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Thread: ABO/NCLE Approval

  1. #1
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    ABO/NCLE Approval

    Hi All:

    On 14 Feb 02, I wrote the following letter to the ABO. To date I have received no reply and if past history proves correct, there will be none. In my opinion, there seems to be an on-going problem with the ABO/NCLE CE approval process. Comments?


    14 February 2002

    Roy R. Ferguson, Ph.D.
    P.O. Box 5170
    Sevierville, Tennessee 37864

    Mr. Michael H. Robey, Executive Manager
    American Board of Opticianry
    6506 Loisdale Road, Suite 209
    Springfield, Virginia 22150

    Dear Mr. Robey:

    The following ABO approved courses are being presented at SECO 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia, 20 – 24 February 2002:

    Principles of Supervision –
    This introductory course will cover supervision and management principles, organizational career path, transitional issues, the nature of leadership, goals for self-development, and personnel practice in a variety of practice settings. Designed for managers/supervisors with less than two years experience.
    Optical Ethics –
    This course will give the ophthalmic professional fundamental knowledge in theoretical and applied ethics as they relate to the profession. The differences between business and medical ethics will be explored. Factors affecting ethical behavior will be presented, along with some difficult topics including Rx release, patient confidentiality, monocular patients, and relations with other ophthalmic professions.

    On 5 August 1999, I was notified that the education committee disapproved several of my college-level business/management courses because “the level requested is considered is inappropriate for the title of “Introduction….” It was cited that the courses cannot be considered continuing education for certified opticians.” Additionally, on December 21, 1998 the education committee disapproved four college-level ethics courses because the “basic exam test specifications do not include ethics…related domains.

    I would appreciate clarification of all changes to course approval criteria that has occurred since the ABO denied continuing education approval for my submitted courses.

    Sincerely,

    Roy R. Ferguson, Ph.D.

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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Tom Lerher had it right.....

    In the 50's there was a comedian who released a record of satirical songs based on life's experience.The title of the song escapes me but I do remember one on the lines

    "Plagerize....Plagerize.....Plagerize........Let no one elses work evade your eyes....Plagerize! Plagerize! Plagerize!......Be sure only to call it.... "research".

    I would find out who is offering the course, and have my lawyer contact them for a course developement fee.You should be able to document when you submitted YOUR work.

    Sounds like they have it in for you Roy. What did you ever do to them to deserve that?

    best hj
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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Do I understand this correctly? The ABO/NCLE has changed their course approval requirements without publishing exactly what the new requirements are?


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    Bad address email on file stephanie's Avatar
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    Big Smile

    Hi Roy, I just wanted to say that I thought your CE class last Sunday in Knoxville was great. Maybe that is part of the problem you are interesting and they don't want anyone who can hold a classes attention like that!

    Steph

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    Steve:

    Roy is saying: The NCLE , The ABO and practically no other organization or group of individuals is iterested in the subject: ETHICS.

    I think Roy told me that he was told "This subject has no place in modern opticianry."

    Don't it make you feel proud to be in such an industry in such a wonderful developing time. The good of any thing (such as the patient or the soul of the optician) is no longer cause for concern, just the good of the sale.

    Chip:angry:

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. Even Law Schools are now (finally!) requiring Ethics courses. Why would anyone object to such a course being taught for Opticians?


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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Unless I misunderstood Roy's post...

    Unless I misunderstood Roy's post, He had gone to the work of developing the courses in 1999, and presumably submitting a course outline at that time.They disapproved the courses for the reasons stated.

    They have now approved the outlined courses in 2002, however it is my guess that they will not be presented by Dr. Ferguson who did all the developmental work. It does indeed sound as if someone needs a lesson in ethics.

    hj
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    Hi All:

    My original post concerned the inconsistent CE approval decisions made by the ABO & NCLE. Over the past few years many courses I’ve created according to published ABO/NCLE guidelines have been disapproved even though they met, and in all cases exceeded, approval criteria. The four hours of Ethics CE are just one example. My Dissertation was concerning ethics, so I felt qualified to present the material, and it was my feeling the topic was appropriate. I was shocked, to say the least, when these courses were rejected because the “basic exam test specifications do not include ethics…domains.” It was difficult for me as an optician to understand why ethics were not considered “basic” to our field, but there was no recourse other than to trash the hours and go on. This February I was perplexed to find the ABO had approved an ethics course being offered at SECO. I have no criticism of the topic or the presenter; my questions concern the inconsistent application of approval guidelines. If the ABO/NCLE does not wish to adhere to their published guidelines, choosing instead to employ subjective rather than objective standards, why are they issued?

