A strategic approach to service excellence in educational technology

Concurrent Session 8

Brief Abstract

Online education relies on technology and technology support. Poor technology experience adversely impacts student learning and sense of community, faculty satisfaction, and program reputation. Superior customer service increases business performance, and keys to sustaining this competitive advantage include a strategic approach to educational technology and empowerment-based personnel management.


Ano helped to launch the Master of Health Care Delivery Science (MHCDS) program at Dartmouth College. This program was the world's first degree program in this new field of inquiry, and Dartmouth College's first foray into low-residency, online education. Part of the MHCDS's leadership team, Ano is responsible for all educational operations, managing a team of learning designers, educational technologists and teaching assistants who support faculty and students in all aspects of course development and delivery. Ano has a Masters of Public Health from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and lives in Central Vermont.

Extended Abstract

Online education and the suite of technological tools used for delivery and engagement have effectively expanded the school day into a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week endeavor. Supporting this culture of perpetual engagement, and keeping abreast of changes in technology and practices, is immensely challenging, especially within the budget conscious world of higher education.

The Master of Health Care Delivery Science Program at Dartmouth College (MHCDS) is a hybrid executive leadership program that strives to provide a premium student experience. MHCDS’s approach to educational technology selection, deployment and support centers on two tenets:

1. A strategic approach where:

  • Process, procedures, and platforms all align with program and organizational objectives, and student population.
  • Educational technology is leveraged as experiential learning in collaboration over time and distance
  • Platform selection remains sufficiently nimble to adapt to changes in the environment and changing consumer preferences
  • Consumer technology, not enterprise technology, is the pace setter for innovation


2. Empowerment-based personnel management recognizing that:

  • Elite team performance is distinguished by above average motivation, training, tools
  • Emphasizes team member autonomy, flexibility, and ownership of work task
  • Links everyday tasks to greater organizational objectives
  • Recognizes technology support as a frontline, not back office, function
  • Insists that Innovation is everyone’s job

Signs of success are anecdotal, but include alumni reports that “the technology was great, it never failed,” suggesting that service recovery was a sufficiently satisfactory experience that initial service failure was forgotten; and consultation requests from alumni who want to increase the level of customer support at their institutions.

This discussion will explore how the MHCDS approach is applied everyday to manage and sustain a culture of innovation and service excellence. Interactive discussion throughout will further define:

  • Biggest challenges to IT implementation and support that other programs face
  • Attributes of the ideal educational technology infrastructure.
  • Successful motivators of innovation and employee empowerment
  • Challenges to implementing this approach in other settings