Summer 08 Board Meeting Confirms New Big Projects Envisioned for HETS

HETS June 2008 Board Meeting went far beyond a review of the recently concluded academic year and look at next steps. This active meeting, held at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York on June 19 and 20, gave an overview of the new ventures that HETS will be taking on this year.

HETS June 2008 Board Meeting went far beyond a review of the recently concluded academic year and look at next steps. This active meeting, held at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York last June 19 and 20, gave an overview of the new ventures that HETS will be taking on this year. With the participation of 19 Board members and Board designated representatives, corporate member organizations, and other key institutional representatives, this summer’s Board meeting was a manifestation of the essence of this Consortium: an interactive space to envision new developments and propose new ways of advancing members’ missions toward student success.

Some of the most significant results of this meeting were the official approval and designation of a HETS Regional office in New York, the first of its kind, and the creation of the first ever educational review journal. Dr. Eduardo Marti, President the Queensborough Community College, shared his interest and willingness to host the HETS New York office, at his institution’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. HETS presence in New York will help serve the particular needs of the noteworthy number of members located in this state and vicinity areas.

It is important to note as well that, during this meeting, the leader of the HETS Technology Task Force took the opportunity to present the results of this year’s HETS Members’ Technology Assessment. This discussion led to the suggestion of three unique potential areas of development that will certainly turn into opportunities for HETS members. As shared by HETS Board Chair, Mr. José F. Méndez, this survey demonstrates “the ability of HETS to put together the strength of 29 institutions and transforming them into direct relevant services for the educational community and outstanding networking opportunities with other institutions and service providers.”

New members were also officially introduced and both accomplishments and goals for the next year were thoroughly discussed. In addition to this, the HETS Board Officers were nominated for a new two-year term, appointing Mr. José F. Méndez (Ana G. Méndez University System), as President; Dr. Antonio Pérez (Borough of Manhattan Community College), as Vice-President, Prof. Nilda Nadal (Universidad Central de Bayamón), as Secretary; and Esq. Manuel J. Fernós (Inter American University of Puerto Rico), as Treasurer.

Other key discussions included the commemoration of HETS 15th Anniversary next January in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the celebration of the HETS Best Practices Showcase event in 2010. The next Board meeting was agreed to take place on January 15 and 16, 2009 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Achieving the Healthy Balance between the Human and Technology Sides of College Education

An article in the current April edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the main IT trends for Community Colleges in the United States. According to this article, based on an interview to the chief executive of Catalyze Learning International, higher education institutions at large are striving for the right blend of traditional and online instruction, emphasizing on the role of mobile-learning. Another significant trend in college education will be the expansion of social networking technologies to enhance the education experience. Nonetheless, the article stresses the importance of keeping human tough in the education process, especially in community colleges, characterized by at-risk students who “feel disconnected”.

The question is: How can human touch in college education be emphasized while doing the best to incorporate the latest technology into the current educational purposes for the benefit of the college learners?

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
IT Trends for Community Colleges
Carolyn Mooney
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Volume 54, Issue 30, Page B9
April 2008

HETS Joins Forces with APAD

Tuesday 06th of November 2007
HETS Joins Forces with APAD
HETS has joined the Puerto Rican Distance Education Association (APAD, by its Spanish Acronym) for the coordination of the Distance Education Conference ?Construyendo la Nueva Agenda de la Educación a Distancia? (Constructing the New Agenda of Distance Education), to take place on November 14, 2007 at the University of the Sacred Heart in Santurce, during APAD’s Assembly. During this event, a panel of experts will be analyzing the new Distance Education guidelines of the Higher Education Council of Puerto Rico (CES, by its Spanish Acronym).
This activity will give place, as well, to the presentation of the book ?La Nueva Agenda de la Educación a Distancia?. This publication includes collaborations from Dr. Juan Meléndez, Prof. Ana del Castro, Dr. José Sánchez, Dr. Antonio Vantaggiato y Prof. Carmen Betancourt. The editor of the book, Marta Mena, will be joining through videoconference from Argentina.
When: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Where: Sala de Facultad, University of the Sacred Heart
Time: 8:00 AM ? 3:00 PM
Cost: $50.00 (includes breakfast, snacks, lunch, a copy of the book, and a one-year membership with APAD)
For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Heisha Romero through heromero@suagm.edu or call (787) 766-2600, extensions 8910 and 8911.
 
