Building Bridges for Bridge Builders: Evolution of Building Two Online Programs
Concurrent Session 2
Our design team partnered with the College of Engineering at a research one university to put two graduate programs online. Learn about the hurdles and successes of our journey as we collaborated with college leadership and units across the university to make positive institutional change and successfully launch these programs.
An online program is greater than the sum of its courses. Our small team of learning designers and one media specialist discovered that we would need more than a series of online courses to fully launch two new Graduate Engineering online programs at our research one university.
In February 2018, our project began with one learning designer and one media specialist supporting faculty to develop 20 online courses for two new online programs. Over the span of two years, our two-person support team grew to five. We rescaled our team’s approach to supporting faculty and our work expanded to include:
- Developing an online program orientation
- Developing the online proctor process for the college
- Coordinating with a third-party Online Program Management (OPM) vendor, contracted for marketing, recruitment, and retention
- Establishing bi-weekly check-ins with department chairs to address a RAID log (Risks, Actions, Issues, and Decisions)
- Partnering with our university accessibility team and Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities
- Coordinating with our university admissions, controller, registrar offices, and IT
- Coordinating with college and university finance and budgeting personnel
While we still remained focused on supporting faculty to put a total of 20 courses online, our roles and duties far expanded that work. Unfamiliar with the university policies, stakeholders, and departments, the tasks presented in this project involved several layers of networking and discovery, as well as challenges for resourcing production, roadblocks with university processes, and pedagogical strategy. In this session, attendees will learn about our journey of discovering the work that goes into successfully launching two online programs and the strategies we developed and implemented. When starting this project, our university did not have a campus-wide online strategy established. Consequently, our work on this project has demonstrated the significance of establishing an institutional online strategy. Throughout this process, our team has identified critical components that are currently in development to be implemented across the entire university. This strategy includes further exploration into online program management and online quality standards to support existing, developing, and future online programs across the university.
Upon successfully launching these two online programs, our partnership with these two departments reached its conclusion. Our team developed a sustainability plan to ensure future success and continuous improvement of these programs. The sustainability plan consists of recommendations for on-going support and a handoff package. The handoff package includes materials developed during our partnership and a list of stakeholders combined with operational processes developed and implemented with the OPM vendor across the university. Throughout this presentation, we will pause to reflect and discuss the challenges and institution-specific strategies that speak to the diversity within our institutions.
Participants in this session will:
- Explore our work to put two graduate programs online
- Reflect on their own needs for online program support
- Identify who needs to be involved in this work at their own institution
- Discuss strategies for streamlining this work and improving communication across an institution
- Receive access to planning documents and tools
Join us to learn about our work to spark positive institutional change across our university and come prepared to discuss what this might look like at your institution.