"FY 2001- 02 Business Plan Template"
FY 2003-04 Business Plan Template Instruction Division Division Name: DISTANCE LEARNING Learning What are you doing to assess the effectiveness of student and/or employee learning? How do you know if those practices make a difference? What are the most significant challenges for your division in promoting more effective learning? What creative ways can you find to address these challenges? Definition of Distance Learning According to Merriam-Webster Online, the term ‘distance learning” refers to “learning that takes place via electronic media linking instructors and students who are not together in a classroom”. While this definition is not incorrect, it is also not complete -- at least when applied to distance learning activities at Sinclair Community College. The Distance Learning Division at Sinclair is actually an “umbrella” that encompasses a variety of delivery modes that are alternatives to the campus classroom. Some delivery modes are asynchronous, meaning that they do not require students and faculty to be together at the same time nor at the same place. Asynchronous delivery modes include: • Web-based • Videotape • Audiotape • Print-based • CD-ROM Some delivery modes are synchronous, meaning that they require students and faculty to be together at the same time, but not necessarily at the same place. Synchronous delivery modes include: • Interactive Videoconference • Correctional Facilities Instruction • Off-Campus While Distance Learning courses are part of the approved curriculum of the academic unit of the college, the Distance Learning Division does not create curriculum. Instead, it provides academic support including: • Effective adaptation of curriculum into distance learning delivery modes • Research and dissemination of best practices in distance learning course design • Consultation and training on effective facilitation of distance learning courses • Coordination of distance learning course scheduling and delivery • Student support specifically targeted to the needs of distance learning students • Marketing and promotion of distance learning offerings Assessment of Learning Since Distance Learning is primarily a delivery mode for academic curriculum, Distance Learning has deferred academic assessment of student learning to the academic department in which the curriculum is housed. However, Distance Learning impacts student learning in other ways. The Distance Learning Division strives to offer convenient alternatives to students who want to earn college credit. Distance learning formats provide options for students who have scheduling conflicts, work or family commitments, are homebound, live a distance from campus or simply prefer more independent study. Therefore, the Division most naturally aligns with the third Learning College principle, which is to “create and offer as many options for learning as possible”. This effort is evidenced by: • 8 different Distance Learning delivery formats • Over 250 Distance Learning courses • New Distance Learning courses developed at a rate of 28 per year for last 2 years • Annual enrollment growth of 7% to 15% in technology-based courses in last 2 years In addition, the 1999 Strategic Plan approved by the Sinclair Board of Trustees states that “distance learning will be a catalyst for the adoption of learner-centered approaches to instruction”. The Distance Learning Division is deeply committed to that effort and recognizes the important role it has in supporting Sinclair’s continuing evolution as the Learning College. Toward that end, the Division has: • Implemented a high-touch, low-cost support service for Distance Learning students • Coordinated proctored exams for XXX non-local learners in last 2 years • Researched and developed an ADA 508c-compliant Web-based course template • Revised over 20 Web-based courses to use improved techniques over last 2 years • Developed a competency-based faculty professional development series on effective design, development and delivery of Web-based courses Challenges While access to and enrollments in Distance Learning courses have increased, learner success in asynchronous (T section) Distance Learning courses has been and continues to be a major challenge. An IPR study entitled Distance Learning Performance/Completion Rates: Are There Any Predictors? was conducted in Fall 2000. For the purposes of this study, learner success was defined as course completion with a grade of A, B, C or P. The study showed that only 32.6 percent of students in asynchronous courses (T sections) were successful. If those who withdrew without record are removed from the calculation, still only 52.2 percent of students in asynchronous (T sections) were successful. In December 2002, IPR conducted a follow-up study entitled Student Success in Distance Learning Courses. This study replicated the 2000 study and compared the 2002 results with the 2000 results. The follow-up study confirms that learner success in asynchronous courses remains a serious challenge. Although success rates are slightly higher than in the previous study, it is unclear whether this indicates a trend