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C2C Digital Magazine (Spring / Summer 2019)

Colleague 2 Colleague, Author

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20 Years of C2C and SIDLIT: Q&A with Jonathan Bacon

By Jonathan Bacon, Emeritus at Johnson County Community College, Elder Statesperson of C2C 

Fig. 1.
  In 2007 SIDLIT was held at the KU-Edwards campus with a keynote address on “Synthetic Life: Second Life in Education.”    

Q:  You have been a part of Colleague 2 Colleague (C2C) for many years. How did this volunteer organization start?   

Jonathan Bacon:  In the early 1990s, I was reassigned to lead an instructional technical support group at Johnson County Community College (JCCC). Initially called the Academic Computing Technology Group (ACTG), it was renamed the Educational Technology Center (Ed Tech Center) within a couple of years. The field of educational technology was fairly new to me, so I began reaching out to others in the Kansas City area to educate myself. I was invited to participate on the Technology Committee of the Kansas City Regional Access Consortium for Higher Education (KCREACHE). I also organized a Multimedia Program Educators Group (MPEG) that met informally to share expertise. I was new to instructional technology having formal education in other areas, so I was eager to learn from my colleagues at other area colleges and universities. 
While I was making contacts and learning from colleagues in KCREACHE and MPEG, the start of Colleague to Colleague (C2C) can really be traced back to an initiative spearheaded by Mike Clay, director of the Center for Educational Technology at Emporia State University (ESU). In 1995 ESU established the Heartland Alliance comprised of representatives from nine community colleges plus ESU and Pittsburg State University (PSU). The Alliance was a “cooperative effort between Kansas higher education institutions in an effort to offer more and better services to students and to promote communication, articulation, and cooperative agreements between institutions.” Practically, it was an organization of community colleges offering two-year degrees that “fed” students to ESU and PSU who wanted to complete a four-year degree or beyond. 

The Alliance fostered meetings of college presidents, chief academic officers, and technical/instructional resources staff. One task force under the Alliance was the Heartland Alliance Technology Taskforce (HATT). The group met to discuss current efforts (in the 1990s) to incorporate technology into instruction…with much of the discussion centered in distance learning efforts.  

On April 15, 1998, Mike Clay sent an email message to select individuals on member campuses stating, “During the last Heartland Alliance meeting a plan to support faculty and administrators as they make the transition from traditional instruction toward technologically enhanced instruction was presented to your President (or representative)…. The Presidents endorsed the plan, called "Colleague to Colleague," and asked me to convene a steering committee to examine ways Colleague to Colleague would be best implemented on your campus. In addition, we would discuss your technology transition needs with hopes that Colleague to Colleague (C2C) can be adapted to address some of them.” 

The email message invited the following individuals to participate as a steering committee for C2C. Lois Wells and Skip Kreibach, Allen Community College (ACC); Kay Meyer and Ramona Beeker, Butler County Community College (BCCC); Marlon Thornburg, Coffeeville Community College (CCC); John Schwenn, Edmund Hansen, and Mike Clay (ESU); Janet Anderson Story, Flint Hills Technical College (FHTC); Allen Nichols and Kevin Page, Highland Community College (HCC); Becky Paneitz and Ming Dai, Hutchison Community College (Hutch CC); Mel Cunningham, Jonathan Bacon and Helen Burnstad (JCCC); Ben Hayes and Charles Cowdrick, Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC) and Scott Deines (PSU). I believe most if not all of those folks actually attended the first meeting. Though not on the original email distribution list, Meg McGranaghan (BCCC) also attended that first C2C meeting at ESU.

In a follow-up email (April 29, 1998), Mike stated the following, ”Assuming there is some agreement on piloting C2C,  we need to be prepared to establish action groups. My best guess that there could be 3 groups, one focusing on creating local campus faculty incentive pilot projects; one focusing on ways to collaborate using existing resources (i.e. shared workshops) and finally, one dealing with the creation of an online resource center and the online acquisitions for the site.  We will take some time after lunch for the action groups to get organized and determine their next steps.  Please consider joining in one of the action groups, better yet consider leading one.” 

I don’t remember the fate of the first and third suggested action groups, but I believe I offered to lead the one on “ways to collaborate… [via] shared workshops.” To the best of my memory, Mike Clay left ESU within a year or two, but the C2C Steering Committee continued its work and by Summer 2000 offered the first SIDLIT conference.  

