NOVA Attends VCCS Distance Education Peer Group Conference

The Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) Distance Learning Peer Group held a conference on October 9 and 10 at Reynolds Community College’s Parham Campus. The conference provided an opportunity for educators to come together to collaborate, problem-solve, learn and innovate with the focus on enhancing the success of their students and colleges.

Several of NOVA’s staff presented constructive and instructional workshops during this year’s meeting on topics that included online library services, technology tools for online instruction, quality assurance and accessibility.

Heather Blicher, online learning librarian with NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI), helped participants understand the unique role of the embedded librarian in distance learning, including the ways in which the traditional librarian’s role is changing to serve students and faculty in an online environment.

Dr. Hong Wang, ELI’s associate director of instructional technology training, shared and demonstrated quality, no-cost tools and resources designed to help faculty and instructional designers create appealing, effective and meaningful instructional presentations in the online and hybrid learning environments.

ELI instructional designers Nantana Wongtanasirikul and Rong Zhu shared their course design processes and Quality Matters (QM)-certified courses with the goal of helping instructional designers and faculty develop online courses that will meet QM standards.

In the area of accessibility for distance learning and instruction, Maureen Madden, ELI instructional designer and accessibility liaison, and Stephanie Gernert, assistive technology coordinator with NOVA’s Office of Disability Services, shared the process NOVA staff used to create and implement an interactive instructional module that provides key aspects of disability-related law and explores the responsibilities of college faculty, staff and students to ensure a culture of inclusion. A VCCS Paul Lee Professional Development Grant supported the development of this instructional module.

Also related to accessibility, Madden and Gladis Gonzalez, caption and alternate text coordinator with NOVA’s Office of Disability Services, shared the results of a collaborative effort that resulted in the creation of workflow processes to help ensure that instructional materials for students and resources shared with the public are fully accessible.

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