Keep Calm and Party On

Keep Calm and Party OnThe United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) has declared November 11-15, 2013 National Distance Learning Week. As we all prepare our campuses for a week of ceremonies and festive activities…does anyone else see the irony in celebrating distance learning week in a physical location…or is it just me?

For those of us that have been actively engaged in online education for the better part of our careers, this weeklong promotion designed to bring awareness and recognition to quality distance education conjures up some mixed feelings. While it is nice to see this segment of higher education get the accolades it certainly deserves, it is also a little sad that after almost two decades of success in the higher education market place, we needed to designate a specific week in its honor?  I feel the same way about National Grandparent’s Day.  Do we really need a special day, or week in this case, to recognize something so good?

I started thinking about some other things happening in higher ed that could benefit from having their own specially designated weeks for recognition.  How about these:

  • National Private College Disappearance Week – for those colleges that have been resisting distance education for years and are now starting to disappear.
  • “You Can’t Deliver that Class Online” Week – for those faculty members that continue to assert their classes could not possibly be delivered online.
  • National “Save Our Institution” Week – for college administrators who think putting a syllabus online or contracting with a third-party vendor to deliver their courses will save their failing institutions.
  • Faculty Against Technology Week – you can figure this out by the name, but unfortunately, it was cancelled this year due to poor response.  Evidently, none of the faculty read their email or saw the post on social media. Paper surveys will be mailed to them next week to solicit consensus on a unified position statement about why technology is bad in education.
  • Department of Education is Here for You Week – unfortunately the development of the portal to engage with the DOE was awarded to the same Canadian firm developing the ObamaCare website…enough said.

So party on people, virtually of course. Let’s raise of glass of symbolism over substance and give three big cheers to tradition.

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