The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has overall responsibility for online courses and programs. A search is currently underway for an Associate Provost for Online who will work both in EIO and within the Provost's office to lead the initiatives within online. Within EIO, the Executive Director for Online Learning leads online initiatives but there are multiple other groups involved.
A group convened in summer 2008, the E-Learning Management Advisory Team (E-MAT) has taken responsibility for setting strategic directions for online. They have thus far proposed goals; identified target audiences; reconfirmed the fact that their mission is to support the Ferris mission, vision, and values; reviewed current budgets; identified priority audiences; and identified priority issues. In 2011 the E-MAT team began work on those priority issues, starting with the online orientation required of students.
The Learning Technologies Advisory Board has been in existence as well since 2008. The LTAB's focus is on instructional technology, whether used in courses that are blended, face-to-face, or fully online. They provide guidance to Information Technology about technology priorities, serve as testers of system improvements, and recommend enhancements. They also plan and deliver training, through the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.
Since the 2003-2004 academic year, we have increased our enrollments in online courses from a total of 5,420 student credit hours to over 38,000 student credit hours in the 2012-2013 year. In many of those years, our growth in online enrollments was over 25% a year (and up to 53% a year). Over the past two to three years that growth has slowed dramatically, to only 4% growth in the 2012-2013 year over the prior year. This decline in our growth is not due to a decline in student interest, because at the same time we have continued to grow in the number of students admitted to our online programs. However, due to limited resources and funding, we have constraints on the number of sections we can offer online.
To allow Ferris to continue to grow our online offerings, and support the university through these increases, we will need to develop funding models which support the growth, as well as develop an enhanced student support system.
Online learning is one of the more active interest areas at Ferris, in part because of its dramatic growth. Individual colleges are developing their plans for new program offerings and/or expanded course availability. To keep abreast of what's happening, check out the 'whats new' section on our faculty resources page. We also post all minutes from the EMAT group, along with newsletters from the Languages and Literature online group!