What is Notre Dame doing in the distance learning business?

The short answer?

We are not in the distance learning business.

We are not increasing an ROI by hiring a course designer who creates a distance learning experience that is then facilitated in small sections, and repetitively, by adjunct instructors. And we never will be… some of you are quite relieved I said that.

What we are doing – the long answer – is providing a place that extends the learning environment outside the classroom. And that’s not even new at Notre Dame. Take a look at our campus. Our buildings. Our social action and community service programs. Our International Studies emphasis.

Oh, and we are managing in a more effective way the everyday management of larger course sections. Students get instant gratification. I mean ‘feedback.’ They get office hours without getting out of their dorms.

This movement isn’t even by policy. Which is a challenge for staffing and providing appropriate resources.

And then it gets hairier when you add graduate programs which have components conducted face to face and on campus, and components which are conducted at a distance and by creating collaborative spaces. I think of our Masters of Non-Profit Organizations and our Masters in Education.

I can’t keep track of the ‘special use’ requests I’m asked to fill by creative Instructors awake to the possibilities. I’ll be mentioning some of them in the next few posts.

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