New & Notable
PDP Staff Presents at E-Learn 2011
In late October, two PDP staff participated in E-Learn 2011, the 9th annual World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.
As the Internet and the Web continue to evolve and change the way that information and knowledge is constructed, managed and shared, the impact this technology has on the way learning takes place and is delivered continues to deepen. The conference provides a unique multi-disciplinary forum for government, healthcare, education, and business professionals to discuss and exchange the latest research, development, applications, issues, and strategies, to explore new technologies, and to identify solutions for today's challenges related to e-learning and distance learning.
Rebecca Stanley, Manager of Instructional Technologies and Penny Kurtz, Training Program Coordinator, presented two sessions at the conference and conducted a demo of PDP's e-learning products and capacities for the hundreds of participants. The presentations were entitled Usability Testing: A Key Component in e-Learning Design, which demonstrated techniques for improving e-learning by observing how learners interact with courses and e-Learning for Partner Services, which illustrated some of the challenges faced in creating interactive content for the web. Both presentations used content samples from Passport to Partner Services, a comprehensive e-learning project funded by the Centers for Disease Control, for which PDP is the e-learning development partner. The presentations were well received, with participants commenting on the elegance of visual design and engaging nature of content presented.
PDP Well Represented at 2011 CEANY Conference
The Continuing Education Association of New York held its 2011 Annual Conference on November 9 through 11 at the Turning Stone Resort and Conference Center in Verona, NY. Four Professional Development Program staff presented two workshops during the conference.
On November 9, Diane Hodurski-Foley and Deanna Cooper presented "Instructional Techniques for a Multi-Generational Workforce." This workshop identified the four generational groups that currently exist in the workforce as well as addressed how each group responds differently to instructional methods. The use of specific techniques to maximize learning and retention for each generational group was the focus of the workshop.
On November 10, Cecily Carr and Hollie Vitola delivered a workshop titled "Leadership Style and Facilitating Change," which concentrated on identifying personal leadership styles, recognizing the leadership styles of others, being open to change, and using different leadership styles to facilitate change.
Both presentations were very well received. Participants were clearly engaged, provided positive feedback, and garnered new information and techniques to put into practice.
Restore Schoharie a Huge Success!
During October, the PDP Community Outreach Group held a raffle of 23 items and services donated by staff, collected bottles and cans, and sold pins made by staff to raise money in support of victims of Hurricane Irene. A total of $1,100 was collected and checks sent to the Schoharie County Community Action Program and the Animal Shelter of the Schoharie Valley. Both organizations were extremely pleased to receive this demonstration of support through our financial contributions. PDP's contributions are part of the University at Albany's commitment to our region.
HESC College Access Challenge Grant Program.
PDP recently completed the first year of the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) College Access Challenge Grant Program. The goal of this project is to get more youth in care to attend and graduate from college. Youth in Care are youth who are or may have been in the care or custody of a local Department of Social Services, placed in an OCFS facility, adopted from foster care after age 16, or in relative kinship care. This includes but is not limited to youth who are or may have been living with foster parents, relative parents (kinship), in group homes, residential treatment centers, etc.
Many different elements geared toward this goal came together to make this project a success. PDP facilitated youth workshops and forums, created a "Youth in Care" Web site, produced several high-quality videos and podcasts, and designed a print campaign.
PDP hired a group of youth, who are or were in care, as Youth Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are located throughout New York State, where they've conducted several Youth Ambassador-led Education Workshops in their respective regions and mentored youth in care on higher education, financial aid, college life and other college orientation issues. In addition, Youth Ambassadors participated in our Regional Youth Education Forums, where a total of 553 youth in care and 103 adults were able to attend and listen to the Youth Ambassadors share their personal stories and valuable college information on how they made it to college. The Ambassadors also answered questions from the youth who participated in these statewide Workshops and/or Forums.
Youth in Care Web Site
PDP also created a "Youth in Care Corner" Web site—youthincare.org. The Web site was developed for HESC by members of the Department of Media Production with help from the Youth Ambassadors, and includes information for youth about college and college preparation. The Web site also hosts video content and posters produced by PDP.
PDP's Department of Media Production produced a total of seven videos. One video, developed as a caseworker resource, explains the college preparation and application process to caseworkers by directly addressing the special circumstances and needs of youth in care. The other videos are more youth oriented and built on the themes of "what can I do for myself" and "who can help me get to college and graduate". In addition, a series of informational podcasts for college residential life staff called "Helping Youth in Care Succeed in College" were developed by PDP. These podcasts are aimed at college residence life staff and addresses issues such as family relations, off-semester housing, and other concerns.
PDP also designed a series of "College: You(th) Belong Here" posters. These posters will be used in human services agencies and schools to remind professionals of their responsibility to help youth make the college connection.
Congratulations to all staff involved in this project. The products have been well received by all parties involved.
PDP and OTDA Win Best of New York Award
PDP's Jason Morris, webmaster for the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), was instrumental in winning a "Best of New York" award at the September 2011 New York Digital Government Summit in Albany. The annual awards recognize information technology innovations and best practices by NYS agencies and local governments. Daria Albini, Program Outreach Specialist for OTDA, and Morris accepted the award for OTDA and PDP.
Jason won in the category of Most Innovative Use of Technology for optimizing the OTDA website for use with mobile devices. The optimized website automatically detects a user's display device as the Web page opens. Content is rearranged to accommodate the smaller window of a mobile device. Jason used Responsive Web Design techniques, including HTML5, CSS3 and media queries to "make it happen." Development of this project was without any additional cost to the agency.
