Vision and Strategy for Developing a Successful Online Degree Program on a Shoestring Budget

Vision and Strategy for Developing a Successful Online Degree Program on a Shoestring Budget

Jeton McClinton (Jackson State University, USA) and Michele D. Estes (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3676-7.ch015

Abstract

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) are rich in history, culture, resources, and opportunities. This case study explains the thought processes of administrators and faculty at one HBCU as they respond to an institutional initiative to increase student enrollments during an economic downturn. Although online learning opportunities offer potential for increasing student enrollments and university income, this approach generates a series of complex questions within the College of Education where resources are limited. Questions relate to the need for, and potential impact of, online learning; related pressures and paradigms in higher education; technology and management concerns; and faculty perspectives and preparation. This chapter considers how to overcome barriers to revive and implement an online degree program with these issues in mind.
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Setting The Stage

Dr. Sandra Devin, an Assistant Professor in Dr. Renae’s department, was an expert in the field of Instructional Design, with ten or more years of educational technology and instructional design teaching experience. She was at the earlier retreat where additional budget cuts were announced, and remembered the concerned faculty responses. Sandra decided to propose a plan to improve matters for the College and for the faculty. In the spirit of innovating and creating positive change, she met with her Chair to discuss the possibility of using online learning as one strategy for increasing very low student enrollments while empowering faculty to take pedagogical ownership of a program designed to address modern workplace needs.

In preparation for her meeting with Elise, Sandra located a matrix designed by Meyer and Barefield (2010) to help make her point. Because the matrix content was derived from faculty survey responses, she felt it would likely offer solutions that were sensitive to faculty concerns. The matrix outlined three stages of a supportive infrastructure for online programs: (1) Foundation, (2) Development, and (3) Maintenance. She presented the faculty-validated matrix to Elise as a means of highlighting important faculty concerns in relation to the development and administration of online programs.

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