Part Three of Three: Operational Considerations

In this final part of our white paper on the new realities of higher education and online equivalency, we discuss how operational considerations impact comprehensive, enterprise-wide program expansion and long term, effect growth.

Summary of key findings:

Many colleges across the country have an epic journey ahead. Those that embrace this challenge as more than a pandemic-related contingency plan will prosper by positioning themselves to open up longer-term and fully online options, ultimately expanding their reach and therefore inviting growth.

With so many unknowns in front of us, it is important to acknowledge that:

  1. higher education, generally speaking, was unprepared to respond to one of the most unprecedented events in decades;
  2. that as a result, colleges and universities need practical strategies for defining, developing and implementing models of online equivalency on a spectrum of contingency preparedness now and in the future; and
  3. in this process, university leaders and online administrators have a unique opportunity to determine their starting points, or their minimum viable product (MVP), in relation to longer-term goals pertaining to enrollment growth, geographical considerations and student demographics.

The clarification of short- and long-term goals ranging from preliminary remote teaching initiatives to enterprise-wide, comprehensive, accelerated online program offerings presents with it an opportunity to discuss associated operational considerations, infrastructure needs and overarching measures of success. Universities exploring institution-wide implementations of contingency preparedness should also examine opportunities for more centralized decision-making, integrated online resourcing and management, optimized instructional design support, and curated approaches to systematized faculty training.

Regardless of where universities are today—or where they hope to go in the future—one thing is certain: With every passing day, more students are seeking a flexible, affordable, top-quality, workforce-relevant education they can count on to foster their professional goals and aspirations.