- The notes are generic, i.e., they identify challenges and alternative solution strategies, but they do not identify the specific strategies that my HBCU adopted.
- The notes focus on IT challenges to traditional academic relationships because my experience as a life-long techie has confirmed again and again that the biggest challenges to the successful implementation of new technologies are rarely technical.
- The notes are tentative because the beginning of 2014 will mark the end of my HBCU's three year planning period and our transition to implementation. Given the benefits of 20-20 hindsight, the December 2014 update to these notes may contain contain some radically revised second thoughts ... :-)
- And the notes are personal, i.e., they present my own personal perspectives; they do not represent the opinions of my HBCU. More specifically my personal opinions may differ substantially from the perspectives of my university's senior administrators, key faculty, student leaders, and Board of Trustees.
A. Why pursue these initiatives???
Why encourage HBCU faculty to develop more blended and online courses for on-campus students and why encourage them to develop online degree and certificate programs for off-campus students? More specifically, why did my HBCU launch its current initiatives?
As was the case for many other HBCUs, the immediate impetus for my HBCU's current activities was the urgent appeals made by Mr. Tom Joyner, a successful black radio personality and philanthropist with a long-standing commitment to HBCUs.
- Throughout 2009 and 2010, Mr. Joyner implored HBCUs to launch online initiatives (Diverse Issues, Chronicle) in response to the high black enrollments in online programs offered by for-profit colleges and universities, programs wherein black students paid high tuition, achieved low graduation rates, and experienced low employability after graduation; nevertheless these programs yielded extraordinarily high returns for their profit-driven investors.
- Ironically, Mr. Joyner's appeals coincided with the peak of the for-profits' success. Shortly thereafter, their enrollments and profits plummeted in the wake of a perfect storm of adverse developments, i.e., the negative assessments by U.S. Senator Harkin's committee, the GAO, and the U.S. Department of Education -- during the aftermath of the Great Recession.
- On the other hand, our HBCU had compelling non-revenue incentives to offer online degree and certificate programs, e.g., extending the international reach of our faculty beyond our campus, especially to students throughout the African Diaspora.
- The prior success of the for-profit institutions also reminded us of the thousands of non-traditional students
who would benefit from the kinds of learning opportunities that we
offered to our traditional students; but these non-traditional students
could not enroll in our on-campus programs because of their jobs and/or
- In either case, our biggest challenge would be to develop online programs whose quality would be comparable to the programs that we offered to our traditional, on-campus students.
- Courses that would
become the components of online programs for off-campus students would
begin as courses for our on-campus students. This reflected an implicit
understanding that we would not offer programs for off-campus students
unless we already offered corresponding programs for our on-campus
- However, the vast majority of our on-campus courses were still in traditional face-to-face formats. Accordingly, if our own faculty were to become the primary developers of the online courses for off-campus programs, they would have to begin by converting their face-to-face courses for on-campus students to blended formats (at least 30 percent online) and eventually to 100 percent online versions for our on-campus students
As consequence, an initiative that began as an effort to develop online courses and programs for off-campus students now has two components:
- An on-campus
initiative will encourage faculty in all programs to use Internet
technology more intensively in all of their courses. The level of
blending will be determined by faculty teaching the courses -- 30% ... 50% ... 80%. In other
words, faculty will only put as much of their courses online as they
determine will enhance the learning experiences of their students. To
be more specific, faculty will only be encouraged to develop 100 percent
online courses if they determine that 100 percent online courses will
provide learning experiences that are comparable to face-to-face or
blended versions of their courses.
- The off-campus initiative will develop an array of online degree and certificate programs that are repackaged versions of the online courses that our faculty have developed for our on-campus students.
Challenges and Comments -- Part 2
B. "Build or Buy??? -- Allies, Contractors, and/or Strategic Partners
Challenges and Comments -- Part 3
C. Courses and Programs (forthcoming)
D. Faculty (forthcoming)
E. Students (forthcoming)
- Strategic Partners for HBCU Online Programs ... Sept 2013
- Virtual HBCUs as Strategic Alliances ... Oct 2013
- Virtual HBCUs -- Three Potential Strategic Alliances ... Oct 2013
- Directory of Potential Strategic Partners for HBCUs and Virtual HBCUs ... Nov 2013
- 2014, a Good Year for HBCUs and Virtual HBCUs to (Quietly) Flip and MOOC ... Dec 2013
- Directory of Potential Strategic MOOC Partners for HBCUs and Virtual HBCUs ... Dec 2013