Leading the Transformation: Emerging Issues

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

First-generation leaders of online learning at their institutions converse with attendees about emerging leadership challenges and opportunities as the field confronts the future.


Since 2012, Dr. Ragan has served as a Co-Director for the Center for Online Innovation in Learning at Penn State University where he helps direct the Center’s mission of research, scholarship, technology innovation, and leadership development programming. Dr. Ragan has been a part of the creation and management of Penn State’s World Campus since it’s inception in 1998 serving as Director for Instructional Design and Development and Director of Faculty Development. Since 2009, Dr. Ragan has served as Co-Director of the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL). In partnership with the leadership at the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan-C), IELOL addresses the operational and strategic leadership of the design, development, and preparation of the next-generation of leadership in online learning. Dr. Ragan has served as founding co-director and faculty of the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership program (2005-2007). He is also active in the design and delivery of international leadership development institutes. In 2011, Lawrence Ragan was recognized as a Sloan-C Faculty Fellow.
Professor Mark Brown is Ireland's first Chair in Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL). Prior to taking up this position at the start of 2014, Mark was Director of the National Centre for Teaching and Learning as well as Director of the Distance Education and Learning Futures Alliance (DELFA) at Massey University, New Zealand. In addition, Mark had responsibility for oversight of the Central Hub of Ako Aotearoa - National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Over the last decade, Mark has played key leadership roles in the implementation of several major university-wide digital learning and teaching initiatives, including the selection and enterprise-wide deployment of Moodle, the original design and development of the Mahara e-portfolio system, a major implementation of a rich media learning platform [Mediasite], and the first New Zealand university-wide implementation of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform [Open2Study]. Mark is currently Chair of the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Steering Committee for the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) and is a member of the Executive Committee of European Distance and e-Learning Network (EDEN). In 2016, Mark was also appointed as a representative of the Irish Universities Association on the Board of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. In addition, Mark contributes as a faculty member to the US-based Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) and is currently leading an intiative to establish the Empower Online Learning Leadership Academy (EOLLA) for new and emerging institutional leaders in European universities. Additionally, he works closely with Epigeum, a subsidiary of Oxford University Press, in the development of online professional development programmes for university staff and is currently Lead Advisor for a course in the area of Blended Learning. Before taking up his current posiiton, Mark was President of the New Zealand Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (DEANZ). He was also Treasurer and an Executive Committee member of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite). ascilite is the peak professional body for Digital Learning in Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a recipient of a National Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching and remains a member of the New Zealand Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Additional Authors

Ray Schroeder is Professor Emeritus, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield and Director of the Center for Online Leadership at the University Continuing and Professional Education Association (UPCEA). Each year, Schroeder publishes and presents nationally in online and technology-enhanced learning. Ray publishes five daily blogs on various aspects of news, research, and trends in technology-enhanced learning in higher education. He is recipient of the 2002 Sloan-C award for the “Most Outstanding Achievement in ALN by an Individual,” University of Southern Maine “Visiting Scholar in Online Learning” 2006-2009 and inaugural 2010 recipient of the Sloan Consortium's highest Individual award - the A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award. Ray received the 2011 University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award. He is an inaugural Sloan Consortium Fellow, the 2012 Innovation Fellow for Digital Learning by the UPCEA, 2014 Illinois Council of Continuing Higher Education Past President's Award for Service, and 2016 United States Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame Award.

Extended Abstract

In 2013, a new book, Leading the E-Learning Transformation of Higher Education, provided perspectives on leading online learning innovations in American higher education.  The book, written by a team of pioneers in the field, was hailed as “a must-ready for any college or university administrator or faculty member involved with online learning.”  In this session, four of the book’s authors—all internationally recognized leaders in the field—will lead a conversation about emerging leadership issues and opportunities for innovation as online learning enters its second generation of innovation.  Several of the panelists have also served as faculty for the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL), offered by Penn State and OLC.  The panelists are Lawrence Ragan, The Pennsylvania State University; Raymond Schroeder, University of Illinois-Springfield; Wayne Smutz, UCLA; and Karen Swan, University of Illinois-Springfield. 

The session is designed for individuals who are current and emerging leaders of online learning at their institutions. 

During the session, the panelists will each briefly highlight key factors that have affected their own leadership roles and will share their perspectives on several emerging leadership issues.  The specific issues will be selected based on what is most important at the time of the conference, but topics may include items such as the increasing use of big data, new micro-credentials, and the movement of online learning into the academic mainstream.  The majority of the session, however, will be a conversation with attendees about the leadership issues that attendees are facing at their home institutions.