By HETS Office

Successful and Decisive Board Meeting in Puerto Rico

Friday 09th of February 2007
Successful and Decisive Board Meeting in Puerto Rico
With Presidents and representatives from a total of 18 member institutions, and representatives from its new corporate and nonprofit members, the HETS Consortium celebrated one of its most successful and decisive Board Meetings yet. Presided by Mr. José F. Méndez, President of the Ana G. Méndez University System, this Board Meeting gave place to the discussion and approval of the first full strategic plan in the history of the Consortium, a document that defines the direction of the organizations for the next three years. The meeting took place last January 11 and 12, at the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In the evening of January 11, members got together with other potential corporate and institutional members for a reception, where also new members were recognized.
Board Members who joined President Méndez for this meeting included Manuel Fernós, President of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico; Dr. José J. Rivera, President of the University of the Sacred Heart; Prof. Marcelina Vélez, President of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico; Mr. Edgar Rentas, Vice-President of the Carlos Albizu University; Dr. Ricardo Fernández, President of the Lehman College in New York; Dr. Carolyn Williams, President of the Bronx Community College; Dr. Antonio Pérez, President of the Borough of Manhattan Community College; Dr. Dolores Fernández, President of Hostos Community College; Dr. Eduardo Martí, President of the Queensborough Community College; and Dr. Eduardo Padrón, President of the Miami Dade College. 

Other member institutions represented included Kutztown University (Pennsylvania), California State University-Dominguez Hills, University of Texas at Brownsville, University of Texas Pan American, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Also, corporate and nonprofit members had the opportunity to introduce their companies and organizations and discuss potential collaboration opportunities with HETS member institutions. This meeting gave also place to introduce the Consortium’s newest member institution: the City Colleges of Chicago, first HETS member in the state of Illinois and the important Hispanic community of Chicago. The City Colleges of Chicago will be joining the 22 member educational institutions that are already affiliated to the organization.

For more information, please contact the HETS Office at 787-766-2600, extension 8911.

By HETS Office

 

HETS Joins the Ana G. Méndez University Family

Tuesday 12th of December 2006
HETS Joins the Ana G. Méndez University Family
During the month of November, the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System joined the family of the Ana G. Méndez University System, as the institution officially became the new host institution of the Consortium for the next years to come. After being elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, José F. Méndez, President of such institution, together with the members of the Board, proposed moving the headquarters of the HETS Consortium to the AGMUS’s facilities, particularly within the institution’s Center for Distance Education and Telecommunications (CETED, by its Spanish acronym). This change comes in a moment of significant growth for the Consortium itself, since it is developing now and will be implementing next semester its new strategic plan.
The 55-year history of the Ana G. Méndez University System has resulted in the testimony of constant innovation, growth, and transformation for the education of the student population in Puerto Rico and beyond, especially those lifelong learning adults that continuously look for improved opportunities. It has won its place in the Island as a solid post-secondary institution centered in their student population needs, making effective use of state-of-the-art technology, physical, and managerial resources to accomplish its mission. Through a persistent strategic identification and satisfaction of educational and professional needs, AGMUS has been able to come up with the development of pioneering academic programs, offered along its three main universities, Universidad Metropolitana (UMET), Universidad del Turabo (UT) and Universidad del Este (UNE); 12 satellite off-campus learning centers; its television network and center for educational telecommunications; and two educational centers in the state of Florida. Today, the total student population of AGMUS reaches over 31,000 students.
 