Morris has been with PDP's Instructional Technologies since 2006. This award is his second for OTDA. In 2008 his standards-based website redesign won Best of the Web. For a complete list of winners, go to http://www.govtech.com/policy-management/2011-Best-of-New-York-Winners-Honored.html.
Computer Training Instrumental in OCFS Award
For the third time in recent years, the PDP Department of Computer Training Services (DCTS) has been recognized as a key participant in a "Best of New York Award" from the Center for Digital Government. The Child Care Time and Attendance (CCTA) application developed for the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) won a Project Excellence Award in the category of Best Application Serving the Public. In a very short period of time, PDP provided application training in all 57 districts outside of New York City, allowing CCTA to be fully operational within the federally mandated funding requirement time frame of July 31, 2011. The new, automated system was announced on June 30, 2010.
In slightly more than six months, DCTS staff developed the curriculum and delivered classroom training for three role-specific courses to 1,116 staff across 37 different training locations. As part of training responsibilities on the project, DCTS also designed two online training modules aimed at daycare providers and parents of children in daycare. In addition to developing full-scale manuals and quick reference cards, DCTS also created course-specific evaluation instruments that were used to inform the instructional design changes from the pilot through the regular training phase. The project was truly a group effort, including PDP staff from administration, finance, and information systems.
CCTA is a new computer system for tracking the time and attendance of children in subsidized child care programs. "It is an example of New York State's commitment to technology and automation to save time and resources and improve efficiency," said the OCFS Commissioner. OCFS is committed to increased training of state staff to improve oversight and monitoring in its continued interest of prevention of waste, fraud, and abuse in the child care program. The application is now available in 57 local departments of social services across the state.
Representatives of the Professional Development Program to Present at NSDTA Conference
Deanna Cooper and Sheila Ryan of the Professional Development Program are co-presenting at the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) annual conference at the Madison Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin on October 16-19, 2011. NSDTA is an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association.
The PDP team will discuss "Integrating Leadership and Coaching Skills into Policy Training Programs." The workshop examines their experiences developing and delivering various Temporary Assistance and Food Stamps Case Processing Review trainings. Based on PDP curricula developed for statewide trainings for the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, their discussion features lessons learned and best practices.
Eugene Monaco, PDP Executive Director, said, "I am extremely pleased that two of our training staff were invited by this prestigious organization to present this informative workshop."
PDP is pleased to announce that the New York State Family Child Care Credential has recently been approved for scholarship support under the Educational Incentive Program administered by PDP on behalf of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYSAEYC) offers this credential, which is specifically designed to formally recognize family child care providers who demonstrate competence, knowledge and professional practice in the areas of professional family child care, child development, healthy home learning environments and business practices.
To learn more about EIP and our other training opportunities in early childhood visit www.albany.edu/earlychildhood.
PDP's latest on-line training has been launched. The title of the training is "Managing Challenging Behavior: Birth to 18 Months". Childcare providers can participate in this free 1 ½ hour web-based online training course at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Other on-line courses have been a great success and participant feedback indicates providers are more than satisfied with the trainings. Providers can take part one of this training now and other related Managing Challenging Behavior on-line trainings for all ages will be coming soon. The course is available free of charge on the Early Childhood Education and Training Program web site.
For the second straight year, PDP has won a US Distance Learning Association award for Best Practice in Distance Learning Programming. This year's award, at the gold level, was given for the e-learning course Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome, which PDP created under contract to the NY State Office of Children and Family Services. The one-hour, fully narrated course employs rich graphics and video to drive home the message "Never, ever shake a baby". It is one of a growing suite of e-learning courses created for day care providers. The courses are available free of charge on the Early Childhood Education and Training Program web site.
In 2010, PDP won a bronze-level award for a series of e-learning modules that teach substance abuse treatment providers how to integrate tobacco intervention strategies into their practice. The modules are available at www.tobaccorecovery.org.
PDP has been selected to share its experiences with commercial authoring software at the the 2011 United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) National Conference on May 4 in St. Louis, Missouri. PDP's session, Using Course Creation Software: Benefits and Challenges, was chosen in support of the conference theme, Distance Learning — Leading The Way.
PDP Director Debbie McGuire and Education Specialist Kasa Wahl examine the pros and cons of several web-based training tools, from i-Linc™, used for synchronous training, to Trivantis Corporation's Lectora®, which PDP adopted to supplement its asynchronous continuing education training tools. "We were looking for a product that would allow us to develop highly interactive e-learning that would engage the learners," said McGuire. "Not online PowerPoint® page-turners." Ms. Wahl discusses her own involvement with the Lectora off-the-shelf software as she showed how her team developed training for the Child Support Enforcement project. "We found that having a diverse team with different perspectives, whether it be a user group or development team, was very helpful," Wahl said.
Lectora course development software has empowered PDP curriculum designers—including staff with differing skill sets and levels of technical expertise—to build an array of e-learning courses, which greatly expands PDP's capacity in this area.
USDLA, founded in 1987, is a nonprofit association serving all distance education and training markets and technologies. From its Boston headquarters, USDLA provides advocacy, information, networking, and opportunity to serve the needs of the distance learning community. To read more about the USDLA Conference, visit www.usdla.org.
Interestingly, PDP has embraced this concept since the 1999 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0. W3C universal guidelines suggested "ensuring graceful transformation" as a theme of accessible design—pages that transform gracefully remain accessible despite constraints.
PPK's Albany slide presentation, "The mobile browser world," is available on the presenter's quirksmode.org website at http://www.quirksmode.org/presentations/USTourApril11/albany.pdf.The event was co-sponsored by the Professional Development Program, Rockefeller College, and the New York State Forum.