In the summer of 2012, we were called into action to ensure that if online education is going to expand its footprint in our state, we – the flagship and the beacon – need to ensure that this takes place with quality and high standards.
I believe that as the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas system, we have a commitment to our constituents. Specifically, we have a commitment to ensure that we act as a beacon for higher education and that we work in order to deliver a quality education and continue the creation of knowledge.
As the Vice Provost of Distance Education, I do not necessarily see us moving in the direction of having online education as THE method, but as having online education as an alternative method that needs to be considered seriously and elevated to be more accessible to students and more comfortable for faculty.
As is the case for many of my faculty colleagues, I don’t know everything about online teaching. There’s a lot to learn – the course design process, the delivery nuances, the technical issues, and the research and literature related to online learning. One of my first tasks is to learn, to be student of some things while being a teacher of others.
I have a passion for what we do in academia – and a big part of that is working for our students and learning what benefits them. I also have a deep level of appreciation and respect for faculty and what we represent in higher education. I am hopeful that the faculty will continue to provide feedback about our distance education strategy and plans.