In 2003, AGMUS successfully exported its innovative academic programs to the Metro Orlando University Center, where an accelerated bilingual adult curriculum is offered. The Metro Orlando Center consists of a unique paradigm to which each of its three main universities contribute, providing a curriculum that caters to professional adults who want to complete their university studies for a degree. Tailored along the lines of the AHORA program, which was pioneered by AGMUS in Puerto Rico in conjunction with Regis University, a leader in adult education, the Metro Orlando project is the only one of its kind in the nation, offering a particularly innovative discipline-based dual language English-Spanish immersion model, geared to produce bilingual professionals. Following this experience, an in aims of bringing its benefits to other Hispanic communities in the United States and abroad, AGMUS inaugurated its South Florida campus in Miramar on October 26, 2006.
 
An important part of AGMUS’s visionary perspective is its focus on expanding its reach and students’ possibilities through the strategic use of distance education technologies, both online and through educational television. Currently, the Telecommunications and Distance Learning Center (CETED by its Spanish acronym) is a recognized leader in the application of distance learning techniques, working closely with AGMUS universities. CETED collaborates with the AGMUS universities and their professors to establish a system-wide policy for the further development of distance learning methods. More than 50 faculty members have been certified in distance learning techniques thanks to the efforts of this system unit, and more than 300 online courses have been created. Furthermore, as part of the system’s partnership initiatives, CETED also entered into a collaborative agreement with Nova Southeastern University for the development of educational television programming and the further expansion of new programs in distance education. Finally, beyond creating and delivering distance learning offerings for its students, and preparing its faculty to excel in teaching in virtual environments, AGMUS model is focusing in establishing models and processes to provide effective virtual student services to support success in its distance learning programs.
 
Looking forward to the internationalization of its programs, the System is dynamically establishing alliances with post-secondary institutions and governmental organizations from other Spanish-speaking countries around the world to make, while exchanging valuable knowledge on social and economic advancement areas. Partnerships have already been implemented with institutions in Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Spain, Australia, Argentina, and Brazil, among others. For instance, AGMUS partnered with several foreign ambassadors to the United States in Washington, D.C. in order to identify future areas of common interest for development activities.
 
Through one of its main universities, Universidad del Turabo (UT), AGMUS has also established numerous collaborative agreements with others institutions of higher education, such as an agreement with Florida International University (FIU) to enable faculty from the School of Engineering at Turabo to complete their doctorate degrees, supported by scholarships, at this institution. The relationship established with FIU is leading to further cooperative ventures with engineering schools in Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Honduras (LACCEI). Also, an agreement with Universidad San Pablo in Spain enables UT professors to complete PhDs in Business Administration.
 
The combined resources and experience of AGMUS as an innovator in higher education and its academic excellence philosophy will keep centering on the use of the latest technology and non-traditional learning experiences to respond to the needs of a varied population locally, nationally, and internationally. These efforts, together with innovative strategies in education tailored to HETS members, will synergize to produce new options for college and lifelong learners.
 
For more information on HETS new location and latest efforts in distance education, stay tuned to www.hets.org, or you can reach the new HETS office through (787) 766-2600, extension 8911.  For further details on the Ana G. Méndez University System, go to www.suagm.edu.
By HETS Office

Student Support and Retention Roundtable in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Last April 18, 2008, the HETS Consortium celebrated its Student Support Roundtable Discussion. This event, which took place at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, included the participation of teams from member institutions interested in developing institutional initiatives to support student retention and success through technology. The general purpose of this roundtable session was to assess, describe, and document existing efforts to strengthen the area of student support services among HETS member institutions.

Prof. Manuel Cordero, Associate Vice-president for Retention at Ana G. Méndez university System, was the main speaker of this event. Professor Cordero, who has 25 years of experience in this area, shared with participants his lessons learned regarding the impact of support services on student retention rates, as a way to lead the discussion. Additional discussions also took place to guide the establishment of measurement criteria to assess the impact of support services in the general performance of institutions.

