Volume LXIII Number 4

April/May/June 2010

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
April/May/June 2010 - Volume LXIII Number 4

In this quarter’s TACT newsletter...
Page 3 Letter from the President
by Gary Coulton
President Gary Coulton University of Texas San Antonio Immediate Past President Debra Price Sam Houston State University VP of Financial Affairs Frank Fair Sam Houston State University VP of Membership Elizabeth Lewandowski Midwestern State University VP of Legislative Affairs Cindy Simpson Sam Houston State University Members At Large Allen Martin University of Texas - Tyler Mark Gaus Sam Houston State University Peter Hugill Texas A&M Executive Director Chuck Hempstead (512) 873-7404

Page 5 Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead

Page 6 Two Too Big Problems
by Elizabeth Lewandowski

Walking the Talk in a University Teacher Page 8 Preparation Classroom
by Gloria Gresham and Kimberly Welsh by Allen Martin

Page 10 Textbooks for Texas Page 12 Debunking Myths about Online Courses
by Rob Robinson

Page 15 Distance Education: A Discussion
by Allen Martin

Page 19 Pictures from the Spring Conference Page 20 Key Election Dates/GRF Contrubutions Page 21 Membership Application

TACT
Texas Association of College Teachers 5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, Texas 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423
Copyright © 2010 by the Texas Association of College Teachers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without permission; Chuck Hempstead, Editor.

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Letter from the President
by Gary Coulton TACT President

Greetings everyone. It’s that time again; time for another issue of the TACT eBulletin. I hope your semester is winding down nicely. Regardless of whether or not you teach summer courses, I think most of us in the profession would agree that college teaching is a full time job. In my opinion, part of the job is to stay up to speed on developments in traditional and non-traditional instructional methods. Of course there remains significant controversy about the value of various classroom technologies. That controversy is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. And as the controversy lingers technology continues to evolve. Whether or not you embrace any of the new classroom technologies, we owe it to our students to keep abreast of available instructional methods. Also in my opinion, we are best served by keeping an open mind regarding new instructional technologies. To paraphrase one of my brightest professors in graduate school, before rejecting something (he was referring to theories) you should first have an adequate understanding of it. With that said I must admit that although not really a Luddite, I am not as technologically savvy as most of my colleagues. Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a particularly valuable professional development opportunity materialize (at least figuratively) in my own back yard.

In April the 2nd Annual Southwest Teaching & Learning Conference was held at my home institution, Texas A&M UniversitySan Antonio (TAMU-SA). (TACT was fortunate enough to co-sponsor the conference.) The event was very successful, due largely to the efforts of conference founder and organizer Dr. Tracy Hurley of TAMUSA. Enrollment this year increased more than 20% from the inaugural conference. Attendees came from virtually all corners of Texas, including Tarleton State in Stephenville, A&M-Commerce, UT Brownsville, and UT Pan American in Edinburgh. The conference program included more than 50 sessions. Some dealt with rather traditional methods, some concerning on-line instruction, and a large number of sessions focusing more recently developed methods of delivering courses (e.g., Web conferencing, use of social media, in-class response systems, Hybrid courses, and the creation and use of E-books). I think it’s safe to say that the majority of TACT members spend the majority of their time engaged in instruction. That’s what makes keeping up with what instructional tools are out there so important. (Of course under the current economic conditions, a little refresher course on grant writing [to obtain new instructional equipment] wouldn’t hurt either.)

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
President’s Letter

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you about the 2011 legislative session. It may seem like it’s a long way off, but before you know it you’ll receive a TACT First Alert about the opening day of the session. Perhaps most importantly much preparation is taking place now for the upcoming legislative session. Governor Perry has already had state institutions pare back their budgets 5%. More funding issues affecting higher education will certainly arise during the session. How can you help TACT prepare? The best way is to contribute to the TACT Government Relations Fund (GRF). We understand that economic conditions are far from ideal, but please contribute what you can. Any amount will help. Contribute on-line. It’s easy. Go to: www.tact.org. Gary F. Coulton, Ph.D. Texas A&M University - San Antonio

