September 2009 Archives

News: What Doomed Global Campus? - Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed has a well-rounded piece on the downfall of the University of Illinois Global Campus. The Global Campus had millions in funding and a mandate from the president to make online learning a new revenue stream for the system. The original model called for the development of an additional campus, independently accredited, that would compete with the other UI campuses.

The faculty senates at all campuses rejected the plans, and the Global Campus needed to work in partnership with departments and campuses in order to move forward. In many ways, the waters might have already been poisoned, as few departments wanted to work with Global Campus and have their program stamped with Global Campus and possibly give up control of their curriculum.

Another issue is the model of growth the Global Campus used. Nicholas Burbules, a faculty member involved in the development of Global Campus noted:
"What we learned from this process, and what we're doing now, is a very different model of development, which is to start with very successful online courses and programs... then exploring how we can grow and scale up those programs, as opposed to creating a superstructure and then saying we need to create programs to pay off the initial investment," Burbules said. "It's basically a bottom-up versus top-down approach."

The importance of partnership in developing online programs and courses and sustaining them over time is clear. Faculty need to be at the table and be engaged actors in the process over time.

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