As part of this semester””s Student Support Roundtable, HETS joined Ramona Munsell & Associates in providing members with the opportunity to participate in a special Technical Assistance Workshop practically focused on 2008 funding opportunities. The objective of this workshop was to provide expert consultancy in program design and grant writing to HETS member institutions to: (1) increase their chances of being funded under the CCRAA and/or TRIO programs, and (2) to collaboratively explore the possibility of submitting a cooperative agreement among participating member institutions. This event was specially designed for institutional teams constituted by staff working directly with grants, program design, academic affairs, institutional research, or technical grant writing.

HETS January 2008 Board Meeting

A majority of HETS member institutions was represented this past January 17, 2008 during the HETS January Board Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A total of 23 out of 27 Board members and representatives took part of this important meeting for the organization, including Presidents and academic leaders from five new member institutions.

It is of outstanding importance to mention that five of the newest affiliated institutions participated actively. These institutions were the Antillean Adventist University, Medgar Evers College, Huertas Junior College, University of Colorado at Denver, and Walden University. Each of the Presidents and representatives from these new member institutions had the chance to share with the rest of the Board members valuable information about their respective institutions. Board members also had the chance to network and exchange thoughts with representatives from three corporate members and four special guests from member institutions in Puerto Rico.

This Board meeting closes the first semester of the academic year 2007-2008 and receives 2008, a very exciting year for the organization and its members, as it envisions numerous new projects and looks forward to the commemoration of HETS’s 15th Anniversary. Following, we highlight some of the most important issues discussed in this meeting.

Major accomplishments in the past year

  • Profit sharing agreement between HETS and corporate member Plattform
    Alliances with corporations to provide HETS members with special rates and specialized services
  • Membership renewal of 100% of regular members
  • More than $15,000 in additional revenues as a result of new institutional affiliations
  • 89% participation rate in interviews conducted to Board members on perceptions, expectations, and levels of satisfaction with the organization
    Revenues for this year have already been achieved in a 70%
  • Membership affiliations expected to exceed 100%

Outreach in the US

The importance of exploring and assessing the needs of institutions in the United States was stressed. HETS is interested in visiting and outreaching institutions in the United States. Members are encouraged to suggest relevant events where the organization could take participation.

A New Approach

Chairman Mendez pointed out the new marketing approach taken by HETS, as it has strived to produce several publications, both print and electronic, to promote the organization, its services, and the leadership of its members in education and technology related areas.

HETS will be soon launching a new website including the new corporate identity and new features for members. Members will receive more information in a near future about the official launching, together with a set of codes to access the exclusive member features.

Organizational Performance

HETS first Board Self-Assessment Process was completed. This is part of a complete process of Organizational Performance Assessment that will be taking place for the first time ever this year.

HETS Task Forces

As part of the meeting, Board members had the chance to learn about the work of one of the recently established task forces. Dr. Warren Ashley, from the California State University Dominguez Hills, presented some of the thoughts and experiences shared in the HETS Technology Task Force during the past semester. He explained that the main challenge for this task force is to identify new technologies that will successfully support member institutions in communicating with each other, just as HETS founding members effectively networked through satellite communication in the past. The technology to be chosen should be widely available to all HETS members, be reliable for a long-term, and be available at a low cost. Other important goals of this task force for this next semester are to survey all HETS member institutions regarding their current technology, pilot some technologies, and produce one live/interactive event next spring. All Task Forces will report on their achievements during the June Board Meeting.

Nomination Committee

A Nomination Committee was designated to propose candidates for June 2008 Board officers’ elections. The Nomination Committee is constituted by:

  • President Carolyn Williams, Nomination Committee Chair (Bronx Community College)
  • Mr. Douglas Ferrier (University of Texas at Brownsville)
  • President Marcelina Vélez (Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico)
  • President Ricardo Fernández (Lehman College)

June 2008 Board Meeting

June 2008 Board Meeting will take place on June 19 and 20, 2008 in Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)

