Online Learning Leadership and Support: Building the Structure and Keeping it Together
Concurrent Session 4
For 20-plus years, we assumed the systems in place at an institution could absorb the needs of a fully online program. This session will engage the audience to discuss what institutions need to do to succeed when supporting online learners (and teachers). Let’s build an ideal support department together!
You are in a meeting (one of many you have a week), but this meeting is about the introduction of a new online degree. There are conversations about learning outcomes and faculty availability, about student recruitment and technology needed. Most of the conversation seems to return to technology, and it seems as if the IT department is getting the most say in this process or maybe the senior faculty. Deans are just happy faculty are even considering online learning. In that moment, you realize that no one is talking about the support systems within the university.
You start writing questions on your pad: how will the school support a sudden influx of new students? Will online students be treated as second class citizens? Will there be a strategic leadership effort to grow support for online learning? Will marketing and recruitment give the online program the same attention? Can we just absorb this wave of new faculty and students without understanding their needs? Do we need a separate group to run this effort? Will our accessibility department support online learners and their needs?
This session will open with a conversation on how participants view the strengths and weaknesses of their institution’s support systems. We will dive deep into whether they are prepared to support online learners and teachers, especially those with next generation needs. Many institutions just roll over support for these efforts into existing departments, which are already understaffed. Attendees will work to create an ideal support system that best meets the needs for their institution as well as use roleplay scenarios for unique situations they may face.
Participants will walk away from this presentation meeting the following outcomes:
- Identify the components that are needed for a successful online program
- Discuss various scenarios that can be addressed by unique approaches to support systems
- Prepare an analysis of their current support system
- Create a plan for moving forward to improve support systems at their institutions
This session will be very interactive. This will include interactive (real-time) polls, group games (construct your support system), and a CatchBox mic for fun, yet respectful conversation.