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Senate Working Group on Online Education. Interim Report to Faculty Senate November 14, 2012. Working Group Members. David Alexander (Chair) Margaret Beier John Greiner Don Johnson Kirsten Ostherr Fred Oswald Matt Taylor (Implementation WG liaison). Working Group Charge.

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senate working group on online education

Senate Working Group on Online Education

Interim Report to Faculty Senate

November 14, 2012


Working Group Members

  • David Alexander (Chair)
  • Margaret Beier
  • John Greiner
  • Don Johnson
  • Kirsten Ostherr
  • Fred Oswald
  • Matt Taylor (Implementation WG liaison)

Working Group Charge

To evaluate the costs and benefits related to developing a strong online instructional presence at Rice, to issue recommendations on its implementation, and to address general policy issues related to online communication.


Key Points

  • No policy recommendations are being made at this time
  • Focused on development of guiding principles
  • Identification of key issues common to online pedagogy
  • Objective consideration of current approaches
  • Drinking from the firehose

SWG is working on processing vast quantities of info in a rapidly changing environment. Ideally we would do so at a slower pace, but we also need to be responsive to the fact that if we wait, there are some advantages to be lost.


Guiding Principles

  • Quality of online components is paramount
  • Enhance students' on-campus experience
  • Maintain key elements of Rice uniqueness
  • Protect and enhance Rice brand
  • Provide broader access to high-quality education

Major Common Issues

  • Certification
  • Transfer credit
  • Accreditation
  • Investment in resources for development, implementation, oversight and improvement
  • Flexibility to respond to rapidly changing environment

Rice Online

Rice should develop a multifaceted high-quality online presence that meets the needs of the students on campus and that, where appropriate, can be scaled for use by a broader population off-campus.

This can be realized by the combination of an investment in and enhancement of existing resources and selective partnership with outside entities.

Potential Partners

  • Coursera
  • 2U: Professional Masters & Semester Online
  • edX
  • Others

$100 M in Venture Capital

Prof. Masters degree program

Semester Online

Sync. & Async content

Innovative interface

Small class sizes

Multiple sections

Exclusive partnership for specific program

Growth in # of sections

10 consortium members



WG plans for Spring semester

  • Identify required resources
  • Define 'Rice quality' wrt online presence
  • Develop guiding principles and values
  • Consider creation of a Faculty Advisory Committee
  • Make recommendations on resources by February
  • Make general recommendations by end of semester