Demands, roles and competencies of 21st century distance educators (SPorto at USDLA'2011)

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Stella Porto's presentation at the USDLA'2011

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  • What is a distance educator? This joint presentation (with Dr. Stella Porto) will discuss the skills and knowledge needed by the distance education professionals in their various roles as leaders, managers, teachers and support staff. A set of requirements for each of these groups will be presented and the current sources of information and training in these areas will be discussed. Finally, the employment outlook for these various professionals will be analyzed, in relationship with the growth and demand in the field.
  • “ Most of the roles identified were found to be similar with the addition, in this study, of a role called systems expert/consultant. Additionally, the competencies identified were found to be similar across all three studies. However, the emphasis in prioritization of the competencies was found to be different in the study we conducted from the previous two studies. Although the previous two studies by Thach and Williams emphasized communication competencies, the advanced graduate students group identified technology related competencies to be the most important.”
  • “ Most of the roles identified were found to be similar with the addition, in this study, of a role called systems expert/consultant. Additionally, the competencies identified were found to be similar across all three studies. However, the emphasis in prioritization of the competencies was found to be different in the study we conducted from the previous two studies. Although the previous two studies by Thach and Williams emphasized communication competencies, the advanced graduate students group identified technology related competencies to be the most important.”
  • Who are the distance education professionals? What are their roles? What are the requirements for each of these groups of professionals?
  • Demands, roles and competencies of 21st century distance educators (SPorto at USDLA'2011)

    1. 1. Demands, roles and competencies of 21st century distance educators Stella Porto Master of Distance Education & E-Learning Graduate School of Management & Technology University of Maryland University College
    2. 2. MDLA’2004: Porto & Rubin presented “What is a distance educator?” The last slide asked: So… What will be the job of a Distance Educator in… 5 years? 10 years?
    3. 3. So here we are… Agenda <ul><li>The distance educator landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Demands </li></ul><ul><li>Roles </li></ul><ul><li>Competencies </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges in professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Final remarks </li></ul>
    4. 4. The distance education landscape <ul><li>Growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Within the same institution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Larger spectrum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lingering issues of cost </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. The distance education landscape <ul><li>More complex supply chain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialized services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organizations are more complex </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Centralization vs decentralization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internalionalization, partnerships, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DE is the response to government challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can it is live up to the challenge with quality? </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. The distance education landscape <ul><li>Increasing variety of technologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major shift to user generated content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Push for greater accessibility to information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open content & open source </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The force of mobile technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of quality still in the horizon </li></ul><ul><li>Scalability and costs </li></ul>
    7. 7. Management and leadership have never been so important! We can go on an on, and bottom-line…
    8. 8. Demands (for distance educators) <ul><li>View and understanding of the Distance Education SYSTEM in all its complexity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development & design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching (delivery) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Management & administration </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Demands (for distance educators) <ul><li>Change, change and more change… and then… </li></ul><ul><li>Become effective educators (period) </li></ul><ul><li>Use technology effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Keep up with technology </li></ul><ul><li>Student-centered approach to distance teaching & learning AS WELL AS student support </li></ul>
    10. 10. Roles of distance educators <ul><li>The concept is that any given job is composed of core roles </li></ul><ul><li>Different combinations of core roles would define distinct job profiles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combinations vary immensely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certain roles usually take front stage: primary roles </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Core roles of distance educators Instructional designer / support <ul><li>course development </li></ul><ul><li>curriculum development </li></ul><ul><li>learning objects, etc. </li></ul>Consultant /researcher <ul><li>advice /mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>audit / assessment </li></ul><ul><li>research </li></ul>Instructor/faculty <ul><li>pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>delivery </li></ul><ul><li>student support </li></ul>Administrator/Manager <ul><li>staffing </li></ul><ul><li>planning </li></ul><ul><li>operational/project control </li></ul>IT specialist <ul><li>media </li></ul><ul><li>infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>web technologies </li></ul>
    12. 12. The all-around jack-of-all-trades IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    13. 13. The Instructional Designer in IT IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    14. 14. Instructional Designer in the academic department IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    15. 15. Faculty Member IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    16. 16. D.E. Unit Manager IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    17. 17. IT Manager IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    18. 18. IT Support IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    19. 19. Faculty support staff IT specialist Instructional designer support Instructor / faculty Consultant / Researcher Administrator / Manager Distance Educator
    20. 20. Difficulty in defining competencies for distance educators… <ul><li>Balance between Theory & Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Confusion between competencies and skills </li></ul><ul><li>Needs of the market are still blurred </li></ul><ul><li>Employers’ lack of knowledge </li></ul>
    21. 21. Difficulty in defining competencies for distance educators… <ul><li>Professionals with diverse backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development not yet standardized </li></ul><ul><li>DE professional not yet fully recognized within many rising markets </li></ul><ul><li>Social media has enabled many to use the web more naturally </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging technologies have multiplied and created further blur </li></ul>
    22. 22. Competencies for distance educators <ul><li>Theories that support distance education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transactional distance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industrial model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversational mode </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other Learning theories, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IT skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ease with technology innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communication and personal skills </li></ul>
    23. 23. Competencies for distance educators <ul><li>Pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>Student Support Services </li></ul><ul><li>Technology management </li></ul><ul><li>Distance Education Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Cost Analysis and Economics </li></ul><ul><li>Management theory & practice </li></ul>
    24. 24. Competencies for distance educators <ul><li>Instructional Design, curriculum and course development </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia / Web-based instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty training and development </li></ul><ul><li>The Business of/and in DE </li></ul>
    25. 25. The roles of distance educators in the current market <ul><li>Academic DE/Online director / DE Director </li></ul><ul><li>DE/Online coordinator </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional Designer/Specialist </li></ul><ul><li>Online Faculty Trainer </li></ul><ul><li>Course Development Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Director of Training </li></ul><ul><li>Assistant Dean for DE </li></ul>
    26. 26. So… What will be the job of a Distance Educator in… 5 years? 10 years?
    27. 27. Thanks! Any questions? [email_address]

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