    Roy

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    Steve: Strangely enough, law schools have more interest in ethics than probably any other profession. Many medical shools and medical universities have dropped all ethics courses, at least as far a requireing them. One notable exception Emory.

    Chip

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    Harry,

    You're absolutely right, I misread Roy's post. I haven't had to get a course approved since around 1999 so my first-hand experience with the process is out-of-date. Nonetheless based on what I've read here, there does seem to be some disconnects in the process.

    It would be great if someone from the ABO could come on the forum to explain their process and directly answer Roy's questions.


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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    Unfortunately it sounds like the "ego" thing

    Unfortunately it sounds like the "ego" thing keeps getting in the way.I PM'd John R this AM to give him some info so he would have some historical background in the "practical thread".I brushed on large egos as one of the problems faced by this industry and holding the whole profession back.

    Many in this profession think their way is best, and they have superior knowledge to most of the rest of us.They strive for years to get into the "club" ie. OAA/ABO/NCLE/-/-/-/-/ ad infinitum. Once there, they jealously guard their,position, allowing no one in who could possibly threaten their position or in any way become more prominent, or look more intelligent. Roy's story may well be indicative of the way ABO is run today.If it is, it stinks. I can't say because my only experience was in the "old days" when you submitted a course outline,and a list of topics to be discussed. Badda Bing! you were in! My last sanctioned CE course was entitled "Sunglasses Today: Its whats up front that counts" I think if Roy and Warren had been around they would have thrown up!:bbg:

    Someone earlier suggested starting a new group-seems like a lot of trouble when there are so many already around.Perhaps the moderator of this forum with the most contacts would consider trying to get ABO to respond.

    hj

    I have edited my post to remove a less than flattering statement made concerning some of those whose hearts and minds may be in the right places, and whose actions are not.It was judgemental and out of order.please forgive-
    Last edited by hcjilson; 03-25-2002 at 08:52 AM.
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    Bad address email on file John R's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Hj, thanks for the info.
    I feel maybe i can say what you are thinking and get away with it as i'm not involved state side....
    On the subject of starting a new org, Yes it would be a lot of trouble but with the way things seem to be setup at present it could be the only way to go. As you say too many ego's are going to get bruised along the way, but if thats what is needed then thats the way it should go...
    Remember no one person or group is too big to stand in the way of what is better for the whole of optics....

    Maybe the best way would be a new org that would oversee the other orgs (abo/ncle etc) with the aim to get them to work together. But if they wont/dont then to take over and run the show.

    It would look like someone has it in for Roy, but its only one side of the story, when will the other appear or will the orgs involved stay away.. I look forward to a answer...

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SharonB's Avatar
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    Ethics Course

    I have just read this thread and should tell all that I am the person who offered the Optical Ethics course at SECO in February 2002. However, my course was ABO approved in 1998, and has been given in several NY regional meetings beginning in April '98 as well as at CE seminars at Interboro Institute, so it just didn't appear in 2002. The course was submitted to SECO in Feb 2000 (they plan 2 years ahead!) as part of a group of courses I offer that already have ABO approval. There is a provision in the ABO Course Approval Criteria for courses that are designated as "General Knowledge" or non-technical offerings that "...will enhance the abilities of ophthalmic professionals to fulfill their duties." This was a General Knowledge course for 1hr. CEC.
    Sharon B.

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    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    SharonB,

    I think you just gave Harry J a case of foot-in-mouth disease. ;)

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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    How do you explain this quote?

    Sharon,
    I see by your profile that you are currently a director of ABO.In view of your latest post, how can you explain this quote from above?



    " On 5 August 1999, I was notified that the education committee disapproved several of my college-level
    business/management courses because the level requested is considered is inappropriate for the title of
    Introduction. It was cited that the courses cannot be considered continuing education for certified opticians.
    Additionally, on December 21, 1998 the education committee disapproved four college-level ethics courses
    because the basic exam test specifications do not include ethicsÉrelated domains."

    I find it curious in as much as ABO had approved your course before that letter was written.

    harry J
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    Hi all:

    First, I would like to restate that I do not and have never had a problem with the presenter of “Ethics” CE or the topic itself. That’s why I didn’t mention Sharon’s name in my post. It’s simply not an issue. My point was that I had submitted four CE ethics courses to the ABO/NCLE during the summer of 1998 that were denied because the “basic exam test specifications do not include ethics…related domains.” It would appear that inconsistent standards are used by the ABO/NCLE when evaluating, not only this course, but also several others I have written over the years.


