Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State
Advancing Online Education – Full Report-1s94jfi
Defining Online Education
The term “online education” has been used as a blanket phrase for a number of fundamentally different educational models. Phrases like distance education, e-Learning, massively open online courses (MOOCs), hybrid/blended learning, immersive learning, personalized and/or adaptive learning, master courses, computer based instruction/tutorials, digital literacy and even competency based learning have all colored the definitions the public uses to define “online education.”
online education” as having the following characteristics:
- Students who enroll in online courses or programs may reside near or far from the campus(es) providing the course(s) or program.
- A student’s course load may include offering where attendance is required in person or where an instructor/students are not required to be in the same geographic location.
- Students may enroll in one or more individual online course offerings provided by one or more institutions to that may or may not satisfy degree/program requirements.
- Student may pursue a certificate, program, or degree where a substantial number of courses, perhaps all, are taken without being in the same geographic location as others.
Organizational Effectiveness Research Group (OERG),
As the workgroup considered strategies that could advance online education, they were asked to use the primary and secondary sources listed above to support the fifteen (15) strategies that were developed
define a goal as a broad aspirational outcome that we strive to attain. Four goal areas guide this document. These goal areas include access, quality, affordability and collaboration. Below is a description of each goal area and the assumptions made for Minnesota State.
Over twenty percent of existing Minnesota State students enroll in online courses as a way to satisfy course requirements. For some students, online education is a convenient option; for others, online is the only option available
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation guidelines review the standards and processes institutions have in place to ensure quality in all of educational offerings, including online.
There are a number of ways in which institutions have demonstrated quality in individual courses and programs including the evaluation of course design, evaluation of instruction and assessment of student
a differential tuition rate to courses that are offered online. If we intend to have online education continue to be an affordable solution for students, Minnesota State and its institutions must be good stewards of these funds and ensure these funds support online education.
Online education requires different or additional services that need to be funded
transparency is important in tuition setting
Distance Minnesota is comprised of four institutions Alexandria Technical & Community College, Bemidji State University, Northland Community & Technical College, and Northwest Technical College) which collaborate to offer student support services, outreach, e-advising, faculty support, and administrative assistance for online education offerings.
strategies are defined as the overall plan used to identify how we can achieve each goal area.
Strategy 1: Ensure all student have online access to high quality support services
students enrolled in online education experiences should have access to “three areas of support including academic (such as tutoring, advising, and library); administrative (such as financial aid, and disability support); and technical (such as hardware reliability and uptime, and help desk).”
As a system, students have access to a handful of statewide services, include tutoring services through Smarthinking and test proctoring sites.
Strategy 2: Establish and maintain measures to assess and support student readiness for online education
A persistent issue for campuses has been to ensure that students who enroll in online course are aware of the expectations required to participate actively in an online course.
In addition to adhering to course expectations, students must have the technical competencies needed to perform the tasks required for online courses
Strategy 3: Ensure students have access to online and blended learning experiences in course and program offerings.
Strategy 4: These experiences should support and recognize diverse learning needs by applying a universal design for learning framework.
The OERG report included several references to efforts made by campuses related to the providing support and resources for universal design for learning, the workgroup did not offer any action steps.
Strategy 5: Expand access to professional development resources and services for faculty members
As online course are developed and while faculty members teach online courses, it is critical that faculty members have on-demand access to resources like technical support and course assistance.
5A. Statewide Faculty Support Services – Minnesota State provide its institutions and their faculty members with access to a centralized support center during extended hours with staff that can assist faculty members synchronously via phone, chat, text/SMS, or web conference
5C. Instructional Design and Technology Services – Establish a unit that will provide course design and instructional technology services to selected programs and courses from Minnesota State institutions.
Strategy 1: Establish and maintain a statewide approach for professional development for online education.
1B. Faculty Mentoring – Provide and sustain faculty mentoring programs that promote effective online pedagogy.
1C. Professional development for support staff – including instructional designers, D2L Brightspace site administrators and campus trainers, etc.)
more on online education in this IMS blog