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead TACT Executive Director

Tax ‘em All and Let God Sort ‘em Out?
Remember? State government, two issues: the budget, and everything else. 2011 updated version: Budget, redistricting, and nothing else. If a billion here and a billion there pretty soon adds up to real money, why can’t we agree if we’re facing an $11 Billion shortfall, $15 Billion, or this week’s $18 Billion? The latter comes from Appropriations Committee Chair Jim Pitts, so we might want to honor its potential accuracy. Here comes gambling and the slashing of sales tax exemptions and who knows what, depending on the number of special sessions necessary to wear out enough elected officials to vote for something to be able to go home. Those of you who have been watching for decades know that not much happens during redistricting years, except maybe the theater of quorum-busting groups hiding out in someone’s garage apartment…or New Mexico…or Wichita Falls until the media or Texas Rangers suggest they return to the Granite Dome before their freedom or constituencies become at risk. O.K., back to higher education. A significant difference between Texas and other states is that our college-age population is still growing – and fast. With enrollment countercyclical to economy, and the success of our Closing the Gaps initiative, Texas higher ed is exploding. The Legislature added significant appropriations increases last time, especially to student aid programs. But in interim committees now, Commissioner Paredes is already being asked how he suggests reprioritizing financial aid if it were to remain flat or decrease. Two upcoming dates of importance: last chance for your colleague to join TACT at our “try us” rate of $109 through Fall; and, the TACT Board is meeting June 5 to begin drafting our legislative agenda for January. What would you like for it to include? Chuck Hempstead Executive Director

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Two Too Big Stories, or “Truthiness” in Action
by Elizabeth Lewandowski TACT VP of Membership

Deep in the throes of the end of the semester, surrounded by papers and projects to grade, committee reports to finish and a red light on my phone telling me I have more voice mail, I had no intention of writing an article for the Bulletin this month. “Let the bigwigs deal with it” I thought. As I ate my sandwich, I perused my email and news online and decided that two stories were getting too big and full of too much “truthiness” to go by without responding. Story # 1: From www.quorumreport. com, an article about a large jump in scholarship dollars for higher education in which THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes states that Texas state aid for higher ed scholarships has increased 424 percent over the last decade (in 2000 it was $91 million; in 2010, $477 million). The suggestion made is that scholarship money in Texas is plentiful for today’s college student. Reality #1: While Texas higher ed scholarship appropriations have indeed increased in the last ten years, the reality is that much of the money goes unclaimed. This money, in the form of the B On Time Program, while a favorite of the Governor, is not a favorite of modern students. Today’s students are concerned that they will be unable to fulfill the requirements of the grant. The program specifies that if students enrolled in the program graduate with a B average (3.0 gpa) the money is a grant but if the student graduates with a gpa below 3.0 the money is a loan which must be paid back. This money is not nearly as enticing

to a student as a grant or working extra hours at a job to avoid having loan payments after graduation. The Too Big Truth #1: The story’s allegation that there is plenty of money being spent on scholarships falls short of the truth. While the money is available, large numbers of dollars are going unused. At my university with a student body over 6,000, fewer than 10 students participate in the B On Time Program. Story #2: From www.trnonline. com, an article relating the results of a study conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The $300,000 study was pushed for by two Texas senators, one of whom was Senator Florence Shapiro, and paid for by the Houston Endowment, a foundation in Houston. According to the report, teacher education in the state of Texas is abysmal. Reality #2: While NCTQ did in fact conduct a study, the study was done using research methods that would be unacceptable in any college freshman class. NCTQ initially sent a complex request to the deans of Texas colleges of education. The request was long and involved with no clear purpose and the deans, already busy with various nationally reputable accrediting bodies, decided not to participate in the study. The study was therefore completed by reviewing the information available on university websites. If no information was available on a particular question, the resulting answer to the question

