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Changes in Online Education as a strategic plan for improving student learning in higher education institutions

Online learning has undergone and is under a series of changes and improvements since it was first implemented. Online learning is effectively implemented at the faculty levels than at school levels. With the understanding of the significant study evidence and becoming familiar with online learning concepts, members of the faculty and the leaders can translate its importance to the students. Unlimited online engagement gives students proper flexibility and time for participating in their studies and allows for thoughtful engagement and reflection while giving the students an opportunity to meet both professional and personal objectives (Henard, & Roseveare, 2012).

Well planned and implemented online studies can lead to a learning system with a variety of resources where learners can present and share their knowledge, research, and ideas with others. Online learning presents learners with an opportunity to create a large peer network, that of experts and faculty that puts on the table latest ideas and new prospective to the online platform that can benefit the faculty and the learner. While student benefits are obvious, faculty advantages may not be noticeable. It is the duty of chairpersons of departments to enlighten teachers on what benefits technological engagements can deliver as far as student experience is concerned. Faculty should come up with incentives to the instructors to ensure total participation to the online learning program (Rhoade, 2012). These incentives and rewards may be; salary compensation, training, research funding, upholding a mission oriented duty and recognizing beneficial engagement in online teaching.

Online learning research

Initially, online learning was primarily directed to a brand establishment. Higher education leaders, however, encourage their members to stick to present objectives and reflect on new ways of getting revenue. Former critics to online learning brought along misconceptions such as time and resource consumption which projected a low turnout in online studies. Online instructors and educational technologists have to go against such odds and enlighten education practitioners on the picture of facilitation and quality design in online learning. The strategy should include; development of effective online course and best methods of undertaking online studies and teachings. Faculty should strategize on empowering first respondents to share their online teaching experiences with their colleagues. Under proper facilitation, the experience can move from one faculty to another and eventually to the whole institution.

Online programs have received significant enrollments in the near past prompting immediate massive training programs to instructor. With an equally high percentage of adjunct instructors in higher learning systems, more of them should be directed to the online pedagogy program. The instructors should be encouraged to use technology as their aiders and not as equal teachers. Online teaching has received numerous shortcomings arising from the instructors’ side due to fear of incompetence and re-training (Hinton, 2012). Faculty leaders should make online education easy to reach and digestible despite lengthy planning that has been associated with the program. Training instructors to online teaching is mandatory so as to equip them with latest and relevant techniques in ensuring a successful outcome.

Research on online learning

Higher learning institutions are competing in value addition ground. Strategic planning and change have seen some institutions enroll more and perform better than their competitors. Strategic plans require effective assessments, implementations, and evaluations for success. Planning experts and higher learning leaders should be more preferred when it comes strategic planning and implementation. It is only through strategic planning that solid changes can be made in higher institutions. Increasing workforce, by higher education leaders, to higher education teaching has shown considerable outcomes in the success of an institution.  The introduction of the part-time faculty in higher institutions has lessened the burden put in place by high enrollment numbers, and the teacher to student ratio is considerable.

It is also undeniable that success of current higher education schools is hugely jacked by technological improvements. Online technology is a factor that has not only exposed most institutions but has raised the school’s standards of most higher learning institutions. Online studies have brought along a wider range of school activities and learning platforms. The benefits of online training outweigh its shortcoming. Courses offered through online methods are more utilized than those that are primarily classroom oriented. Online studies provide a broad range of study material and discussion forums that can enhance student engagement and understanding. More practical implementation techniques of online tutoring are expected in the near future.

References

Academic Administration Practice. (2013). Strategic Planning in Higher Education: Best Practices and Benchmarking. Hanover Research. Washington, DC. http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/Strategic-Planning-in-Higher-Education-;-Best-Practices-and-Benchmarking.pdf

Committee of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges. (2009). Adjunct Faculty Resource Manual. American Psychological Association. Washington, DC. https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/undergrad/ptacc/adjunct-faculty-manual.pdf

Henard, F. ; Roseveare, D. (2012). Fostering Quality in Higher Education: Policies and Practices. An IMHD Guide for Higher Education Institution. Institutional Management in Higher Education. https://www.oecd.org/edu/imhe/QT policies and practices.pdf

Hinton, K. (2012).;A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education.;Society for College and University Planning. pp.1112. http://oira.cortland.edu/webpage/planningandassessmentresources/planningresources/SCPGuideonPlanning.pdf

Kelly, R. (2014). What Type of Support do Adjuncts Need? Faculty Focus. Magna Publications. Retrieved from, http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/faculty-development/types-support-adjuncts-need/

Kogler H., S. Thomas, E. ; Keller, L.(2009). ;A Collaborative, Ongoing University Strategic Planning Framework: Process, Landmines, and Lessons.;Planning for Higher Education. pp.2223.

Picciano, A., G. (2015). Planning for Online Education: A Systems Model. Graduate Center, City University of New York. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1085774.pdf

Rhoades, G. (2012). Faculty Engagement to Enhance Student Attainment. National Commission on Higher Education Attainment. The University of Arizona. http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/Faculty-Engagement-to-Enhance-Student-Attainment–Rhoades.pdf

Sibley, K. & Whitaker, R. (2015). Engaging Faculty in Online Education. Why IT Matters to Higher Education. Educause. http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/3/engaging-faculty-in-online-education.

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