Thursday, January 31, 2013

The internet is forever…

A blog post I read today reminded me that what we do on the world wide web can often has consequences, whether we want them or not.

What Happens When You Like a Facebook Page” (, reminded us that all these ‘free’ pieces of technology, do need to make money, and in order to do so they have to use what they have.

My point to today is simple: do your best to keep things positive and informative, and if you are not sure, keep it locked down tightJ

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How we communicate nowadays

A short article titled Think Before Hitting Reply All” got me thinking about communication today ( First, let me say that I do love technology and all it has done for us, but technology is a tool not a panacea.

There are so many forms of communication in business today beyond the telephone: basic email, text, BB messenger, yahoo messenger, Skype, tango, etc, etc. However, communication’s basic purpose has not changed, especially in the work place, and that is to accurately convey information from one person to another (or multiple people). When communication becomes complicated or even frustrating, sometimes going back to basics like face-to-face conversations or real phone calls can be very useful. Have you ever tried to read and answer a long text and realize that the person could have told you this in half the time if they picked up the phone? Have you ever had an employee text in sick and then post on their Facebook page that they are “really hung-over”?

Let us not forget just talking with each other, do not let technology become a barrier between you and someone else. Email and text can convey the wrong emotions sometimes, and remember to slow down sometimes (even on the phone).

It can be fun to communicate, let us remember that.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The uncertainty of an online teacher

For those of you who teach online, I am sure you have experienced the anxiety or paranoia of not knowing if you will get classes again for the next term, or whether the section will even run. It is often an intricate weave of schools that online teachers work at, and with one slip of a class there could arrive financial hardship.

It turns out, just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you. I found this article “Digital Pink Slips” ( particularly interesting, because it puts a voice to something I have been seeing and hearing from people I know; and the sad thing is, there is not a lot a professor can do about it.

I think however, there is something the schools could do, starting with communication. I do not mean the standard seemingly innocuous, politically correct email that means nothing and tells you nothing, what I mean is telling the truth and the whole truth, so people can make alternative plans. Yes, there will be disappointment, but not knowing your status can be worse because you could be wasting hope on something that will never appear.

Institutions please treat your online instructors with respect and talk with them if they will not be receiving classes, it does not hurt you and it is the right thing to do.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, January 28, 2013

Where are the bookstores?

Growing up, I always found bookstores to be exciting and fun places. Even now, I have tendency to disappear in a large bookstore until my wife has to have me pagedJ. The neighborhood stores are just as interesting, especially after you get to know the owners. Bookstores, in my opinion, have always been an important part of a neighborhood because it gave kids a good example and spurred learning.

There is nothing wrong with e-readers and tablets for reading books; they can be especially useful when you travel. However, nothing replaces the smell of a new book and the fun of browsing through the aisles to find it. So, where are the bookstores? Do you have a neighborhood one? Is there a big chain one near you? Not for long it seems, a headline today reads, “Barnes & Noble exec plans more store closings” (, even the big chains are having trouble (can you say Borders?).

What is the cause of this?  What can we do to save our bookstores? Why are not more people worried? What are those kids without an e-reader going to do if bookstores go away and how about kids in less developed parts of the world?

Watching my parents read books was always a good example for me growing up, and for that reason I credit my voracious appetites for books; I have passed on the example to my children. Technology is not bad, I like technology, but we should also be preserving the things that are good as well.

Physical books are good.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do we know our stakeholders?

A recently read article titled “where are the learners” ( brought to mind a common occurrence in education.

In the article, some educators got together to create a “bill of rights for online learners”, which is not a bad thing. “The problem is the group did not include any learners”. Of the 12 signatories, there were eight doctorates and they did not reach out to any learners on public forums or ask any learners what they wanted to put in the document; “the learners’ voices were silent”.

In education, it is amazing how often big decisions are made in a vacuum, without getting buy in from all the stakeholders (especially the learners). Think about how change has traditionally been implemented in your institution. Were you consulted or given a directive? More often than not, we are simply told, “this is what is going to happen’.