    Roy

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    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Dr. Ferguson,

    Is the content of the approved and non-approved courses similar? At the time you submitted were there any other similar courses already being offered?

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SharonB's Avatar
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    ABO approvals redux

    I can't explain why one course would be accepted and another not accepted without seeing the course materials. I also have had courses that were not approved. I was not involved in the approval of any of my courses (not allowed!) nor do I know who was. Incidently, there are several teams that do the course approvals, and they change every year. Each team will review about 1/3 of the over 1000 annually submitted courses. Many of the courses cover similar material, but that has nothing to do with the approval process. (Example: there are now about 32 courses relating to high index lenses that have received approval in the last 2 years, but the authors approached the courses in very individual ways). Usually course rejections are returned to the course author with reasons for disapproval, and/or suggestions for making the courses compliant. The course reviewers use a check sheet when reviewing the courses, and sometimes the reason for disapproval is not listed on the check sheet. I don't know how all other reviewers handle this, but I always attach detailed comments/suggestions. I seldom see the subsequent correspondence to the course applicants. That is handled by ABO staffers. Reasons for disapproval include non-generic courses, lack of stated goals & objectives, no connection to the task analysis, incorrect information, poor organization, incorrect education level or classification, material not long/short enough for hours requested, etc. Since February 2002 I am no longer involved in the course approval process, but I am involved in clarifying the criteria for approval. Hopefully these clarifications will be completed and approved by Aug. 2002 (the next full board meeting) and published to all course writers with a substantial lead time.
    Sharon B

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    Hi All:

    Just for background information, here is the course outline for one hour (four total) of the Ethics CE submited to the NCLE in 1998. Again, the reason this course was disapproved was because the "basic exam specifications do not include ethics...related courses."

    ETHICS OVERVIEW

    INSTRUCTOR: Roy R. Ferguson, Ph.D.

    OBJECTIVES: This Level I, one-hour presentation is a technical examination of ethics for inexperienced ophthalmic professionals and assumes little or no prior knowledge of the literature and professional practices within the area covered. Ethics is not a legal concept; it is a moral one. It is not something that can be legislated, created by the pen of a judge, or voted into existence. It is a human attribute, just as honesty, integrity, and fairness are human attributes. It is also an attribute that is fundamental to the concept of professionalism. The overall objective of this course is to allow the participant to work within professional and legal boundaries by recognizing one’s limitations and acting within ethical and professional guidelines to ensure that the patient’s/customer’s needs and wants are met.

    LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, the attendee should be able to:

    1. identify the ethical theories of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and apply the concepts to contact lens fitting;
    2. define ethics and ethical behavior as it relates to contact lens fitting;
    3. list the three levels of ethical standards and how it pertains
    to contact lens fitting;
    4. list the benefits of moral decisions;
    5. describe immoral, amoral, and moral;
    6. solve in-class ethical problems relating to the contact lens fitter.

    COURSE DESCRIPTION: This presentation covers material defined by the Contact Lens Fitter Job Analysis, Task 40.07: “Handling patient/customer data so that applicable legal and ethical regulations are not violated, and patient/customer confidentiality is maintained.” Ethics are the fundamental moral values and behavioral standards that form the foundation for the people of an organization as they make decisions and interact with patients. Classical theories (25%) will be presented along with case studies (75%) relating to ethical events too allow participants to appreciate and apply ethical standards to professional problems. This course assumes little or no knowledge of the topic covered. The focus of the course is to increase knowledge and application by the attendee.

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    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    These are the people who are current Directors of ABO/NCLE

    Some of you know these people and of course Sharon has participated in this forum. If you know them contact them. I would be interested in knowing why

    On 5 August 1999, I was notified that the education committee disapproved several of my college-level business/management courses because “the level requested is considered is
    inappropriate for the title of “Introduction….” It was cited that the courses cannot be considered
    continuing education for certified opticians.” Additionally, on December 21, 1998 the education
    committee disapproved four college-level ethics courses because the “basic exam test specifications do not include ethics…related domains.
    I would appreciate clarification of all changes to course approval criteria that has occurred since the ABO denied continuing education approval for my submitted courses.
    ABO Directors are:

