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
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.