Almost a week ago I completed The Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning course offered by the Sloan Consortium. This experience allowed me to look at online education from the perspective of the students. And what an amazing opportunity this was!
By participating as an online student in discussion boards and group assignments, I realized that there truly are no barriers to the interactions among students or between students and faculty. I created a blog, collaborated with classmates using video conferences, and tested multiple technologies that I can use for the online course I will be teaching next semester. I learned, firsthand, that an online course, structured correctly, offers multiple opportunities to interact.
The Institute’s course offered not only content (about higher education leadership in online learning), but also connections. Students from across the country and around the globe were able to connect both online and in person, due to the unique structure of the course:
- Online sessions – 4 weeks
- Face-to-Face session — Penn State
- Online sessions – 3 weeks
- Graduation! — The Sloan Consortium’s annual conference
And, at graduation, it hit me. This course allowed me to work, learn and connect with faculty and to develop both social and professional relationships—all online. When we graduated, my classmates and I knew one another and identified ourselves with our alma mater, The Institute for Emerging Leaders.
We have similar goals for our students at the University of Arkansas. By expanding our online education efforts in a strategic and global approach, we can allow our students to connect with other students, interact with faculty, and identify themselves with the University of Arkansas—the You of A!
Later this week, you will be able to experience for yourself just how the Global Campus can be the online portal for education at the University of Arkansas. We’ll be bringing the University of Arkansas to you!