While the idea of C2C came out of a HATT, the intent was for the steering committee to be a statewide effort. On April 21, 1998, Mike Clay corresponded with the initial steering committee members and reported: 

C2C was presented to the Regents Council of Chief Academic Officers (COCAO) last week and they voted to support the plan. Their support is very important to allow C2C become a statewide effort. Also, there is a better chance of accessing funding with their support. A Big Thank you to John Schwenn and Tim Peterson for presenting the case to COCAO. 

Many folks contributed to the formation of C2C, and I’ve tried to mention each of them. In case it’s not obvious, the JCCC crew provided a great deal of support for C2C and SIDLIT over the years including Ed Lovitt, Technical Training Coordinator at that time; Helen Burnstad, director of Staff Development; Mike Waugh, manager TV Services; and my immediate supervisors at JCCC: Jerry Magliano, director of the Computer Information Systems Division, and Mel Cunningham, Director of Library Services. 

Fig. 2.  Rob Gibson presented at the very first SIDLIT in 2000 and also served as Chair in 2011-2012. Rob was also the recipient of the 2015-2016 Jonathan Bacon Excellence in Leadership Award. Rob served on the initial C2C task force formed under the Heartland Alliance.

Fig. 3.  John Ziegler of ESU was C2C Chair in 2001-2002 and received the 2002-2003 Jonathan Bacon Excellence in Leadership Award. 

Fig. 4.  Dennis King served as 2006-2007 C2C Chair and a frequent presenter at SIDLIT.

Fig. 5.  Meg McGranaghan was the recipient of the 2006-2007 Jonathan Bacon Excellence in Leadership Award and has been a frequent presenter at SIDLIT. Meg was also on the initial C2C task force formed under the Heartland Alliance.

Q:  C2C has been around for over two decades, and members will be celebrating the 20th SIDLIT conference in August. How have the organization and conference changed, and how have they stayed the same? 

Bacon:  The one constant with C2C has been its function as a forum for the sharing of ideas between colleagues, meaning teaching faculty, educational technologists, instructional support staff, librarians and administrators. The very name of the organization behind SIDLIT, Colleague to Colleague, underscores its fundamental nature. From the very beginning, C2C and SIDLIT have provided opportunities for colleagues in instruction to share their experiences and knowledge of educational technology with their colleagues in the field. That mutual sharing of expertise is the foundation  

Another constant is that SIDLIT has included presentations that focused on beginning and intermediate skills necessary to effectively include technology in course instruction as well sessions on the latest cutting-edge innovations and trends. As the times changed, so did the subject matter of presentations. SIDLIT is a conference for all ranges of experience and a wide range of folks involved in instructional technology. 

On the change side of the scale, one significant transformation centers on the range of topics. The first SIDLIT (June 29-30, 2000) included 37 concurrent sessions and a keynote divided almost equally between presentations and hands-on workshops. The opening session on “Digital Television and Education: Potential Benefits” was presented by Bill Reed, President and CEO of KCPT TV. TV courses formed the basis of much of the early distance learning efforts by C2C member institutions. A second emphasis (evidenced by the hands-on sessions) focused on enabling faculty to incorporate technology into the curriculum. 

The two-day conference drew around 100 participants; some of the presenters are still with the organization today, after 20 years. A sampling of sessions demonstrates the range of educational technology and instruction issues facing members in 2000.  

For instance, sessions included “Building an Online Community of Learners” (Ramona Becker, BCCC), “Learning Styles - What Are They and How Do I Use Them? (Julane Crabtree, JCCC), “Tips & Tricks for Online Faculty” (a panel moderated by Jonathan Bacon, JCCC; with Rob Gibson, Wichita State University (WSU); and Anita Reach, KCKCC), “Using Microsoft Office 2000 to Create and Publish Your Web” (Ed Lovitt, JCCC), “Dreamweaver Basics” (Brandon Henry, JCCC and Colin Ridge, JCCC), “FrontPage 2000 Basics” (Saul Epstein, JCCC and Linda Stewart, JCCC), “Zipping & Stuffing” (Jeff Kosko, JCCC), “Understanding the Distributed Learning Workshop” (Mel Chastain, Kansas State University (KSU)), “Developing Library Guidelines Supporting Distance Education” (Deb Ludwig, JCCC; Linda Crabtree, Metropolitan Community Colleges (MCC); and Nancy Burich, University of Kansas (KU)), and “Models for Preparing Online Faculty” (a panel moderated by Jonathan Bacon, JCCC; Meg McGranaghan, BCCC; Kaye Meyer, BCCC; and Anita Reach, KCKCC). Notice the range of topics: from creating web pages to preparing online faculty to exploring learning styles to establishing library support for online instruction. 