Having a terminal degree means, you are smart, but getting buy in from all involved is just as smart. Let us talk with our learners before we try to affect their lives in drastic ways.


It is about the learner right?


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Are we teaching our children to be grateful for what they have and get? Are we practicing these kinds of manners ourselves? When was the last time you acknowledged the checker at your local supermarket? Do you know their names and ask about their families?

Growing up, it was always interesting going to the store with my mother because she always seemed to know everyone. She talked with everyone, and we left feeling as if we were on a social visit. It turns out that my mother has an ‘old fashioned’ skill and that is very good manners.

Have you seen some Christmas lists from kids today? They are asking for very expensive stuff. I grew up very well off but we certainly did not hand Christmas lists to our parents unless you had salt and pepper with you (you would be eating it)!

My point is this; good manners, especially showing gratitude can help change the tone of education. Yes, I believe it is that simple, however; how many of us are willing to truly practice this? It has to be a team effort, between the home, community, and the school; we have to hold each other accountable for not only our children’s behavior but also our own behavior.

This is worth a shot and it costs us nothing. Our children are watching; are we willing?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Searching for upbeat news in education

Every day as I search the educational news, I am looking for uplifting inspiration. I am looking for genuine good news not good spin and positive gains not basic improvements. I am looking for stuff that makes me excited to share to everyone so that everyone else can pass it along. This is getting harder and harder to do.

I have blogged about this before, and I will continue to do so until this changes; our tone in education is all doom and gloom.

We are not excited about education the way we should be; instead, we are always worried. We are not talking about the latest true innovations in teaching, but rather all the areas we are lacking. We do not celebrate good educators enough (once a year); we just continually talk about the bad ones (everyday). Have you ever noticed that if anyone was ever a teacher (no matter how short a period or even if you were a substitute) and they do something wrong, they are always “a former teacher…”?

Tone has a lot to do with how this conversation is going, so I will end with what I think is some good news; my kids love school and love learning. I enjoy hearing what they have to share with me every day, and I hope I always will.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More information needed

When I see headlines like this, I find more and more value in FERPA (family education rights privacy act), but I also realize that FERPA alone cannot help us. Now while there is not enough information about this particular situation (next paragraph) to draw any kind of strong conclusion, it does seem like this student did the university a huge favor (and the university got very embarrassed by the favor). My question is, how many more flaws are out there like this one and who is paying attention?

“Montreal College Expels Student Who Found Security Flaw in Campus Data” , ( Pupil expelled from Montreal college after finding ‘sloppy coding’ that compromised security of 250,000 students personal data” (

In this day and age of necessary cyber security, I hope a lesson can be learned from this slip, and that people are free to come forward to reveal these flaws without fear of retaliation of some kind.

Institutions, please take notice because I have found, from my own experiences that it is little things like this that can set off a firestorm in an institution, and quickly turn into a big thing.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam


Monday, January 21, 2013

A day of service?

Yes, there are great sales in the stores going on today, but rather than take, I think the example of giving today is good one. Pick up some trash; help a neighbor with their yard, etc.

Find something good, it could even become a habit, and have a wonderful day.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, January 18, 2013

Translating military training into the civilian world

I heard a really interesting and exciting news story today, “New UNC Program Will Turn Army Medics Into Local Practitioners” ( Essentially, “Highly trained members of military medic corps are looking for ways to continue in healthcare once they leave the service, and this new program is intended to help them make the transition”.

So the question is when will we see more programs like this to certify military training in the civilian world? What are we waiting for?

This is a regular topic of discussion every year at the CCME conference (Council of College and Military Educators); and while I am glad to see this happening through UNC, the program is still very small and selective. Many other military jobs out there could also be certified in the civilian world; probably at lost faster as well.

Great step UNC, now let us work together as a higher education community and take this further!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Violence in Schools

I am going to keep this one short today, and instead ask a series of questions, so here goes:

·         Are we seeking to find the cause of violence in schools or blame something/someone?

