apply his vision and begin the institution as a start-up. As a result, he developed high quality academic programs and student support systems as
Sonoran Desert Institute
DETC NEWS â€˘ SPRING
Thomas A. Kube, President
a platform for long-range expansion into other career training fields. Having worked in the resident proprietary school field and extensively studied the distance education field, the traditional distance education field held the most promise for future growth and expansion. The initial programs SDI offers were based on personal and professional interests of Mr. Kube. The Sonoran Desert Institute is proud to have its peers determine that its programs and services are at a level deserving of DETC accreditation. To SDI, accreditation is not just about meeting standards, but about demonstrating a serious level of academic and institutional quality that the public deserves when making choices about career education. For more information, please visit the Sonoran Desert Institute web site at http://www. sonoranlearning.com.
(Newly Accredited Institutions, continued)
Southwest University Kenner, LA Southwest University has been providing distance learning degree programs since 1982. Currently, the University offers a Bachelor and Master Degree in Criminal Justice, Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Organizational Management. The University was founded by Reg Sheldrick and Grayce Lee. Neil Feser came aboard later and has contributed to the University’s growth. The intention of the founders was to establish a University that emphasized personal caring attention, working with adult learners who already had earned college credit. This unique approach to student relationships remains a priority today. It has been emphasized that the University’s principals were always available to speak and work with each student. Southwest lets students know that they are first, and as a core institutional value, the University is committed to education on a personal level. Reg Sheldrick, the University’s Administrator, has more than 28 years of school administration experience and is a past President of a California Law School. He has been a guest speaker in many college and university classrooms and seminars. Further, he is the Co-founder and President of the American College of Hypnotherapy.
Grayce Lee is the Director of Education. She has 23 years of school administration experience. She has co-authored instructional manuals, developed educational programs for corporations and schools, and authored a book on personality behavior. She has instructed business programs for adult learners. In addition, she has developed a series of examinations to test cognitive skills and profile individuals. Neil Feser has over 26 years in school instruction and administration. He has chaired and/or directed in the areas of Outcomes Accreditation Steering Committees and career centers, and he is currently a supervisor for American College Testing Programs. He is also a presenter at conventions and college seminars and writes professionally. For more information, please visit Southwest University’s web site at www.south west.edu.
Dr. Reg Sheldrick, Administrator, and Dr. Grayce Lee, Director of Education of Southwest University.
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DETC Invited to be Member of the Servicemembers Opportunity College’s Consortium The Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) Advisory Board has voted to invite the Distance Education and Training Council to become an organizational member of the SOC Consortium. In making the announcement, SOC President Dr. Steve Kime said: “The Distance Education and Training Council is a vital part of the contemporary American educational landscape. It is important that the expertise and views of DETC be represented on the SOC Advisory Board.” DETC Executive Director Michael P. Lambert will represent DETC on the SOC Advisory Board, which next meets in October. SOC is a consortium of national higher education associations and over 1,700 colleges and universities who have pledged to support the higher education needs of the military servicemembers following specific SOC Principles and Criteria. Created in 1972 to help Servicemembers overcome obstacles faced in getting a college education using traditional means, SOC works closely with civilian and military educators to provide college-level education opportunities.
colleges, and technical institutes, including many DETC accredited institutions. Military students may enroll in associate, bachelor, and graduate-level degree programs on school campuses, military installations, and armories within the United States and overseas, as well as take distance education programs from wherever they may be stationed in the world. Because of the nature of mobility faced by servicemembers, SOC criteria stipulates that institutional policies and practices be fair, equitable, and effective in recognizing the special and often limiting conditions faced by military students.
Hundreds of thousands of servicemembers and their family members enroll annually in programs offered by SOC member universities, colleges, community
· Award credit for military training and experience.
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SOC Criteria stipulates that institutions provide the following services: · Limit academic residency requirements for active-duty members to 25 % for an undergraduate degree; · Minimize loss of credit transfer and avoid duplication of course work; · Award credit for at least one of the nationally recognized testing programs or extra institutional learning outside the classroom; and
For more information on SOC, please visit their web site at www.soc.aascu.org.
Results of DETC Survey on Online Learning DETC’s first online survey was a success! It’s appropriate that our first online survey was to find out how DETC institutions are using the Internet. The survey form was put on the Internet using Zoomerang.com in mid-November 2003, and institutions were given until December 15, 2003 to complete it. Forty-seven DETC institutions participated in the survey, which resulted in a 67% return rate! The results show that implementing online courses and activities is becoming increasingly popular, and most institutions are eager to develop online curricula and tools. Institutions reveal that they are focusing on change and growth. Almost every responding institution disclosed plans for improvement–new course designs, additional online options, or experimentation with various Learning Management Software. DETC institutions are prepared to embrace the changes in technology and increased online delivery while continuing to provide superior education to the distance learning student. The results also demonstrate reluctance to abandon an asynchronous, printbased method of learning. While many DETC institutions incorporate the Internet in various ways, students still have the option of mailing an enrollment form, studying independently, or reading through a physical textbook. In fact, 93% of DETC institutions responding to this survey are self-described as “asynchronous,” and more than half do not consider themselves to be “online schools.” More than 80% of students must use printed texts to com-
plete their programs. Also, students enrolling in primarily Internet-based programs have the option of selecting a print-based version of the course. We also discovered that: • 87% of the institutions update their web sites at least once a month; • 70% have no fixed schedule on how their courses are offered; • 59% require their students to have access to a computer; • 61% require their students to have access to the Internet; and • 62% allow students to take test or examinations online. To view the entire survey and the results, please visit DETCs web site at http://www.detc.org and click on the appropriate link in the scolling box on the home page.
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Godfrey Receives DETC Award
From the left, Mr. Henry Spille, DETC’s Accrediting Commission Chair, presents DETC’s “Person of the Year” award to Mr. Robert J. Godfrey.
Mr. Robert J. Godfrey, Director of Truck Marketing Institute, Carpinteria, CA, served on the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council since 1998. He recently retired from the Commission after serving the allotted six years for school Commissioners. At his retirement party, he was presented the “DETC Person of the Year Award.” This award has only been presented to 16 people in DETC’s 78-year history, and it is awarded to individuals within the distance education field who have made outstanding and permanent contributions over the years. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley,
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Mr. Godfrey joined his family-owned school in 1973 as a full-time instructor. Mr. Godfrey’s father, Mr. James E. Godfrey, founded the school in 1964 and served as its Director until 1987 when he retired and Robert became the Director. Mr. Robert Godfrey is the second generation to serve on DETC’s Accrediting Commission. His father served on the Commission from 1977 until 1985. Active in DETC activities since 1972, Mr. Godfrey has participated in numerous workshops and educational director’s seminars sponsored by DETC’s Research and Educational Standards Committee. He served as the Chair of that Committee during 1996 and 1997. Over the years, Mr. Godfrey has chaired the Education Workshop at Notre Dame and contributed to DETC Occasional Papers on outcomes assessment and educational department organization. Mr. Godfrey is a veteran member of more than 40 DETC on-site examining committees, and he has also served many times as a speaker at the DETC’s Accrediting Commission Training Seminars for evaluators and school applicants for accreditation. Mr. Godfrey was presented the “DETC Distinguished Service Award in 1993, and the “DETC Distinguished Recognition Award” in 1991. Among other activities in his busy, community-minded lifestyle, he was a volunteer firefighter for 19 years and has served for more than 17 years as a board member of a countywide, community action agency serving low-income people.