Over the subsequent years, SIDLIT sessions shifted from creating instructional web pages to using the current crop of learning management systems (LMS). The focus on using applications like Dreamweaver and FrontPage shifted to using mobile apps like PhotoScan, Snapseed, Padlet, VoiceThread and Alexa. Along the way presenters covered topics like student response systems (ranging from expensive clickers to printed paper Plickers) to podcasts to copyright and the TEACH Act to Quality Matters (course evaluation and improvement system) to Web 2.0 tools to how to use iTunes, YouTube and Second Life in instruction. 

By 2017 and 2018, as the technology and the technical expertise within education matured, the range of sessions shifted to topics like “Analyzing Third-Party Apps Activated on the Canvas LMS at K-State” (Shalin Hai-Jew, KSU), “A Conversation with Your Phone Plus Googling for Answers” (Jonathan Bacon, JCCC), “Why and How to Make Your PowerPoint 508 Compliant” (Kendra Barker, UMKC), “Exploring Fake News and Alternative Facts” (Jonathan Bacon), “Make Virtual Reality (VR) a Reality!: Do-It-Yourself 360 VR “ (Dennis Peirce, University of Central Missouri (UCM)), “360° Video: Development and Application” (Dean Mehling and Sonny Painter, KU-Med Center),  to “E-books: The Good, the Bad, and the ‘Not Quite Sure’” (Carine Ullom, Ottawa University (OU)). Each year has shown an increase in sessions covering a wide range of pedagogical and andragogical issues. 

With an average of 37 to 60+ concurrent sessions each year, by the conclusion of SIDLIT 2019, C2C will have offered conference attendees over a thousand professional development sessions. 

Fig. 6.  Carine Ullom and Ed Lovitt served, respectively, as C2C Chairs in 2011-2012 and 2009-2010. Ed was also the recipient of the 2010-2011 Jonathan Bacon Excellence in Leadership Award.

Fig. 7.  Larry Carver served as 2008-2009 C2C Chair and presented frequently at SIDLIT until his retirement.

Q:  What are your hopes for C2C, given that 2019 is the 20th anniversary of SIDLIT?   

Bacon:  My hope is that C2C remains a strong viable organization that continues, through SIDLIT, to provide educators, librarians, administrators, technical support staff and educational technologists the opportunity to share personal expertise and experiences with their colleagues. Except for keynote speakers, no one who has presented at SIDLIT has ever been financially compensated for sharing their expertise. Each presenter has paid their own way and pay the registration fee (for those years when we had a fee). Each presentation has been a gift from the presenter to the attendees. I hope that approach and philosophy continues to live through C2C. 

Fig. 8.  Ben Ward has been a long-time participant and presenter at SIDLIT and this year returns as one of two keynote speakers. Ben was also the recipient of the 2014-2015 Outstanding Technical Support Award.

Q:  You have a leadership award named after you, which is given out annually by C2C.  How would you describe yourself as a leader?  What is “leadership”?  How can people develop their leadership skills?   

Bacon:  One develops leadership skills by listening more than talking, by giving more than taking. I believe watching others who practice good leadership skills and putting those observed skills into practice is the best education for leaders. Leadership is an art form that combines openness (willingness to listen), self-correction (never be afraid to admit failure and to make a mid-course correction), humility (nothing we ever accomplish is done alone), proper attribution (giving credit where credit is due) and bravery (calculated risk taking is an important ingredient in good leadership). 

How would I describe myself as a leader? I’m an amateur but I keep trying to improve. I have tried to never accept praise for work accomplished without acknowledging all those who supported the effort and I hope I’ve never been afraid to try something new to see if it works. I also hope I’ve never been afraid to acknowledge failure and to change course as needed. 

An interesting anecdote about the first annual presentation of the award: John Ziegler, C2C Chair (2001-2002), and the steering committee surprised me with a plaque recognizing me as the first recipient of the award. The plaque read “The Jonathan Bacon Memorial Leadership Award.” Upon receiving the award, I pointed out to those assembled at SIDLIT that I was still very much alive <smile> and suggested the word “memorial” be dropped from the award’s name. After some good-hearted laughter, there was agreement to drop the single word from the award’s title. 

Fig. 9.  This graphic is a 2014 SIDLIT web ad that lists the various tracks the conference supported that year.

Q:  As an “at large” member of C2C, you still are highly and constructively engaged with this organization—even years into your retirement.  Why?  

