eLearning in Higher Education – A Quality Assurance Free Zone?
Sometimes when you read the words of an industry commentator you come across statements that absolutely chime with your own experience. Such was the case when I read this article in ‘Higher Education Management’ – a strategy and innovation site for Higher Education.
The author – who obviously fulfils a similar professional role to my own – had been asked to help a university to upgrade its use of its Learning Management System (LMS). Again, paralleling my experience, it proved to be a profoundly depressing experience – as he knew it would be. It prompted him to make two quite damning statements about the state of online learning at traditional universities:
- Not many courses have any form of content online whatsoever (even when the university promotes a policy of minimum online presence).
- When a course does have online content it is invariably rubbish.
His words, not mine, but a shared sentiment indeed.
This is startling given that many universities are trying to derive a serious and sustained income stream from online learning delivery. Some do it very well, and have reaped the rewards. Our original client university has now generated over £150 million in the 25 years they have been running their online distance business. Their content is extremely extensive, well-formed and provably fit-for-purpose. They are also serious about the long term management of this income stream and the quality of the experience they offer their students.
Is there a secret to this success? No, but it does require an institutional strategy and a long term view of the value of the underlying assets – the content that the above author knew would be lacking. This CAPDM paper outlines the elements required of an institutional strategy; current clients are filling the content gaps through the relationships CAPDM has forged with all the major publishers; but quality assurance is a lesson that most institutions seem reluctant to learn.
Given the importance and value of education to prospective students, and the potential value of the education market to institutions, it is surprising that this generally remains a quality free zone.
Like the author, CAPDM is in the business of building businesses in global education. Like the author we see the same problems. We would welcome the opportunity to build quality assurance into your institution’s online developments.
Please do get in touch to see how we can help you.
Director, CAPDM Ltd.
About the author
Ken Currie has been working with universities for over 25 years developing their strategies and businesses in online distance learning (ODL). In the early 1990s, he was the key designer/developer of the globally successful Heriot-Watt online MBA and undergraduate Management Programme, and has continued to develop ODL businesses with other institutions in the UK and beyond. In recent times he helped to initiate ‘Global Online’ at Edinburgh Napier, and the ‘One World’ MBA at West of Scotland universities, and currently works closely with the University of London’s International Academy.
CAPDM Case Study
Transnational Online Education
University West of Scotland
Our involvement in building a coherent content domain for UWS’ MBA, incorporating recognised texts from a number of the big publishers.
CAPDM Case Study
A New World Class
Edinburgh Napier University
How we helped ENU build their Global Online programme, which is now supporting over 1,000 students worldwide.
This newsletter was originally sent by CAPDM Ltd. on the 07. October 2016.