Another session presenter, Luis Llorens, professor at the University of Baja California, Mexico, mirrored the emphasis of Leeds when he explained that the first question every institution needs to ask when contemplating online readiness is: What is the core mission of the university?

“This is the elephant in the room that universities don’t want to address,” he said. “The online program or course has to fit with the institution’s mission and those developing the program or course need to have a plan or list of everything they need to complete the program to present to the university before anything begins.”

Llorens coordinated the Center for Open Education (CEA) UABC, which is an interdisciplinary group of teachers from different departments that come together to produce research and practical steps for innovation in teaching models, diversifying face-to-face learning and other IT projects.

“I can’t stress enough how important collaboration is, and having everyone be equal in the group regardless of institutional hierarchy, in planning and developing innovations on campus,” said Llorens.

According to Llorens, the first step in assessing institutional readiness for implementing an online program is making sure that the deans and admins requesting the program know the mission of the university and the goal of the program.

“To help them with this, we created, with our startup mentality at CEA, an instrument to gather information about the expertise and resources needed to create such a program. The instrument includes 70 indicators allocated in 23 IT, educational, and organizational standards,” he clarified.

The information part of this instrument was aggregated by focus groups in technology, education, and organization across campus, then all information data was analyzed and put into one comprehensive presentation to the Dean.

Data included everything from the Wi-Fi capabilities and technical solutions needed, to best practices from teachers and suggestions from students.

For more information on the CEA and Llorens’ implementation strategy, contact him at luis.llorens@uabc.edu.mx


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