Monday Minute, April 19, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

E-learning -- the subject of conversations across our University as well as in yesterday's New York Times education supplement -- is likely to affect traditional higher education in at least two ways.

First, the competition from virtual universities like Phoenix and Capella will force institutions such as ours to compete in the online world in order to remain international players in the global market. Second, it will also demand that we pay more attention to the experience of the students who do come to our campus, focusing on what they can learn only through face-to-face interactions with faculty, staff, and fellow students.

Thinking about both the experiences of in-person education and the potential of online education needs to be a part of the strategic planning every department, program, and center does this year.

At the college level, we will investigate the infrastructure needed to facilitate this work and the investment required to begin piloting some of the most promising online courses. We have great potential as a college in this arena, but with 45 percent of University students having taken at least one course entirely online and with only one such course -- in research ethics -- currently available in our college, we still have a way to go.

Tom

PS: We all received the link to the new Pulse survey of faculty and staff, and I want to encourage everyone to take the time to fill it out. Your input is important.

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