The vision of the University of Arkansas for quality online education has two components that are less visible than the online courses and degrees, but are equally critical for our success:
- Online education requires a robust infrastructure to support a stable online delivery system.
- Online education requires support systems for faculty and students.
Our on-campus infrastructure for our face-to-face classes seems invisible, unless you take the time to look closely. The well-maintained classrooms, the maintenance staff, and the technology in the classrooms are just a few examples of the robust infrastructure upon which face-to-face education depends. In the online world, the most visible (to our students) component of infrastructure is the technology platform used to deliver the courses, such as Moodle, Blackboard or other learning management systems. It has to be just as dependable as our campus classrooms.
Our support for students who attend classes on campus include easy and on-demand access to tutoring services from the Enhanced Learning Center, career services from the Career Development Center, advising services from each college or school, and access to Mullins Library. Additional support is provided by the Quality Writing Center and the Center for Educational Access for students with disabilities. This impressive array of support is provided (by faculty and staff) to help students stay in college and finish their degrees.
The university’s delivery of quality online education requires the same easy and on-demand access to services for students. We should provide the same quality in our courses, our infrastructure, and our support for online education that we provide for on-campus education.
I’d like to hear your thoughts.