for increased success or simply a year-to-year fluctuation. The charts below compare data from the 2000 and 2002 studies. Comparison of Academic Performance Between 2000 Study and 2002 Study* * Includes those who withdrew without record Percent Withdrew Without Record Percent “W” Percent Successful 2000 Study 37.5% 13.1% 32.6% 2002 Study 27.4% 13.6% 40.5% Comparison of Distance Learning and Overall Grade Distribution* * Excludes those who withdrew without record Percent “W” Percent Successful 2000 Study 20.9% 52.2% 2002 Study 18.5% 55.8% Overall Grade 12.6% 64.3% Distribution for All Courses FY 01-02 Learner success, or lack of success, in Distance Learning asynchronous courses is the biggest challenge that Distance Learning currently faces. Yet, the Division faces other important challenges as well. One is the ongoing challenge of preparing faculty for the design, development and facilitation of Distance Learning courses. Another is the challenge of promoting the highest possible quality for Distance Learning courses and providing support for continuous improvement of those courses. Solutions The Distance Learning Division has developed a plan to address the challenges of learner success, faculty preparedness and course quality. The following multi-pronged approach strengthens these areas and also provides a stream of meaningful data to the Division that will allow the Division to make more data-driven decisions; the Division will be better able to monitor the results of its efforts and make mid-course corrections. Quarterly Data Analysis Whether from IPR or from a Colleague query, the Division plans to obtain learner success data on a quarterly basis. The data will: • Be section-level data for all Distance Learning sections, both asynchronous and synchronous, which include the following: T*, V*, 9*, 8*, 7*, D1 and M1. • Include all Distance Learning courses, not just the Top 45. • Include total registrations and grade distributions for each section. A designated member or members of the Division will analyze this data on a quarterly basis and report significant findings at the Divisional Meeting. In the Divisional Meeting, the Division will discuss the findings and recommend action as appropriate. Learner Success The Division plans to continue its collaboration with the Distance Learning Retention Committee to take action that results in better-prepared Distance Learning students. Further research and study will be done in the following areas: • Factors that correlate with learner success in Distance Learning courses • Profile of Sinclair Community College Distance Learning students • The IPR study Student Perceptions of What Influences Success in Distance Learning Courses: An Analysis of Responses from the Summer 2002 Distance Learning Survey • Current research concerning learning styles and distance learning delivery The following steps will be taken regarding a pre-assessment tool for Distance Learning students: • Assessment of common goals shared by the Distance Learning Retention Committee and the Computer / Information Literacy Committee • Development of a pre-assessment tool that assesses both technical and non- technical competencies associated with success in Distance Learning courses • Creation of an implementation plan for the pre-assessment tool. The pre- assessment should be given prior to a student’s enrollment in Distance Learning courses. • Development of remediation strategies based on the results of the pre- assessment instrument As success factors for Distance Learning students are identified, college policies will need to be reviewed and revised. • At the least, the Distance Learning Retention Committee will move forward with its recommendation to limit registration in Distance Learning asynchronous courses to those students with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Faculty Preparedness The Division will continue its efforts to promote faculty preparedness to design, develop and facilitate Distance Learning courses: • The 3D’s of Distance Learning faculty professional development program, which was piloted in Summer 2002, will be revised based on the results of the pilot and offered each Summer starting Summer 2003. • A smaller-scale faculty development course that targets online facilitation skills will be developed and offered year-round. The course will be comprised of small sections so that faculty may easily complete it step-by-step as part of the course development process. • The Web Course Development Team will identify appropriate training opportunities that fulfill the faculty requirements outlined in the Distance Learning Course Development and Facilitation policy. • The Web Course Development Team will explore the benefits of faculty cohort groups for faculty who are moving through the course development process at the same time. • With the help of the Distance Learning Advisory Committee, the Division will implement a faculty mentoring system for new Distance Learning faculty members. • The Web Course Development Team will continue its research and dissemination of current trends and best practices in online pedagogy and online assessment