Confessions of an Early Internet Educator
Jack R. Goetz President and Dean Concord Law School
(Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from Jack R. Goetz from DETC's Occasional Paper Number 20, February 2004)
Introduction Jack R. Goetz
Six years ago, Concord Law School (a division of Kaplan, Inc.) launched the nation’s first totally online law school. The genesis of Concord was a business plan I had written and submitted in the fall of 1997. Perhaps the ultimate in “creating a position for yourself,” I became the founding Dean of Concord because I had a vision of what an online law school should be in an established educational organization that had never previously developed degree granting programs. The last six years have been both humbling and exhilarating, much of which would make a great case study in learning as much from your students as they have learned from you. In this essay, I will attempt to reflect upon the lessons we have learned in a synopsis of what “works.” Ultimately, the growth of online learning during the past few years indicates that much of what we either created or stumbled upon can be replicated in other environments.
Recently published surveys conducted by the Sloan Consortium show widespread support among academic leaders for the notion that learning outcomes from online higher education degree programs are equal to or exceed those of residential programs, and that those learning outcomes are expected to continue to improve relative to their fixed facility counterparts. Anecdotally, Internet educators already believed this to be the case, even though the Internet is a relative newcomer to the world of higher education. The surveys, however, demonstrate that the incrementally increasing knowledge in the use and deployment of distance education technologies have made a difference in the student experience. Despite the fact that research in this area is ongoing, the major contributors to this improvement in student outcomes have already been (continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued) largely identified and provide guidance to those who choose to deliver Internet education. Those major contributors include the 1) shift from institutions of instruction to institutions of learning, 2) building of the online community, 3) training of faculty teaching online, and 4) emphasis on orienting new students. Paradigm Shift from Institutions for Instruction to Institutions for Learning Collaboration in Creating the Learning Environment “A paradigm shift is taking hold in American higher education. In its briefest form, the paradigm that has governed our colleges is this: A college is an institution that exists to provide instruction. Subtly but profoundly we are shifting to a new paradigm: A college is an institution that exists to produce learning. This shift changes everything….In the Instruction Paradigm, the mission of the college is to provide instruction, to teach. The method and the product are one and the same. The means is the end. In the Learning Paradigm, the mission of the college is to produce learning. The method and the product are separate. The end governs the means” (Barr and Tagg, 1995, p.12,14). Internet education has become increasingly emblematic of this shift, and its effectiveness in achieving learning outcomes reflects its success in shifting to the Learning Paradigm. Administrators and faculty from institutions that favor the Instruction 16
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Paradigm talk in terms familiar to us from decades past. They talk about delivering instruction, offering programs, the quality of the entering students, or view faculty as primarily lecturers. In the Learning Paradigm, the language of discourse is quite different. The parallel terms used by those who have converted to the Learning Paradigm are providing learning, creating powerful learning environments, the quality of the exiting students, and viewing faculty as primarily designers of learning methods and environment. Creating a powerful learning environment at Concord was the “elephant that led the parade.” We knew the video streaming technologies, even before broadband, could allow superior law lecturers to be beamed everywhere in the world. But imagining these lecturers “nurturing” our students in Internet classrooms, or being responsive in real-time to our students, seemed antithetical to our own law school classroom experience. Picture yourself as I picture myself, a greedy educator, wanting it all for my students. That “greed” led to a team collaboration concept for the curriculum, with expert lecturers being combined with expert curriculum developers and classroom teachers in the creation of a truly powerful learning environment necessary for the Learning Paradigm to exist. Our parent company, Kaplan, Inc., has evolved this concept even further for their now burgeoning undergraduate and graduate programs. Faculty issues, curriculum and new program development are each handled collegially by different Deans. This unbundling of faculty roles allows faculty members to rotate to the role that (continued)
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued) is their greatest strength, and systematizes the teamwork that is necessary for creating a logically sequenced course and program. Naturally, what makes this worth writing about is that the combination (as measured by learning outcomes) ends up being greater than the individual totals of its constituent parts. Measuring the Effectiveness of the Learning Environment Effective Internet educators have embraced the Learning Paradigm in part because of its ability to provide corroboration for their missions; the ends justify the means. Internet programs find it difficult to compete on traditional input measures such as the number of synchronous classroom hours offered weekly, or even the quantity of hardbound volumes in the library. They have, however, been very successful in corroborating the value of the education students receive by using Institutional Assessment programs or outcome measurements. Outcomes measurement shifts the discussion to measuring student learning by their performances on licensing examinations rather than teasing out how many hours they spend in a classroom seat, or measuring student capability by assessing a portfolio that may include writing and research projects rather than counting the number of hardbound books available in the library. An ongoing program that measures the intellectual and skill development of students ensures institutional resources are spent effectively in that endeavor. On the theory that “what
gets measured gets done,” online institutions have created a myriad of measurements that allow them to monitor and evaluate their programs at all levels. Concord’s Outcomes Assessment program allows it to bridge the gap in understanding between its educators and fixed facility educators. Our experience is that it is extremely difficult for educators whose prior background is limited to fixed facility classrooms to understand the value of the Learning Paradigm over the Instruction Paradigm. Traditional educators are acculturated to believe that the “spark” for the education is the classroom teacher, and often cannot relate to a situation wherein the classroom teacher is just one constituent part of a greater learning environment that is the catalyst for the education. Our experience suggests that these traditional educators view online classroom engagements between the classroom teacher and student as the counterpart to similar fixed facility counterparts, without understanding that such a comparison is like comparing a complete five member basketball team with just one individual. This gap, however, can be bridged through the common denominator of Outcomes Assessment. If, as educators, we can agree that meaningful outcomes for our students are a goal of a quality educational institution, than an effective Outcomes Assessment program can communicate quality irrespective of the delivery modality of the education. Concord, therefore, can measure the performance of its part-time, working students on licensing exams (bar examinations) relative to other similarly situated students. Concord can also measure job performance skills of its (continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued) students through inquiries to employers who may have had occasion to employ other law students. Student satisfaction measurements, portfolio assessments, and various other measurements can also be used to help the traditional educational community understand the value of an online education and the Learning Paradigm. This focus on the resultant outcomes requires a greater emphasis on the student experience, since it is through their eventual work product or accomplishments that the institution will create its reputation. Consequently the quality of the exiting student and the number of successful graduates is paramount to the online school that embraces the Learning Paradigm. Retaining those students who are learning assumes paramount importance for any institution that chooses the Learning Paradigm, which requires focus on building the online community. Building the Online Student Community and Experience Online higher education institutions must work harder at retention than their fixed facility counterparts because their students generally have other societal responsibilities competing for their time. Greene and Greene (2002) list seven risk factors that negatively affect degree completion, including at least five that are prevalent amongst most online populations. Those five are 1) prior schooling occurred one or more years ago, 2) parttime employment, 3) financial indepen18
