One university’s decision to close its central distance-education office has stirred a national debate over the best way to operate online programs.
Under a restructuring at Texas A&M University at College Station, individual colleges will now manage online learning. And tuition paid for those programs will flow directly through those colleges.
The decision follows a related move at the University of Texas system. As online education continues to grow, those reorganizations have prompted many educators to share their opinions about e-learning management on a listserv run by the technology cooperative WCET.
To some, decentralization is “doomed to failure.” To others, a separate bureaucracy “simply doesn’t make sense anymore.” A third camp advocates a hybrid approach.
Chad Wootton, Texas A&M’s associate vice president for external affairs, frames the question of managing online and traditional education like this: “Are we thinking of them as two separate educational opportunities? Or are we thinking of them as the educational opportunity of course delivery, and it just so happens to be a different delivery method?”
What do you think?