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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

Assignment 1

Galina Culpechina

Planning and Managing Learning Technologies in Higher Education ETEC 520

University of British Columbia

2480 words
Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

Table of Contents

Introduction..................................................................................................................................................................................................3

A Brief Overview of the Strategy that Describes the Institutional or Organizational Context ...................................................................4

Vision, Mission, Objectives.........................................................................................................................................................................6

How is eLearning defined or understood?...................................................................................................................................................8

What are the rationales for eLearning? How defensible are the rationales? ...............................................................................................9

Increase access to learning opportunities and flexibility for students ...................................................................................................10

Develop the skills and competencies needed in the 21st century ..........................................................................................................11

Enhance the quality of teaching and learning........................................................................................................................................13

Improve cost-effectiveness ....................................................................................................................................................................15

Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................................................................16

References..................................................................................................................................................................................................17

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for E-learning


Assignment 1

Introduction

This paper outlines a process of examining institutional or organizational planning for e-learning. I have compared and

analyzed eLearning strategies from two different institutions: University of Cincinnati and the University of Maryland University

College. The paper starts with a brief overview of the two strategies that describe the institutional context, followed by comparing

their mission, vision, objectives and how eLearning is understood. The paper presents an analysis of the rationales for promoting and

using eLearning.

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

A Brief Overview of the Strategy that Describes the Institutional or Organizational Context

University of Cincinnati The University of Maryland University College

The University of Cincinnati is a comprehensive public research The University of Maryland University College (UMUC), whose

university in Cincinnati, in the U.S. state of Ohio. It was founded history began in 1807, is an American public not-for-

in 1819 as Cincinnati College and is the second largest university profit university located in Adelphi in Prince George's

in Ohio, and one of the 50 largest universities in the United County, Maryland in the United States. UMUC has a history of

States. providing adult and distance education to military and minority

The annual enrollment is over 44,000 students. students in 23 countries in Europe, North America and the Middle

The school offers over 100 bachelor's degrees, over 300 degree- East. After teaching students at military bases across Asia and

granting programs, and over 600 total programs of study, ranging Europe for decades, the university was quick to realize the

from certificates to doctoral and first professional education. potential of the internet and became a pioneer in the field of

distance education.

Excelling in eLearning was identified as a UC Third Century The annual enrollment is over 90,000 students worldwide.

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

goal. The University of Cincinnati is an eLearning leader with

over 90% of all courses using some form of eLearning UMUC is one of the largest distance learning institutions in the

technology. It currently offers more than 30 online degree world that offers 90+ affordable, convenient, career-relevant

programs and 40 online certificate programs, in addition to many bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and certificates.

fully online general education and professional development

courses. UMUC specializes in providing hybrid and online instruction. In

the past the university utilized a variety of delivery formats to

UC focuses its e-learning strategy on observations received reach students wherever they were across the globe. In the 1990s,

through analysis of data collected in surveys of students, faculty, UMUC pioneered the use of online learning management

staff, and focus groups. platform (WebTycho) to deliver curricula.

The strategic plan is a collaborative effort of faculty, staff,

students and alumni.

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

Both educational institutions are quite old and serve a great number of students. UC provides face-to-face, blended and online

instruction using some form of eLearning technology whereas UMUC provides hybrid and online instruction. Excelling in eLearning

was identified as a UC Third Century goal. In contrast, UMUC has always experimented with using technology to reach students

across the globe and pioneered the use of online learning management platform in its second century. Unlike UC, UMUC has

extensive experience serving non-traditional adult students: veterans, minorities, and students with disabilities in various countries. It

is currently working on developing mobile learning and adaptive learning strategies. The UCs strategic plan just as UMUCs plan is a

product of a collaborative effort of their key stakeholders.

Vision, Mission, Objectives

University of Cincinnati The University of Maryland University College

Vision Vision

Inclusive, flexible, engaging and transformative learning for UMUC will be a recognized leader in learner-centered adult

everyone education, focusing on career-relevant programs that build the

skills, competencies and capabilities the students need to realize

Mission their professional aspirations; placing student interests first;

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

To create a learning and teaching environment that promotes supporting sustained quality academic innovation; and becoming

student success more agile, efficient and effective.

Objectives Mission

To cultivate an innovative, collaborative and evolving community To improve the lives of adult learners by providing the students

of learning and excel in eLearning with affordable, career-relevant, quality higher education.

The strategic map outlines four focus areas: Goals

The strategic map outlines six goals:

1. Student & Faculty Experience

2. Foundations of eLearning 1. Student Success

3. Building Community 2. Quality Education

4. eLearning Ecosystem 3. Responsible Steward

4. Enrollment Growth

5. Excellent Student Experience

6. Organizational Capacity

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

Both educational institutions have clearly identified vision, mission and eLearning objectives. By analyzing them, we can

come to a conclusion that UC is focusing on students success, engagement, collaboration and learning within a community. While

students success is equally important for UMUC, their main focus is on affordable, high quality, career-relevant programs that build

the skills, competencies and capabilities required by employers today. In addition, UMUCs goals reflect the biggest challenge the

university is facing today: the need to increase student enrollment.