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dence, 4) having children and dependents, and 5) working full-time. Many online institutions engage adults in their curricular programs on a part-time basis, providing the educational access desired by the student but at the same time, attracting students who are more likely to be subject to the known risk factors. The 2000-2001 Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) report indicates that institutions with higher percentages of parttime students have lower graduation rates, noting differences of up to 40%. Powerful learning environments that retain students and are responsive to the Learning Paradigm are cohort based, wherein students are placed into groups that begin and end the terms at the same time. Cohort based learning is the foundation of an effective online learning community. Palloff & Pratt (2003, p.117) note, “the greater the interactivity in an online course and the more attention paid to a sense of community, the more likely students will stick with the course until its completion.” Early experiments that enrolled students on an “anywhere, anytime” basis have been largely abandoned to nondegree programs or continuing education programs where community building is not an integral part of the learning process. Building interactivity begins with the learning management system and extends to the facility for students to interact with their faculty and fellow students. Two important considerations that relate to interactivity and community building include the size of the cohorts and whether any synchronous activity (wherein students and faculty interact online at the same time) occurs. Group size will vary (continued on page 25)
Plan to Attend DETC's Distance Education Workshop in October
Center for Continuing Education University of Notre Dame
Mark your calendars now and plan to attend the popular DETC Distance Education Workshop, October 12-13, 2004 at the Center for Continuing Education at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. This well attended workshop is only held every even numbered year, so you wonâ€™t want to miss this opportunity. More than 100 people attended the last Workshop in 2002. The DETC Research and Educational Standards Committee will be developing a theme and program shortly.
The Workshop begins on Tuesday, October 12th and ends on Wednesday, October 13th with a reception and dinner at the famous Tippecanoe Place, the stunning Studebaker Mansion in South Bend. An Accreditation Seminar is scheduled for Monday, October 11th at the Center for Continuing Education at the University of Notre Dame. This seminar is a primer for institutions applying for initial accreditation and those institutions preparing for re-accreditation. More details and registration materials will be mailed in early summer. DETC NEWS â€˘ SPRING
Distance Learning and the Brain by
Carolyn J. Cottrell, Ph.D. Regional Director Webster University
(Editor’s Note: Dr. Cottrell is Regional Director of Webster University, Kansas City Programs. Webster University, based in St. Louis, MO, offers its 21,000 students programs at over 100 locations worldwide, with several master’s degrees available online. A lifelong teacher of students from ages 8 to 68, Dr. Cottrell’s professional interests are brain research, brain-compatible teaching strategies, and the adult learner. Carolyn can be contacted at email@example.com.) Since the 1990’s, dubbed the “Decade of the Brain,” researchers have learned more about how the brain works than had been known in previous centuries. As neuro-scientific knowledge increases exponentially, educators are seeking answers to questions we have been asking for a long time: How does the brain learn? How are memories formed and stored? What educational practices are most compatible with how the brain learns? And for distance educators, how do these brain-compatible learning strategies fit into the context of distance learning? Teachers have long used strategies that we know are effective in the class20
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room, but until recently, we did not have hard scientific evidence to explain why or how certain methods, such as simulation, resulted in memorable learning. We operated by instinct, by borrowing tactics from colleagues, or trial and error. Now, thanks to advanced brain imaging techniques, researchers are able to look at cognitive activity in the brain in real time. We now realize that some strategies work because of the way the brain is “wired.” The brain is an amazing organ: weighing only about three pounds, it is the second-largest organ in the body (at about six pounds, your skin is the largest). Despite its size, the brain is the greediest organ, using more oxygen than even the lungs, and burning 20-25% of the body’s fuel. So if your neurons are engaged in a lot of heavy thinking, you will feel tired. (Now I know why I told my mother I was too exhausted to do chores after finishing my homework!) Your “gray matter” is com-
posed of 100 billion neurons supported by ten times as many glial cells (the white matter). In this intricate network of neurons firing away is found the basis of all human thought and behavior. To understand how the brain learns, we need to realize that the brain’s first and most fundamental job is to enable you and the species to survive. Control Centers of the Brain First, a lot of survival activity takes place without conscious thought. For example, the brain stem, sometimes called the “reptilian brain,” the oldest and most primitive control center of the brain, automatically regulates your ‘infrastructure’ i.e., your heart rate, lungs, blood circulation, gastro-intestinal and reproductive systems. The second control center of the brain, the “mammalian brain,” or “emotional brain,” is critical to survival, memory and learning. In this center, all incoming sensory messages are sorted according to their importance (i.e., essential to survival). For example, if you unexpectedly heard a very loud noise, like an explosion or siren, your body would react unconsciously. Your heart would beat faster, muscles would tense, you might automatically duck or flinch (seen as the “startle response” in newborns). This is the beginning of the classic “fight or flight” response. For survival, the brain is hard-wired to pay attention to sensory stimuli that stand out, that are intense or novel. If you were walking on the savannah 50,000 years ago, and everything looked and sounded like it usually did, it was a morning stroll. If,
however, your eyes detected a small movement in the bushes, or your ears heard the rumbling of pounding hooves, that stroll became a survival test. Safety First As in the traditional face-to-face classroom, we know that distance learning students who are stressed (or angry, scared, disgusted, surprised) will likely not learn as well. Because the brain’s survival instinct is hard-wired, the brain will put up physical, intellectual, or emotional defenses before attending to learning. In order for the DL setting to be judged safe, supportive, and non-threatening, both the process and the content of the course must be considered. A well-planned website is key. Students can be tremendously frustrated if the set-up is hard to navigate, if the course is not well planned, or if resources are difficult to access. Students should be able to follow the flow intuitively, rather than find sequences that are difficult to navigate. Provide help resources, if possible. For those students who may be taking a distance learning course for the first time, (continued on page 32) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Executive Director’s Diary, continued from page 4) regional accreditation for their TA policies? • Will the use of the by now highly suspect tactic—from publishers of academic dissertations to state licensing bodies for dieticians and teachers—of requiring regional accreditation as means to stifle acceptance and competition be finally curtailed? • Will military education service officers and counselors heed the call to no longer discourage service members from enrolling in DETC and other nationally accredited institutions? DETC will never rest on its past successes, though they may be innumerate. It will never accept the status quo in a world where any form of discrimination against its accreditation exists. Opportunities abound in every new challenge. As I look at where DETC was in 1984, and where it is in 2004, the changes and improvements, particularly the addition of prestigious new institutions worldwide, have been phenomenal. Dinner at the DETC Fall Distance Education Workshop in Tucson, AZ in October 2003. (From Left Back Row: Mike Lambert, Joseph and Juanita Gurubatham, David Weaver. Front Row: Moyne and Fred Harcleroad, and David Boyd)
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DETC members have served the nation and the world exceedingly well for over 114 years, and over 135 million DETC institution alumni are impressive testimony to the impact DETC has had as a leading educational association. With current enrollments on the rise, and with historic numbers of new applicants for accreditation, DETC has emerged globally as a respected and reliable agent for positive change in our shrinking planet. We relish the challenges before us, and welcome the help of our sister accrediting associations in the Council of Recognized Accrediting Agencies (see www.crnaa. org). With the leadership being provided these days by key leaders at the Departments of Education and Defense, plus the welcomed and visionary leadership of Judith Eaton and her colleagues at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and with the good work being done by the American Council on Education, particularly by Susan Porter Robinson and the Commission on Lifelong Learning, the DETC has nothing but confidence in a bright shining future!
