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Trends in Distance Education: What College Leaders Should Consider

by Mickey Slimp, Ed.D., November 2014

A White Paper from the Instructional Technology Council Delivered to the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development

Cover: Trends in Distance Education - What College Leaders Should Consider

For a decade, growth at America’s colleges has predominately been the result of an expanding enrollment in distance education. Starting from the perspective of institutional purpose and mission, how can college presidents and the executive or academic leadership master the concepts involved and determine the role and nature of their students’ distance learning?

The intent of this brief white paper is to outline the larger issues related to online and other forms of distance instruction. It will provide a battery of key terms for campus leaders and, perhaps most important, a list of resources for strategic planning and practice. The role and impact of distance education on a college can vary, depending on the school’s nature, its students and the role and interest of the leadership. Rather than offering a prescriptive solution to fit all campuses, this report offers six key questions college leaders can ask to develop an institutional approach.

The questions include:

1. What is distance education?
2. What is the role of distance education within my college’s mission?
3. How can my college manage “disruptive innovation”?
4. How can my college maintain course quality in an online environment?
5. How can my college maintain security while serving distance education students?
6. What resources should be acquired or reallocated to meet the needs of distance learners?

Thanks to the members of AACC's Commission on Academic, Student and Community Development, and ITC's New Initiatives Committee for their help in creating this document, and to Martin Hoffman at Burlington County College for arranging for its printing. 

ITC Newsletter - Fall 2014

Thank you to all of the ITC members who submitted an article for ITC's Fall 2014 Newsletter!

Welcome from the ITC Chair by Loraine Schmitt, Chair, Instructional Technology Council, 2014-16ITC 2014 Distance Education Leadership Academy Participants

Reimagining Developmental MOOCs for Placement Prep and Flipped Classroom Models by Allison Martin, Bossier Parish Community College

A Tale of Two Tracks—Applied Lessons from a MOOC Dropout by Rebecca Yost, Florida Southwestern State College

GoogleDocs—Learning to Love Again by Kristen Salathiel, Northwestern Michigan College

Creating Online Learning Communities by Harold Torrence Ed.D., Dakota County Technical College

UW-Parkside’s Learning Technology Center: Play, Engage, Innovate by Justin Davis, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Quality Matters Releases Higher Education Rubric, Fifth Edition, 2014 by Brenda Boyd, Quality Matters

eLearning at Ocean County College: A Statistical Study by Cristo Leon, Ocean County College

Augmenting Reality: Scavenger Hunts in the Digital Age by Beth Ritter-Guth, Union County College

Welcome to ITC's Newest Members—Fall 2014

Welcome to Jiachen Wang, ITC's New Executive Assistant

Follow ITC on Facebook and Twitter!

Submit an article for the Spring 2015 issue of the ITC Newsletter. The deadline is Feb. 7, 2015.  Please include photos or graphics with your article.

Upcoming ITC Professional Development Webinars

Capturing the Spirit: Virtual Writing Center with Reference Support
Nov. 18, 2014 - 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Presenters: Janice Lathrop, , Head of Reference, and Dr. Jessica Rabin, Professor of English and Director of Writing Tutoring, Anne Arundel Community College

State Authorization: One Institution’s Path toward Compliance
Dec. 9, 2014 - 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Presenters: Christina M. Sax, Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Outreach and Innovation, and Stefanie Pfister, Distance Education Compliance Coordinator, Shippensburg University

Crafting and Implementing a Successful Online Advising Program
Dec. 16, 2014 - 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Time
Presentesr: Audra Barrett, Vice President of Student and Instructional Services, and La’Kendra Higgs, Director of Admissions/Registrar, Dallas Colleges Online

See descriptions for these presentations and the schedule for ITC's Professional Development Webinar series through December 2014.

We welcome your ideas and recommendations for Webinar topics and presenters as we complete our schedule!  Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at 202-293-3110.

State Authorization for Institutions that Offer Distance Education to Out-of-State Students

Photo of Christine MullinsOn May 21, 2014, the Department’s negotiated rulemaking panel failed to reach consensus on language the Department of Education had proposed in February 2014 that would have restricted a college’s ability to offer federal financial aid to distance education students located in another state, if the college lacked approval from the state in which the student is located.

In 2011 and 2012, the courts had "vacated" a similar regulation that the Department of Education proposed, because the Department had not followed the proper procedure, such as issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), soliciting public comment, etc. This time, the Department is following the proper regulatory process.

Since they did not achieve consensus from the key constituents on the rulemaking panel (who would likely have lent their support to a negotiated proposal), the Secretary of Education is now free to write and issue his own proposed regulation, or choose not to regulate at all. Inaction is unlikely, however. Pam Moran, who represented the Department during the meetings, told the negotiators that the requirement that states actively monitor out-of-state distance learning “is not something the Department is willing walk away from.” If it chooses to go forward, the Department will publish the NPRM in the Federal Register, request public comment, and issue its final regulations. The Department's proposal stated the regulations would go into effect on July 1, 2018.


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