Member Services Overview
The IDEAL Consortium builds the capacity of your staff to be effective blended and distance learning leaders.
Through our member services, the IDEAL team works with member states to build the capacity of their state staff to design and manage blended and distance learning programs from initial experimentation to statewide implementation. We help state staff identify the unique needs and requirements of their state and develop a detailed plan that addresses research questions, experimental plan, selection of teachers, professional development, evaluation, and cost.
In our professional development we work side-by-side with the state's training staff, playing as big or small a role as needed to insure early success while building the capacity of a state's trainers to provide support on their own. Each state receives its own customized online training populated with courses such as a foundational course that serves as a basic introduction to distance and blended education, or study groups focused on more specific learning opportunities (e.g., blended and mobile learning, use of OERs, and administration of distance education programming).
We train state staff to facilitate each course and are available throughout the course to help them refine their facilitation skills. Trainers receive assistance in the design of virtual support activities that help build a sustained "community of practice" where teachers can refine their skills and help one another solve problems as they arise.
Our courses and learning objects are hosted in Moodle, a popular Learning Management System. This means that we can provide reports to states on teacher use of the learning activities, tracking individual and group engagement, progress and completion, certificates and digital badges. The LMS offers flexible discussion format options and hosting of multimedia resources. The EdTech Center staff has the expertise to maximize the affordances of Moodle, making courses available on smartphones and creating a customized PD site for your state.
While technical assistance and courses are available only to member states, much of the knowledge gained from years of doing this work can be found in our publications. These range from technical reports on topics such as measuring contact hours, establishing distance education policy, and selecting distance curricula.