The Blended Institution of Higher Education: A Model for a Sustainable Institution

Created By: Every Learner Everywhere in partnership with Online Learning Consortium (OLC) & National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA)

The Blended Institution of Higher Education: A Model for a Sustainable Institution presents a vision for an innovative institutional model informed by research and analyses. It prioritizes equity to ensure success for all students — in particular, historically minoritized and other traditionally underrepresented students. The BIHE combines an array of technological and process elements to blend and thoughtfully integrate instruction, learning, support, and services for students. Blending these elements ensures relevant outcomes — or student success — align with the needs of the students while considering external factors, including needs of the evolving workforce and society.

This guide:

  • presents a new institutional model that is needed to support postsecondary leaders’ strategic planning to effectively respond to the evolving needs during this pandemic and beyond,
  • applies systems thinking to analyze external and internal factors and their relationship with existing models to postsecondary institutions,
  • incorporates research-informed principles of blended learning (e.g., student-centered and carefully integrated while scaffolding the student experience), expanding them to the institutional level,
  • advocates for leaders, faculty, instructors, and staff to center on the students to ensure quality learning and student success, and
  • reduces barriers for students with prioritization for building systems to support equitable experiences.

Beyond presenting the new BIHE institutional model, this guide provides additional resources for leaders to consider in bringing these ideas into action.

Intended audience and purpose

The Blended Institution of Higher Education: A Model of Sustainable Institutions…

Serves as a resource for academic leaders in postsecondary education, including private or public, two-year or four-year, associates to doctorate-granting, and others, in guiding strategic activities focused on planning and supporting their institution’s immediate and long-term digital future.

Provides a vision for a sustainable institutional model to guide academic leaders to transform their institutions. This guide supports the transition of leaders from reactively managing to strategically leading the development of their BIHE and offers leaders a sustainable institutional model that centers on student equity and success. This resource is a collaboration among OLC, DETA, and Every Learner Everywhere. 

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