It may only be August, but I can definitely say it has been a busy year at OLC! The conclusion of a successful OLC IELOL event, hosted by the University of Central Florida, inspired me to consider a number of our recent successes that are positioning OLC to advance our strategic vision over the next decade. I’m excited to take a moment to share these accomplishments with you.
- Membership. Since the beginning of this year, 103 new institutions have become members of OLC. As a member-driven organization, membership fees and other revenues go right back into providing resources for our members and the broader academic community. A great example of this is the Online Learning Journal (OLJ). Thanks to our members, we are able to provide this open-access, peer-reviewed, premier journal, providing leading research in our field.
Since 2011, OLC has also offered the OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs. Since then we have added a Suite of Quality Scorecards that cover course reviews, student services, blended learning, quality course teaching, and digital courseware. Each of these scorecards can be downloaded free on our website. Our scorecards have been used by many institutions (e.g., Middle Tennessee State University, Dallas Community College District, Baker Online) to help them identify areas for improvement or to seek recognition for program excellence.
- Conferences. Attendance for OLC Innovate in Denver this past spring was up 4% over 2018, attracting more than 1,200 in-person attendees from all 50 states, and an additional 1,000-plus who joined virtually. We anticipate continued growth for our 2019 OLC Accelerate Conference, Which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, this fall in Orlando – I do hope you are able to join us for this incredible milestone!
- Research and Publications. Our OLC Insights blog is a great source of inspiration for tackling new opportunities and challenges. Beginning this fall, expect to see even more new ideas, lessons learned and personal stories, as we work with online and digital learning thought leaders to provide expanded content for online learning leaders, researchers, instructional designers, and others.
On the research front, the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) released a report in July that I authored on Global Quality, featuring contributions from quality leaders around the world.
- Consulting. The growth in this area has me especially excited since I have worked with our consulting projects for many years at OLC. In fact, we have seen explosive growth here related to speaking engagements, quality course reviews,and other online learning support. A steadily growing opportunity exists with the QS Navigator where we continue to get requests for us to complete the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs for institutions. However, the biggest growth we are experiencing is in requests for us to complete quality course reviews.
With the growth we have been experiencing, across these and other OLC resources, we have also been investing in new resources to expand and enhance our support for members, such as a community portal. Expect to hear more details on that soon.
As a nonprofit organization, our goal is to provide relevant resources for our members. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this vital Consortium that is growing and shaping the future of digital education in the US and across the globe. As we head into the final months of 2019, I am energized by our recent accomplishments and look forward to continued growth and success for OLC and our members. And I hope to see you in person this November as we celebrate 25 years at OLC Accelerate!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer is responsible for the development of OLC’s long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies. She also provides leadership in researching and planning strategic initiatives, special projects and partnerships that align with OLC’s mission, vision and goals. Dr. Mathes has nearly 20 years of experience in both public and private higher education where she has served as a faculty member and an academic leader.She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she wrote her dissertation on “Predictors for Student Success in Online Education.” She also has earned a Master of Science degree in Business Education and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Illinois State University.