The new rankings cover more than 1,300 programs, including bachelor’s and graduate degrees in fields such as business, engineering, education and nursing.
Surveys indicate online learning continues to increase, with a large number of students at brick-and-mortar institutions taking at least one course online.
Educators and leaders at online schools can take a number of steps to ensure online students succeed:
- A well-defined set of standards lets students know what is expected of them and how they can maintain their academic integrity.
- Along with a tailored code of conduct, institutions should provide students with support tools that address the unique needs of online learners.
- Connecting and building relationships among and across online students can not only enhance their course experience, it also sets up a support system and outside resources that can help deepen their understanding of the course material.
Strong online leadership can buoy student and program success. In 2016, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association released a report detailing seven hallmarks of excellence in online leadership:
1. Advocacy and leadership within the university
2. Entrepreneurial initiative
3. Faculty support
4. Student support
5. Digital technology
6. External advocacy and leadership beyond the university
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