DETC’s “Special Delivery” Schools by
Laura Walter Information Specialist The DETC proudly counts two exceptional institutions in its membership: The John Tracy Clinic and The Hadley School for the Blind. Both schools extend their services to thousands of extraordinary students around the world. Some of these students are blind, some are deaf, and some are family members affected by a loved one’s handicap. The John Tracy Clinic and The Hadley School for the Blind use distance learning to support, educate, and unite deserving individuals and families. The most remarkable aspect of these institutions is that all services are provided for free. No student, parent, or child ever has to pay to take correspondence courses from the John Tracy Clinic or The Hadley School for the Blind. The schools operate mostly on private donations and truly have the students’ needs at heart. Both institutions share a common purpose to educate and assist those with special needs, and that purpose is met, again and again, through unique correspondence courses. The DETC has accredited both of these
schools for decades, and the institutions exemplify many of the positive outcomes made possible by distance education. With all the changing education regulations, enormous corporations, diploma mills, and transfer of credit arguments, it can be easy to overlook the schools working to make a difference through distance education. The John Tracy Clinic and The Hadley School for the Blind are here for one reason: to help the individuals and families faced with physical challenges to grow, learn, and lead fuller lives. It is with pride and gratitude that the DETC features these two “special delivery” schools. The John Tracy Clinic: Giving Each Child a Voice In 1925, Mrs. Louise Tracy received the news that would affect her life forever and urge her to launch a non-profit organization geared to help thousands of others:
John Tracy Clinic, Los Angeles, California DETC NEWS • SPRING
(DETC’s “Special Delivery” Schools, continued) her son, John Tracy, was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. Mrs. Tracy worked to communicate with John through lipreading and language. With his mother’s patience and encouragement, John Tracy learned to speak and was able to interact in the hearing and speaking world. Mrs. Tracy founded the John Tracy Clinic in 1942 after agreeing to help twelve other mothers of deaf children. The mothers met through a summer workshop at the University of Southern California and began to share their experiences raising deaf children. Years later, Mrs. Tracy wrote of this group of mothers, “All seemed to be without much understanding of the problem of deafness generally, or of problems connected with their deaf children.” By revealing her own experiences of teaching her young son to communicate despite his hearing loss, Mrs. Tracy was able to guide the other mothers in instructing hearing impaired children. In the same letter, Mrs. Tracy also wrote, “We finally settled for the moment on concentrating on the parents of younger children. We began to meet every two weeks as a kind of study group to pool our experiences. These experiences, we often found, were not unusual to each family.” Those first study groups eventually expanded to create the John Tracy Clinic, located in Los Angeles, and would soon assist parents and children worldwide. The John Tracy Clinic (JTC) is built on the premise that parents can be the most effective teachers for their deaf children. The Clinic began implementing training courses for parents in 1942, and corre24
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spondence courses for the parents of preschool deaf and hearing-impaired children began in 1943. The Clinic was incorporated as a non-profit institution, with Mrs. Tracy as the Director. Her husband, Spencer Tracy, became a board member along with Walter E. Disney. In fact, the Disney family continues to demonstrate its commitment to the Clinic even today. JTC developed over the years, adding Summer School and Preschool programs on location, as well as Spanish correspondence courses. In 1965, the Distance Education and Training Council granted national accreditation to the Clinic’s correspondence programs. Within a decade, JTC developed a Correspondence Learning Program for parents of deaf-blind children, thereby extending services to parents of children with more specific needs. JTC also offers accredited Master’s degrees in Deaf Education. Throughout its decades of operation, the John Tracy Clinic’s correspondence programs have assisted nearly 85,000 families from the United States and 149 countries for no charge. In 2001, JTC reported that 1,891 families from 51 countries were currently enrolled in the correspondence courses. Families from 44 states in the United States, and 41 families in the U.S. military located in various countries, were also enrolled in the Clinic’s distance education programs. In addition to the correspondence courses, the Clinic provided support group services for nearly 14,000 parents. A similar number of parents received on-site training to teach their hearing-impaired children to communicate. JTC also holds intensive summer school sessions for deaf (continued on page 29)
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued from page 18) with the level of interactivity in the course; faculty loads will need to be calibrated with the timeliness and the depth of faculty interaction with the community. We have seen cohort sizes from 15 to 40 work very effectively in different degree programs. Synchronous activities in the form of online seminars or chatrooms are not a required feature for interactivity to exist; asynchronous activity that is constant and reflective can create the necessary interactivity for the community to form. However, both Concord and its parent, Kaplan, Inc., use synchronous classes throughout their programs. Sensitivity to the needs of working part-time students remains a central issue to the planning of synchronous classrooms; attendance requirements may be a non-starter to many. Concord plans for this by providing archived versions of all its classes. Even without attendance requirements, our experience is that at any given class, 60-75% of the entire class will attend. Thus, synchronous activity is well liked by students, and if used judiciously, can help support the mission and objectives of the program. If a school chooses not to offer synchronous classes, popular asynchronous activities that build interactivity may include faculty led discussion threads, bulletin boards, or group assignments. The success of these asynchronous activities often depends upon the quality and timeliness of faculty and learner response to each other. However, building the dynamics of this community cannot be overemphasized, since “development of a learning community online distinguishes this form
of learning from a simple correspondence course delivered via electronic means” (Palloff & Pratt, p.26). Establishing the proper protocols within the school to enable this community to form often begins with the training of faculty. Training Faculty The lateral hiring or “sink or swim” process often used by fixed facility schools is largely ineffective in the Internet environment for at least three reasons. First, Internet learning cultures are vastly different than most fixed facility environments, in that they require faculty to be much more nurturing in guiding the students than the “sage on the stage” model deployed by many institutions. Communication styles that are successful in face-to-face settings where facial expressions can set the tone (or reset, if necessary) are nonexistent in Internet settings. Second, technology training cannot be avoided; even professors who are Internet savvy may find the learning platform indigenous to the school to be daunting without the proper exposure. Carr (2000) notes that initial high drop rates in online courses reflected, in part, the lack of faculty experience in online teaching (see also Diaz, 2002). Third, many Internet schools have a school wide pedagogy, including fixed learning outcomes for each course, often driven by their Institutional Assessment programs. Although Institutional Assessment is not unique to the online environment, many faculty members at residential schools remain disconnected from the process and find the concept of fixed learning outcomes to be largely foreign to them. Un(continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued) fortunately, the inability of lateral hires to assimilate into the community was not an early epiphany for Concord; we persevered through a couple of very difficult