Online Learning: What Is It Good For?

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Pilot: Lessons Learned at EDUCAUSE 2013

Online learning programs have been around for decades now. But new schools are getting into it all the time, and even mature programs need to make sure that their program designs are consistent with their evolving needs. Phil and Michael talk about the range of goals that online learning can serve and the need for strategic alignment.

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  1. What academic or business purposes was the online program (or course) on your campus intended to serve? To what extend does it serve those purposes well, and where could it be improved? Or have the purposes changed over time? Is the offering still in alignment with the needs of the students, faculty, and institution today?

  2. Anne Smith says:

    Congratulations Michael and Phil. Wonderfully informative. The associated assets, and running dialogue, make for an excellent learning experience. Kudos to In the Telling in their delivery. Can’t wait to see more. Watch out Comcast! Anne Smith

  3. Colton21 says:

    This is great. I love the TV format! I have to read so much during the day that it is a nice change to sit back, watch and listen.

  4. Fantastic job guys. Love the integration with great infographics and articles to illustrate and prove specific concepts. Keep up the great work, and let me know if I can help in any way.

  5. The question that connects online education with the purpose for doing it, is a a brilliant one. n the beginning, as teachers we were exploring the environment as it related to increased web resources and the sheer magnitude of the opportunity be inventive. Now, for many teachers and their schools, it’s about increasing successful innovative learning strategies related to increasing the success of students of today, which is as it should be. The MOOC explosion has shown a bright light on online education (and as Michael says, it’s now become a bit more “glamorous”) and, hopefully, that light will keep an informed conversation going around the access and innovative methodologies, the surfaces of which are developing by the minute.

    We should be spending some time reflecting on the “why”. It’s definitely been a focus of the accrediting bodies recently! The reason why we are offering online education is a really connected to the quality of what we do. Remember when people thought that teaching online would allow them to teach in their “jammies” and be easy? What kind of motivation was that? When we take motivation of an institution and weigh that in light of teaching “passion” there can be a disconnect. Add into this conversation, the philosophy of quality education with all of its facets and we really have an interesting conversation.

    For me, and many of my colleagues in the California Community Colleges in recent years, the reason has been about providing access to students who have been shut out for a variety of reasons: the bottle-neck problem, cost of transportation to campus, lack of ability to find time in busy schedules, shut-in scenarios and more. That’s not all, though. For me, it’s also been about creating innovative and engaging environments that capture the attention and willingness to learn of today’s conflicted, NCLB, tech saturated students.

    Thanks for informing us and posing this great question.

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