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How to Develop Successful Online Academic Programs. ABACC & Scholar360 Webinar. Overview. Why Distance Education? Current Technology Trends Accreditation Requirements Faculty Needs Administration Requirements Course Presentation Costs to Consider Features to Look For. Distance Education.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Why Distance Education?
  • Current Technology Trends
  • Accreditation Requirements
  • Faculty Needs
  • Administration Requirements
  • Course Presentation
  • Costs to Consider
  • Features to Look For
distance education
Distance Education

Education or training courses delivered to remote (off-campus) sites via audio, video (live or prerecorded), or computer technologies, including both synchronous (i.e., simultaneous) and asynchronous (i.e., not simultaneous) instruction. (

why distance education
Why Distance Education?
    • For the past several years, online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments (50% to 100% higher as compared to last year).
  • Schools can increase their appeal to students with technology affinity (such as the kids graduating from High School today), students with non-traditional schedules, citizens of other countries, relief workers in other countries, and former students needing to complete degrees.
  • Schools can increase Degree Completion Rates and Student Retention rates.
why distance education1
Why Distance Education?
    • Schools can improve student access by making every resource needed by students to complete a course available at any time and from any where in the world.
  • Schools can save money on overhead byreducing copying costs, the time burden on professors and lowering faculty over-time fees; by paying adjunct professors to teach online courses, as well as offering multiple courses, without worrying about space, janitorial costs, or utilities.

Due to the economic downturn and the demand by students for affordable options, online enrollments have jumped significantly and are predicted to double in the next six months.

open source vs commercial
Open Source vs. Commercial
  • There are pro’s and con’s to both open source and commercial products. Make sure to consider all fees – including the hidden ones schools have encountered when using open source products.
  • Consider your current staff and additional staff needs, when making your decision.
  • Talk with other schools (preferably ones that are the same size and have the same access to resources) to understand why they made the decisions they did.
  • Consider the faculty and student needs before making a decision.
web 2 0 trends
Web 2.0 Trends
  • Many sectors, including higher education, are moving to add Web 2.0 tools and functionality. These include:
    • Social Networking
    • Collaborative Communities
    • Blogs
    • Wikis
    • Avatars
    • Second Life
    • Live Chat
    • Live Audio/Video
    • Mobile Access
    • eBooks/FlatEarth Project Books
accreditation requirements
Accreditation Requirements

Accreditation concerns to be addressed and the accreditation approval requirements and process.

accreditation requirements1
Accreditation Requirements
  • Accreditation Concerns
    • CurriculumIs the online program comparable to the degree(s) offered currently through the school?
    • Faculty Are faculty certifications appropriate for the degree(s) offered?
    • AdministrationHow is the program going to be administered?
    • Student ServicesWhat will students need?
    • Student Learning Can the student learn via the online program in much the same way as they can with residential courses?
    • PlatformWill need a reputable platform (LMS/CMS) with reliable up-time.
    • Procedures How will students register, pay, receive grades, etc.?
accreditation requirements2
Accreditation Requirements
  • Accreditation Process (Example)
    • Notify accreditation body director with a letter describing the substantive change desired. A form and checklist will usually be then sent to the school.
    • Submit application form for a proposed substantive change.
    • Submit application fee, ranging from $300-800, depending on the size of the substantive change desired. (Accreditation body will notify the school of the correct amount.)
    • Change school’s mission and objectives to include the online program.
accreditation requirements3
Accreditation Requirements
  • Accreditation Concerns
  • Accreditation Process
    • Demonstrate in writing that the online program is 1) comparable to site-based learning; 2) in compliance with guidelines for distance education programs.
faculty needs
Faculty Needs

Address Training Needs

Address Control Concerns

Communicate Reasons for Change

Provide Easy-to-use Interface

why faculty use cms lms
Why Faculty Use CMS/LMS:
  • To address pedagogical challenges
  • To manage tasks associated with teaching
  • To communicate with students
  • To provide students with access to class documents
  • To provide a convenient and transparent gradebook
cms lms goals in teaching
CMS/LMS Goals in Teaching
  • To supplement lecture materials, increasing transparency and feedback.
  • To increase contact with and among students (59% said their communication with students increased).
  • To include more interactive materials, allowing them to address diverse learning styles.
  • To increase the amount of feedback they are able to provide to students and to improve the promptness of that feedback.
  • To alter their relationship with their students and the students’ relationship with their own work.
cms lms goals in teaching1
CMS/LMS Goals in Teaching
  • To achieve learning gains by getting students to use the CMS/LMS to hold discussions and engage with course materials in a slower, self-paced fashion.
  • To achieve a number of pedagogical gains – including enabling faculty members to rethink and restructure their courses and ultimately their teaching.
why faculty increase usage
Why Faculty Increase Usage:

Once faculty start to use a CMS/LMS, their use of the technology tends to grow – nearly two-thirds of the faculty surveyed said they used a CMS/LMS more extensively or intensively at the time of the survey than they did when they first started using the technology. Why?

  • Over time, they began to see increased uses for it in their teaching or ways they might use it in a different type of class.
why faculty decrease usage
Why Faculty Decrease Usage:

Just 5% of those surveyed indicated they used CMS/LMS less since they first began using the technology. Why?

  • They found their CMS/LMS difficult to use (10%).
  • They found their CMS/LMS inflexible.
  • They resented having to load/reload course material into the CMS/LMS for each semester.
  • They found their CMS/LMS overly-structured.

Note: All those surveyed said their use would grow if the software were easier to use and if training were more available.

faculty needs addressed
Faculty Needs Addressed:
  • Training Needs – Ensure ample training is provided with the CMS/LMS and accountability by the vendor to ensure high faculty usage rate.
  • Control Concerns – Ensure that the important parts of faculty teaching environments are not subject to the vagaries of technology administrators and technology reliability.
  • Communicate Reasons for Change – Ensure faculty understand why decisions are made to adopt the LMS/CMS, upgrades, version changes, requirements on the faculty, etc.
faculty needs addressed1
Faculty Needs Addressed:
  • Provide Easy-to-use Interface – Select simplicity over fancy features to ensure faculty will be more apt to adopt all tools. Engage faculty in the selection process.
administration requirements
Administration Requirements
  • Schools must address how the online program is to be administered. This often includes selecting a staff member to:
    • Manage the LMS/CMS
    • Maintain servers (if the system is hosted by the school and not the vendor)
    • Select courses to offer online
    • Oversee faculty
    • Answer student service questions
    • Upload course materials
    • Synchronize student records

Academic Dean

Oversees the entire Academic Program and deals with student services issues.

IT Director

Manages LMS/CMS system and servers. (This position is not necessary if the LMS/CMS is hosted by the vendor, not the school.)


Upload course materials, answer student questions online, grade essays, etc.


Synchronizes gradesfrom LMS/CMS to SISfor transcripts.

course presentation
Course Presentation

Self-Led vs. Faculty-Led

Delivery Methods


Usage of Web 2.0 Tools

costs to consider
Costs to Consider







Additional Modules


Faculty/Staff Time

features to look for
Features to Look For

Curriculum development tools (built-in)

Web 2.0 Tools (a commitment to the future)

Support & Training (someone to complain to)

Flexibility & Customizations (you are unique)

Reasonable Pricing (per user, not per seat)

Off-Campus Hosting (save your IT person)

Communication Tools (track who is getting it)

Course-Creation Tools (create without programming)

Administration Tools (Make-Your-Life-Easier Tools)

Proven Track Record (learn from others’ mistakes)