·         Has there been a truly honest proactive conversation about reducing violence in schools or are we still reacting?

·         Who/what are the political machines working behind the scenes on this particular issue that we rarely hear about, and how do they affect the conversation?

·         Do we have honest statistical comparisons of violence in schools from around the world?

·         If we do have these comparisons, do we truly look at them or just use the stats to score our own political points?

·         How many tragedies like the most recent ones have happened in the last 50 years and has the climate truly changed in a way designed to deal with the violence?

·         Would the money currently being spent on ads, for all sides of the issue, be better spent in schools themselves?

·         How much money is actually being spent on ads?

·         Are there real ideas sitting on shelves gathering dust because someone purposely shelved them?

Our kids are watching what we do, what we say, and how we behave, so let us get it right this time.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


“California State U. Will Experiment With Offering Credit for MOOCs” ( was a headline I read today, actually one of many similar headlines. For those of you who do not know, MOOC stands for “massive open online courses”; and I need to say I am bothered by the word experiment in this case.

Personally, I am not a fan of being a guinea pig of any kind, and since we are dealing with students’ futures, I suspect there are some students who are also worried about being ‘experimented‘ on. I have written about the idea of collaboration before, so the question here is why the public and private institutions not working together on this kind of ‘experiment’? These continued divisions and ideas of “going at it alone” continue to create fractions in the higher education community.
The comments about these articles are already… how can I say…interesting, for example:
·                     Don't look now but a regionally accredited set of schools is turning to a for profit course offering entity for courses...
Can open, worms everywhere!”
·         Does anyone know how institutions involved with MOOC's are addressing the need to verify the identity of remote students?”
·         Sorry, until they realize that there is a problem there, I won't take them seriously.”
And the list goes on.
Online courses have been around for decades at this point, they have proved themselves nicely, and quite frankly there are many people today who would not have been able to complete a degree without them. No, I am not saying they will replace ‘traditional’ course formats, but this delivery method is here to stay.  California has been going through a budget crisis in higher education for quite a while: so why are we still experimenting?
I have said it before and I will say it again; work together! We are here to help students not protect fiefdoms, so there is no need to try to recreate the wheel. Public, private, for-profit, and non-profit institutions please work together to help students; and those who are continued skeptics of the value of online, tell us what your solution is or calm down please!
It is about the student right?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Do we spend the money correctly and on the right people?

Still on New School's Payroll, Bob Kerrey Takes another Job” (; I am curious as to what he doing for the school and if the school is getting full value other than his name. Must be nice to be able to double dip like that and still earn a high six-figure salary.

I should start out by saying this entry is not about people ‘earning” large amounts of money (emphasis on earning) in private higher education, it is more about what is the value the institution is getting for their money.

Have you ever read the list that comes out of the chronicle every year: “Pay and Perks Creep Up for Private-College Presidents” Whom we should be hearing from is not the large earners, but the frontline employees in those organizations on the list. You do have to question why the true revenue generators are earning 3% or less than the president of the institution is, and yet they are required to have bachelor’s (and master’s sometimes for promotion) degrees and become more productive every year for only a maximum 3% cost of living raise. It would not take much to adjust the wages to something more reasonable, and a living wage and benefits would reduce employee turnover.

I think there should be yearly list showing the pay and benefits of frontline employees at private higher education institutions. I theorize that we will see high turnover at those places that have not adjusted their pay rates since the 1970s and possible less job satisfaction. Perhaps then, we will start to see some uniform equity amongst intuitions, which will mean more longevity at the job (some institutions on the list do get this right by the way).

 More longevity means front line workers will be more invested in the students and not always looking for greener pastures. It is all about the student right?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, January 14, 2013

It’s conference season!

It is that time of the year when we as educators start looking at which conferences we are going to attend this year and planning our conference travels. We often have to choose carefully because unless you have a large grant or are independently wealthy, you can usually only afford to go to a couple per year. When choosing a conference, I will I do look at the venue location because of course you want to try to bake some fun into your travels. However, what I look at primarily is what knowledge will I gain from this conference?

