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.
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.
July 23 - Cultivating Stronger Relationships with Online Faculty through an On-Campus Visitation Program
Strategic relationships build strong commitment and a measurably higher expectation of compliance in all areas, including institutions of higher learning. Columbia Southern University (CSU), a fully online institution, developed an on-campus visitation program in the spring of 2011, inviting groups of faculty to attend a one-day or two-day event for the purpose of connecting faculty to their campus support structure.
February 20 - Navigating the ‘Patchwork Quilt’ of State Authorization Requirements Remains a Huge Challenge for Online Programs
State authorization of online programs is one of the biggest issues confronting higher ed institutions seeking to expand their reach to more distance learners. Since the introduction of federal regulations in October 2010 (section 600.9), institutions have been scrambling to respond to a myriad of state requirements.
Online programs are under a microscope. Some school faculty and administrators are concerned with maintaining academic quality, while others have already identified problems with quality and integrity. Negative media exposure has caused accreditors and other stakeholders to scrutinize online learning, and college and university administrators know that they need to respond.
Despite the continuing mainstreaming of online education, there are a number of myths that continue to persist, particularly in terms of the hiring practices for online instructors, and whether institutions make a sufficient effort to integrate remote instructors into the campus culture.
Distance education administrators must constantly juggle concerns about academic integrity, technology, and student access, along with campus politics and their own learning curve. Fred Lokken is chairman of the Instructional Technology Council and associate dean for teaching technologies at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nev. As part of an ITC Conference panel, he and his colleagues considered some of the challenges that distance education administrators face
Community colleges saw a nine percent increase in distance learning enrollments in the 2009-10 academic year, according to a survey by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC), an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Years ago at a faculty meeting Larry Ragan, PhD, director of Faculty Development for Penn State’s World Campus, was trying to soft-sell the idea of performance expectations for online faculty. He didn’t want the discussion to be misinterpreted as an indictment against their teaching style, but he also saw an opportunity to share proven practices for improving the online teaching and learning experience. Finally a senior faculty member grew tired of the tip-toeing around the subject and said, “If you don’t tell us what is expected, how will we know what to do to succeed?”