Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Online college classes have popped up in every corner of the world but so has resistance.  Students protest uneven digital access and question the quality of instruction. Faculty complain of heavy responsibility for educational technology. Administrators lack masterplans for digital operations.

COVID-19 signaled an urgent need for universities to shift from bricks and mortar places into a respectable digital presence. Campuses are no longer the college center—students are.

Transformation requires 5 realignments:

1    A unified technology platform.  Toss out the random faculty-generated patchwork of course technologies. Assess what functions and features you need and avail them in every e-classroom. Know your student and faculty needs and find a platform that meets them. Employ standardized navigation to establishes a shared language. Allow learners (and faculty) to focus on subject matter. Visual icons provide easy to understand navigational cues.

2  Relevant OER. Not all digital objects are equal in value to online instruction. Open education resources (OER) add value when accurate, current, appropriately translated, relevant to the learning objectives, discoverable, and free to use under copyright law. A designated content curator can evaluate, organize, and place OER in the online classroom. Libraries are the glue for universitywide OER. Is your library mobile accessible?

3   Faculty preparation and support. Once your best-fit platform is functioning, prepare your faculty to maximize the features and functions. Template model classrooms on the unified platform. Train your faculty, provide resource persons to support OER integration, active learning, and student assessment.

4   Learner input for continuous improvement. Engage learners, faculty and other stakeholders in each stage of planning. Use a m-accessible course survey to fuel continuous quality improve of online instruction, course activities, materials, and navigation. Maintain objectivity in evaluating results. Set benchmarks and plan feedback loops with action indicators.

5   Digital ecosystem. A transformed university delivers mobile accessible online auxiliary services such as student support services, payments, and other administrative functions. A digital ecosystem is a long-term challenge given the complex and need for university-wide collaboration.

Has the COVID pandemic advanced the state of m-accessible online higher education? There are no award winners among new entrants in the race to throw courses online.  Whether or not your university transforms into a true online institution depends on your commitment to change.

Help? Does your institution need assistance in being competitive in the e-Learning marketplace? Contact M4K for a free consultation.