The session draws upon my academic responsibilities spanning online and campus based postgraduate taught provision in a Russell Group institution. In particular, I argue that the adoption of an integrated perspective enables a continual interplay between the knowledge and experience gained from the delivery of online learning and the ability to effectively lead the development of policies, procedures and practices which continually make a positive difference to the student experience – both online and on campus.
Chua and Lam (2007) posit that a number of processes employed by the then ‘Universitas 21 Global’ online university1 might be adapted and applied to online programmes offered by traditional universities, with this falling short of making any connection to ‘campus’ activities. Indeed, Paul (2014) observes that much of the research to date has tended to focus on the difficulties associated with managing the introduction of online programmes by campus universities, with this calling for greater cross-over between the “two research solitudes” (p.190) of campus and online university delivery.
Contrary to the body of literature identified by Paul (2014) that focuses on the expected challenges, Kunz and Cheek (2016) propose that “web-based distance education… should not be considered a separate entity to traditional on-campus face-to-face education” (p.108), although questions emerge as to what extent this view is shared within institutions. As such, this session might be seen as a response to the call from Kunz and Cheek (2016) “to get a more detailed perspective of how online education has been embraced and adopted by institutions of higher education” (p.111).
With interactions occurring on an almost continual basis, and certainly beyond the conventional timetable, the delivery of online learning has the potential to generate a significant volume of data. Beyond the “opportunities for positive engagements and impacts on learning” (Jisc, 2015) arising from the effective application of learning analytics to such data, I consider what else might be gained from the experience of delivering online learning. Prerequisites for being able to respond to such experience are explored, particularly focusing on the role of educational leadership, with the session providing a critical reflection from an integrated academic and operational perspective.
1 Universitas 21 Global was rebranded as GlobalNxt University in 2013
Chua, A. and Lam, W. (2007). Quality assurance in online education: The Universitas 21 Global approach. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(1), pp. 133-152.
Jisc (2015). Code of practice for learning analytics. Available at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/jd0040_code_of_practice_for_learning_analytics_190515_v1.pdf [Accessed 22nd March 2017]
Kunz, M.B. and Cheek, R.G. (2016). How AACSB-Accredited Business Schools Assure Quality Online Education. Academy of Business Journal, 1(1), pp. 105-114.
Lentell, H. (2012). Distance learning in British universities: is it possible? Open Learning: the Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning, 27(1), pp. 23-36.
Paul, R. (2014). Organization and management of online and distance learning, in Zawacki-Richter, O. and Anderson, T. (Eds.), Online distance education–towards a research agenda. Athabasca: Athabasca University Press. pp. 175-196.