There has rightfully been much emphasis placed on student achievement to justify technology investments in higher education. California Baptist University is focusing in on students as a primary driver for their collaboration architecture, but something else interesting popped out for me in this recent case study – how it is affecting instructors.
Clearly there is a business case for extending the reach of a university that has limited “brick-and-mortar space to grow in. According to Dr. David Poole, Vice President, Online and Professional Studies, “I can now offer face-to-face instruction in real time to Chinese students at the bachelors and masters level. My ROI is tremendous because I am not sending faculty over there to spend months and months over there.” I believe that while some US-based instructors may enjoy an occasional trip to China, an extended stay could be an obstacle from a personal perspective.
CBU is wisely looking at both sides of the online education equation: not only bringing students to instructors, but bringing instructors to the students. The more flexibility you can offer the instructor through technology tools like WebEx and Telepresence, the better. This includes online video lecture and discussion as well as one-on-one assistance. You’ve seen commercials advertising that students can attend online classes in their pajamas, but isn’t it equally convenient for instructors to conduct online office hours in their pajamas too?
Switching to a video-based online teaching environment has real productivity benefits for faculty teaching online, with CBU claiming it can increase a teacher’s workload anywhere from 40 to 60 percent, and they can teach exactly as they would in a traditional classroom. In other words, they spend their time doing what they do best and don’t have to think about the technology too much.
I see the transformation accelerating in higher education… with smar t institutions figuring out how to serve more students globally through online collaboration tools. This updated technology also helps in recruiting and retaining the best instructors. Have you seen other institutions like CBU attracting the best and brightest on both sides of the equation?