There is nothing more exciting than anticipating a good conference (yes I am sure there can be more exciting things but just go with it for now please); and there can be nothing more disappointing than a bad conference presentation.

After reading an article today titled “We Know You Can Read. So Can We” (, I was reminded of some of the disappointing conferences I have attended in the past, even though the listed topics were spectacular. I was also reminded of a time when I presented with other people on a panel, but did not review their presentations beforehand, and as a result, many people left the presentation before it was my turn to present. I should have insisted I go first!

Always assume your audience is well informed, always assume they can read, and assume that they are interested in the little nuances of your topic. They come to hear and experience the things that cannot be put on paper. Have you ever watched some of the TED talks presentations? There is a reason why they are so popular (, they are for the most part very inspiring.

A good conference can energize an educator, then that educator will take that energy back to work and the energy will spread to others. Let us have a great year of conferences and be ready to inspire each other!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, January 11, 2013

Working in Education

Image courtesy of Kelly Alexandra Williams

We have all heard the old adage “people do not work in education for the money”; however, there is a difference between working in K12 and higher education and working in administration for both sectors.

With K12 teaching, you are always on the go, you have lesson plans, you are dealing with kids emotions, parents etc. Personally, while I found it exhilarating and exhausting at the same time, the feeling of accomplishment to me was instantaneous. I never had the opportunity to experience K12 administration first hand, but my impression is that it is a juggling act where if you grab the wrong piece at the wrong time you can either get cut badly, or be the greatest showman on the earth (or at least the block) by juggling correctly.

Higher education teaching has obviously changed, with tenure going the way of the dinosaurs. However, the pressure to be noticed either by publishing or getting excellent student reviews (aka being popular) is still there. In addition, there is no guarantee of a full time job with benefits anymore and adjuncts are being asked to do more and more work for free, and often for multiple schools in order to make ends meet. Higher education administration, unlike K12, has no credentialing process or specific training. Often times, administrators are selected from long standing faculty, randomly, and unfortunately, we are also seeing cases of ‘pseudo nepotism’ as well. With universities running leaner and leaner nowadays, the reward for being a good higher education administrator means more work.

Yes, people do not get into education for the money, but they do want to be ‘fairly compensated’, and have a good work life balance. Surveys might show that folks are passionate about working in education, but people do not always answer surveys honestly. It is ok to work in education and want to be paid well for the work you do, it is ok to work in education and take vacations, have sick days when you need them, and generally be human. You should not be rewarded for your hard work, with more work.

A better balance will make you a better educator, and that is always better for the students.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Zero Tolerance and School Discipline

No school wants to deal with issues like bullying, cheating, and school violence; and frankly, I do not blame them. After all, you are dealing with kids and that can already be a very difficult job. However, when do we cross the line between school safety and long-term harm of students?

Young people are going to do ‘less than smart things’ (dumb things) from time to time, that is the nature of being young.  How we respond to the student who for example: brings the Swiss Army knife to school, can truly affect their lives forever. Do we slap handcuffs on that student and parade them out of school like a criminal and further ban them from learning for a year; or is possible to find out more about why the student has the pocket knife in school (perhaps they are a boy scout or they just forgot) and explain why they cannot have it school? Extreme example you say? Not really, this happens more often than we think.

“The laws and policies have been applied to students wielding weapons and to those sporting a smart mouth or a cell phone. The so-called zero-tolerance approach to discipline, once reserved for the most serious of offenses, has prompted the suspensions and expulsions of students in possession of butter knives and theater-prop swords. The federal Gun-Free Schools Act, enacted in 1994, ushered in an era of tough punishment for low-level offenses” ( Furthermore, advocacy groups—backed by research and by data collected by the U.S. Department of Education—say “the discipline machinery has a disproportionate effect on students who are black, Latino, or male and those with disabilities”.

This is not a new topic, and recent tragic events have brought out the ‘reaction machine’ again. School safety and discipline is important, but we must not forget that these rules are supposed to benefit kids not just punish them.

