Online Courses – Review and Evaluation

A special message from Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College President

Dear Valencia Community,

Beginning next week, Valencia is launching a thorough review of our online course offerings, and would like to invite you to participate in this process. As you may know, online course offerings continue to rise in higher education throughout the nation, as well as at Valencia. Currently, they now comprise more than 20 percent of our total course offerings.

While an enhanced online program might help Valencia expand access to more students, any changes to the current practice should and will be undertaken purposefully. In many conversations during Learning Council, Planning Council, Faculty Council, Instructional Affairs Committee, and Senior Team meetings there has been agreement on the need to develop a strategy that best supports student learning and is aligned with Valencia’s vision, mission and values.

As a first step in planning Valencia’s approach to online education, we have engaged the services of Diane Meiller & Associates (DM&A) to perform an evaluation of our current state. Diane and her colleagues will meet with faculty, deans, campus presidents, college-wide administrators and students. They will also review courses, course development processes, faculty development course offerings, documents from the Alternative Delivery Steering Committee, and institutional research data.

At the end of a 10-week period, DM&A will present their evaluation of the strengths and weakness of our current practices, with observations on how we compare with (and might learn from) other institutions. Additionally, they will offer high-level functional recommendations for improving our efficiency and quality. This report will provide us with a shared understanding of where we are today, and lay the foundation for our collaborative planning of how best to move forward in ways that are consistent with Valencia’s learning-centered culture, while embracing the elasticity for change that may be required.

As part of their work, DM&A will spend several days on the campuses and schedule a number of time slots for meeting with faculty and deans. In the next few days, you may be contacted by a member of the academic affairs and planning team as they work to schedule individual meetings with faculty members, deans and administrators. Open forums will also be held on campuses to allow you an opportunity to join the conversation and provide feedback.

I highly encourage you to actively participate in these discussions and share your experiences and ideas regarding online learning. More information on this process and a schedule of activities will be posted in The Grove this week and included in the Faculty Insight e-newsletter tomorrow. If you have any questions about this work, please contact Susan Ledlow, vice president of academic affairs and planning, at sledlow@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-3423, or Bill White, chief information officer, at bwhite@valenciacollege.edu or 407-582-1185.

Sandy

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