In November, 2014, six summits were held in six California regions (San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Francisco, and Sacramento) to solicit ideas for a professional development clearinghouse to serve the California Community Colleges. A total of 545 people registered for these events, and idea maps were created for each summit: see http://www.3cmediasolutions.org/files/?f=460&key=5f29e2ee3fbd198cd3f53a8e6b7105eb44e43259.
We got a lot of ideas from a diverse collection of people: educators, student service specialists, HR professionals, classified staff, and administrators all over the state. Here, I'll summarize the "bells and whistles" these folks suggested: the features they'd like a PD Clearinghouse to include.
Accessible. The Clearinghouse conforms to ADA Section 508 requirements and Universal Design standards.
Analytics and Reporting. The Clearinghouse processes submitted evaluations, tracked Flex activities, individual and group PD activities, success factors (and “needs improvement” indicators), impacts on student success, online and on-site PD events and participation. Reports and analytical summaries are provided showing trends, needs, and usage patterns. Analytics are tied to student success. Analytics include state-wide, district-wide, and college level reports. Predictive analytics are included.
There are also self-assessment features. Users can define a PD Plan, identify learning styles, and indicate prior learning and competencies.Assessments are tied to student learning outcomes.
Certification: see Credentialing (below).
Chat: see Social (below).
Content Customization. Users can edit, tag, share, highlight, and rename content uploaded to the Clearinghouse.
Content Descriptions. Content can be identified and searched by the source of the content (e.g., author, host institution).
Course Management System. The Clearinghouse can be embedded in a Course Management System, enabling users to login to their host college’s CMS and access the Clearinghouse from there.
Copyright. Licensing information is provided for all content. CC-BY licensing predominates, allowing free access and editing with attribution. Usage and re-purposing rights are clearly delineated.
Credentialing (see also Tracking). Users’ PD efforts and accomplishments generate credentials stored in the Clearinghouse and shareable or downloadable by users. These credentials include badges, certifications, and credits. The credentials are verified.Users receive and the system keeps track of credits for workshops, courses, and other PD activities. Portfolios are maintained for each user, including attendance, Flex tracking, and credits/badges Employees can be re-certified by using the Clearinghouse’s resources/certificates earned (like DegreeWorks).
Host institutions can receive reports of credentials earned by their employees. A statewide coding system is employed to track participation in events, courses, and activities. This can be used for purposes of salary advancement.
Current: see Quality Control (below)
Database of Related Topics. See also Search. Cross-references are built-in for entries.
Discussion Boards: see Social (below).
Ease of Use (see also Flexible). The Clearinghouse is accessible and intuitive. It has a user-friendly interface and simple search and index features (similar to YouTube and Amazon). Navigation is clear because of logical organization and good Web design.
A “Siri” or “Echo” interface is used for voice recognition and interaction with the system.
Evaluation. A toolbox is provided for evaluation of PD activities and programs. This measures the effectiveness of professional development.
Feedback Mechanism. Users can provide feedback to the CCCCO regarding, for example, student equity information and similar required reports. Users can suggest content and respond to polls or surveys about collection needs or gaps. They may also provide testimonials and comments. TheClearinghouse provides online feedback and evaluation forms and surveys. Users’ and colleges’ or districts’ professional development activities and accomplishments can be communicated with CCCCO to enable tributes, commendations, or recognition from the system.
File Sharing. Users can upload files and make them publicly viewable or shareable, with options for how to share them (e.g., only with specific groups or individuals).
File Storage. Users can store files, videos, materials digitally in private storage areas. Stored content can be selectively shared with other users, groups, or institutions. Sharing can be limited to time periods or to links that expire according to a specified deadline.
Flex Reporting (see Tracking)
Flexible. They system can grow indefinitely, so that new content can be continuously added without reaching a storage limit.
Forums: see Social.
Free. No fees for usage are charged.
Groups: See Social
Help: Tiered help system for people with different tech. needs.
Inter-segmental and Integrated. The Clearinghouse serves as a “One-Stop Shop” for connecting to all segments of the CCCs (administrators, classified staff, faculty, service positions) and integrating with each campus’s professional development portal or Web resources (see also Login). The Clearinghouse can be embedded in each campus’s Course Management System. Campus representatives (professional development contacts) are identified for each campus. Specific disciplines and areas of service are identifiable and have integrated resources related to these areas. There are strands for exploring specific roles and career goals. Materials are integrated with a Student Success Map, Course Management Systems, PeopleSoft, Datatel, Payroll, and Enrollment Services.
International Education/Study and Teach Abroad Information.
Just-in-Time Training, Information. The Clearinghouse allows users to make requests and receive timely information or training to accommodate immediate or quickly-developing needs.
Licensing. The Clearinghouse uses blanket licensing to provide content that requires subscription fees for access.
Login. User IDs are verified by use of Federated ID, enabling them to use a single sign-on for the campus, the Clearinghouse, and other CCC services (e.g., CCC Confer, 3C Media Solutions, @ONE, OEI). Logins are used to determine role-based accounts (e.g., faculty, administrator, adjunct) which direct users to relevant content for those roles. There is a Guest Login option.
Mobile. Users can access the Clearinghouse from mobile devices. A “lite” version is incorporated into an app.
Navigation. There are “Where Do I Start?” links throughout the Clearinghouse to help users navigate the vast quantity of content.
Open Source. Creative Commons licensing – e.g., CC-BY – are sought for all content, enabling users to re-use and re-purpose (with attribution) content found in the Clearinghouse.
