No one needs reminding that we are in the year 2020, yet we continue to offer higher education in virtually the same manner as we have for millennia. Should we really continue to argue that this is the superior teaching and learning method? What if, instead, we acknowledge that online education is here to stay–and that the charge for higher education professionals is to ensure that this method of instructional delivery is at least equal to traditional face-to-face instruction?
Here are the top five things colleges and universities can do to make online education more effective—and valuable—today, tomorrow, and into the future.
1 . Recruit a champion
Every institution that wants robust, effective online education programs should recruit an online “tzar” who oversees all aspects of their distance learning initiatives: curriculum, student experiences, faculty hiring/onboarding; faculty development; and learning management systems, to name just a few.
This position should be a member of the executive leadership team/president’s council and have the latitude (and funding) to run these divisions with fearless initiative. In the wake of the pandemic, these positions are emerging, and what is shocking is that they are usually location-bound. How can these visionaries fully demonstrate the efficacy, flexibility, and leadership of online education initiatives if they are required to do so from a campus office? Have the courage and the faith for your online champion to model best practices of leading, teaching, and managing from a virtual driver’s seat.
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