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Online Program Scaling Process

Online program scaling process

This process outlines steps by which existing online and on-campus programs may be nominated for scaled growth procedures within the Office of eLearning suite of services and investment. The program nomination and scaling process for existing online programs takes place in three phases: nomination submission, collaboration review and implementation.

Phase 1 – Nomination submission:

  1. The eLearning Oversight Committee will have a standing call for the nomination for consideration of existing fully online programs or existing on-ground programs to scale; nominations may be submitted on a rolling basis.

    1. Nominations can be made by the following entities:

      1. eLearning Academic Council (eAC)
      2. eLearning Oversight Committee (eOC)
      3. Administrators (e.g., provosts, vice provosts, deans, department chairs) at the home institution of the program
  2. Nominators should begin the nomination process by contacting the designated Office of eLearning (eLearning) contact person to inform them of their intent to nominate a program. eLearning will assign a liaison to assist the nominators in preparing the nomination documents.
  3. Nominators should work with their assigned eLearning liaison to prepare the nominating documents.
    1. If the program already exists in a fully online format, the academic unit (AU) should submit the following in order to be considered for scaling:

      1. Statement of Interest document signed by Chair and Dean of the AU. Use this form: https://missouri.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eGa6AHMjhm81rx3

        • Identification of similar programs at other institutions within the UM System (AU names, degree program names, chair contact information)
        • (OPTIONAL) Letter of support or interest in collaboration from similar programs at other institutions within the UM System
      2. Statement of program level outcomes
      3. Curriculum map
      4. AU Contact Person for all discussions
    2. The OeL will prepare a readiness self-assessment document that includes:
      1. Number of faculty already trained to design/teach online courses
      2. Number of faculty to be trained to design/teach online courses
      3. Number of existing online courses
      4. Number of existing online courses designed in conjunction with an Instructional Designer (ID)
      5. Number of courses to be brought online
      6. Number of courses that have gone through a previous quality review process
      7. Names of courses in the program
      8. Names of faculty members who will design/teach each course
      9. Current number of students in program
    3. If the program currently exists on-ground, the academic unit (AU) programs should submit the following in order to be considered for scaling:
      1. Statement of Interest document signed by Chair and Dean of the AU. Use this form: https://missouri.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eGa6AHMjhm81rx3

        • Identification of similar programs at other institutions within the UM System (AU names, degree program names, chair contact information)
        • (OPTIONAL) Letter of support or interest in collaboration from similar programs at other institutions within the UM System
      2. Statement of program level outcomes
      3. Curriculum map
      4. Evidence of modality change approval from the program’s accrediting body
      5. Proposed timeline to:
        • Train all faculty as needed
        • Develop all courses for the online modality
        • Certify all courses through the Quality Course Review process
      6. AU Contact Person for all discussions
    4. The OeL will prepare a readiness self-assessment document that includes:
      1. Number of faculty already trained to design/teach online courses
      2. Number of faculty to be trained to design/teach online courses
      3. Number of existing online courses
      4. Number of existing online courses designed in conjunction with an Instructional Designer (ID)
      5. Number of courses to be brought online
      6. Number of courses that have gone through a previous quality review process
      7. Names of courses in the program
      8. Names of faculty members who will design/teach each course
      9. Current number of students in program
    5. Nominators should submit the nomination forms through the links on these pages to the Office of eLearning for assessment and review.
    6. The Office of eLearning will:
      1. Perform a market assessment within 2 weeks of receiving the nomination documents.

        1. The assessment will include factors such as job demand within MO and key metro areas, success of similar programs at scaled online institutions, and current enrollments at UM. See Appendix A for a full description of the required minimum market assessment factors.
      2. Perform a thorough readiness assessment (leveraging the self-assessment documents provided in the nomination documents) within 2 weeks of receiving the nomination documents.
        1. This should include a course quality assessment by the eLearning staff of any existing online courses within the program being nominated for scaling.
        2. The outcome of the quality assessment can be one of the following
          • All courses have met the quality standards 
          • All courses either have met or are close to meeting quality standards
          • A significant number of courses are not close to meeting quality standards
      3. Review the entire nomination packet and make a recommendation to the eLearning Academic Council (eAC) on whether or not the program should be prioritized for scaling.
    7. The eAC will review the nomination packet and the Office of eLearning recommendation and make a recommendation on whether or not the program should be prioritized for scaling.

 

Phase 2 – Collaboration review:

It is feasible for multiple campuses to collaborate on a program that already exists in a fully online format or exists in an on-ground format. Note that collaboration is not a pre-requisite for scaling within the system-level platform.