situations as we renewed our commitment to a faculty training program. There are three basic models for training lateral hires or new faculty members at Internet institutions, and they may be found in various combinations at online schools. The apprenticeship model requires the faculty member to perform as an assistant or adjunct for a period of time before being totally in charge of a cohort. This model may have new faculty commenting on student work but having a more senior member of the faculty reviewing the work before it is returned to the student, as well as calibrating with the junior faculty member. Apprentices may also be acculturated to the new school by answering student emails, again having an experienced faculty member helping them with the non-subject specific framing of the response in a manner that is consistent with the culture of the institution. Another model provides for simulated classes with which the new faculty member may engage. In this training, other senior faculty members may engage the new faculty member in asynchronous or synchronous dialogue that would be representative of the classes the new member may teach. The advantage of simulations includes immediately engaging the new member in the learning outcomes for the course as well as the technology tools necessary for operating the classroom. Another advantage is that the constructive 26
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critiquing that ensues may generate from a variety of faculty members with different styles that would be difficult to replicate with other training models. Finally, many institutions may adopt an approach that consists of extensive monitoring of the new hire with a senior faculty mentor. This monitoring may allow the new hire to operate the classroom with the understanding that the senior faculty member is monitoring the site and the communications. This training modelâ€™s value largely depends upon the extent and quality of the monitoring that is done and the openness and consistency of the feedback between the senior faculty member and the new hire. Once the process is in place for the faculty to understand how to build the community, it becomes imperative that students also have an understanding of how to interact within the school. In addition to the fact that prior school experiences may have been vastly different from their current Internet student experience, many students entering online degree programs have been removed from the academic process for a period of years. Therefore, orienting students to their new education experience becomes critical for their success. Orienting New Students Learning outcomes have undoubtedly improved because we have become better at orienting students to their newfound online tools. At a minimum, a good online orientation needs to include 1) guidance on how to use the online tools and platform provided by the program, 2) time manage(continued)
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued) ment skills, 3) introduction to student colleagues and faculty members and ways to communicate within the community, 4) proper etiquette for communicating with colleagues and faculty, 5) guidance on possible differences between prior fixed facility learning and how learning is measured or gauged in the online program, and 6) how to get technological, academic or administrative help if needed. Vickio & Tuck (1989) note that students returning to school after some time may be apprehensive about their performance, and part of the orientation should work to reduce that apprehension. Palloff & Pratt (2003), while citing many of the factors above, also believe that Internet basics, including use of word processing software and browsers, are a necessary part of a successful orientation. They also note that technology factors can be unnecessary obstacles that end up being reflected in attrition rates unless addressed early in the program. Some institutions effectively deliver some of this guidance through asynchronous audio or video lecture material placed on the learning platform, or downloadable reading material. Others create opportunities for face-to-face residencies or orientations that kick-off the program. In either case, the online community is not complete without a mechanism for learners to contact others in their program of study, and at the same relative stage of degree completion. Creating student rosters by class, program, year of study, or even by geographical region facilitates the ability of students to build networks and create an effective learning community.
This is a critical area where the school can learn from its students. Concord is constantly redeveloping its orientation and community creation primarily acting on student feedback. Early Concord orientations focused primarily on tips for interacting with the learning platform and how to get assistance; later versions provided mechanisms for student directories, understanding the mores and values of the profession, as well as material to accentuate student preparedness for class by enhancing their study skills. If our bottom line as educators is to educate, we need our students to stick with our programs. Faust Rossi of Cornell Law School, one of the great law lecturers of our time, once said to his students â€œmy job is to talk and your job is to listen. It would be unseemly if you finished your job before I finished mine.â€? Effective orientations and community creation go a long way in ensuring that students do not finish learning before we are finished teaching. Conclusion Naturally, the major contributors to student learning outcomes we have discussed presume that excellent academic process within the school is already present, including quality courses and quality faculty. Given that process, Internet education has made constant strides in improving its outcomes by embracing the shift from instruction to learning, focusing on the student and the building of community, improving the training of faculty, and helping students with the transition through a complete orientation. Schools transitioning to online (continued) DETC NEWS â€˘ SPRING
(Confessions of an Early Internet Educator, continued) may bypass a decade of growing pains learned in the “school of hard knocks” by applying the lessons learned by some of us early Internet educators. References Barr, R. & Tagg, J. (1995, Nov/Dec). From teaching to learning. Change, 27(6), 12-25. Carr, S. (2000, February 11). As Distance Education Comes of Age, the Challenge is Keeping the Students. Chronicle of Higher Education. (http://www. chronicle.com/free/v46/i23/23aa00101 .htm). Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange, 2000-2001 Report. The Retention and Graduation Rates in 344 Colleges and Universities. (http://tel.occe.ou.edu/ csrde/execsum.pdf). Diaz, D. (2002, May/June). Online Drop Rates Revisited. The Technology Source. (http:ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show= article&id=981). Greene, H. & Greene, M. (2002, October). Understanding and Targeting Retention. University Business, p. 21-22. Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (2003). The Virtual Student: A Profile and Guide to Working with Online Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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The Sloan Consortium (2003). Sizing the Opportunity, the Quality and Extent of Online Learning in the United States, 20022003. (http://www.sloan-c.org/resources/ sizing_opportunity.pdf). Vickio, C. & Tuck, M. (1989, Fall). Orientation Programming for Graduate Students, an Institutional Imperative. NACADA Journal, 9(2), 37-42. About the Author Jack R. Goetz has been President and Dean of Concord Law School since its founding in 1998. In 2003, he was also named Dean of Graduate Studies at Kaplan College. He received a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law (1979), and a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University (1990). His undergraduate studies resulted in a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from San Diego State University (1976). Dean Goetz is currently a doctoral student in the School of Education at Capella University. Jack has been a member of the California Bar since 1979, and was admitted to the Federal Court Central District of California in 1983. A frequent speaker at distance education and legal conferences, Jack has delivered presentations on Concord’s innovative education model, as well as accreditation obstacles, faculty training and evaluation, and student retention. He served on DETC’s Board of Trustees from 2000-02, and he received DETC’s Distinguished Recognition Award in 2002.