Keeping Quality Standards in Online Learning

Friday 01st of June 2007
Keeping Quality Standards in Online Learning
Education through virtual environments, as offered by the Internet technology, proliferates more and more every day throughout the world. With the platforms currently available in the market, many institutions have been able to join this adventure and offer their academic products and services online. This pedagogic scenario brings up the issue of academic quality and effectiveness: How effective is actually the teaching-learning process through this modality? How can we assess the quality of those courses and instructional resources available to the student?
On May 4, 2007, HETS delivered a workshop on ?Quality Standards and Assessment of Online Courses and Faculty?, bringing to its membership the expertise of Dr. Antonio de las Casas, Associate Vice President of Distance Education at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. During this event, he enumerated eight quality factors to take into account in online education: Administration, didactical model, technology platform, contents, faculty, students, assessment, and institutional culture. Among the fundamental aspects pointed out was the fact that e-learning quality actually starts as soon as the student enrolls in the academic institution. If any part in this process limits the student in reaching his or her goal of having access to an education, he or she could then feel upset and perceive that online classes have no value. Thus, every step related to the administrative aspect has to be perfectly aligned in order to be processed through the Web.
De las Casas stressed the significance of a good implementation of the teaching-learning process, especially taking into consideration that technology needs to be a tool in this process and not the main factor conditioning it. He also discussed the role of faculty: an agent that accompanies, facilitates, and guides the process. The educator, whose attitude is of outmost importance; his emotions, sensibility, and expressions need to be carefully shown and thought in order to avoid misinterpretations. On the other hand, it is recommended that the educator keeps a friendly and kind tone, and that he or she is approachable and helpful. Overall, the teaching practice should also lead to a process that brings out the knowledge and wisdom in each student.
In identifying the ideal platform, the expert recommended defining the didactical model and selecting the distance education platform that helps solve the model’s fundamental aspects, including interaction, continuing assessment, multimedia integration, and hypermedia, among others. The instructional design of the courses should have a clear and uniform structure, everything has to be stated with enough clarity, and contents need to be linked to external resources. Activities should be creative, innovative, and challenging. Overall, authenticity should be fostered in the student.
The workshop ended up brilliantly with the inclusion of a videoconference with Dr. Armando Villarroel and Dr. Luis Romero, CREAD’s Executive Director and Chancellor of the Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador, respectively. Both leaders discussed the quality assessment system. Both pointed out that, currently, Mexico and Brazil are the two countries with the most advanced distance education and quality systems.
 
Original article in Spanish by Bessie Rivera
Instructional Designer
Center for Telecommunications and Distance Education
Ana G. Méndez University System
brivera@suagm.edu
By Bessie Rivera (Original article in Spanish)

Ana G. Mendez President, New HETS Chairman

Tuesday 26th of September 2006
Ana G. Mendez President, New HETS Chairman
The President of the Ana G. Méndez University System, José F. Méndez, was elected President of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System during the Thirteenth Annual Summer Board Meeting of the organization in New York.
By 1993, Méndez took the pioneering initiative of gathering the institutions that today make up the HETS Consortium, as the first educational telecommunications consortium constituted by colleges and universities from Puerto Rico and the United States. Since its inception, President Méndez had the vision of allying AGMUS’s efforts with other institutions in Puerto Rico, as well as other Hispanic Serving Institutions in the US, in an effort to widen educational opportunities and access to postsecondary education through the use of the technological modalities of distance education. The HETS Consortium promotes the use of information resources such as the Internet, interactive multimedia technologies, and videoconferences, among others.
“For the Ana G. Mendez University, it is an honor to lead HETS and continue harmonizing efforts to reach our Hispanic communities in the US”, expressed President Mendez. This year, Mr. Mendez, as Chair of the HETS Board, will continue the already initiated work agenda of designing a strategic plan for the organization.
Collaborating with Mendez in the HETS Board of Directors will be Dr. Antonio Perez, President of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, elected as Vice President. Other board officials elected include Dr. Carolyn Williams, President of the Bronx Community College (secretary); Manuel Fernós, President of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico (treasurer); and Douglas Young, from the University of Texas at Brownsville, and Ruth Ann Balla, from Miami Dade College, as Southwest and Southeast regional representatives, respectively.
Source: El Vocero de Puerto Rico
By Ana G. Mendez University System

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