While actual higher education enrollments declined over the last several years, enrollment in higher education online programs continues to increase at a rapid rate (See OLC Report). More faculty and higher education leaders now see both the advantages of offering online and hybrid versions of traditional classes and the inevitability of needing to do so. We can help.
This post is the first in a six part series offering guidance to Bring your Online Learning Strategy into Focus— a big picture approach that can be useful for schools of any size and at any stage of online learning development. Our glorified To Do list for creating or improving your online programs or offerings includes these components of the process: Envision, Resource, Plan, Develop, Test and Implement.
This post’s focus: Steps to ENVISION your Online Learning Strategy
• Identify stakeholders and sources of information that should influence the vision
• Determine purpose of the program
• Determine mission of the program
• Determine audience of the program
• Align vision with institutional and accreditation requirements
• Gather feedback on drafts of vision statement
This is the time where decision makers sort out purpose by desired result:
- Those purposes related to financial need: “This will get enrollment up.”
- The purpose of responding to changing student desires: “Students expect to have flexibility in their attendance options.” and
- The all important purpose of honoring the pedagogical tradition and commitment to learning: “We must be able to build communities of learning that produce knowledgeable and competent scholars and practitioners of our discipline.”
For every school or program, multi-layered realities should feed into the creation of a vision statement and a broad range of perspectives should be welcomed into the drafting and feedback process. As the development of the online program becomes further removed from leadership and in the hands of the course builders and instructors, it is essential that a clear vision of the purpose, mission and audience of the program stays in sight to influence decision-making and design. See how vision informs Course Design Rationale in our e-Book.