CDL Dean's Blog

By Tom Mackey, Ph.D.

SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines on Metaliteracy Hosted at CDL

Posted by tom mackey on January 12, 2014

In December, Empire State College hosted the SUNY wide Conversations in the Disciplines at the Center for Distance Learning.  This one-day conference focused on metaliteracy and brought together faculty, librarians, and instructional designers from around the SUNY system and beyond (including local colleges and K-12).  At Empire State College, our own College Level Learning Goals include several aspects of Metaliteracy, such as the abilities to critically assess, create, and share information in collaboration with others.  We were very happy to host this conversation, especially since our institution has such a strong commitment to access, literacy, and innovation. We now have all of the presentation videos from the event available via ESC-TV: Metaliteracy Conference 2013.  I co-presented the morning keynote with Trudi Jacobson from the University at Albany on the conference theme:  Developing Metaliterate Learners: Transforming Literacy Across Disciplines.  Here’s the video from the recorded session:

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From Moodle to MOOCs!

Posted by tom mackey on September 22, 2013

This fall SUNY Empire State College launched an entirely new Learning Management System with Moodle/Mahara.  Our Curriculum and Instructional Design team at The Center for Distance Learning (CDL) converted over 400 courses from Angel to Moodle.  Our faculty have been providing oversight to this process reviewing courses and making necessary changes to each course as needed.  In addition, we have been working with the Office of Integrated Technologies (OIT) on the development of training resources.  Our team at CDL has been developing instructional resources to complement and enhance the college wide tutorials addressing the needs of various audiences including faculty, professionals, adjuncts, and students.   Our new Moodle environment also provides everyone at the college with a space to create an ePortfolio using Mahara.  This “Mahoodle” environment is integrated so that we can easily move from the LMS to the ePortfolio.   The latest updates regarding Moodle are available here:  This fall we also launched our third connectivist MOOC with Metaliteracy MOOC.  Our latest MOOC has been a collaboration with the University Libraries at the University at Albany and is bringing together scholars from around the world interested in open learning, emerging technologies, and this new framework for information literacy, metaliteracy.  In the spirit of Open SUNY we posted shared press releases about the MOOC from Empire State College and The University at Albany.  We developed our first MOOC Talk as a Prezi presentation:

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Peter Shea Presentation at CDL Conference

Posted by tom mackey on June 22, 2013

In April 2013 the Annual CDL Conference Evolving Communities of Learning:  Rethinking, Revisiting, Redefining featured Dr. Peter Shea, Associate Professor at The University at Albany.  Dr. Shea presented on Evolving Communities of Learning:  Past, Present, Future.  Dr. Meg Benke provides the introduction.

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Chancellor’s Award Recipients for Student Excellence

Posted by tom mackey on April 7, 2013

Picture of Chancellor's Award winners via SkypeLast week we celebrated two of our CDL students who received the prestigious Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence. I was honored to be there to hear the inspiring stories from our students in CDL and across the college. Congratulations to Sean Coffman and Travis Kuhns and their mentors Dee Britton and Menoukha Case. Sean and Travis were unable to attend in person so we used Skype to connect them to the luncheon (image above). Each student discussed the importance of their individualized program and the connections they made with their mentors and with the college at a distance. Sean was unable to attend because he is working on flood preparation in Fargo, ND: The press release for the Chancellor’s Award recipients is available and includes a description of each student:,  David Caso and Ginger Knight also attended this event on behalf of CDL.


