To MOOC or Not to MOOC? That Is Just One of the October 9, 2018

To MOOC or Not to MOOC? That Is Just One of the Questions!


It seems that each new day brings a barrage of articles regarding massive open online courses (MOOCs) and their successful use in education and business. Both large and small educational institutions feel compelled to respond to internal and external stakeholders about MOOC development, and for those institutions unable to partner with an organization such as Coursera or edX, there can be a number of considerations. Here are some useful questions to ask yourself as you consider MOOC development for your institution.

October 8, 2018

Seven Ways to Combat Attrition in Online Courses


One of the biggest issues in online education is attrition. “Student retention is a noteworthy issue for higher education institutions and is closely tied to accountability,” write Melanie Shaw of Northcentral University, Scott Burrus of University of Phoenix, and Karen Ferguson of Colorado State University-Global Campus. In an article in the fall 2016 issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, the trio details research they conducted to determine predictors for online higher education student attrition.

MOOCs and the Law: Five Key Questions October 4, 2017

MOOCs and the Law: Five Key Questions


Although much has been written and discussed about MOOCs’ educational, access-opening, and revenue-generating potential, less is known about their legal implications. Administrators and faculty interested in MOOCs need to consider not only pedagogical and financial concerns but also legal concerns before getting involved, says Linda Enghagen, attorney and professor in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Blended Learning May 31, 2017

Four Steps to Building Institutional Support for Blended Learning


“Building an effective blended learning culture needs strategic partners across multiple campus constituents and not just faculty. Strong support from higher-up administration coupled with faculty goes a long way towards the acceptance of such alternative learning strategies across campus.” These ideas come from Sunay Palsole, PhD, associate vice provost for digital learning at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He discussed several ways to build institutional support for blended learning by working with various campus offices, and shared four specific ideas with us.

Online Program Planning May 24, 2017

How to Be More Strategic with Online Program Planning


Although you might know a few faculty members who are adamantly opposed to online education, online programming—the development of individual courses and degree programs—continues to expand. My experience, both at my institution and in my conversations with online administrators across the country, reveals that colleges and universities are beginning to think more strategically about their online offerings. I especially see evidence related to developing strategic plans for online education. If you Google “online education strategic plan,” you will find dozens of examples that various institutions have developed.

Student Performance May 10, 2017

How Faculty Teaching Load, Employment Status Affect Student Performance


Some years ago, Witt Salley, EdD, director of online education at Clemson University, was working for a community college in Missouri. The college had a growing online presence, and it was handling this demand by allowing faculty who were willing to teach online to do so as an overload. This policy made online instruction very attractive to the faculty and allowed the institution to meet its growing demand. Unfortunately, some of the students were beginning to suffer. “Assignments were going ungraded and discussion boards were ignored,” says Melanie Shaw, PhD, online faculty success coordinator at Clemson. The college hired adjunct faculty to teach online to lighten the load on full-time faculty, but the full-time faculty responded negatively, citing concerns about the quality of instruction from the adjuncts. So Salley undertook a study to examine how faculty workload and status impacted student success. The results shed some light on this important issue.

An Intellectual Property Policy for Online Education March 27, 2017

An Intellectual Property Policy for Online Education


Does your institution have an intellectual property policy specific to online courses and course materials? If so, do you know and understand it? Do faculty know it? If faculty receives a financial payment or release time to develop online course materials, does that change who owns the rights to course materials? As the number of online courses and degree programs offered at institutions in higher education continues to expand, intellectual property rights will continue to garner increased attention.