    Art Clancy
    Jon Durkin
    R. Emil Hagman
    Patricia Tolar
    Patrick Langone
    Norman Clay
    K. Richard Davenport
    Steve Sanford
    William Snyder
    Robert Stratton
    Granville Smith
    Sharon Breivogel

    NCLE Directors are:

    Thomas Appler
    Norman Marquis
    Lawrence Graves
    Larry Harper
    John K. Davis
    Woody Linn
    Phyllis Rakow
    Joseph Thoma
    Bill Weaver


    :cheers: Jerry
    The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground

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    Re:ABO Approvals Redux

    Sharon,

    I in no way mean to imply anything untoward by my next question and you have clearly stated that you were out of the loop in the selection of your own course and I accept that at face value.

    If the selection teams are ABO board members, or members period, does that not present the possibility of favored treatment to fellow members perhaps to the exclusion of some worthy courses.If ABO is the acrediting agency as well as the sole arbiter of what is acceptable course material, does it seem fair that they also control who makes the call on CE courses?

    Pardon the southern expression but it sounds like a "Good Old Boy Network" which could be used to potentially limit or discourage those who may wish to provide CE's of equal integrity.How does ABO/NCLE insure that all submissions are given an equal
    opportunity?

    bst from
    harry j
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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SharonB's Avatar
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    1st of 2 parts (yikes! toooo long)

    The ABO/NCLE publishes the "Criteria For Continuing Education and Sponsor Handbook" (last updated in 1999) which gives meeting sponsors and course writers the guidelines for what constitutes CE according to ABO/NCLE standards. The ABO/NCLE also answer to some higher agencies ( NOCA, for example) regarding CE standards, so they are not entirely arbitrary and capricious. Education Committee members are divided into course reviewer groups that are quite diverse (regions of country, professional preparation, appointing agencies, realm of expertise, etc.) and each course approval group has 3 members. If a course applicant feels they have been unjustly denied approval, there is an appeal process. Many courses come in for approval with missing documentation, no outlines, no needs assessment, or sometimes just loads of typos or full of company logos. If the course seems fundamentally sound, the speaker is advised of the reason for non-approval and given the opportunity to address the problem areas prior to re-submission. Sometimes it's as simple as having too much stuff crammed into 2-3 hours, and the suggestion is to make the course a 4 hour offering. The process is not perfect, but they are working on making it better. Many of us remember the days when ABO approval meant another boring PAL commercial and most CE seemed to get a rubber stamp of approval. Dress For Success. How To Smile At Your Patients. (OK...I'm using some hyperbole here). Those days are gone.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SharonB's Avatar
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    Part 2

    Course reviewers are requested to recuse them selves from reviewing material submitted by people with whom they have close professional relationships, etc. That's sometimes tough (it's a small world out there!) I have heard the "old boy" term bandied about often, however, the course approval process is true grunt work and takes lots of personal time... the reviewers are neither "old", nor in many cases boys ( I am one, but not the other). This is not "old boy" work. Any reviewer is likely to get 1-3 packets per week with 5-20 courses and 5-20 speaker approvals in each packet. They have to be turned around quickly, so it makes for some late nights.

    We, as a profession, created the ABO/NCLE. We, as a profession, are also reshaping them. If the entire ophthalmic community is dissatisfied with the ABO/NCLE, then offer up an alternative! Discuss this with the appointing agencies (OAA, NAO, CLSA, NCSORB, NFOS). Or even better, address a board meeting with your concerns and/or suggestions! I think you might be surprised at how far they have come since your OAA involvemnt Harry!
    SharonB

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    Course Evaluations

    As long as we are all gathered together here, WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE "COURSE EVALUATIONS" that we have to fill out and sign at the end of each CEC course? Why doesn't someone publish : Student evaluations: 50% All expectations met, 30% somewhat met, 10% course barely adequate 10% It's a useless sales pitch. I don't remember the exact wording on the evaluations, but it seems that as paying or future paying customers we could use the information, and we are the membership which the powers that be serve are we not?

    Chip

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    Cape Codger OptiBoard Gold Supporter hcjilson's Avatar
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    That still begs the question....

    Sharon,
    While not wanting to appear to be throwing stones at ABO, your response begs the question; If the i's have been dotted, and the t's have been crossed, how was it possible for Dr. Fergusons ethics course to be denied? Is it at all possible it was for personal reasons? Have you heard other complaints of this nature? I ask these questions for a reason.
    tx harry j
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