Bacon:  This is the easiest question to answer: I enjoy the annual reunion with folks I’ve know professionally through the years and each year I learn something new (typically many new ideas) by attending SIDLIT. 

Q:  What is your professional background?  Were you originally from Kansas (and if not, how did you end up at JCCC?)?   

Back in prehistoric times (1969-70) I graduated from Michigan State University (MSU) with a Masters Degree in Student Personnel Work. While at MSU I first volunteered in the Student Education Corps (SEC) and then was asked to coordinate the SEC (as a graduate assistantship). After graduation and sojourns in West Virginia (assistant dean of men) and Iowa (director, Memorial Student Center), I was hired by JCCC first as the coordinator of Student Activities, then a few years later applied for and was hired as director of Student Development and Counseling (SD&C).  

When the Apple //e was introduced, the computer bug really hit me. Shortly thereafter, I began taking data processing classes (COBOL, Pascal, database management) and PC software applications courses (Microsoft Office, Smartware, graphic design, Photoshop). While still director of SD&C, I began incorporating personal computers into the work of the division; first adding PCs to the Career Planning and Placement Center (TRS-80s for SIGI and DISCOVER applications) and then adding PCs to the Counseling Center reception area (IBM PCs). Ultimately, being consumed by this new area of technology, I was reassigned to Data Processing as a Systems Analyst (working on a graduation audit system) and then was offered the position of manager for the ACT Group (ultimately renamed the Ed Tech Center). 

My career path has not followed a straight line and I suspect it would not be feasible today. I benefited from being involved in the early stages of the personal computer revolution and the early days of distance learning. And I benefited from an institution (JCCC) that allowed me the flexibility to learn and grow and change careers midstream. 

Q:  Anything else you might want to add?   

Bacon:  Yes. Just a short anecdote. When it came time to designate a name for the C2C conference, we did a lot of brainstorming around relevant terms such as distance-learning, distributed learning, online learning, technology training, web distributed learning, instructional technology and many more. We were obviously looking for something catchy but relevant. 

I had attended a Summer Institute at the KU-Med Center that focused on changes in education (this was probably in the mid-90s) and liked the term and concept embodied in “summer institute.” Saul Epstein, who worked in the JCCC Ed Tech Center as a Senior Analyst, came up with the best acronym based on combining several related ideas. Saul suggested “Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology” (SIDLIT). We still struggle to get attendees to pronounce the acronym as “side-light,” even after using the long vowel symbol over the letter “I.” Thanks to Saul for a creative naming solution! It covers the wide spectrum of interests represented by C2C and SIDLIT. 

Finally, I’ve listed below the information that I have regarding each SIDLIT conference, the C2C Chairs, conference attendance, themes and so on. There are holes and perhaps by publishing this information, someone might fill in the holes. 

Colleague to Colleague / SIDLIT History (in a list)


Fig. 10.  Jeff Kosko and Jonathan Bacon (left to right) are pictured. Jeff was a presenter at the first SIDLIT (2000) and has presented numerous  times over the years. Seated in the row behind and between them is Eddie Andreo, also a frequent presenter at SIDLIT.

2000 (1st Annual) 
  • 1999-2000 C2C Chair:  Jonathan P. Bacon, Johnson County Community College
  • Keynote address: “Digital Television and Education: Potential Benefits”
  • Keynote speaker: Bill Reed, President and CEO of KCPT TV  
  • Attendance ~100 

2001 (2nd Annual) 
  • 2000-2001 C2C Chair:  Jonathan P. Bacon, Johnson County Community College
  • Keynote address: “The Virtual Teacher” 
  • Keynote speaker: Doug Allen, Chief Information Officer, JCCC 

2002 (3rd Annual) 
  • 2001-2002 C2C Chair: John Ziegler, Emporia State University 
  • First C2C/SIDLIT Awards presented
  • Keynote address: “Learning Styles -- Why? What? How? And If?” 
  • Keynote speaker: Julane Crabtree, Johnson County Community College, Professor, Mathematics 

2003 (4th Annual) 
  • 2002-2003 C2C Chair: Meg McGranaghan, Butler County Community College
  • Keynote address: “Online Education--The New Benchmark for Quality” 
  • Keynote speakers: Darla Runyon and Roger Von Holzen  

2004 (5th Annual) 
  • 2003-2004 C2C Chair: Connie Buzzard, Emporia State University 
  • Keynote address: “Anytime, Anyplace Learning: Ten Emerging Insights.” 
  • Keynote speaker: Dr. Mark Milliron 
  • Attendance: 210 

