The learning landscape is evolving. Online education in colleges and universities continues to grow at a rate significantly higher than total enrollment. Students are signaling their interest in taking online courses, as more than 25% have done so at least once during their college careers (Allen & Seaman, 2010). Faculty perceptions towards online education are reportedly conflicted (Allen, Seaman, Lederman & Jaschik, 2012). However, many faculty members who are teaching online enthuse about the positive experience of transitioning instruction to an electronic platform. This online education expansion has garnered increasing attention to the quality of online pedagogy and online program planning from students, faculty and administrators.
The growing interest in the quality of online teaching and learning from different perspectives comes at a time when the landscape of online education has also begun to experience a rather unprecedented and radical shift. Most recently, an entire new class of entities has emerged to offer freely available online courses from some of the most widely respected universities in the world. These entities represent university-based partnerships (edX), university partnerships with “social entrepreneurship” companies (Coursera), and non-university affiliated companies (Udacity) that offer online courses to anyone in the world for free.
This changing landscape provides a vitally important backdrop to engage in critical conversations within Virginia and debate about the role of online learning and future of higher education. The 2013 VCU Online Learning Summit will be held on Tuesday May 14, 2013, and represents a timely opportunity to consider and share important ideas about teaching and learning online, as well as issues related to program development, strategic planning and institutional and state policy.
Who Should Attend?
The Online Learning Summit is a free and open event that invites participation from colleges and universities across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The highly interactive and engaging program will be of interest to:
- Academic administrators
- Teaching and learning center staff and directors
- Academic technology staff and directors
- Learning technologists and designers
For additional information or questions about the VCU Online Learning Summit please feel free to contact: