From category archives: In Trust Blog

Technology

   
                

Instructional design

           
         

Instructional designers and instructional technologists are often confused, but the titles aren’t interchangeable,” says Sue Ann Husted, who has held both positions at various institutions during her 24-year career.

   

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New Year 2018 issue is now available

           
         


The New Year 2018 issue of In Trust magazine was recently mailed and is now available to read online.

   

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Measuring the effectiveness of online programs

           
         

Online programs fill the educational landscape these days, but how do we measure their effectiveness? During a recent webinar, Roxanne Russell presented some strategies for doing so, drawn from her work in shaping the revised online/hybrid D.Min program at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. 

   

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Technological solutions for board collaboration

           
         



At your school, how do board members communicate between meetings? How are board documents relayed and important decisions made ahead of meetings? Is it sometimes challenging to collaborate with your board members, who are busy and scattered across the country (or globe)? If so, take heart -- there are technological solutions that may help.

   

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Protect yourself from cyber threats

           
         




Staff of the In Trust Center recently attended a webinar on cyber security for nonprofit organizations. The webinar was provided by the Delaware Small Business Development Center and presented by Michelle Wang, assistant director of information security administration for the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church. Although the webinar was presented for an audience of Delaware nonprofits, the information provided is pertinent to any organization that would like to improve their cyber security efforts.

   

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Adaptation may help declining enrollment

           
         



Among the difficulties many theological schools face today is the decline in student enrollment. The answer to this problem may well be in a school’s ability to adapt to the needs of today’s potential seminarians.


   

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A guide to board portals

           
         



 

Conducting board business requires organization and collaboration. Board members receive a vast amount of information in anticipation of board meetings, and often they have to take care of additional business between meetings. Some boards are turning to digital options for organizing, collaborating, and disseminating information.

Boards may need tools for assisting in this move to digital business. 

   

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The value of classroom tech: A professor chimes in

           
         

 

Technology has made every area of human endeavor better, or at least more productive, and it seems downright curmudgeonly these days to say otherwise. We all agree with that. . . right?


   

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Social media strategies for good times and bad

           
         


The In Trust Center recently presented a webinar on social media to an audience of theological seminaries across the United States and Canada. 

The Center's vice president for communication, Jay Blossom, shared the webinar hosting duties with Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

Together they provided guidance on cultivating an authentic, trusted voice on social media platforms in “normal” times -- and then employing this voice to communicate during crises. Van Dyk relayed her experiences in developing a social media strategy during her first year at Columbia Seminary.


   

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Online course design: A conversation with Roxanne Russell

           
         

 

Recently Amy Kardash (Director of Programs at the In Trust Center) chatted with Roxanne Russell (Director of Online Learning at Candler School of Theology) about the In Trust Center’s upcoming webinar, Online Course Design.

The following is a peek into their conversation about the upcoming webinar, especially focused on the question, "Why does this topic matter to board members and administrators?"

 

   

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Online course design: Why it should matter to you

           
         

 

Online Course Design. It’s probably not something that most board members or administrators consider, and yet it is the topic of the In Trust Center’s next webinar.  

What does online course design have to do with the governance and leadership of theological schools? Amy Kardash, the In Trust Center’s director of programs, tells us more about this webinar and why it is relevant to the work of our readers.

   

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Board communication and collaboration: What are the options?

           
         


The practice of sharing materials among the players in shared governance -- that is, members of the board, the administration, and the faculty -- can be challenging. Because the materials cover complex, often confidential issues, the mechanism for sharing must be secure. It also must be straightforward, easy to use, and not too time consuming.

Board portal software can be a great solution to these challenges, but the cost is often prohibitively expensive, especially for small institutions such as theological schools. 

   

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Social media resources

           
         



Jay Blossom, Publisher of In Trust magazine and In Trust's Vice President for Communication, recently presented a workshop entitled Social Media and Institutional Conflict at the 2015 ATS Presidential Leadership Intensive Conference. The following was created as a supplemental resource for the workshop participants.

   

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The paperless board: Yes, but with caution

           
         



Technology is changing everything,
including how boards do their work. As a seminary president, for example, I advocated for a paperless board, which is a great tool for any group of trustees.

Over several meetings, our school transitioned to a thoughtfully designed...

   

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Do you offer online classes? You must register in every state where students live

           
         



If you’re the institutional liaison with your state office of higher education, or with the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), or with a regional accrediting agency, you know that there’s a deadline approaching: July 1, 2014.

