Soft Power Strategies for Online Program Development

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Explore and discuss soft power strategies for program development within the context of a mid-sized public university. Here, we examine a case study involving recent efforts to bring STEM programs online to identify successes and failures on the path to improving both the quality and quantity of online programs. 



Owen’s career at UAF began in 1984 at the then Tanana Valley Community College as a computer lab tutor. He has enjoyed working with faculty and educational technology in a variety of capacities, including supporting researchers in the Institute of Arctic Biology and in the Arctic Health Research Institute. Owen has served teaching and learning in higher education in other capacities for nearly uncountable years. He currently teaches online graduate courses for the UAF School of Education (Online Pedagogy and Instructional Design). In addition to interests related to all things eLearning, Owen pursues studies in history, particularly ancient military history, ancient crafting, tools, and techniques, art, food, science, and spends time outside whenever possible.

Extended Abstract

"Soft power - getting others to want the outcomes you want." - Joseph S. Nye

How does one create online programs without the direct authority to do so? At our mid-sized public university, we employ a variety of solutions to enhance both the quality and quantity of our online program offerings. In this Discovery Session, we will explore and discuss this diverse toolbox of soft power strategies for program development. In particular, we examine a case study of recent efforts to bring STEM programs online at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, featuring a unionized faculty and strong faculty governance.

Specifically, we'll discuss how to bring home the voices and expertise of contacts made right here at OLC Accelerate, how to make the most of internal faculty champions, how and to whom to provide compelling contextual data, strategies for educating constituents about the competition, how to find and support your faculty allies, and other strategies as part of a multi-pronged approach to successful online program development.

Presenter Owen Guthrie will share and discuss these strategies and more using recent experiences related to attempts to bring STEM programs online as a source of real-world examples. He will share how one might gain momentum in the struggle to develop online programs including stories of successes, and some (in retrospect) amusing stories of early failures.