How is eLearning defined or understood?

University of Cincinnati The University of Maryland University College

Electronic learning, or eLearning, at the University of Cincinnati eLearning is referred to as online learning, online education,

is broadly construed and refers to all types of education that worldwide distance learning, and mobile learning. It is used to

leverage technology-based products and services, including but refer to entirely online courses and hybrid classes that combine

not limited to face-to-face, flipped, hybrid, blended and fully online learning with in-person instruction.

online courses that employ technology.

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

For UC, eLearning is part of a teaching and learning continuum that begins with using technology to support face-to-face

teaching, then progresses with using technology for blended learning and reaches the point on the continuum with fully online distance

learning, where it replaces it all. Although eLearning is currently used for the same purposes at UMUC, the term eLearning is not

used in the UMUCs strategic plan, UMUC usesdistance and online education instead. Historically, UMUC delivered distance

education using various delivery formats mail, telephone, cable and closed-circuit television and more - to reach students beyond

Maryland. Currently, they are using D2L to deliver their learning and are adopting a Single Global Operational Model to consolidate

student operations management, administration processes, academic transfers and related procedures into a single system - one global

university.

What are the rationales for eLearning? How defensible are the rationales?

For both institutions no formal rationale for eLearning has been codified. However, both strategic plans include the following

reasons for moving more strongly into eLearning:

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

Increase access to learning opportunities and flexibility for students

With the changing nature of the student demographic, both universities understand the need to grow their student number by

targeting lifelong learners (often busy professionals), who, according to Bates, could soon become the majority in formal

postsecondary education (Bates, p.19). Both institutions are planning to provide affordable, quality, consistent, accessible and easy to

use eLearning resources to remove barriers and increase access for their students.

There are several aspects of using technology to increase access and flexibility that both institutions use:

UC is developing a strategy for cloud-based services to provide for easy-to-access, secure and sustainable service delivery.

Their eLearning ecosystem will be inclusive and accessible, promoting learning for everyone. The eLearning experience at UC will

become fully mobile, integrated and flexible, and they believe that this shift will remove barriers to access.

UMUC was planning to provide their students with free open-source educational resources by Fall 2015. Today 100 percent of

The Undergraduate School courses are equipped with open-source educational resources at no cost to students. In addition, UMUC

supports students by providing education at affordable prices and offers scholarship. According to their strategic plan, UMUC is

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

planning to increase the number of non-traditional students older, in the workforce beyond Maryland and military. The UC strategic

plan does not any have information about the university plans to reach out to students beyond Ohio or internationally.

Unlike UC, UMUC is exploring a competency-based education model at the optimal personalized pace to make education

more affordable and accessible for busy adults. Although both institutions have started to develop mobile learning to increase student

access, UMUC is also utilizing technology to help support students with disabilities and develop adaptive learning (smart software

that learns how learners are progressing and adapts specifically to those learners needs) to help students learn more effectively.

eLearning strategy at both educational institutions to increase access and flexibility is relevant as there is evidence that the

trend toward more online learning will intensify over the next five years.

Develop the skills and competencies needed in the 21st century

Although there is an argument whether these skills are needed, most students of these universities are focused on career

advancement. Both educational institutions are engaged into creating learning experiences that prepare and train learners to be

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

successful in a highly skilled workforce. I believe the eLearning in these institutions contributes to the development of such 21st

century skills as: communication, problem solving, collaboration, leveraging technology, leadership, project management through

learner-centered, evidence-based, competency-based and experiential learning.

UC engages students by growing communities of practice and creates a 21st century digital eLearning environment that

promotes evidence-based learning and teaching.

UMUC focuses on its students career success and advancement, and it is redesigning several of its academic programs to

emphasize practical, experiential learning and partners with employers to identify skills and competencies that are essential to their

workforce. UMUC is exploring a competency-based education model to make education more accountable for the development of

needed skills.

One of the core competencies now required in nearly all subject domains is embedded digital literacy (Bates, p.20). UC

promotes digital citizenship and prepares students to succeed in the rapidly evolving digital world.

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

To sum up, the main focus of UC is creating communities of practice and promoting digital citizenship. In contrast, UMUCs

attention is on working together with employers to identify the skills and competencies required in the 21st century and developing

practical learning.

Enhance the quality of teaching and learning

To enhance the quality of teaching and learning, both UC and UMUC make sure that university decisions and priorities drive

the use of technology, they do not accommodate technology to the old ways of doing things.

