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Course Readiness Criteria - Example 8

Is the campus committed to a partnership among faculty, IT staff and administrators in both planning and execution of the redesign?

Does the institution understand that substantive changes cannot rely on faculty initiative alone because they are systemic and involve changes in such institutionwide areas as

  • policy (class meeting times, contact-hour requirements, governance approvals),
  • budgeting (planning and processes that support innovation),
  • systems (registration systems, classroom assignments), and
  • infrastructure (equipment purchase and deployment.)

What evidence can you provide to demonstrate institutional recognition that such partnerships are necessary? Here are some examples of the ways various institutions have responded to this criterion.

Rio Salado College (Maricopa Community College District)
University of Central Florida
University of Southern Maine
Virginia Tech

Rio Salado College (Maricopa Community College District)

This recognition is mainly evidenced by one of our core process teams called the Development Team. This team meets weekly and is a cross-functional group comprised of faculty, IT staff, and administrators whose purpose is to provide input and direction to the design and implementation of our distance learning courses and the technology that is used to provide and access these courses. This is a team that researches new developments in distance learning and technology, reads and discusses current publications and articles, and helps design long-range goals for distance learning and technology. Budget commitment is evident as team members are paid a stipend each semester.

Rio Salado College recognized many years ago that distance learning and technology could not exist as departments separate from the rest of the college. The processes that support distance learning and technology are integrated throughout the entire college, and we have learned to make any changes and adjustments from a systems perspective. Our policies concerning class meeting times and contact-hour requirements were adjusted when our distance learning program began twenty years ago.

University of Central Florida

UCF recognizes that large-scale course redesign is one viable solution to the challenge presented to the university by the explosive enrollment growth and the accompanying shortage of classroom space. The university’s response has been the coordinated development of instructional models that utilize the Web. One model mixes face-to-face and Web-based instruction—the M model. Since the M model reduces classroom seat time, it is a viable solution to the increasing off-campus classroom rental costs driven by the rapid enrollment growth.

UCF is proud of its uncommonly cohesive approach to addressing large-scale problems such as the shortage of on-campus classroom space. UCF recognizes that this endeavor requires collaboration and a partnership approach rather than individuals acting independently. The administrative leadership, including the President, the Provost, and the Deans of colleges, are committed to the use of technology as a solution to growth and space problems. This collaborative effort is evident in the institutionalization of distributed learning. Units are structured to develop the technical infrastructure, to provide administrative support and leadership, to implement systematic faculty development, to provide learner support, and to conduct on-going assessment.

UCF was recognized by APQC/SHEEO for the coordinated efforts of the library, the Office of Instructional Resources (OIR), the Computer Services department, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Course Development and Web Services to provide UCF faculty with comprehensive support for the use of technology and information resources.

An example of a campus-wide initiative supported by the highest levels of administration is the comprehensive impact evaluation of distributed learning funded by Academic Affairs. The major components of the evaluation involve: learning outcomes in media-enhanced (M) classes, interaction of M courses and student learning styles, differential learning in course specific programs, demographic trends for M students, changes in pedagogy resulting from transition to the electronic classroom, and changes in the electronic teaching and learning environment.

In addition to the overall impact evaluation, individual faculty research projects associated with their classes are supported by the evaluation team. This objective evaluation process has provided a safe way for faculty to explore the effectiveness of instruction in their W and M courses. Faculty who teach M courses are involved in field experiments regarding the impact of reduced seat time. The partnership between individual faculty members and the evaluator yields credible research results from which faculty can prepare publications and professional presentations.

University of Southern Maine

The report of the Associate Provost for Technology notes the importance of administrative support for faculty initiatives in the area of technology and the need for initiatives originating directly from the administration. It notes that a partnership among the faculty, staff and administration is crucial to technology development, use and training.

An example of the integration of faculty and administration support of technology is the planning associated with this grant application. The Registrar and Vice President of the Division of Enrollment Management have held several meetings to discuss the impact of asynchronous registration and course delivery, reduced contact hours, and dedication of additional classroom space to computer laboratories. The Provost is exploring how our course might be useful to other campuses in the University of Maine System and technical colleges within the state. The Provost is also exploring, with the University of Maine System Office of Human Resources and the faculty union, how instructors of nontraditional courses such as those proposed here will be compensated.

In conjunction with the Center for Teaching, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Associate Provost for Technology are investigating how the new technology in PSY 101J might benefit other courses in the college and the institution. They are also looking into how to incorporate closed captioning or other medium for the hearing impaired. In effect, while our grant application is for a particular course, it is seen by everyone involved as the first in a series of technological improvements designed to enable us to better achieve our goal of teaching students in southern Maine and throughout the rest of the state.

Virginia Tech

The university’s administrative leadership has strongly promoted innovation in methods, content and infrastructure. While innovative faculty members had developed new methods and materials over many years, it was administrative initiative that brought the opportunities to the attention of the wider faculty and provided the infrastructure and support that encouraged people to commit their time to course redesign. Meanwhile, curriculum oversight committees have learned to expect and encourage innovative course designs that break the traditional molds, and lab facilities such as the Math Emporium provide flexibility of scheduling and contact requirements that truly new approaches often require. Discussions are underway concerning new approaches to budgeting in this arena. In addition, the university is currently integrating technology across its administrative systems in concert with licensing several instructional management systems. These efforts aim for a transparent student and faculty experience with technology and learning.