Thursday, November 20, 2008

Governor Pawlenty's Online Learning Plan

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty visited Lake Superior College today as part of his statewide sweep to announce his goal of having 25% of all MnSCU credits earned online by the year 2015. During the '07-08 academic year, the system of 32 two-year colleges and state universities had an online enrollment rate of 9.2% of the total registered credits. (Photo by Janet Blixt)

"We live in an iPod world but much of our education system is dominated by whiteboards and lecture halls. We have students with different learning styles, different backgrounds, different capabilities, and exploding interest in online opportunities and services. We need to modernize the way college courses are delivered and put Minnesota on the cutting edge of online education."

Some of the talking points of his address:

  • Improve student access and support for online courses.
  • Required online learning experience prior to high school graduation. (Possibly, but necessarily an online college course)
  • $150 bonus to the $1,200 ACHIEVE scholarship if the students completed an online course during high school.
  • Increased non-credit access to online learning for adult learners.
  • Improve the tracking of costs and benefits of online learning.
  • Online tuition reciprocity for out-of-state students (LSC offers a single-rate for online courses to all students, but not all schools do this)
  • Online readiness survey and costs calculator (these are already available but they need to be more prominent).
  • Progress toward the goal of 25% online credits will be reported annually in Minnesota's higher education accountability report, Minnesota Measures.
Lake Superior College has already met the Governor's target of 25% online enrollment. However, we will accept his challenge to continue to increase our online offerings and possibly shoot for a still higher percentage of online enrollments. In fact, we'll have to do that or there will be no chance for the system to meet his overall goal. Several schools cannot possibly meet that 25% goal, so other schools will have to be above average (in all ways, grin) and others will be below average.

I wasn't expecting to speak at this event, but the Governor called me up to say a few words. I muttered through some stuff about all the great support that we have had from employees throughout the organization chart (all true), but I missed my opportunity to say what needed to be said. With all the talk about quantity, there needed to be some focus placed upon all the efforts we have made to improve and ensure the quality of our online offerings. The Governor says he plans to return to LSC to learn more about what has put us in a leadership position in Minnesota for e-learning, so that will be the opportunity to share the story about quality with him.

During the press conference, we had a looping PowerPoint running on the monitors in the room. Those slides are shown below. Just some basic stuff about Lake Superior Connect.

Lake Superior Connect
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: lsc elearning)

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