(DETC’s “Special Delivery” Schools, continued from page 24) children and their parents and siblings. Nearly 2,900 families from around the globe have attended these summer sessions. In 2002, the Clinic added Spanishspeaking sessions for the first time. The John Tracy Clinic also instituted the Community Hearing Screening Program for young children and toddlers. The program serves nearly 20,000 families a year in the Los Angeles area, and since the program’s implementation, more than 118,000 preschoolers and children have received these screenings. JTC also hosts a Mainstream Support Group for families helping deaf children transition to public school. The program helps parents create an individual mainstreaming program, as well as supplying families with a list of suitable hearing schools in Southern California. Additional services at the Clinic include various research studies targeting hearing-impaired children and emerging medical advances, such as cochlear implants. These biomedical devices may assist individuals with profound hearing loss who cannot benefit from hearing aids. In 1999, cochlear implants were approved for use in children of just one year of age. JTC’s research indicates that very young children are better able to acquire spoken language with the help of an implant and a skilled parent or teacher. When the JTC experienced an increase in babies with cochlear implants, the Clinic was able to develop an expertise in this area of early childhood deaf education. Mrs. Tracy herself predicted that hearing-impaired children could one day be
identified and helped at younger ages. Today, JTC’s contributions and research allow Mrs. Tracy’s hopes to become reality. Newborns can now be screened before they even leave the hospital, and a complete diagnosis can be conducted within a baby’s first week of life. JTC accommodates the younger ages with a new “Mini Movers” program at the Clinic. The programs offers a holistic approach to develop a child’s hearing, social skills, and speech development. Even the best advances cannot, of course, cure deafness or allow every child to hear. JTC’s mission remains to “provide hope, guidance, and encouragement to parents of young children with hearing loss.” After attending a JTC summer session, one parent said, “You’ve taught us, now we can teach others. We don’t have to be the voices of our children.” Mrs. Tracy perhaps best described the challenges and joys of working with deaf children when she wrote, “Children are children first and behave as any children do.” It is with this attitude, and with the warmth and support from a dedicated staff, that the John Tracy Clinic is able to help the thousands of families affected by hearing impairment world wide. The Hadley School for the Blind: A Visionary Approach to Distance Education Mr. William A. Hadley was a high school teacher who loved reading. When he lost his vision at age 55, he was determined to maintain his favorite hobby. He taught himself braille but was ultimately dissatisfied with the opportunities for the blind. DETC NEWS • SPRING
(DETC’s “Special Delivery” Schools, continued) Mr. Hadley decided to assist other blind people in to their struggle gain independence in spite of a handicap. With the help of his neighbor, ophthalmologist Dr. E.V.L. Brown, Mr. Hadley created the concept of teaching braille through correspondence. He opened a school in 1920 and enrolled his first student, a housewife from the Midwest. The woman, like Mr. Hadley, was desperate to continue reading after she lost her vision. This woman was taught by Mr. Hadley himself, and she became the first of hundreds of thousands of visually-impaired students to benefit from The Hadley School for the Blind. Mr. Hadley spent years expanding and developing the school, which boasted 800 students by the time of his death in 1941. Since then, more than 200,000 students have benefited from Hadley’s wide array of courses. The school offers over ninety course options, including braille instruction, technical subjects, recreational courses, independent living, and high school diploma programs. The school also offers services to family members, since blindness often affects the individual’s entire family. The Hadley School for the Blind is located near Chicago in Winnetka, Illinois. In Mr. Hadley’s time, this location was prime because Chicago was a railroad hub, which meant faster distribution of correspondence courses. The Hadley School was no doubt a pioneer in blind education – services for visually impaired adults were few at the time, and it is remarkable that Mr. Hadley was able to teach and provide braille materials through 30
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the mail. Even today, The Hadley School for the Blind operates as a unique institution for the blind. In the school’s early days, braille publications were produced one page at a time. The school trained braille transcribers who volunteered their time to produce each page for every course. Even when multiple volumes were needed, the volunteers produced the books one at a time. When teachers were first added to the school, they too were volunteers. The Hadley School for the Blind wasn’t able to pay employees until much later. Hadley gained DETC accreditation in 1958, and has remained a committed member to quality distance education methods. Hadley has an average annual enrollment of 8,000 students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. Students are free to study their tuition-free courses at their own paces in the comfort of their homes. Today, Hadley’s courses are taught using braille, large print, audiocassettes, and even the Internet. The students are a mix of those who have been born blind and individuals who lost sight later in life. In 2003, Hadley served 8,500 students, including sighted family members and blindness professionals or service providers. All of Hadley’s ninety-plus courses are offered tuition free, and the staff welcomes any adult affected by blindness. In fact, last year Hadley served more than 330 seniors over the age of eighty-one! The Hadley School for the Blind accepts donations to continue its mission to lend support to the visually impaired. Hadley must spend approximately $5.5 million dollars every year to maintain the staff, courses, and services. Hadley also happily (continued on page 36)
(Distance Learning and the Brain, continued from page 21) an online tutorial will help them achieve a comfort level before the class begins. The goal for educators is to give students challenges that motivate and capture their attention without presenting them with stress-provoking tasks that frustrate and discourage them. This is not to say that we should spoon-feed students, but they need to feel intellectually and psychologically safe.This means that giving pop quizzes is not a brain-compatible teaching strategy. Neither is putting students on the spot, embarrassing them, or playing any kind of “gotcha” games. A certain amount of stress actually improves performance, but an activity can be competitive and fun; the cut-throat competition is best left for the TV reality shows. The third control center of the brain, the “learning brain” or the “thinking brain,” is the cerebrum. In the evolution of the brain, it is the most recent. Called the “gray matter,” the largest (85%) part of the brain’s mass, it is the area we educators teach. Divided into right and left hemispheres, each having four lobes (temporal, occipital, parietal, and frontal), this control center is the most highly developed part of the brain. By the way, the “right brain, left brain” dichotomy, which has become a popular way to categorize people and activities, has been largely discarded. Both sides of the brain work together all the time and are in constant communication with each other. Particularly important are the frontal lobes (behind your forehead), because from this area of the brain come ideas that lead to the writing of symphonies, the
construction of cathedrals, the invention of new devices, the de-coding of the human genome. This is the CEO of the brain, and enables us to plan for the future, reflect on the past, converse with others, solve problems, make decisions and, at the same time, be aware of our thoughts and actions. Attention As educators, we know that the first thing we have to do is get the students’ attention. Because the brain is a patternseeker, it is hard-wired to pay attention to anything that doesn’t “fit,” i.e. novelty. Begin the class with something unusual will attract students’ attention—something odd, incongruous, puzzling, or remarkable. Go for the “wow” factor. It could be a photo of an artifact, an unusual drawing or diagram, an exciting video clip, or an interview with a celebrity guest. It could be as simple as an interesting quote or a funny cartoon (healthy humor is always good). Making Meaning Once we have the students’ attention, we hope that they will learn. Learning is the act of making connections between thousands of neurons. One of the main tools the brain uses to learn is simile, analogy, and metaphor, because these devices give meaning to unfamiliar material. The brain is a pattern-seeker, a meaning-maker, and the way it makes sense out of the world is by checking new input against the neural patterns and synaptic connections that are already there. If there is nothing to “hook” the new information to, it will more likely be forgotten. The (continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
