Are you looking for concrete strategies to lead innovation on your campus?


Katie Linder, Ph.D., Director, Ecampus Research Unit, Oregon State University

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We all know that creating a culture of innovation takes effective leadership, but the specific strategies for what we can do to be strong leaders can be a little more challenging to identify. In the field of online teaching and learning, there are a lot of factors for leaders to consider such as quality control, scaling an organization, managing staff and budget, and much more.

In a recent edited collection, The Business of Innovating Online (Stylus, 2019), Tom Cavanagh of the University of Central Florida and Luke Dowden of the Alamo Colleges District describe strategies and practices that help to ensure effective communication, professional development, organization and creativity among team members.

Here are a few highlights:

Think beyond managing day-to-day operations. If you get too stuck in the minutiae of putting out small fires, it can be challenging to do the kind of visioning work that can take your organization to the next level. Setting aside time on your calendar weekly, monthly, or quarterly (or all three) to engage in visionary thinking can be helpful.

Focus on steady improvement. A continual process of evaluation and adjustment will be needed to ensure that you are on the right track and staying on top of the latest trends and changes in the field. Know that success does not happen overnight and it takes time to get things right.

Support your team. The success of an online learning organization will not happen because of one person’s leadership. The engagement of every member of the team will matter to ensuring that students have transformative and supportive educational experiences.

Push boundaries. It is entirely possible that what worked for your organization in the past will no longer work in the future, so intentionally moving beyond current practices will be essential.

Be resilient. All leadership comes with taking risks, so bouncing back from set-backs is an important quality for any leader to have. Creating successful online learning organizations is a marathon, not a sprint, so be prepared for both the challenges and the triumphs.

Learn more from Tom and Luke’s experiences building, nurturing and sustaining teams that can produce award-winning innovations in an upcoming free webinar, Leading Innovation on Your Campus: Logistics and Lessons Learned, hosted by Oregon State University Ecampus, on Tuesday, October 22 at 10 a.m. PT (11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET).

This webinar is part of a complimentary series highlighting authors from The Business of Innovating Online, edited by Oregon State University Ecampus and co-sponsored by OLC. (The first webinar in the series on Creating an Innovative Vision is already available as a replay!) Learn more about the series, view the replays and register for upcoming webinars today.

About the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit: The OSU Ecampus Research Unit makes research actionable through the creation of evidence-based resources related to effective online teaching, learning and program administration. The OSU Ecampus Research Unit is part of Oregon State Ecampus, the university’s top-ranked online education

Dr. Katie Linder is the director of the award-winning Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit. Through conducting original research, often in collaboration with colleagues from other institutions across the U.S., the Ecampus Research Unit responds to and forecasts the needs and challenges in the field of online education. As part of her role at OSU Ecampus, Katie hosts a weekly interview-based podcast called “Research in Action.” Katie also recently edited two collections, High-Impact Practices in Online Education and The Business of Innovating Online.  Connect with Katie by email at, or on Twitter @ecresearchunit. 

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