Volume 1, Issue 4

September/October 2009

  From a Distance...

Online Newsletter for Arkansas Distance Learning



From the Editor...
by Karen Liebhaber

Can I confess something to you? Although I was on the board as Secretary, I was not particularly thrilled about attending ARLDA 2009. Notwithstanding the hoards of work I left seething in my office nor the NCA and ADHE information on which I was woefully behind, the previous 2 or 3 ARLDA conferences I had attended were geared much more toward K-12 and CVN, neither of which, as a higher ed employee, I had a lot to do with. As I started helping with the conference planning, a little voice in the back of my mind kept saying, "What kind of information will be at ARDLA to help me?"

To add to that trepidation, I arrived Monday at the final board event, dinner (my favorite thing in the WORLD), missing my 3- and 5-year-old and hoping the week went quickly. And then it happened....

Valerie and Max setting up for the LuauRarely do I return from a conference and say, "You know, I really learned something." Well, I didn't really say that when I get back from this conference, either; instead, I said, "I learned a TON!" Each session I attended was not only very informative, but very well done. Everyone was enthusiastic, you could tell each loved his/her subject area, and we're all obviously a bunch of teachers and trainers because every presentation was completely professional and well-presented. I remember leaving one session, Marty Watson's Moodle session--both, actually--, and immediately logging into my Moodle and changing most of my settings. In another, I was writing frantic ideas for my own DE department. Despite being in higher ed, during the Quick Fire round, I was trying to figure out how to get my son's Catholic school a grant for a CVN system linked with ODE or Dawson (his principal's not returning my calls anymore). I have to honestly say that this is one of the most informative conferences, despite its small size, that I have attended in some time (and I'm not saying that just because I was on the board. All I really did was take some minutes--when I remembered--and create a couple of directories).

Me helping decorateMeeting via teleconference is fun and all--and a fabulous time, money, and work saver--but meeting the board members in person, almost all of them for only the first or second time, was such a treat. Each member had an incredible work ethic about him/her, a great sense of humor, and an addictive aurora of community. By day two (day one for all of you), I was incredibly impressed by how much work and effort each board and committee member had exerted. Valerie had to have spent every single night for three months working on the checklist, action items, and contacts. Cathi had to have had fifty people helping her do all she did: the complete program--which I thought looked amazing—the Quick Fire round, the Birds of a Feather idea, and just running the thing. Each person, you could tell, had worked hours on his/her part. The point is, I met some fabulous people and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the conference planning. Thursday I was actually sad about two things: that the conference was over and that I was no longer Secretary (April will do a fabulous job!). Just like one conference attendee said in his evaluation, "I enjoyed the people the most."

Check out the next ARDLA conference. If it is half as good as this one, you'll get your money's worth.

Whew. I feel better—nothing like a clean conscience.

About the Author


Karen Powers LiebahberKaren Powers Liebhaber is the Distance Education Coordinator, Blackboard and Moodle System Administrator, and an instructor of English and literature at Black River Technical College.  She earned a Master of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.  She lives in Pocahontas with her husband and two children.

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