If you have any kind of online presence that draws students from across state lines — and at least 112 ATS schools do! — then you should be prepared for it.

   

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Trustees and technology: an uneasy combination?

           
         


survey of higher education trustees 
conducted in the spring of 2013 by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) found that only about one-third are getting board-level information about education and technology that they would rate as excellent or even . . .

   

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Great resources for all kinds of boards

           
         


BoardSource, a Washington-based membership organization for nonprofits, has a host of free and low-cost resources that can be downloaded or ordered from their website at www.boardsource.org. Many of BoardSource’s materials are addressed to small nonprofits, but with minor adaptations, many may be appropriate for theological schools and seminaries as well.

   

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Two reports reveal faculty views on digital learning

           
         


In 1998, working as a bookstore manager
 of a rather large seminary, I was surprised to discover that very few of the school's professors would respond to my e-mail. They all had accounts, of course, but when it came to actually checking the inbox, only a handful even seemed to know how -- and only of a few of that handful cared to do so. You are not surprised by this. Professors are often a considered a stodgy bunch.

   

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Online teaching, part 2: Big-picture implications and questions for boards

           
         


What are the implications
of the Inside Higher Ed report on online teaching?   

In Part 1 of this post, guest blogger Jennifer Woodruff Tait laid out some of the conclusions of a study that Inside Higher Ed has conducted about administrator and faculty views of online education. In this follow-up, she suggests some questions that board members and administrators should be asking about online education.

   

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Online teaching, part 1: What do teachers and administrators say?

           
         



recent study by Inside Higher Ed 
offers some striking findings about faculty and administrator attitudes toward online education. Not surprisingly, more administrators than teachers are enthusiastic about online education.

But even those who teach online and are comfortable with it have some reservations about educational outcomes.

Guest blogger Jennifer Woodruff Tait explains some of the report's principal revelations. 


   

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Research reveals information on "millennial" donors, volunteers

           
         



New research sheds light on the nonprofit giving habits of young people ages 20 to 35: They seek information on their smartphones (but not exclusively); they're more likely to donate if they volunteer first; they're very interested in leadership (but most haven’t been asked to lead).

   

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Plug-and-play theological education

           
         

It's been a year since we first wrote about the "edupunk" phenomenon. Edupunks are part of the up-and-coming generation of students. They think outside the educational boxes that institutions provide for them, finding sources of knowledge and authentic experience wherever they may. While edupunks might still matriculate at an institution of higher learning, they are on the lookout for what they really want and need, wherever they can find it. (One university is experimenting with students like this and hosting "flash seminars," where a time and location for discussion on a hot topic is posted in online social networks, and only the first 25 students are allowed to participate.) In the past year, we've also seen the rise of another term in higher education: "plug-and-play." This refers to an increasingly a la carte market approach to completing a degree. While a graduate student may be officially enrolled at one institution, that student can shop around -- usually online -- for classes at other schools -- c ...

   

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Saving students money with technology

           
         

In theological education, it seems that educational technology has reached a tipping point. Small seminaries that never thought they could offer online education or other web-based services now have access to relatively inexpensive, scalable, and road-tested technologies to help them reach modest goals. Going online -- with classes, student services, and even board committee meetings -- isn't as daunting as it used to be. For many schools, however, the motivation to embrace certain educational technologies has been to decrease the institution's costs and increase billable tuition hours. But a recent blog post over at Inside Higher Ed offers a startling new perspective on the technology question. The author reminds us that the cost of higher education continues to outpace the cost of living, getting more and more expensive every year. How can seminaries expect to thrive when both student costs and institutional costs continue to climb? And what role can technology play in making theological education mo ...

   

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Libraries of the future

           
         

  In years like these when cash flow is tight, endowments are down, and enrollments are sagging, schools of all sorts look for ways to slice a few lines from the operating budget.  But when boards and administrators are investigating creative solutions, how often do they turn to the library, tried and true, as a possible source of innovative savings?  If knowledge is the lifeblood of the academy, then books are the veins through which knowledge flows.  Right? Colleges and universities are increasingly turning to innovative solutions and the fast-paced development of new information technologies to trim overhead, maintenance, and staff budgets, while at the same time improving services for a changing student demographic. It's becoming more common to outsource certain functions (e.g. cataloging). Because of aggressive archiving and digitizing, the prominence of actual paper books is decreasing in favor of new ways of delivering knowledge. Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academ ...

   

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