strategies that promote academic integrity. Course Quality The Division will further its efforts to promote the highest quality in courses developed for Distance Learning delivery: • The Web Course Development Team will continue its research into industry standards for Web-based Courses. Among other sources, it will review the conclusions of the SLOAN Consortium, the OLN Committee on Quality and the WebCT Exemplary Course Project. • With the help of the Distance Learning Advisory Committee, the Division will work to define standards for Web courses. • The Web Course Development Team will create a gallery of examples that show aspects of exemplary Web course design and pedagogy. The Team will devise a process to accept, review and select new submissions to the gallery. • The Web Course Development Team will research, gather and/or develop models of course evaluation instruments that faculty may choose from. • With the help of the Distance Learning Advisory Committee, the Division will develop a process for the cyclical review of Distance Learning courses. • The Division will develop a Student Focus Group and create reliable methods for obtaining student input on relevant Distance Learning issues. • The Division will identify Distance Learning courses that are particularly challenging for students. Members of the Web Course Development will collaborate with faculty members to devise the strongest possible instructional strategies for the material. Market/Competitive Analysis What competitive factors will influence the division's efforts to strengthen Sinclair as a learning college over the next three years? What will the division need to do over the next three years to demonstrate that it does more to improve learning than its competitors do? Will the division need to engage in any internal/external collaboration in the three years ahead to maintain or acquire a competitive edge with respect to strengthening the quality of learning at Sinclair? If so, please describe. Are there likely to be any changes in the external environment, such as with regulatory requirements or changes in the way an occupational field or discipline does business, that suggest actions or opportunities? Fueled by advances in technology and student expectation, almost every institution of higher learning, whether two-year, four-year, public or private, today offers courses in some form of distance learning. What was once considered an experimental alternative has become a main pathway for learning, one that is preferred by many of today’s students. Over the next few years, distance-learning delivery will surely be an issue on the “front burner” of most institutions. As the competition increases, those institutions with greater name recognition and larger budgets will have an advantage and may ultimately prevail. For-profit entities, such as the University of Phoenix, with their corporate mindset and lack of academic baggage, may become the biggest competitors to academe. In this market, students will become prudent shoppers for the best deal and the best services. In order to compete in this environment, Sinclair’s Distance Learning program will need to do the following: • Research and benchmark with other institutions, including two-year, four-year, non-profit and for-profit, regarding distance learning strategies and offerings. • Aggressively promote the development of completion opportunities such short- or long- term certificate programs or entire degree programs that are available completely online. • With the assistance of market research, find those niche markets that have not been tapped. • Strengthen consulting services to academic Divisions and Departments in order to help them formulate long-term strategic initiatives involving Distance Learning. • Include stakeholders from throughout the college in the strategic planning process for Distance Learning. • Identify and pursue grant opportunities that would advance the vision and mission of Distance Learning at Sinclair. • Through articulation agreements with four-year institutions and other training institutions, provide seamless education for both transfer and terminal degree students. • Develop, conduct and analyze the results of customer satisfaction surveys of primary constituencies of the Division. • Work with other entities in the college to ensure that Distance Learning students receive support equivalent to traditional students but without sacrificing the flexibility and convenience of Distance Learning courses. • Create a Student Focus Group and develop structured methods for obtaining student input on issues relevant to Distance Learning. • Collaborate with Learning Technology Support to offer an integrated and coordinated support system for faculty utilizing technology to enhance learning. • Continually maintain the accuracy and promotional effectiveness of the Distance Learning public Web site. • Develop an internal marketing program to further educate the college community on the vision, mission, services and benefits of Distance Learning. Program and Service Changes What's needed to reach the division's enrollment target (FTE/headcount) for