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Going For Distance

Going For Distance
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed.

Online education is no longer a peripheral phenomenon at public universities, but many academic administrators are still treating it that way.

So says a comprehensive study released today by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Sloan National Commission on Online Learning, which gathered survey responses from more than 10,700 faculty members and 231 interviews with administrators, professors, and students at APLU institutions.

“I think it’s a call to action,” said Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts and chair of the Sloan online learning commission. “The leadership of universities has been trying to understand exactly how [online education] fits into their strategic plans, and what this shows is that faculty are ahead of the institutions in these online goals.”

According to the study, professors are open to teaching online courses (defined in the study as courses where at least 80 percent of the course is administered on the Web), but do not believe they are receiving adequate support from their bosses. On the whole, respondents to the faculty survey rated public universities “below average” in seven of eight categories related to online education, including support for online course development and delivery, protection of intellectual property, incentives for developing and delivering online courses, and consideration of online teaching activity in promotion and tenure decisions.

Still, more than a third of the faculty respondents had developed and taught an online course.

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed link below…

Link: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/08/31/survey

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