Mission is key to MOOCs, online programs

CIOs, IT leaders say the key to expanding online is knowing your goals and vision

mission-online-MOOCsBy now, most colleges and universities know that providing some type of online program—fully online, MOOCs, or blended learning—is critical to staying current in today’s changing higher ed landscape. But how do you determine your institution’s online readiness, and how can MOOCs work for everyone?

According to Elke Leeds, assistant vice president for Technology Enhanced Learning and executive director of the Distance Learning Center at Kennesaw State University, the one question all institutions must first ask themselves is: “Why would we want to do this?”

“We’re not Harvard or MIT, we’re a teaching-focused state university that produces teachers, nurses and business school grads; we don’t have classes like ‘Advanced computer analytics programming,’” Leeds explained. “So the questions that became most important to us were: ‘What is the value proposition, and what kind of MOOC is right for us?’”

For Kennesaw, the value was in most institutions’ perceived values of offering a MOOC, such as increasing enrollment, strengthening brand, increasing community engagement, promoting lifelong learning, and promoting higher education relevance.

But the course had to fit, and so did the goal of the MOOC.

“We’re credentialing-based and degree-based. We believe in offering at least the option of credentials, or peer review, so we had to devise a way to do just that with our first MOOC, ‘K-12 Blended and Online Learning.’”

(Next page: Designing a MOOC for all learners)

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