This semester I am fortunate to be taking part in an IT leadership program at Cornell University. Part of the program includes giving a presentation, and I was thrilled to find “the impact that distance learning has on higher education,” as one of the topics. I am in Florida now at the Sloan Consortium Conference, and so I hope to intellectually vacuum up as much information as I can to help our group prepare for our presentation in January. With all the members of our group providing input, this morning I compiled a list of 10 reasons why an institution would want to embrace what I have called, “Distance Learning (and MOOCs in Particular)" or “DL/M” in short.
Would you be willing to help us with our homework by commenting and adding your thoughts to our work so far?
Why Distance Learning (and MOOCs in Particular) [DL/M]
1. Keep up with the higher education “Joneses,” i.e. get in the game even if a specific outcome(s) of DL/M is (are) not yet fully identifiable except to say that in one form or another it is now a part of the fabric of higher education.
2. As a sector, higher education wants to continue to play an important role in the on-going development of the culture, law and politics of the Internet.
3. MOOCs in particular comport with the outreach or public service missions of not-for-profit higher education.
4. DL/M play and/or may come to play a significant role in new forms of accreditation, for example in competency based education.
5. MOOCs in particular comport with the goals of internationalization, a powerful driver in many colleges and universities, especially those that think of themselves as “international universities.” Similarly, DL/M that embrace international audience can integrate this experience into a domestic international experience (interaction with residential students and faculty) as well as the institution’s multicultural, interfaith, inclusion and diversity programming.
6. MOOCs in particular represent a significant aspect of an institution’s branding and marketing especially on an international scale.
7. DL/M are a component of new forms of pedagogy.
8. DL/M may lead to yet unrealized multidimensional research collaboration.
9. DL/M may play a part in a comprehensive sustainability policy.
10. DL/M may play a part in meeting the needs of non-traditional students, underserved populations, and be a component in public policy designed to address both domestic and global “digital divides.”