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Monday, January 15, 2018

Revenue Shouldn't Drive Online Strategy

The percentage of students taking online classes continue to rise, but is it the right investment? If institutions see it as a way to generate revenue, they may need to think again.

Online education needs to be economically sustainable. It should also make sense from a cost and investment standpoint, according to Joshua Kim, director of digital learning initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning.

“Putting money as the first and ultimate goal of online education will cause a school to make a series of bad choices, while simultaneously closing off other potential benefits of online learning,” Kim wrote in his regular blog post for Inside Higher Ed.

Online programs should align with and support the strategic mission of the institution. In developing online classes, the school needs to start with an understanding of where its strengths lie as opposed to developing courses to meet particular market demands.

“There will be winners and losers in any such conversation, and the role of leadership is to have the discipline and courage to invest in areas of comparative strength,” Kim wrote. “Only once a clear institutional strategy has been built around areas of differentiating excellence should any online education strategy be enacted.”

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