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Two Too Big Stories

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

was not “no information available” but “no” or “0”. This questionable method of gathering data resulted in the information one might expect i.e. the universities with the most detailed websites were ranked the highest and those with the least detailed websites were ranked as the worst teacher training programs. The Too Big Truth: The research was conducted in such a manner that the results of the study are worthless in evaluating the quality of teacher education programs. Large amounts of money were spent to receive worthless data. Why do I care? I’m not a college student and I’m not a member of a teacher education program. I am however a member of TACT and I am appalled by the use and abuse of money. While those of us in higher education are perceived as “ivory tower” faculty out of touch with reality, I suggest that is not we who are out of touch but some of our representation in Austin. If funding Texas scholarships means appropriating money for a program that history tells us is unsuccessful and spending $300,00 for essentially worthless research is our state government’s idea of careful financial management in the current economy, then I am indeed sorry to be a Texan. If you feel as I do that our leaders in Austin are not tuned in on the realities of today’s higher education then join me in supporting TACT. Join me in making a $50 donation to the Dr. James M. Puckett Ph.D. Government Relations Fund to help TACT provide our state leaders with relevant, useful information about higher education. If each member of TACT donates $50, our organization will be able to spend more time telling our state leaders the Reality and the Truth about Texas higher education.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
“Walking the Talk”

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

In a University Teacher Preparation Classroom
by Gloria Gresham and Kimberly Welsh
According to Douglas, Frey, & Lapp (2009), modeling may be our most powerful learning tool. Learning how to manage a classroom where students are actively engaged is not fostered through lecture-based, teachercentered classrooms. This type of learning is promoted when the instructor “walks the talk” each and every day. One delivery method that allows students to construct knowledge is the workshop approach. For the past two years, the workshop approach was utilized as the instructional delivery method in my university classes for the early childhood and middle level teacher candidates. As Bennett (2007) describes it, the workshop allows the “daily pursuit of understanding important things” (p. 6). The workshop provides a predictable structure, regular routine, ritual, and orchestrated system for learning. It is cyclical and has three main components: minilesson, worktime, and debrief (Bennett). The components are not static but allow the teacher to rotate through the cycle multiple times in a single class. Mini-lesson At the beginning of each meeting time, students are summoned to the large group area with a transition. A transition is a short jingle, song, or chant that relates to the learning. Students sit on the floor encircling the instructor. At first, this takes some of the students by surprise, especially the male middle level candidates. After explanation of the delivery method, students adapt and eagerly await the beginning of class as was expressed by this middle level teacher candidate, “I really enjoyed the workshop approach. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and I really felt comfortable in participating. It definitely was an attention getter. I did not have time to let my mind wander to other things.” Image 1 shows teacher candidates assembled in the large group area.
Image 1: Students gather for the mini-lesson

For about 10 minutes, the instructor focuses the students on the topic for the day, and leads them through a “think a-loud or demonstration.” Immediately, students complete guided practice over the topic to ensure understanding as demonstrated in Image 2.
Image 2: Students rehearse content through a pair share under the careful eye of the instructor.

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When the instructor is sure students are ready to complete work related to the content taught, they are released with a transition to engage in individual, pair, or group work.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Walking the Talk

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

Worktime In worktime, students engage in the work. The work may involve implementing a “new” strategy, reading an article related to the content taught, or reflecting through writing. During this time, the instructor is conferencing with individuals/small groups or moving about the room to question or “listen in.” Image 3 displays a student conference.
Image 3: The instructor is assessing student comprehension over content taught..

The power of this method is relayed by this student, “This type of modeling is exactly what we need as developing teachers so that we can see exactly how the type of lesson approach works in a practical, “real world” example. I liked the large group time because it created an environment that felt safe and exhilarating. In small groups, we were able to help each other explore the material while the teacher had more time to observe, assess, and support us in our educational goals. Learning was transparent for us and the teacher. In debrief time, we had the opportunity to reiterate what we had just learned.” I could sum this up no more eloquently. The workshop approach is a powerful instructional delivery method to use in university classrooms, especially classrooms where teacher candidates are preparing for a teaching career. References Bennett, S. (2007). That workshop book; New systems and structures for classrooms that read, write, and think. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Douglas, F., Frey, N., & Lapp, D. (2009). In a reading state of mind: Brain research, teacher modeling, and comprehension instruction.Newark,DE: International Reading Association.

Debrief The class ends as it begins in the large group area. Students celebrate their learning by sharing their understanding, thinking, and/ or work accomplished during worktime as is revealed in Image 4 (Bennett, 2007).
Image 4: An early childhood teacher candidate early exhibits her work.

