Most higher education institutions developing online courses and programs have it all wrong.

Every day, we speak to universities that are looking to launch new online-learning initiatives, and many of these conversations start with the same question: “How do we put these courses online?”

By asking a few initial questions of our own, we’ve found that most institutions tend to anchor their thinking to their existing on-campus courses. This approach is limiting at best, and a recipe for mediocrity in many cases.

Instead of thinking about your new online initiative—whether it’s a single course or an entire degree program—as a generic rework of your on-campus courses, we recommend thinking of it as an entirely new educational experience. A new product. One that demands that you carefully evaluate all your requirements and ensure the program is designed specifically with your target audience of current students and prospective students in mind.

Most institutions developing online programs have it all wrong—here’s how to do it right

In other words, approach the process as a product company would when planning to launch a new offering.

(Next page: How to develop an online-learning program)

About the Author:

Furqan Nazeeri is a partner at ExtensionEngine, helping universities, corporations, and nonprofits develop online and blended programs that leverage the latest advances in learning science and technology to engage learners. He is a frequent speaker at conferences focused on innovations in online learning, including Open edX, Reimagine, and LaunchLearn Across Boundaries.

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