Distance Learning Administration
As a distance education program manager, you know that it’s a constant battle just trying to keep pace. Not only do you have to find ways to separate hype from reality, but there is always pressure to do more with less … and do it better than ever before. These articles provide practical solutions and best practices for creating, implementing, and managing quality distance education programs.
Institutions of higher education are increasingly using online courses and fully-online programs as tools to increase enrollment. There are many issues surrounding the subject of online education as an enrollment strategy. For instance, attrition rates are higher in online courses and online programs than in the face-to-face environment (Carr, 2000; Moody, 2004). It has been well-established that academic and social integration are key factors influencing retention, yet many institutions do not take a systematic approach to ensuring adequate integration opportunities for online students.
Faculty members, at the front-lines of the retention issue, can help to improve student success rates by providing a sense of community in the online classroom and making meaningful interaction and student engagement a priority. Functional units of student services should work collaboratively with faculty members to expand the breadth of support for online learners, with the conviction that retention is everyone’s issue, and fostering student success is everyone’s responsibility.
Blended learning has gone from being an interesting new hybrid of traditional and online courses to being an expected part of American education. When the Sloan Consortium last studied blended learning in 2007, it found “a lot of room for growth” in the market for blended courses. It found “consumer preference for online and blended delivery far exceeds reported experience,” indicating that demand was ahead of supply at that point.
“Distance learning is here to stay. Educational institutions should have a vision for what type of distance learning programs they will implement and the standards they will hold to. Institutions will master distance learning, or in some cases, distance learning trends and demands will master the school.” This is the conclusion of Joseph McClary of Liberty University in his article, “Factors in High Quality Distance Learning Courses,” appearing in the Summer 2013 issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. In it, he examines the components of a high quality distance learning course and some of the barriers to their development.
If you are a distance education administrator, you know that running an effective program means more than just developing courses and ensuring consistent delivery. It also means complying with key regulations that impact the operations and experience of the program.
September 10 - What Makes Faculty Members Participate in Distance Learning?
Encouraging faculty to participate in distance learning has been a concern since the very first days of online delivery methods, and probably before. A look through the Distance Education Report archives will show the evolving concerns about pedagogical quality, academic rigor, reputation, and other factors that faculty members have expressed concerns about.
Faculty development is a crucial and vital component to any college or university. For institutions with geographically dispersed faculty who are teaching online, in some cases for the very first time, faculty development takes on a new level of importance. Here the challenges are not only ensuring instructors understand the technical aspects of teaching online and have the instructional skills to meet online learners’ needs, but also instilling a sense of community.
In the spring of 2008, Georgia State University officials were sued by three academic publishers claiming extensive copyright infringement in the posting of book excerpts to GSU’s e-reserves and learning management systems. Although the case went to trial in the summer of 2011, the judge took nearly a year to craft an almost 350-page opinion that painstakingly analyzed 75 alleged violations of fair use.
April 29 - Establishing an Online Professional Learning Community to Promote Faculty Engagement and Excellence
In online higher education, adjunct faculty members are an essential resource. These faculty members teach, research, perform service and outreach, and even oversee administrative aspects of higher education institutions (Doe, Barnes, Bowen, Gilkey, Smoak, Ryan, & Palmquist, 2011). Unfortunately, adjunct faculty members often feel isolated and set apart from the full-time faculty, administration, and staff. Dolan (2011) reported adjunct faculty members are generally disappointed with communication, recognition, and a lack of opportunity. One way to improve a sense of belonging is through the development of a strong professional learning community. A successful learning community is primarily focused on student learning, collaboration, and accountability for outcomes (DuFour, 2004).
Addressing faculty perceptions of distance learning has been a matter of intense concern since the beginnings of online course delivery. Many articles have been written discussing the reasons that faculty may be disinclined to participate in an online course and how to persuade them to change their minds. For Bernard Bull, assistance professor of educational
A faculty member brings a ragged photocopy of a book chapter to the library to be scanned and loaded to the e-reserves for enrolled students. Does this fall within fair use of the document?
Problems like these confront academic faculty and administrators daily, and it is important to keep up with the latest court rulings to be sure your institution is in compliance. In her recent online seminar, The Copyright Case We’ve Been Waiting for: Key Lessons and Policy Changes, Linda Enghagen, an attorney and professor at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, reviews some of the key considerations of copyright law, updated to include rulings that were made on August 13, the day of the seminar. It is a must-hear seminar for institutions wishing to be in compliance.