With the right lens, online education becomes clear

On a recent trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, I was fascinated by Devorah Sperver’s “After Grant Wood” and how the right lens transforms 4,392 spools of thread from an indecipherable (and upside-down) pattern into a clear image.

This piece of art caused me to reflect on the current conversations about online education and the role that our Global Campus plays…or should play.  The conversations about online education in different media outlets are surrounded by thoughts and opinions that make the entire concept seem abstract.  Some question the quality, some question the delivery methods being explored, and, in fact, the picture of online education seems to be upside down, when in many cases, the students’ needs and support systems are the last things brought into the conversation.

The role of the Global Campus is to act as the prism or lens that brings coherence and focus to online education.   Our actions, resources, and initiatives should make the picture clearer, the conversations more focused, and the quality increasingly better, while keeping students at the forefront of everything we do.

One way to bring online education into focus for our students is through collaboration across multiple existing support functions to support our students who take courses online, including the Mullins Library, the Center for Educational Access, the Career Development Center, the Enhanced Learning Center, the Veterans Resource and Information Center, and the Quality Writing Center.  We can support our students who learn online with the same focus on retention and graduation that we provide to our on-campus students. When we do that, the distance education picture is clear, focused, and right side up!

The Global Campus serves our faculty and our students, so we can all focus on quality online programs.

What do you think?


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