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9

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Textbooks for Texas: Just Right, Right of Center, or Outrageous?
by Allen Martin

Wild things have been asserted about how the public school social studies books are going to be written. One problem is that we are just finished with the SBOE mark-up of the Text Book Committee draft. Many discussions and changes are certain. Second, the wording of the “TEKS draft” is scattered and confusing, not just because it is in a mark-up stage, but also because the choices of editorial terms are confusing and undefined. I have seen excoriations in newspapers across the country of the new social studies books. Remember, also, that the idea that all the other states adopt the texts that the SBOE adopts is just overwrought. The Tejano heroes, i.e., the Mexicans who fought with the Texans during the revolutionary period, are indeed included in the current draft. Contrary to newspapers in other states, Texas is not planning to throw out mention, or even respect, for José Navarro, López Zavala, Erasmo or Juan Seguín, etc. Nor are the text books planning to do away with African American notables such as W.E.B. Dubois, Barbara Jordan, Martin Luther King, and Thurgood Marshall. Study of various people may be moved to different grade levels (e.g. Thomas Hobbes, Bill Martin, Jr., Dolores Huerta, than in the past and several will be dropped entirely from social studies texts: Florence Nightingale, Henrietta C. King, Miriam A. Ferguson, Henry Cisneros, Roy Bedichk, Sandra Cisneros, Clarence Birdseye, “Robinson Crusoe and Paul Bunyan,” Louis Daguerre and C.M. “Dad” Joiner, Phil Gramm,

Susan B. Anthony, Shirley Chishom, Eugene Debs, Robert Lafollete, H. Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, John Steinbeck, Archimedes, Robert Boyle, Nicolaus Copernicus, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Erathosthenes of Cyrene, Robert Fulton, Galileo Galilei,Vladimir Lenin, Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Pythagoras of Samor, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, James Watter, Sigmund Freud. (Cactus Jack was not deleted, he just had his real name clarified, John Nance Garner.) That’s all of the deleted names I found from the social studies books at this stage of the revision process. Some of these names are now only in other texts, such as science books. “Figures” added in 2010: Santa Barraza, Diane Gonzales Bertrand, Denton Cooley, Glenn Curtiss, Horton Foote, Raul a. Gonzalez, Jr., Milton Hershey, Stonewall Jackson, Lydia Mendoza, Chelo Silva, Sam Walton. But also added at some recent time were: Abigail Adams, John Q. Adams, Richard Allen, Susan B. Anthony, James Armistead, Crispus Attucks, James A. Baker, Philip Bazaar, Todd Beamer, Alexander g. Bell, William Blackstone, Simón Bolívar, Omar Bradley, William Carney, George W. Carver, César Chávez, Wentworth Cheswell, and many others (but the SBOE seems to show some “figures” as being recent inclusions that were not so recent). In April, a member of the State Board of Education, Barbara Cargill, stated the following:

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Textbooks for Texas

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

“Here are examples of some of the outstanding standards that have passed so far: American History: • • • • The student understands the concept of American exceptionalism. Describe how American values are different and unique from those of other nations. Describe U.S. citizens as people from numerous places throughout the world who hold a common bond in standing for certain self-evident truths. Discuss the meaning and historical significance of the mottos ‘E Pluribus Unum’ and ‘In God We Trust.’”

This is a huge, contentious issue process. Lots of confusion will continue because of many reasons, including that there is a lot to it. You can always email sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us to express yourself on the state education issues.

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11

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Debunking Myths About Online Courses
by Rob Robinson, Ph.D. Director, UT TeleCampus In the roughly 15 years since the first truly web-based online courses were introduced, a number of persistent myths have emerged among faculty regarding quality, motivations, and workload. In my role as "dark side administrator" of a large online operation, I hope to be able to dispel some of these myths. These myths are much like the storied Phoenix. In this case I am referring to the mythical bird rather than the oft-criticized university, as these are myths which continuously emerge from the ashes of debunking. Myth: Online courses are of poor quality. This is absolutely the most persistent myth out there, and it is re-ignited every time a "degree mill" is exposed. The basic fact is that the quality of an online course is directly proportional to the plan and execution of the instructional design of the course. You, as a teaching faculty member, should not be left untrained to wander into the world of digital pedagogy. Quality courses emerge from a partnership between the faculty and instructional designers. There are simple, powerful ways to engage students in an online course. I am frequently asked to provide evidence regarding the quality of online instruction. My initial response is to ask what evidence we have that classroom instruction is of the highest quality? Why is classroom instruction, which is seldom ever systematically reviewed for quality, the benchmark? However, there is a growing body of research literature which points to the quality of online courses as being on par with – if not superior to – classroom courses. One of the more recent pieces of evidence is a Department of Education report titled Evaluation of Evidence-based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. It is worth highlighting one of their conclusions: Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. (p. xiv) The quality of any course, regardless of delivery modality, is related to the effort put into it. This leads to the next myth… Myth: Online courses require a lot more work than classroom courses. Honestly, this myth is based in fact. The development of an online course is a non-trivial amount of work on the part of the faculty. Partnering the faculty with instructional designers and multimedia specialists can reduce the workload, but the intellectual effort