Personalizable. Users can make and receive recommendations for content. They can instruct the system (Clearinghouse software) to display content related to their specific interests. They can also “opt out” of certain portions of the Clearinghouse by filtering out areas that do not interest them. The system can also “push” materials to the user based on specific positions, job plans, tiers, etc. Users can maintain a “wish list” for materials or training content. Users can also upload or add biographical details in a personal profile. They can maintain a portable (shareable, downloadable) portfolio of professional development activities and accomplishments. The portfolio (or “PD transcript”) is (optionally) publicly searchable, allowing other users to find a user by searching for specific talents or skills, etc. There is also an option for managers or supervisors to view employees’ portfolios and completed activities (the user chooses this option and can undo it). Users can add areas of expertise to their personal profile, to be included in the Experts Database (a content feature). Users can maintain a personal calendar which can be shared with others. The calendar allows users to share events, send invitations to other users, and arrange for “meet-ups” by linking to collaborative features in the Clearinghouse. It also includes a “registration” option that allows users to register for events listed in the calendar. The Clearinghouse keeps track of user preferences and interests, including searches. Recommendations or suggested content are generated based on past history. Users maintain an
Interests Profile. Users can use the Clearinghouse for self-assessment: personality, learning styles, aptitudes, etc. Career Pathways are suggested based on personal profiles. There is a resume-building tool. Users take charge of their own learning by selecting from the Clearinghouse’s options. This can be mapped into personal training schedules or a personalized PD Plan.
Personal options can be saved, edited, and printed or downloaded via a report feature. A “time on task” feature enables users to record their activities while using the Clearinghouse. Individual Colleges are also able to personalize content and form groups that use local, college-level information and resources.The Clearinghouse has personalized save options: My Files, My Resources, My Bookmarks, My Calendar. Users have a personalized dashboard for navigation, with access to their statistics and reports, Customized Learning Path, Interests, Groups, Bookmarks, Stored Searches, Exports, Produced Content, and Stored Content.
Polling/ Surveys Users can be polled, can create polls and send them to groups or defined populations.
Preview Option Users can “preview” materials (get a “quick look”) prior to downloading them.
Privacy. Users’ privacy is protected. Users can opt to make private all or some activities while online and using the Clearinghouse.
Quality Control. The system is monitored by dedicated staff members who weed the collection of outdated or inappropriate content. The Clearinghouse resembles “EBSCO” more than “Google” because of controlled vocabulary and selective entries. Tags and meta-tags are included – including required fields – for each content entry. Content providers are accountable for content quality. A vetting process is clearly defined.Users can rate content and add reviews. There is also an indicator of the number of “hits” or “views” for content entries. Currency is maintained, with built-in expiration dates for time-sensitive content. All content has a “date added to the collection” tag. Users can limit searches to “new” materials.
Ratings (see also Quality Control). Users can rate content and add reviews. A star system, with “Yelp”-like features, is incorporated, using standardized ratings (e.g., 5 stars).
Regional. Regional connections are facilitated by identifying regional experts and regional professional development activities.
Resume. Users can build, upload, and download resumes using the Clearinghouse tools.
Sandbox. Users can use “sandboxes” to develop and test modules before they are added to the Clearinghouse. Modules can be created from other (existing) modules in the Clearinghouse. Group editing is supporting, so that others can add features once the author finishes or gives up.
Search. Users can search by keyword, author (source), subject, department, instructor, job role, pathway, standard, size, length, cost, and material type. Filters are included for time (length of time required or expected to complete; length of time for workshops or other learning events, etc.).
There is a “drill down” feature for refining or expanding searches on topics. Taxonomies are clearly organized and indexes are robust.
Self-paced Courses. Users can take courses directly from the Clearinghouse, with their progress tracked and built-in assessments and credentialing.
Social. Users can find and network with one another according to topic, job, interests, region, and similar criteria. PD Coordinators, for example, can form a “hub” for sharing ideas, resources, information, and other information. Users can find one another, follow one another, search for contacts, see what others are doing (publicly), and connect with one another in various ways (e.g., “LinkedIn” connections).Forums, discussion boards, and chat rooms are provided for groups with similar jobs or interests. Users can send e-mails or instant messages to invite others to chat. These can be sub-divided into classifications or whole campuses.
There is a phone link to chat rooms and instant meetings. Presence is included, allowing users to know who is online now. Inquiry groups can be formed by any individual. For example, online book clubs can be created around specific titles or interests. Groups have “LinkedIn”-type features: join, invite, with moderators or no moderators according to the group founder’s preference. Users can opt out of group membership at any time. Self-directed Communities of Practice are supported. These include cohorts based on software/operating systems (e.g., Blackboard, GoogleDocs) and disciplines. The Clearinghouse facilitates face-to-face encounters by allowing users to plan, invite, select venues for such events. Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are supported, along with the ability to “follow” users or topics.
Subscription Services. Users can subscribe to – and unsubscribe from - listservs, topical updates, podcasts, “push” notifications (alerts), RSS feeds, Webinars, reports, and a variety of subscription options for receiving updates.
Tracking Capabilities (see also Credentialing). Portfolios, or PD Transcripts, are automatically updated as users complete PD activities. Reporting capabilities are built-in so that users and/or HR staff can use the Clearinghouse to transfer credentials or meet learning requirements. Mandated (e.g., compliance) training can be tracked by host institutions to satisfy users’ PD obligations. Flex reporting is also accomplished by tracking efforts and participation in PD activities.
Videoconferencing. Users can use the Clearinghouse to meet in “Hangouts” or other online conferences with peers (e.g., Confer Now). This may include Web conferencing and telephone bridging for participation without a computer or video device.