  1. To determine the collaboration potential for a given program, the Office of eLearning will deliver a Call for Collaboration to Chairs and Deans in relevant programs across the University of Missouri System.
  2. If no responses to the call are received within 1 month of the call, the nomination packet will be sent as is to the eLearning Oversight Committee (eOC) for a scaling decision.
  3. If collaboration is possible under the existing program structure, then the participating campuses will need to agree on a structure for collaboration outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). We note that this should occur within 1 month of an expression of interest to ensure that the review of the nomination request proceeds in a timely fashion.
    1. Note: this scenario is most likely to occur in instances where a campus with an existing fully online program continues to offer that program, but supplements course offerings with existing fully online courses from other campuses. 
    2. The MOU between the campuses in this scenario should align on the following components:
      • Lead campus designation or agreement on how degrees are granted
      • High level revenue share agreement
      • Agreement from non-initial launching campuses on the program purpose and operating model of the existing fully online program (e.g., target audience, program goals, curricular framework, admissions requirements, etc.)
    3. If discussions between campuses stagnate (i.e., it takes more than 1 month to delineate MOU), collaboration will be tabled for future review. During the program refresh period, there will be an opportunity to negotiate collaboration again.
  4. All nominated programs will then be reviewed and grouped by the eLearning Oversight Committee (eOC).
    1. The eOC will consider nominated programs 4 times per year. 
    2. The eOC will group programs to be scaled based on the market assessment findings, as well as conversations with the home institution of the program regarding readiness to scale (e.g., does the AU at the home institution have the interest and capacity to grow the program to scale)
    3. The outcomes of the eOC review will be one of the following paths:
      1. Market demand and internal capacity to support the existing eLearning program suggests that the program should be scaled in the next academic year
      2. Market demand and internal capacity to support the existing eLearning program suggests that the program should be scaled within the next 3 academic years
      3. Market demand and internal capacity to support the existing eLearning program suggests that the program should be scaled within the next 5 academic years
      4. Market demand and internal capacity to support the existing eLearning program suggests that the program should not be scaled at this time, but can be re-nominated at least one calendar year from the current review period 

 

Phase 3 – Program scaling implementation:

  1. The Office of eLearning will:

    1. Perform a full scaling assessment, based on the AU’s scaling goals and the market assessment. 
    2. Analyze the marketing strategy to meet the scaling goals.
    3. Analyze the Enhanced Service Requirements needed to meet the scaling goals.
  2. In conjunction with the AU, the Office of eLearning will develop an Implementation Plan, which should include the following items.
    1. Timeline of activities to ensure the successful launch/ scaling of the program within the System eLearning platform
    2. Enrollment projections to help inform staffing and resource requirements
    3. Development of marketing strategy, including website update
    4. 2- and 4-year plan for which courses will be offered and the instructional faculty that will teach them
    5. Hiring recommendations for the campus (e.g., instructional faculty, admissions staff)
    6. Hiring recommendations for the eLearning/third party vendor activities (e.g., enrollment counseling staff, student success coaching)
  3. In conjunction with the AU, eLearning will establish a  a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at least 6 months prior to scaling the program (i.e., prior to any marketing and enrollment activities). The MOU will outline responsibilities of the campus and eLearning as it relates to program quality, program delivery, and support services, and will cover the key topic areas outlined below. 
    1. Campus responsibilities:

      1. Ensure program and individual courses meet the quality guidelines set forth by the eAC.
      2. Ensure admissions, financial aid, and other processes managed at the campus-level meet a threshold service level established by the Chief eLearning Officer.
      3. Ensure faculty have the proper compensation and that there is sufficient faculty capacity to meet the projected enrollments of the program once it is scaled.
      4. Ensure that on-ground courses being converted to an online format are developed in accordance with the course quality guidelines set forth by the eAC.
    2. Office of eLearning responsibilities:
      1. Provide marketing investment to scale program enrollment to meet market demand (e.g., until incremental marketing investment yields diminishing returns).
      2. Provide student support services (e.g., enrollment counseling, student success coaching) that meet service levels established by the Chief eLearning Officer.
  4. In conjunction with the AU, the Office of eLearning will deploy the Implementation Plan.
    1. All courses must meet quality guidelines by the time the program scales (prior to marketing and enrollment activities)

      1. The eLearning Instructional Design team assigned the program development must provide an update 1 month prior to the scaling of the program (prior to marketing and enrollment activities) to ensure that the course quality updates are on-track
      2. If the status has not changed, then the eOC may recommend that the program be re-considered for scaling within the next 3 academic years
    2. When a program exists in an on-ground format, the campus will develop the courses within the agreed upon timeline, and in accordance with the course development guidelines set forth by the eAC.

Appendix A: Market Assessment Framework

  1. Missouri Labor Market Growth: Projected employment growth of jobs commonly occupied by graduates of various programs (projections for the Missouri labor market, 2012-2026)

    • Rationale: Priority due to UM’s focus on adult learners and meeting the workforce needs of the state
    • Data source: Burning Glass, BLS
  2. Scaled Institution Enrollments: Online program enrollments of select scaled online institutions, including ASU, SNHU, CSU Global, PSU World Campus, UMUC, Maryville and Western Governor’s University 
    • Rationale: Utilized as a benchmark of best practices / most successful online programs from exemplar universities 
    • Data source: IPEDS
  3. Select Missouri Institution Enrollments: Online program enrollments of select institutions with a high proportion of online enrollments in Missouri, namely Webster University, Park University and Columbia College
    • Rationale: Utilized as a benchmark of best practices / most successful online programs from key universities in MO
    • Data source: IPEDS
  4. University of Missouri Online Enrollments (applicable for existing programs only): Enrollments of current online programs across all University of Missouri campuses with a focus on programs that currently meet a minimum enrollment number, but not necessarily prioritizing the largest current programs 
    • Rationale: Informs feasibility based on a minimum demonstrated interest determined from existing program enrollments 
    • Data source: Internal Data
  5. Completion Growth: Compound annual growth rate of completions (including both online and on-ground) by program between 2012 and 2017
    • Rationale: Used as a proxy for enrollment growth (note: 2-3 year lag)
    • Data source: IPEDS

 

Existing Online Program Scaling Process Infographic

Figure 1. The program nomination and scaling process for existing online programs takes place in 3 phases: nomination submission, collaboration review, and implementation.

 

Reviewed 2020-05-19