next year (short-term) as well as three years out (longer-term)? Are there new programs or actions in the division that should be pursued to strengthen learning either within the division or in conjunction with other divisions of the College over the next three years? Are there facilities issues that will likely impact how well the division can strengthen learning over the next three years? In order to grow enrollment over the next three years, the Distance Learning division will need to improve program delivery and services in the following ways: • Promote the development of completion opportunities such short- or long-term certificate programs or entire degree programs that are available completely online. • Identify strategic criteria that the Curriculum Review Committee will use to prioritize new Course Proposals. • Bundle and market a series of “bridge” courses (LAS, BUS, Communication, etc.) that will prepare working individuals with baccalaureate degrees to transition into MBA programs and other master degree programs. • Implement the strategic plan for off-campus sites that addresses course offerings, average class size, and support services for students. • Expand offerings at the Dayton Correctional Institute (DCI) and Montgomery Educational Pre-Release Center (MEPRC) to include more types of short-term and regular certificate programs for inmates. • Become a training partner with local, statewide, and eventually nationwide Departments of Correction to meet the educational needs of their staff. • Reach out to high schools throughout the state and nation to provide juniors and seniors the opportunity to take college credit courses asynchronously. • Work with accrediting and credentialing organizations to provide on-going continuing education courses that are approved and recognized by these bodies. Internal Resource Capabilities Looking ahead to the next three years, how well do the division's current resource capabilities (i.e., human, financial, physical, training, assessment and evaluation, etc.) support the direction that it needs to go to strengthen learning? What are the opportunities for reallocation of existing resources within the division that could contribute to its capacity for strengthening learning? How will the additional resources requested assist the division with strengthening learning and achieving its enrollment targets? Amidst a continuing state budget crisis and flat budgets at the college, the Division faces the challenge of increasing learner success in asynchronous courses as well as a robust and growing demand for new Web course development. The Distance Learning Division will need to wisely use its limited resources in order to accomplish the important and challenging goals it has set forth: • Transfer many of the processes currently providing support services to Distance Learning students into the mainstream college and to available web portal services. • Reallocate and redirect some of the resultant human and financial resources towards developing and implementing strategies to improve learner success in Distance Learning courses. • Reallocate and redirect some of the resultant human and financial resources towards refining and growing the Distance Learning program. • Analyze the data that has been accumulated in the Time Tracking System by the Web Course Development Team and look for opportunities to reduce the time and cost of developing Web courses. • Promote the development of reusable objects to be added to the course development toolbox by the Web Course Development Team. • Continually refine, improve and document the Web Course Development process in order to promote maximum efficiency without compromising quality and effectiveness. B. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) DIVISION SPECIFIC KPIs KPI FY02-03 Retain Delete Revise FY03-04 FY03-04 1. Increase in Yes with Increase in quarterly learner success as quarterly course revision defined by percent of A, B, C, or P grades in dl retention by sections reduction in percent of W, D. F, grades in DL sections within the top 45 courses 2. Annual increase Yes in DL enrollment D. Division Initiatives (add rows as needed) Division Initiative FY FY FY Core Strategic Plan Related (please state) 03 04 05 Indicator * Critical Division KPI*** - - - Performance 04 05 06 Area** 1. Improve learner success X X X Lifelong Student- 1 learning Centered Learning 2. Increase enrollment X X X Access to Student- 2 success Centered Learning 3. Revise Distance Learning X Stewardship Student- 2 strategic plan Centered Learning 4. Strengthen faculty X X X Lifelong Student- 1 preparedness learning Centered Learning 5. Enhance quality of X X X Lifelong Student- 1 courses learning Centered Learning * Select from Institutional Effectiveness Model: Access to Success, Student Development, Lifelong Learning, Community Focus, Quality Workplace, Stewardship ** Select from Critical Performance Areas of the Sinclair's Strategic Plan: Student- Centered Learning & Development, Workforce Development, and Reallocate/Realign/Reorganize/Reengineer ***Select from items listed in section C above of this Business Plan.