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12

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Debunking Myths

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

required by the faculty can be significant. In fact, I am of the opinion that this activity should be recognized as the scholarly work that it is. However, the most frequently heard complaint regards how much work is required to teach an online course, rather than the work expended in developing it. Again, there are straightforward ways to mitigate some of the work. Elements like establishing clear guidelines in the syllabus regarding when you, as the instructor, will respond to student emails; making sure that students have all-hours access to technical support, and designing the course for scale, all help reduce teaching workload.

member and the institution share joint copyright of the course. This allows the author to keep control over her materials, while allowing the institution to have continuity in their course offerings if the faculty members departs the institution. In those cases where the institution asserts sole copyright of the course, the authoring faculty member should review their employment contract to review the work-for-hire language.

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Myth: Online courses are simply a ploy by the administration to generate more revenue. Perhaps based on history, this myth is understandable. Many highly In fact, perhaps the worst thing touted online ventures were launched one can do when designing an online with great fanfare in the early 2000s, course is to simply replicate the activities were expressly designed to generate inand assessments that are used in a facestitutional revenue. Most of those operato-face class. The move to online instruc- tions have now ceased to operate. Those tion presents the opportunity to use the left standing are institutions and organitechnology of the Internet to manage the zations which approach online programs workload. Use group-based activities via as a way to increase access and improve discussion boards or Web2.0 applications; learning and not just a simple moneyscatter quick online assessment through making venture. While online delivery the course; make the syllabus very comis not the money-machine many thought prehensive and require students to read it, it would be, it is a profound game-changand then have a quiz over it to reduce the er in terms of allowing adult learning to administrivie load of student questions. gain access to the intellectual riches of our institutions. Myth: Online courses result in a loss of control by the faculty of their intellecMyth: Online courses are a way for tual property. administration to replace high salary While anecdotal evidence faculty members. abounds to keep this myth in circulation, It is true that the ranks of fullby far the most common policy regardtime, tenured faculty are declining as a ing intellectual property issues in online percentage of instructors in institutions courses is that the authoring faculty all across the country. What is false is

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Debunking Myths

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

that this is a result of the proliferation of online courses. In fact, the rapid growth of enrollments in online degree programs at traditional colleges universities argues for more, not fewer, full time teaching faculty. There is no reason to fear or pooh-pooh the growth of online courses. They clearly meet student needs, increase access to learning, and have comparable quality to face-to-face courses. They are no longer just something that continuing education units or “those for-profits” do – they are now at the academic center of most institutions. The pedagogical opportunities for innovation in online courses are quite exciting, and it is my hope that you won’t fall prey to the recurring myths regarding them.

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14

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Distance Education: A Discussion for TACT/TCFS/AAUP
by Allen Martin

Let us consider “The Last Professor,” Stanley Fish (NYT 1/18/09). He states that “higher education, properly understood, is distinguished by the absence of a direct and designed relationship between its activities and measurable effects in the world.” …. “There is an important difference between learning which is concerned with the degree of understanding necessary to practice a skill, and learning which is expressly focused upon an enterprise of understanding and explaining.” I was a Ph. D student at UT when Frank Erwin proclaimed that the University of Texas should teach work-skills, not scholarship. If you want to teach a skill, do it by distance. If you want to educate, you have to be there (WAM, “Being There,” Academe, 1999). Ideas must be worked on, fleshed out, and tested (life is not a multiple guess test), all with the consultation of professors and fellow students. But this leads into my first point: With distance education (DE), who needs professors, that is “content providers.” The content is in the tank or private colleges, thank you for your contributions. Now, the work is for the actor, communicator, talking head. I began studying