2005 (6th Annual) 
  • 2004-2005 C2C Chair: Jonathan P. Bacon, Johnson County Community College
  • Held on the KU-Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS)
  • Keynote address: “Educational Possibilities of Massively Multiplayer Virtual Worlds”  
  • Keynote speakers: Dave Antonacci and Nellie Modaress, KU Med Center 

2006, August 3-4 (7th Annual)  
  • 2005-2006 C2C Chair: Diana Marrs, University of Kansas – Edwards Campus
  • Keynote address: “Mobile Teaching and Learning” 
  • Attendance: 225 
  • Held on the KU-Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS

2007, August 2-3 (8th Annual) 
  • 2006-2007 C2C Chair: Dennis King, Fort Hays State University 
  • Held at KU-Edwards campus 
  • Keynote address: “Synthetic Life: Second Life in Education” 
  • Keynote speaker: Ms. Fox  

2008 (9th Annual) 
  • 2007-2008 C2C Chair: Larry Carver, Hutchinson Community College
  • 2009 (10th Annual) 
  • 2008-2009 C2C Chair: Susan Zvacek

2010 (11th Annual) 
  • 2009-2010 C2C Chair: Ed Lovitt, Johnson County Community College 
  • 2011 (12th Annual) 
  • 2010-2011 C2C Chair: Michael Rea, term completed by Rob Gibson
  • Keynote speaker: Malcolm Brown 

2012 (13th Annual) 
  • 2011-2012 C2C Chair: Carine Ullom, Ottawa University 
  • Conference theme: “Re-imagining Education: Tools & Issues” 
  • Keynote speaker: Larry Gould 

2013 (14th Annual) 
  • 2012-2013 C2C Chair: Julie Rorabaugh, Cowley College 
  • Conference theme: “Challenging the Future” 
  • Attendance: 410 

2014 (15th Annual) 
  • 2013-2014 C2C Chair: Susan Stuart, Kansas City Kansas Community College 
  • Conference theme: “Reimagining Education: Trends, Challenges and New Technology” 

2015 (16th Annual) 
  • 2014-2015 C2C Chair: Vince Miller, Johnson County Community College 
  • Conference theme: “Envisioning the Future of Learning” 

2016 (17th Annual) 
  • 2015-2016 C2C Chair: Brent Zweifel, Wentworth Military Academy & College 
  • Conference theme: “Agents of Change: Transformational  Superheroes”  
  • 1st live stream of some sessions, 11 sponsors (5 were C2C schools)
  • 1st year a MO school chaired conference. 

2017 (18th Annual) 
  • 2016-2017 C2C Chair: Anna J. Catterson, Emporia State University 
  • Theme: “Discover, Connect, Engage!” 
  • 1st Keynote address: “Adoption of Digital Learning  Objects.” 
  • 1st Keynote speaker: Sheree Utash 
  • 2nd Keynote address: “Untitled” 
  • 2nd Keynote speaker: Dr. Christy Ziegler 

2018 (19th Annual) 
  • 2017-2018 Chair: Kendra Barker, University of Missouri, Kansas City  
  • Theme: “Tools, Trends & Challenges” 
  • 1st Keynote address: “The Future Is Now: Tackling Tomorrow’s Educational Challenges Today” 
  • 1st Keynote Speaker: Dr. Hap Aziz 
  • 2nd Keynote address: “We Will All Be Inventors” 
  • 2nd Keynote speaker: Muriel Green 

2019 (20th Annual) 
  • 2018-2019 Chair: Nicole M. Frank, Fort Hays State University 
  • SIDLIT 2019:  celebrating our past + embracing our future 


About the Author 

Jonathan P. Bacon, the former director of the Educational Technology Center at Johnson County Community College (JCCC), retired on Halloween 2010. Since retirement, he has continued to serve on the C2C Steering Committee, volunteers at his two grandson’s elementary schools, serves on the Morningview Homes Association Board, the JCCC Retirees Association Board (and provides a monthly series of TechTalks), volunteers in the Operation Breakthrough Purple 1 Nursery Classroom in Kansas City, Missouri, and serves as an adult Sunday school teacher and counselor to the Pastorate at the Mission Road Community of Christ. In between volunteer work, Jonathan travels with his wife to favorite locations in Maui, Florida, and Michigan and attends his grandsons’ concerts and sporting events.

This Q&A was created with Shalin Hai-Jew.  
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