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Sue Thomas Keynote at 3T’s Conference

Posted by tom mackey on April 2, 2013

On March 15, CDL hosted the SUNY wide 3T’s Transliteracy, Technology and Teaching Conference at 113 West Avenue. Sue Thomas was our keynote speaker and she discussed the evolution of transliteracy as well as her forthcoming book Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace. She wrote about her experience at the conference in a recent post on her blog entitled “What I Learned about transliteracy in Saratoga.” We learned a great deal from Sue Thomas and here is a link to a video recording of her keynote:

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Creating a Culture of Openness

Posted by tom mackey on February 23, 2013

A few weeks ago I traveled to Arizona to participate in a panel presentation on the topic of open education at the Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration (CIEC). This event is sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and brings together engineering educators and industry. I participated in a pre-conference workshop entitled Open Courses /Open Education for the World:
What does it mean for your program? CIEC Workshop abstract 1-22-13. For my part of the panel I focused on the importance of “creating a culture of openness” and emphasized Empire State College as an institution that was founded on principles of open education and continues to embrace open approaches to the curriculum. I also mention the latest conversations taking place in SUNY related to the concept of OPEN SUNY, available as a draft document: Interim Report of the Chancellor’s Advisory Education Advisory Team.
This is the complete slideshow I used as part of my presentation:

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Reflecting on Service Learning

Posted by tom mackey on April 29, 2012

This week at CDL we held our fourth annual Mentor Retreat and the theme this year examined service learning. As part of Thursday’s day-long retreat I presented on “Reflections on Service Learning in Blended and Online Learning Environments.” This provided me with a chance to think about my own teaching with service learning over a span of 15 years. In one of my first teaching experiences at the University at Albany I was introduced to service learning through Project Renaissance, a living and learning environment for first-year students. For my presentation I decided to use Prezi rather than PowerPoint. I must admit that I have been avoiding Prezi for about three years because I did not find it very user-friendly at first, but for this presentation it worked well and I enjoyed this new way of presenting images and video in a more spatial environment that the static slides in PowerPoint.


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Transliteracy and Metaliteracy Explored in MOOC

Posted by tom mackey on September 1, 2011

The Center for Distance Learning (CDL) at SUNY Empire State College is launching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).  As part of the MOOC, I will present on the topic “Transliteracy and Metaliteracy: Emerging Frameworks for Social Media” with Trudi E. Jacobson from the University at Albany.  We will present our research on the metaliteracy framework we examined in the article Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy for College & Research Libraries.  We will also discuss transliteracy as an emerging literacy framework that has been embraced by faculty and librarians.  The MOOC has been developed by Betty Hurley-Dasgupta and Carol Yeager from CDL and will examine the theme “Creativity & Multicultural Communication.”  This is the first MOOC offered by CDL and will include presentations by two of the pioneers of this format George Siemens and Stephen Downes.  The CMC11 MOOC is free and open to anyone interested in participating but registration is required (it is free to register).  The official press release for the MOOC is available via the SUNY Empire State College Web site.

Screen capture creaed by Carol Yeager

MOOC designed by Carol Yeager

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Video conferencing at CDL

Posted by tom mackey on July 6, 2011

It has been a busy few months with the CDL Graduation and the international SCOP 2011 conference in June. This week we had the chance to use the new video conferencing equipment at SUNY Empire State College to connect our new faculty who started this week in Saratoga Springs and New York City. We hired four new faculty for our Saratoga location and three new faculty who will be working at our Metro Center in New York City. Our new Tandberg video conferencing equipment now connects all of our centers throughout New York State. Our initial meeting with new faculty took place in Saratoga Springs and New York City and it was so interesting because after the conversation started we were not even thinking about the fact that we were communicating between two places in New York, we were just talking and sharing ideas about new technologies, mentoring, and teaching online. Remember the old days when we had to use video conferencing in the basement?  Those days are over.  We have portable units that can be used anywhere in our new building and we will soon be connecting via laptops.  I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation.

Posted in CDL, Empire State College, open learning, Technology, video conference | 1 Comment »

Transliteracy and Metaliteracy

Posted by tom mackey on May 5, 2011

I appreciated the chance to present the keynote address at the Transliteracy conference sponsored by SUNY FACT2 and the SUNY Librarians Association. The conference was excellent and the theme worked well to bring together librarians, faculty, and instructional designers for conversations about emerging technologies and emerging literacy frameworks. This is an edited version of my keynote that examines the primary themes related to transliteracy and metaliteracy in a social media age, including the metaliteracy framework I wrote about with Trudi Jacobson for an article in College & Research Libraries. C & R L is now an open access journal.

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