same as telling, we’d all be so smart we couldn’t stand it.” We all have been in situations where we’ve been told informastudents, with the instructor’s help, have to tion, but it made no sense because it had no hook information to something they al- meaning to us personally. If new material ready know through metaphor, simile, or is connected to information to which stuanalogy, or, the instructor has to find or dents can relate, it will have meaning, and create an experience all students in the be remembered more easily. Ask students to construct the meaning for themselves, class share, such as a simulation. Simulation, one of the most powerful to come up with their own explanation or teaching strategies to use in any class- definition, or analogy. Adult learners are room, is the ultimate metaphor. In the final full of specific examples from their own course in the MBA program at Webster experiences, which enriches discussions. Consider making University, many inpart of your distance structors are now uslearning course an asing a simulation called signment that requires CAPSTONE® in which students get out into teams of students run If students don’t their communities, a $100,000,000 comremember it, there with surveys, interpany and compete views, or observaagainst other teams is no proof that tions, and then share in the same course. they learned it. their experiences onThey can also comline. These realpare their results afworld investigations ter each round with are powerful learnteams at other caming experiences and puses across the country and world. Our instructors have will be remembered long after the course used this simulation in courses from Shang- is over. hai to St. Louis, and they consistently report that students are highly motivated, Memory very enthusiastic, and gain tremendously If learning is the act of making connecfrom this experience. In using simulations, the de-briefing tions between thousands of neurons, phase is the most important phase, so plan memory is the ability to reconstruct or to give students adequate time to reflect on reactivate these neural networks. Merilee the action, process, write and discuss the Sprenger, author of Learning and outcomes. Weekly journaling can be help- Memory: The Brain in Action (1999), ful as students work through the decision says, “The only evidence we have of learning is memory.” If students don’t rounds. Dr. Pat Wolfe, author of Brain Mat- remember it, there is no proof that they ters (2001), says, “If teaching were the learned it. We all have had the experience
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of cramming for the final right before it is trees, concept maps, task-specific orgagiven, and when the exam is over, we nizers, thinking-process maps and so on, forget all that we have learned. What preferably in color. In Visual Tools for makes learning memorable? Sprenger Constructing Knowledge, David Hyerle speaks of the five pathways of memory: (1996) describes Thinking Maps as “a semantic (words, rote learning), episodic comprehensive visual language, … a toolkit (location-oriented), procedural (motor of eight basic designs for thinking…” that tasks, like tying your shoe), emotional (the can be adapted to individual subjects by most powerful), and conditioned responses. instructors and learners, and proposes Semantic memory is the pathway teachers Thinking Maps as a common visual lanmost often use, particularly in DE, and it is guage for learning. the most difficult to do well. An obvious advantage distance learnThe brain is 70% visual, and it stores ing has over the traditional classroom, visual images more where students may efficiently than see or hear informasounds. Researchers tion only once, is that designed an experiinformation is availThe more that course ment that illustrates able for review and material is read or this phenomenon. re-reading many reviewed, the more They asked several times. This, of hundred people to sit course, aids memlikely the brain will in an auditorium and ory. The more that store it via a semantic watch 10,000 indicourse material is pathway. vidual images flashed read or reviewed, on a movie screen the more likely the one at a time. Sevbrain will store it via eral days later, they a semantic pathway. invited the same group back and showed In order for material to make its way them another large group of images. In- along the semantic pathway of the brain, cluded were many images from the first into long term memory, students need to day, plus new ones. This time, researchers write or talk about it, to make it their own. asked subjects to press a button if they Frequent opportunities for online discusthought they had seen the image before. sions, or for writing responses in their Their accuracy rate? Over 90%! Other own words, will help solidify students’ research also strongly suggests that graphic learning. For example, present students organizers assist students in remembering with a difficult paragraph, and assign them material or processes. to translate it into simpler language. Or ask Offer students excellent visual images, them the simple question, “Explain what and lots of them: timelines, charts and you think were the two most important graphs, of course; diagrams, maps, and concepts from Week I” (or Lesson 7, drawings; flow charts, photographs, visual whatever). puzzles, art, brainstorming webs, decision (continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Distance Learning and the Brain, continued) Ask students to lead discussion topics, too. The discussion manager’s position of responsibility adds an extra boost to memory. We also know that doing useful tasks produces feelings of efficacy and belonging. Ask students to teach concepts from the course material. When individuals teach others, they have to know the information well themselves first. So, put your online students into the role of teacher. There is an old Chinese adage: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Emotional Memory The most powerful memory path in the brain is emotion. Think about fourth grade. What do you remember? I remember Miss Dill, who could snap her fingers louder than any human being before or since, and with that small gesture, instill fear in nine-year-olds. Why do we remember things that happened long ago, but can’t remember what we had for lunch last Friday? Because emotion-laden events are indelibly etched on our minds. We can all remember where we were when we heard the news of the Kennedy assassination or the Challenger disaster. A sure way to make learning memorable is to add emotion to the course, and there are many ways to do this. One is to tell stories. At Webster University, St. Louis campus, all undergraduate Media Communications majors are required to take “Law and the Media.” Like many law courses, it was taught court case by court case, dry, detail-heavy, and 34
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b-o-r-i-n-g, especially to all the creative types–the photographers, videographers and film-makers. An adjunct instructor, an attorney, began teaching the course using a different neural pathway. He told dramatic stories, as many legal battles are, laden with emotion, conflict, and unexpected twists: “Once there was a reporter named Joe, who had spent years writing a screenplay . . .” Students loved this approach, remembered the stories (the cases), and did well in his course, which always filled first. Of course, instructors have used the case study method to make abstract concepts and principles come alive for decades. Have you asked students themselves to write their own case studies and present them to each other for analysis and discussion? Do you tell stories? Do you allow students to get to know you personally? Does your on-line course format promote student interaction? Creating Community Making the cyber classroom a learnercentered and learner-friendly environment requires a great deal of thinking and planning before the course is launched. Because of the lack of person-to-person interaction and missing social structure that is waiting behind a classroom door, online instructors must consciously build in processes and activities that develop a sense of community among learners. Here are some ways to do this in an online environment. Put your picture and a bio about yourself on the website (not just your C.V., but “real” stuff, like your hobbies, interests, and favorite movies). Ask students to do
the same. Use first names. Ensure that this information goes two ways, not just from instructor to students. E-mail, of course. And respond to students’ e-mails in a timely way, within 24 hours, if possible. Be kind and considerate in the wording of messages. Without the contextual cues of body language, facial expression and tone of voice, students may misinterpret your meaning. E-mailers have invented a whole lexicon of “faces” to overcome this condition, right? ;-) Provide a chat room, list serve or bulletin board where students can exchange information as part of the course design, places where students don’t have to adhere to formal academic writing, and spelling and grammar don’t count (but good etiquette is demanded). Interaction and building community can also be achieved through assigning activities that require students to work on project as pairs or groups. Students can be required to communicate with both the instructor and each other; they can get feedback about the project. In some instances, one- or twoway visual or voice communication could be used. Instructors often report that one challenge of teaching online is knowing whether or not the e-mails, discussion contributions, or written assignments are the work of the student registered for the course. Getting to know your DL students as well as possible will help in determining if a particular communication stands out as “not your work.” There is also a resource on the Internet for screening papers for plagiarized content. At turnitin.com, instructors can check the originality of student work. Your institution can subscribe to this service for a modest fee.
