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Benchmarking Online Learning Oaks


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The A.P.L.U. (formerly NASULGC)-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning has been working for the past two years to identify the perceptions of college and university presidents and chancellors toward the potential of using online learning as a strategic asset to achieve broad institutional goals and priorities. As one part of this work, the Commission implemented a comprehensive national study of the key factors that underlie successful, strategic online programs. A second part of the study was a cross-institutional survey of faculty attitudes toward online learning. This session will summarize the results of both aspects of the study, identifying not only those elements of success cited most often by administrators, but also identifying faculty perceptions and beliefs about online learning.

Presenter: Muriel Oaks, Dean, Center for Distance and Professional Education, Washington State University and Member, A.P.L.U.-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning

Published in: Education, Technology
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Benchmarking Online Learning Oaks

  1. 1. Benchmarking Online Learning: Perceptions of University Faculty and Administrators
  2. 2. Muriel Oaks Washington State University APLU-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning October 23, 2009 WCET Annual Conference Denver
  3. 3. APLU Initiative in Online Learning • Grant from Sloan Foundation to create a cadre Presidents and Chancellors knowledgeable about the strategic value of online • Established APLU-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning (Jack Wilson, President, Univ. of Massachusetts, Chair; 7 Presidents; and other senior administrators) • Commission Strategies: – understand the knowledge base and experience of Presidents/Chancellors re: online learning – target the key priorities and concerns of senior leadership – determine the potential of online learning to serve as a strategic tool to address those issues – develop strategies/resources that could assist Presidents and Chancellors in overcoming barriers limiting the strategic utilization of online learning
  4. 4. APLU-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning • Surveys: – APLU Presidents and Chancellors – Tribal Colleges and Universities Presidents – NAFEO Presidents and Chancellors • 27 dialogue events: – 850 participants; 300+ CEOs
  5. 5. Survey Findings: Is there a disconnect? Strategic Importance of Online Learning – critical to long-term strategy of institution APLU – 68% AIHEC – 62% NAFEO –84% – represented in institution's strategic plan APLU – 41% AIHEC – 27% NAFEO –52% – not critical to long term strategy APLU – 4% AIHEC – 15% NAFEO – 7%
  6. 6. Institutional Interviews Background • Designed to acquire a better understanding of the key factors contributing to successful, strategic online learning initiatives • Invited 95 APLU members; anticipated 15-18 participants; 47 campuses volunteered • final cohort – 45 institutions (wide range) • 1M+ students; 100,000+ online enrollments
  7. 7. Institutional Interviews Areas of Inquiry Faculty Incentives Student Life Cycle Senior Administration Academic Quality and Effectiveness Administrative and Financial Models Technology
  8. 8. Institutional Interviews Methodology • Cohorts of approximately six institutions in each area of inquiry • Interviewed 4-8 personnel per campus identified by institutional contact • Conducted 231 interviews (7/08 - 1/09) • Interviewees: – Chief Executive Officers/Governing Board members – Senior Academic Administrators – Senior Non-Academic Administrators – Online Administrators – Faculty and Online Students
  9. 9. Institutional Interviews Key Observations • Integrate online into institutional planning, academic structure • Review and assess routinely over time • Develop reliable financing mechanisms • Develop adequate and consistent resources for both faculty and students • Engage senior leadership
  10. 10. Faculty Survey Background • First cross-institutional survey of faculty attitudes toward online • 69 campuses • Comparable questions to Sloan-C Annual Survey of chief academic officers
  11. 11. Faculty Survey Methodology • Invitations delivered via e-mail with link to online survey form • Most institutions also sent a single reminder message • 11,000+ opened survey • 10,700+ complete responses • 21,000+ open-ended text responses
  12. 12. Faculty Survey Participating Campuses • All public • Research/Doctoral, Masters, Associates • Land Grants, HBCUs, State Universities, others • Faculty: 60 to 3,500+ • Represent 900,000+ enrollments • Online enrollments: zero to 10,000+
  13. 13. Who Teaches and Develops Online? Taught Online Taught and Developed Online Developed Online All Faculty
  14. 14. Who Teaches Online? Under 5 years teaching 6 - 9 years teaching 10 - 19 years teaching 20 plus years teaching Female Male 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%
  15. 15. Who Teaches Online? Not tenure track Tenured Tenure track, not tenured Part-time Full-time 0% 10% 20% 30%
  16. 16. It Takes More Effort Effort to Develop Effort to Teach 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Percentage of respondents A lot less Somewhat less About the same Somewhat more A lot more
  17. 17. Why Faculty Teach Online? Online courses meet student needs for flexible access It is the best way to reach particular students For personal and professional growth It is the wave of the future To earn additional income For pedagogical advantages Because I am required to 0% 20% 40% 60% Important Very Important
  18. 18. Barriers Additional effort to develop online courses Inadequate compensation Additional effort to deliver online courses Students need more discipline Does not count toward tenure and promotion Lower retention rates Lack of acceptance by potential employers 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Important Very Important
  19. 19. Faculty Institutional Ratings Technological infrastructure Faculty support for development Faculty support for delivery Support for online students Policy on intellectual property Recognition in tenure and promotion Incentives for developing online Incentives for delivering online 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Below Average Average Above Average
  20. 20. Learning Outcomes Superior Online Faculty CAO - Sloan Survey Somewhat Superior Same Somewhat Inferior Inferior 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
  21. 21. Recommend Online? Total Sample Ever developed an online course Ever taught an online course Currently teaching an online course 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
  22. 22. Benchmarking Study Results The Challenges • Online takes more faculty time and effort • Institutional incentives are not viewed as good motivators • Concerns persist about quality of learning outcomes
  23. 23. Benchmarking Study Results The Opportunities • Everyone teaches – stereotypes are not correct • Faculty are motivated by student needs • Faculty recommend online • Faculty with online experience are more positive
  24. 24. Benchmarking Study Results Imperatives for Campus Leaders • Administrators need to know who is teaching online and why • Campus leaders need to develop creative ways to recognize and reward faculty • Faculty and administrators need to resolve issues around perceptions of quality • Online initiatives must be routinely reviewed and assessed to identify and address needs and opportunities as they arise
  25. 25. Link to Survey Reports:
  26. 26. Questions?
  27. 27. Thank you! For more information, please contact: Muriel Oaks, Dean Center for Distance and Professional Education Washington State University
  28. 28. Additional Slides
  29. 29. Overall Institutional Ratings Percent rating their institution Above Average Technological infrastructure Faculty support for online delivery Faculty support for online development Support for online students Institutional policy on intellectual property Recognition online in faculty tenure and promotion CAO Faculty Incentives for developing online courses Incentives for delivering online courses 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
  30. 30. Rating faculty training and support for online course delivery 58 55 52 49 46 43 40 37 34 31 28 25 22 19 16 13 10 7 4 1 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Below Average Average Above Average
  31. 31. Recommend Online Superior to face-to-face Somewhat superior to face-to-face The same as face-to- face Somewhat inferior to face-to-face Inferior to face-to-face 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%