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Friday, July 6, 2018

Decisions Needed Before Going Online

Online degree programs have become a strategy for growth at some colleges and universities, and for survival at others. However, it involves much more than slapping a course or program online.

“You are not simply putting a course online; you are creating an online product,” said Furqan Nazeeri, a partner at the online education platform provider ExtensionEngine. “It’s an important distinction. Your product—the program, course, certificate, or degree—has to be unique and very specific to what your market to current and prospective students want.”

With institutions developing new online programs each year, colleges and universities should be striving to create something unique and not just a replica of the course provided in the classroom. All campuses are different and schools should be looking at their online programs the same way.

“It’s time to move away from mass-produced, cookie-cutter programs that take a one-size-fits-all approach,” Nazeeri continued. “Instead, differentiate your students’ online learning experience, and thus your institution, by creating authentic, adaptive, engaging, customized programs that embrace your institution’s distinctive approach to education.”

Anyone going this route must also understand there are risks and considerable costs to online programs.

“What are the key considerations in the push to go online?” Aleksandar Tomic, associate dean for strategy, innovation, and technology at the Woods College of Advanced Studies, Boston College, asked in a column for The EvoLLLution. “There are no obvious answers to any of these challenges, but each institution must consider the options in front of them and clearly define the answer best for their organization and success.”

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