UC provides faculty professional development that highlights pedagogical best practices for existing and emerging

technologies. It delivers a high quality, 24/7 support environment that is effective and responsive to the diverse needs of the UC

community and support eLearning practices that are informed by learning theory. UC believes that high quality eLearning can be

achieved by adequate investment, innovative pedagogical strategies, instructional design and rewarding effective teaching practices.

They use analytics to measure, monitor and predict the effectiveness of student engagement/ success. To enhance the quality of

teaching and learning, UC offers the key initiatives like focused faculty development; Great Gateways, which seeks to improve

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

student success by more fully supporting the teaching and learning environment; UC Athletics iPad initiative, which gives athletes

and coaches access to state-of-the art eLearning technologies on the go; and the eTextbook Project, which supports and encourages

faculty in creating their own multi-touch eBook , and the Learning Technology Support (LTS).

UMUC is planning to provide individualized learning plans tailored to each student using technological advancements in

learner and data analytics as well as prior learning assessments to maximize student success. Center for Innovation in Learning and

Student Success will develop new educational approaches and use learner and data analytics to determine what does and does not

work and help with course selection. Adaptive learning strategies have been developed to assess when students are not able to achieve

mastery of specific topics and assist them with getting back to their educational path. UMUC is providing a multiyear, intensive staff

leadership training and development program. The instructors will now play the role of mentors, guides and coaches and get involved

in the design of curriculum.

Both institutions seem to be making the best use of technology to improve the quality of teaching and learning. They are

engaged into creating new models for teaching and learning that build on strength that technology provides as well as research about

how students learn and how best to teach (Christen Hughes & Mighty, 2010). UC stresses the importance of using and rewarding

effective pedagogical practices for existing and emerging technologies and analytics to measure the effectiveness of learning. On the

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

other hand, UMUC has a plan to create personalized learning and individualized learning paths based on learner and data analytics and

adaptive learning strategies. Both institutions have well-developed strategies for supporting faculty and providing their professional

development as well as appropriate resources for student and faculty success.

Improve cost-effectiveness

Both institutions face the challenge of balancing the conflicting pressures of increasing access, improving quality and

controlling cost. Based on eLearning strategies for both institutions, they try to achieve cost effectiveness by transforming teaching

and learning and moving away from a teacher-centered, transmission model of education.

UC is planning to establish a sustainable eLearning funding model that promotes access to Canopy products and services

across campus.

UMUC is a tuition-driven school that receives relatively little state funding. It gets nearly all of its funding from tuition

revenue and has relied on enrolling large numbers of students associated with the military for financial stability. Ideation Group

proposed a more business-like model that will provide a greater opportunity for UMUC to become financially sustainable by having

flexibility in organizational changes and pursuing additional corporate partnerships that will provide new revenue streams. In March

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

2017, Inside Higher Ed published an article describing how UMUC has begun a process of unbundling to monetize its own services,

grow its profits and keep tuition rates low. UMUC has already spun off its Office of Analytics, which in 2015 became the data

analytics company HelioCampus. It has plans to do the same with other units. As those companies sell their services to other colleges,

the university hopes to use some of the profits to grow its endowment.

Conclusion

Both institutions highlight technology within their overall strategic plans. UC and UMUC invest in technology to increase

flexible access for students, develop core skills and competencies required by in todays society, enable teachers to work more

effectively, improve the cost-effectiveness and reach new audiences. Although they identified the same rationales for moving more

strongly into eLearning, UMUC is pioneering a new learning model that allows students to achieve more while maintaining low

tuition and is driven by creating a workplace-relevant, personalized, student-centered learning experience that is fully supported both

academically and technologically. As for UC, their key strategy is to evolve eLearning community, expand collaboration and create

meaningful change through community. Both institutions are balancing three competing forces: access, quality and cost, and see

technology as one of the key factors that help to balance these three forces. Their eLearning strategies are a result of engaging key

players and working together on developing and sharing common vision and goals for the use of technology.

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Analysis and Comparison of Rationales for eLearning

References

Bates, A. W., Bates, T., & Sangra, A. (2011). Managing technology in higher education: Strategies for transforming teaching and

learning. John Wiley & Sons.

Bullen, M. (Ed.). (2006). Making the Transition to E-Learning: Strategies and Issues: Strategies and Issues. IGI Global.

Guri-Rosenblit, S. (2005). Distance educationand e-learning: Not the same thing. Higher education, 49(4), 467-493.

Straumsheim, C. (2017). The Unbundling University. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/21/u-maryland-university-college-pursues-strategy-unbundling.

University of Cincinnati. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati eLearning Strategic Plan 2017 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from

https://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/provost/docs/priorities/elearning/eL-Strategic-Plan-FINAL-1.25.17.pdf

University of Maryland University College. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Maryland_University_College

University of Maryland University College Strategic Plan 20152018. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from

http://www.umuc.edu/documents/upload/umuc-strategic-plan.pdf

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