The Importance of Feedback Frequent feedback is critical in the distance learning environment. Students need to know how they are doing in graded assignments, discussions, and homework. “Feedback needs to be personalized and addressed to the individual student’s work. General feedback addressed to the class as a group is also advisable, but it is individual feedback that touches the student. In addition, it is important to contact the students on a weekly basis to check if they are having any problems with the course, assignments, use of technology, and get their continuous feedback for improving the course” (Whiteman, 2002). Note that it is important for instructors to collect not only summative data about students, but also formative information in order to determine if students are “getting it.” The cleanest way to do this is to ask them, and not use the feedback in any punitive way. For a variety of suggestions, read Classroom Assessment Techniques, by Tom Angelo and Patricia Cross. Anonymous feedback is the best. Students can send her or himself the message and then “Bcc” (blind carbon copy) the instructor. In the distance education environment, educators face many of the same challenges presented by traditional classrooms. Knowing about how the brain learns can help in both settings. Giving course material meaning, enhancing memory with emotion, paying personal attention to students, building a sense of community online, and designing the distance learning experience carefully, are key activities in effective distance education. (continued) DETC NEWS • SPRING
(Distance Learning and the Brain, continued)
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accepts donations such as CCTVs, machines that enlarge printed texts to be more easily read by the visually impaired. Recently, Hadley instructors have been able to give donated CCTVs to students. One Hadley instructor remarks that “the students are so appreciative. It makes me proud to be part of Hadley.” Hadley students also show their appreciation by giving back to the school. Students are never solicited for donations, but many still choose to contribute what they can to the school that helped them so much. Despite the difficulties a blind or low-vision adult has in obtaining employment, more than 320 past students have contributed to Hadley. Dawn Turco, Senior Vice President of The Hadley School for the Blind, notes that Hadley has a high number of return students. Thousands of students decide to take second and third courses at Hadley, and many others have gone into the double digits. Some students have even taken more than forty courses! Hadley fosters a lifelong learning experience, and many students find that taking more courses can prepare them to lead a rich, independent life. With the school’s international enrollment and tuition-free learning support, and with its mission to help individuals develop skills necessary for independent living, Hadley shines as a wonderful opportunity for the blind community. Dawn Turco confirms the school’s mission when she recalls an old expression: “The sun never sets on The Hadley School for the Blind.”
Caine, R. and Caine, G. (1994). Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Hyerle, D. (1996). Visual Tools for Constructing Knowledge. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Jensen, (1998). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Management Simulations, Inc. CAPSTONE® Business Simulation. Northfield, IL: 1986-2001. Sprenger, M. (1999). Learning and Memory: The Brain in Action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Whiteman, J. (2002). “Interpersonal Communication in Computer Mediated Learning,” [Online] Available: Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Document No. ED 465 997. Wolfe, P. (2001). Brain Matters: Translating Research into Classroom Practice. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Also, visit websites about the brain. There are many; here is one: BrainConnection: The Link to Learning. http://www.brainconnection.com.
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REGISTRATION FORM DETC 78th Annual Conference – April 18-20, 2004 – The Westin Grand, Washington, DC Name:______________________________ Institution:______________________ Address:________________________City:_________________State:_________ZIP:___________ Daytime Phone:________________________ E-mail:________________________ Please Register Me For: _ _Member $850 or $800* __Non-member $1,100 or $1,050* __Spouse $425
Name for badge:_________________________________ Name for badge:_________________________________ Name for badge:_________________________________
$_____ Total Enclosed (Please make check payable to “DETC” and U.S. Funds on U.S. Bank only) *Member rates: $850 or $800 for each additional person *Non-member rates: $1,100 for one person, $1,050 for each additional person. No registrations will be processed without payment.Cancellations must be made before April 1, 2004 for a refund. All refunds will be made after the Conference.
Mail this Registration Form and your check directly to: Ms. Cindy Donahue, DETC Annual Conference, 1601 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009-2529.
HOTEL RESERVATON FORM DETC 78th Annual Conference – April 18-20, 2004 – The Westin Grand, Washington, DC Name:___________________________________________# of Adults_________ Institution:________________________________________________________ Address:__________________________ City:___________ State:____ ZIP:_______ Daytime Phone:__________________________E-mail:_______________________ Arrival Date/Time: __________________ Department Date/Time:___________________ *Accommodations: __ $225 ___ Single
PLUS A 14.5% ROOM TAX
Reservations must be received by March 17, 2004 to assure accommodations at these group rates. A required 30-day prior to arrival cancellation notice is required to obtain a refund of a deposit. Check in time is after 3 p.m. Check out time is Noon. To confirm your reservation, a credit card number or first night’s deposit is required. Call or 1-800-937-8461 or 202-429-0100 to make reservations.
Card Number:__________________________ Type:__________Exp. Date:_________________ Signature:_________________________________Fax:_______________________________ Mail this Form directly to: The Westin Grand, Room Reservations, 2350 M Street,NW, Washington, DC 20037 or fax it to (202)857-0127.
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- Since 1926 The Premier Association of Accredited Distance Learning Institutions
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The Spring 2004 edition ofthe DETC News.