Let us figure this out because our students are watching us and counting on us to do the right thing. If do not figure this out, we could quietly lose more generations of kids and not understand why.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Being Bilingual

I thought I would talk about some positive stuff today (not to mention that the topic fills me with pride about my own children). According to an ABC news article (, “Speaking two languages can actually help offset some effects of aging on the brain”.

The excuses I often hear from people about not learning a second language are things like:

·         “I do not have an ear for languages”

·         “I am too old”

·         “It is too difficult”

·         “when am I ever going to use it”

These excuses are the type of excuses we hear from our students when we are trying to teach them!

Learning another language has so many other benefits such as learning about another culture, and getting outside your comfort zone. It is never too late to attempt to learn a language at the very least: so why don’t we as adults make more of an effort to do so in this country? If you are living overseas, you have absolutely no excuse not to learn! It is a great example for our kids, and it really will do us no harm.

Therefore, my sermon for today is if you do not speak a new language, make an effort to learn one, and if you already speak more than one, learn another.

Learning should never stop correct?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is there any positive news?

The various headlines today:

·         “Controversy on Prof Who Disputes Newtown Killings” (

·         “ITT's $46 Million Settlement” (

·         Humboldt State, Mocked by Jimmy Kimmel, Invites Him to Campus” (

Does anyone have anything good to say? Why do the education headlines have to be full of made up controversy, negativity, rudeness, and just plain old bad news? There is good stuff in education, so why not lead with that?

Has anyone ever thought that the ‘tone’ of educational reporting could have a lot to do with the perceptions and lack of confidence that people have? As educators, students learn a lot from our examples and right now, the perception is that we are not setting a good example.

Keep the conversation going, but let us change the tone shall we? After all, we do want students to have the best example do we not?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, January 7, 2013

Physical Education in Schools Really?

If you are a parent or work in K-12 education, you probably know the realities of PE and sports in schools; or the lack of it I should say. My time as a substitute PE teacher in K-12 education personally taught me a lot about this issue.

Forget about obesity for a moment, (yes we know that is a national problem). Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of physical education and physical activity on school performance. Quite a few studies have stated that providing increased time for physical activity can lead to better concentration, reduced disruptive behaviors and higher test scores in reading, math and writing (Satcher, 2005).

For a country that loves sports so much, why do we not provide more of it at an earlier age to all of our students? Why are parents, (myself included) forced to give up weekends and evenings to drag their kids all over the place to play sports (and we pay a lot of money). What happens to those parents who lack transportation and funding to provide this necessary extracurricular activity for their kids? Is sports and PE now for the privileged few?

When school budgets are cut every year, one of the first things to go besides music and the arts is sports. Could this be why we seem to be seeing increasing numbers of ADHD and kids acting out in school?

There needs to be balance in life, and it is common knowledge (or it should be) that the mind and body both need to nourished. When the mind and body are in balance then so are we.

We are currently out of balance in K-12 education; perhaps we should do something about it?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, January 4, 2013

Not your business!

I was reading an article this morning titled “Personal and Professional Boundaries” (, and I was struck by how this topic has affected people I know, and me personally throughout my career in education.  

It is important that educators have a positive work/life balance because it prevents burnout. I personally am part of a motorcycle club, and I can remember my staff actually saying that I had a “split personality” because of this. I never gave it much thought, but I ask myself now, why would they think that? Riding motorcycles for me is a great stress reliever, and it is not as if I am breaking the law or something.

If we knew everything that every person did in their spare time, how would we truly look at them? Could we not be judgmental or is judging just part of working in education? I have mentioned this before; educators are notorious gossips, and we do not often think about how our words and actions affect peoples’ lives. We are capable of creating drama where no exists, and of spreading rumors like the plague.

Educators are paid to educate, but we often put so much of ourselves into our everyday work that it is no wonder the lines are blurred. However, perhaps we should start remembering we are human, and humans are flawed. Perhaps we can start working on these flaws, because in the end, it will make us better educators, and that is better for students.

It is about the student right?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele

The ETeam