Transformational Learning, Next

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By Dale Hale

What is “Next”? That’s a great question, don’t you think? According to Merriam-Webster, the word “next” is “something that is either immediately adjacent to or coming in the time, place or order nearest or immediately succeeding.”

My wife and I often run errands together. I am generally the driver and she is most often the navigator. We’ll finish one stop and I’ll ask, “What’s next?”, meaning, where are we going next. Off we go, around the corner and down the road to the next stop. I especially like it when one of those stops is at an ice cream or chocolate shop.

CBU/Next is in several ways like my question to my wife. It’s a path to something that is next, either in time, place or order. It is, in fact, a monthly newsletter produced by the office of Online Learning and Educational Technology. In this newsletter, we will be sharing with you thoughts and ideas, news, and new opportunities for you, the faculty of Christian Brothers University, to discover new tools and new uses for more traditional approaches to education.

We want you to be equipped to do the job of teaching today’s student. CBU/Next will provide you with those moments of information and direction that will help you do just that.

What’s next for CBU, however, goes beyond this newsletter and is embodied in the essence of this university. In CBU’s Strategic Plan, a strong emphasis on transformative learning is front and center. The plan states:

“All CBU students will have more high-impact, transformational learning experiences that foster personal growth and set them apart in graduate school and the job market.”

What does that look like? How do we participate? What does that have to do with this newsletter? The plan goes on to say:

“To achieve this, CBU will optimize our current learning spaces, and we will develop and expand our programs to meet student needs.”

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. “CBU will optimize our current learning spaces and we will develop” more ways of meeting the learning needs and goals of our students by investing in both the faculty tools of teaching, as well as reaching those students previously unavailable to us.

So, Next is a newsletter, but it is also a direction. The office of Online Learning and Educational Technology is a new group here at CBU. Our task is to help CBU step into the next learning environment – online education. The four of us bring a wealth of knowledge in the online world with over 30 years experience between corporate and academic worlds. Two highly qualified instructional designers, a former professor of journalism turned social media expert, and a former director of an online program at another institution all converge at this time to make up the office of Online Learning and Educational Technology, or OLET.

Through the Next newsletter and a future website, we will provide opportunities for you to learn about new tools at your disposal, to find new ways of reaching those students who have not yet been able to receive a CBU education.

You may not currently think of online learning as “what’s next” for a small Catholic college rooted in the student-centered, Lasallian tradition of education. We hope you’ll see as we work together to bring new digital experiences to you and your students that online education can be enriching to both the professor and the student. Our collective mission is to hold to the Lasallian values of excellence in education, respect for the individual and, throughout this approach, a learning environment imbued with a spirit of community. We are here to partner with you to create, manage, and facilitate significant digital learning experiences for your students.

These are exciting days at CBU. We have a new president who brings with him a vision for what CBU could be. We live in an age where technology offers us new platforms with the tools and educational experience needed to do the work for which they are training. Our job, as the OLET team, is to keep our fingers on the pulse of the developing world of educational technology while also providing you with the opportunities to teach students with a “high-impact, transformational learning experience that fosters personal growth and sets them apart” as a standard of graduate that speaks of an exemplary educational experience.

Yes, we believe that Online Learning and Educational Technology can adhere to these lofty principals. Together, we can achieve this and so much more. Join us as we learn and grow to become CBU/Next. 

Dale Hale is the Director of CBU Online Learning & Education Technology