DSU 2020 Strategic Plan Online Education Report

Strategic Charge

The university strategic plan (Dixie 2020: Status to Stature) established two primary goals directed at online education.

  • 15 percent of course offerings offered in distance learning formats (online, IVC, etc.)
  • 2 fully online degree programs available

Intended Outcomes

In meeting these goals, it is anticipated that the following outcomes will be met:

  • Increase Access & Enrollment
  • Promote Active Learning
  • Improve Retention
  • Advance the Quality of Teaching & Learning

Current State

Growth and improvement is needed in online offerings at DSU.

  • According to Institutional Research data, 75 online courses are currently offered (8.2% of the total 918 courses) at DSU.
  • No formal online programs are currently available.
  • Informal observation indicates that most of these courses would not meet quality standards and would benefit from review and some design modification.
  • While a new Director for Distance & Digital Learning has been secured, the necessary budget and infrastructure to effectively support existing and new online development is not in place and needs to be secured.
  • Given our current activity, DSU is at least a decade behind in online offerings (courses, programs, services, etc.).

Areas of Focus

In support of the strategic charge and goals, it is proposed that we focus on three priority areas:

  1. Redesign and development key high-enrollment/high-deficiency rate general education (GE) courses
  2. Design and development of new online courses specially focused for non-traditional students (more opportunities for degree completion without coming to campus), and
  3. Development of the online courses necessary to offer a complete online degree (such as a new master’s degree or an associate’s degree).

Allocated & Needed Resources

Currently, $175,000 of strategic funding, has been distributed to kick-start and seed this work. Some of these funds have already been used (see items below), with plans to use the remaining funds to compensate faculty for course development, hire part-time contractual designers and technologists to assist, and to fund course reviews using the adopted quality standards.

An additional $92,000 of strategic funding will be needed in Fall 2017 to continue these development activities.

To support these activities beyond Fall 2017, we are proposing a $30/credit hour online fee beginning Fall 2017. This fee will be utilized to build up the necessary support, technical and administrative infrastructure in promoting quality online courses and programs.

To incentivize participation and to address the need for new and additional online support services, up to one third of this revenue will be distributed (using a graduated model, 10-33%, over 5 years) to the Academic College/Departments, as well as Student and Administrative Services. This shared revenue will be required to be focused on related online activities (course updates, adoption and adaptation of OERs, online teaching professional development, platform licensing, online student services, etc.).

Projected Outcomes

Assuming additional strategic funding availability and the implementation of the proposed online fee, current planning estimates indicate the following projected outcomes:

  By Fall 2020 (3 years) By Fall 2022 (5 years)
Review/Revise High-Enrolled High-Deficiency Courses 10, Spring and Summer 2017
10, Fall 2017
Review & Revision of Existing Online Courses using quality standards (QM) 31 of the 75 existing online courses 19 additional existing online courses (50 of the current 75 total online courses)
Online Programs 2 Online Programs Flexible Online Programming
New Online Course Offerings 50 (bringing the total to 125 online courses, ~12.5% of total courses) 86 (total of 161 online courses)
Revenue Sharing Around $300,000 will have been distributed (10-25% of fee revenue) Approximately $600,000 will have been distributed (33% of fee revenue)
Dixie Online Self-Supporting It is forecasted that this will be secured by Summer 2018.
Increase retention, enrollment and completion It is forecasted that retention rates will increase by 10% and enrollment by 7% from year to year.
Open Educational Resources (OER) Promote the use and development of OERs at the university saving costs for students and being less contingent on licensed resources. Open Certificates or Open Masters degree(s).

Development Process

A central key to improving retention and completion, and fostering increased enrollment, will be to ensure that each online course/program is well designed and delivered. To this end, each of the courses will be reviewed and developed using a collaborative team approach consisting of at least two faculty members (content experts), an instructional designer, a technologist/media developer, as well as others involved in the quality assurance review process: two faculty peers, a department chair, and an external instructional designer. Development will follow a develop process consisting of five phases and related payment milestones, facilitated over 12-weeks or 90 days, in the middle of each semester (Spring: Feb-Apr, Fall: Sep-Nov, Summer: TBD).

  1. Design Plan (blueprint or curriculum map)
  2. Prototype (full development of a single module/unit)
  3. Development & Assembly of all course modules/units
  4. Development of Teaching Guide (instructions for those using the course design)
  5. Pilot, Review and Revisions

Faculty will be compensated for work associated with each course development project. The proposed compensation structure is outlined below and is based upon the estimated workload.

Faculty Activity Compensation Payments
Online Course Development (2 faculty, ~5 hours/week per faculty, overload or reduced load) Up to $750/credit hour
1-course regular workload released time (adjunct replacement funds given to the College)
Varied payments using the contract services form or base payments aligned with regular adjunct payment periods (7-Fall/Spring, 3-Summer)
Course Review (using DSU QM Rubric) facilitated by 2 faculty peers and an external instructional designer $250/review Upon completion of the course review at the next payroll date

Additionally, work is currently underway in developing an effective, meaningful online teaching professional development certification for faculty who are assigned to teach online. Regardless of online teaching experience, it is proposed that this be required of all faculty assigned to teach online, in addition to annual continuing professional development. These resources are being developed and will be facilitated in partnership with the Center for Teaching & Learning or CTL.

Online Program Development

Market research activities have and continue to be underway in identifying programs in demand by employers and the regional community. Costs related for professional services with a market research firm have been explored.

Based upon preliminary work and discussions, the most likely programs that we have identified for online are a masters’ program (such as education, accounting, etc.) and/or an associate degree program (such as Associate of Arts/Science in General Studies, Associate of Arts/Science in Early Childhood Education, etc.). A master’s online degree program would require about 32 online credit hours; an Associate Degree would require about 60 online credit hours (whereas a bachelor’s degree would require at least a 120 online credit hours).

We are requesting $20,000 from the Strategic Plan monies to conduct market research to make sure that we develop online programs that will be successful and competitive.

In addition to course and program development, research and discussions are need to secure the necessary student support services and resources (advising, books/materials, financial aid, tutoring/learning support, etc.) for individuals who will never step foot on campus.