this issue in the early 1990s by becoming a Senior Fellow at THECB. And then wrote in the TACT Quarterly Bulletin about DE and faculty protection. In those days faculty had firm defense: just say no. But that was when faculty were enticed to teach distantly, and if they agreed, they bargained. The bargaining has not totally gone away, I did this just last year ( a special sort of case). But for the most part, a faculty member faces a heavy hand, and the bargain is close to the notorious “offer he can’t refuse.” I was amazed that when the UT System first presented DE to my campus, that the faculty missed all the larger issues, thinking only of mites while missing the monsters. We had a big brain-storming session, all the brains seemed to be blown and washed away. A year or two later, as I tried to bring the light, professors here and elsewhere would perceive the dawn and say, “Oh, one professor could teach the course for the whole university system.” Well, that was a start. For several years, my campus has been teaching courses to the world, including flying; 9/11/01 was in the old days when a terrorist had to go to Florida to take finalapproach training.

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15

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Distance Education

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

Throughout this time of professional insouciance, their/our percentage of the university/college work force began to nose dive. We are being overtaken by all sorts of teachers and machines that are not tenured and who will not be. Years ago, when I was writing articles for the AAUP, I became aware that most of the University Professors weren’t. Now, it’s not even close: where did they go? You might say, “replaced by junior college faculty,” and that would be substantially correct, but further, why would someone pay university prices for a DE course that is also offered at the local JC? So, who cares if the professoriate is on its way to being a curious memory? I hope that you can think of many reasons. One that some might miss is that it is the professoriate that guarded against the corporatization of the academy; i.e., we have been in the teaching and scholarship business, not the money and power business, ad are our modern administrators. We kept the universities honest and the students, too. Individual professors still care, but they have lost the ability to fight the good fight because their numbers and power are ebbing. Today, we are being replaced by those who teach to great numbers of people via DE. At least this used to be synchronous, now the latest gimmick is to infuse the synchronous into synchronous education modules. Oh, we have come so far. The rub, dear Watson, is that technology is not the issue: rather, while you were gushing over gadgets, your ilk was being bum rushed into the side streets.

Can you believe that people are still defending this stuff by talking about the disabled? Let us count the puns: that has always been a crutch, the excuse has never had a leg to stand on: all in bad taste you say; what do you have to say about the shortchanging of genuine educated, deep thinking, the idea of advancing people onto higher planes (no, get the spelling in your head)? But there is point #2. The purpose of distance education has always been curious. What has driven DE? Why have universities been so manic about providing all this stuff? Lots of reasons, but quality education is not one of them (my “Really Smart Classrooms” TACT Bulletin 200?). Why did your chancellor say we have to spend tons of money on this method of delivery? I mean, what was really the driving motive? Competition perhaps, but why did the 1957 Chevy have fins, why were those bigger the next year and the year after? Well, I submit that it was not crippled people or frivolity but huge money and power, the perennial driving forces. Where is it going to come from? At last, the answer: You. You have been an expensive trouble maker or at least you’ve been put in the way. You want to be paid only a bit less than administrators, you want AAUP right and input, even shared governance. UT Administrators scoff at the idea that there is big money to be garnered by stealing your lectures, but they are lying. Many corporations and universities are awash in money from lectures.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Distance Education

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

Such outrages had been building up – those cocky fellows of the 1960s remember the epigram, “The Huns are not only at the gates but they’re inside the university, and they’ve got tenure!” The answer was to stop them dead; the death was to be slow, but that was acceptable to administrators. The fiendish plot was to steal the brains of the scholars! Then, once the administrators have the brains (“in the can” as the expression was a few years ago), they could foresee running universities without challenge and without professorial expenses (except for those whose research brings in big bucks), the only expense that had to grow was money for the administrative class. Now, let’s see how this works. I made the quip land then months later it was a New Yorker cartoon: a professor comes home and tells the family he has lost his job, replaced by his own lectures. That’s the ticket. Get the professor to teach a DE course; get the course, and then adjuncts (cheap people) can be the teachers of record (a pun there) again and again. As I traveled the country talking about these issues and was getting calls from all over the country and the UK (mainly through my article in AUTLOOK, UK, 2000), I heard the stories of dead people teaching courses for years. This is not so often painful to the bereaved now, since this is not so commonly done on public access TV, but the heirs make no money off the pilfered lectures. The popular administrative trick is to get a hireling, get them to DE, then let them go.

