At BCcampus we are often asked how British Columbia higher education stacks up against other Canadian provinces for the management of online learning.
We have some data on the number of courses offered online and at a distance, as well as data on the kinds of online systems that our institutions are using. But to date, there has not been a national survey in Canada that takes a detailed look at all the management practices associated with online learning in higher education.
We often end up pointing to the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) reports that are prepared on an annual basis in the United States. And, our colleagues at the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) assist with publishing the results of the Campus Computing Project survey at the annual WCET conference. Nothing similar happens in Canada.
Because no independent body in Canada appears to responding to this data vacuum, we’ve decide to prototype a survey instrument this year with our colleagues at eCampus Alberta, and we hope to invite OntarioLearn and ContactNorth to take the plunge with us. Our intention is to prototype a survey that would allow us to compare data across Canada with similar data from the US.
The areas we hope to survey include:
- Policies, Plans & Budgets – Do you have a strategic plan for educational technology? Are there policies around use of social media, phones in the classroom, …? What % of your IT budget is for educational technology?
- Credentials, Programs, Curricula – What academic areas are online? What online programs do you offer? Credentials offered? Just courses? Using blended? Using fully online? Number of students involved?
- Infrastructure – On campus, shared system wide, cloud computing?
- Education technologies and LMS strategies – Spectrum of technologies used? Collaboration tools? Mobile? Social media? Single sign on? E-mail? …?
- Governance – Responsible authority / unit CIO? VP Academic? Teaching & Learning Centres? Deans / autonomous units?
- Staffing – Educational technology specialists? Instructional designers, media producers? Tech support?
- Practices – Pedagogies, funding/release time for development? Quality? Openness? Accessibility? Faculty development?
- Futures – Plans to do more? Partners? Trends and directions? Recommendations? Wish lists?
We invite feedback on questions or areas of practice that would be useful to probe within a national survey of online learning in higher education in Canada.