LTGR Ep. #86: “Managing Online Education Survey”

Susan and Dan talk with Kenneth C. (Casey) Green, founding director of the Campus Computing Project, and Ellen Wagner of WCET about the latest Managing Online Education (MOE) survey.

 

Download MP3 File

Before we get any further, take a look at the results from the 2010 Managing Online Education Survey and the 2010 Campus Computing Survey. In addition, you can access other presentations and media about the surveys at www.campuscomputing.net.

Casey Green and Ellen WagnerEllen and Casey have a long and rich history of looking at IT in higher education. “There’s been a lot of talk about the practice, but if we can’t manage the practice, this won’t work.”

The two surveys, Campus Computing Survey (CCS) and the MOE provide different information. Sloan-C was tracking macro numbers and micro environment information, but there wasn’t a lot regarding the managerial middle; leadership models, enabling technologies, profitability and so forth. In that context, WCET and Campus Computer came together to ask the critical questions.

Whether you are in a situation where you need to run a profitable business or you need to enhance the academic reputation for online programs, management has to take priority. We’re experiencing the “second coming of high ed.” There is a good deal of ad-hoc growth, and institutions or departments are not necessarily sharing information or resources. The need for change may be reflected in the churn in organizational structure revealed in the survey. A large number of institutions have or are planning to reorganize the management of online education.

The activity has gotten ahead of the managerial expertise. With exploding demand and limited resources, online activity needs management . Much of this is also a matter of context and culture, turn-over.

Online involvement was marginalized historically, but now those who know the technology are being brought into mission critical situations. Management has to be onboard.

In over 2/5 of the institutions surveyed for the MOE in ’09 and ‘10, the management for online programs rested with the Chief Information Officer, not an academic officer. This operating officer may have had authority without power (which comes form the Provost). Again, much of this is dependent on context and culture.

Talking about data, Casey and Ellen explain why institutions have been fearful of data. Conversations about assessment and outcomes are evidence of the need to be public, transparent and timely. Continuous quality improvement is called for. Move from epiphany to evidence.

How does data become a catalyst for change within an organization? Knowing what one’s peers are doing is a means to benchmark your own activity. By getting a snapshot and an idea of the ecosystem and the issues, it is easier to push ahead.

Data has to be actionable. WCET is taking the descriptors and the information, and determine what we can now do to move beyond information to determine our next steps?

Casey reflects on the requirement for training prior to teaching online; a good sign that raises the bar. Conversations are stuck on online versus on campus. That needs to change so that courses are have the same assessment metrics. If you are managing those programs, why have 2 parallel types of operations that are not aligned? It is costly! Using data to make cleaner business decisions is one use of surveys such as the MOE.

The future? “Making data actionable.” Also, how the federal regulation for multi-state campuses will impact institutions. That issue directly impacts WICHE’s work.

Listeners, what are the trends you’re seeing at your institutions? Where do you fit with “managing in the middle”? Use these reports to start conversations on your own campuses.

Listeners can add to this topic by posting below or talk to us in LearningTimes! We facilitate discussion in LearningTimes.org or call us and leave a message or comment at 1-800-609-9006 x8055 (US and Canada) or 678-255-2174 x8055 (outside US and Canada).