This has been slightly difficult in the past, because of professors rising to the aid of the neophytes. When the only professors left are researchers with a course on the side, they are unlikely to rise up and defend the professoriate or the non-tenure track faculty. Yes, this is point #3, the intellectual property policy; you’re welcome. But after I worked on getting this going and then my partner, Georgia Harper, put it in lawyereeze, and it was approved by the UT System and then adopted by every university in the country (save one, that I know of), faculty are still getting taken. How is this? Well, the IP policy makes it clear that if you create it, it is yours; but, as I wrote in “Intellectual Property Covers Distance Education, if You Work at It” (ASA 8/18/01), you must not be a chump. Professors are rarely chumps but they are becoming rare. The pigeons are the young chickadees, “another sucker born every minute.” The administrator says that you will teach a course by distance, sign here. Most everyone does, thereby giving away years of hard work and rights, heck, you could be sued for using your own words without a signed letter of permission. Here’s a brilliant solution: don’t sign the contract, keep your IP, better yet, refuse to DE. The IP issue is huge: I spent three days talking about it at the 1998 “Summer Workshop of the AAUP” in Marquette, MI, in the Upper Peninsula one summer. (I looked forward to the relief from the Texas sun – the Uppers had 105 degrees and no air conditioning!) The attendees

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17

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Distance Education

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

(cont’d.)

came to understand and embrace the IP issue, but it took hours for them to fully get it. Few faculty members, except the few professors left in universities, will ever take the time to learn the law and be prepared to protect themselves. Thus, in general, I think that We Are Doomed, to cite Derbyshire’s book. Turning now to the little problem, point #4, that is obvious to all who have any awareness of DE: It fosters grade inflation, that is, academic fraud. You have not seen and talked with those distant people, you don’t know who took those tests (in the cases I know about where the faculty member sits with the test takers, the grades are vastly lower than when the tests are taken remotely and without professorial proctors). Who wrote those papers? Yes, we have good ways to see online papers, but it is expensive – who pays for the online papers that have to be bought in order to prove that the “students” bought the online papers? Moreover, there are many other ways to have papers written by others (one encyclopedia company has been doing custom jobs for years). They, and more and more faculty, do not care nearly as much as they used to – this is all part of the corporate university. Again, keep in mind that DE is run by real corporations (they teach all subjects at all degree levels), like the ones that had me be the skunk at the picnic at Jackson Hole, 1997, and “legitimate” universities (see Atlantic Monthly, “The Corporate University” first made the general population aware of what the modern American university

is mainly all about, i.e., make money off the geese that lay the golden eggs and let them go). Yes, corporations and universities are competing for mega-dollars: The universities have whole offices to scoff at the idea that they are making a killing, but the professoriate is dying and both corporations and universities are killing us.

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18

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Pictures from the Spring Conference

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Image 1: Peter Hugill, Mark Gaus, Debra Price, Lieutanant Governor Dewhurst, Chuck Hempstead, Allen Martin, Gary Coulton.

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Image 2: Rob Robinson, Allen Martin.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
Key Election Dates 2010

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

Oct. 4 — Last day to register to vote in general election. Oct. 18 — First day of early voting in general election. Oct. 29 — Last day of early voting in general election Nov. 2 — General election.

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Source: Texas Secretary of State’s Office

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The TACT Dr. James M. Puckett, Ph.D. Government Relations Fund is a result of optional contributions made by those committed to TACT’s heightened public affairs program. It is not used for candidate contributions, but is used for activities that will increase awareness of TACT among influences of public policy. Your contribution will assist in TACT’s legislative efforts to improve Texas higher education. All expenditures are approved in advance by TACT’s President, President-elect and Legislative Committee Chair.

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Thank you to the following contributors
Gary Coulton Jonathan Coopersmith Mary DeShazo Frank Fair Clarke Garnsey Chuck Hempstead Elizabeth Lewandowski Andrea Williams George Parangimalil Robert Strader Debra Price

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20

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report Two Too Big Stories Walking the Talk Textbooks for Texas Debunking Myths About Online Courses Distance Education: A Discussion Pictures from the Spring Conference Key Election Dates/ GRF Contributions Member Application

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