We’ll take it from here — from InsideHigherEd.com by Steve Kolowich


Yet the contradiction highlights a problem familiar to many traditional universities: On the one hand, they want to compete in the global market of online higher education. Even before 2008, many lacked the cash or expertise to build an online infrastructure from scratch. As a result, some have ceded their online development and recruitment to outside companies. A cottage industry of online firms — Bisk Education, Embanet-Compass, Deltak, 2tor, Colloquy and others — has emerged to meet this need.

Saint Leo was one of the first to do this, 14 years ago. Now it may be at the front edge of another trend — that of universities that, having made the transition to online education, are dropping their for-profit partners and taking over themselves.

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Along with the benefits, the phenomenal growth of online learning also presents an uncharted set of challenges for academic institutions, most of which are much more familiar with the traditional classroom setting. Additionally, it has spurred a new set of demands and expectations from a range of stakeholders including students, instructors, regulatory institutions and advocacy groups. Given these new challenges, several factors are proving to be instrumental in shaping the way higher education institutions implement and improve upon the state of online learning.

Technology is transforming education and its impact just continues to grow. By creating and embracing a solid framework for online learning and employing cutting-edge learning management systems, higher education institutions are in a position to significantly improve student outcomes today and into the future.