Q: Why the investment in online now when we are in a budget shortfall?

A: The decision to invest in online now follows a process that began last fall to explore the opportunity to grow online programs across the CU system. An assessment project facilitated by EY Parthenon, a consulting firm, found there is a strong demand for online academic programs in Colorado. Currently, a majority of students seeking degrees online in this state are enrolling in programs offered by an institution outside Colorado. The assessment also demonstrated that the CU brand is strong among students seeking an online degree. The investment in online is intended to be one approach to address the budget shortfall in the long run by bringing new students to our high-quality programs.  

Q: Why does CU need to change from the current online model?

A: Currently CU does not take advantage of the opportunity to realize both academic and economic benefits that can be enjoyed by sharing services and collaborating on programs. By having a centralized set of services to support fully online programs, and by collaborating with programs across campuses, we can generate economic efficiencies while also benefitting from closer collaborations to explore and iteratively develop high-quality practices for online program delivery. 

Q: What is the relationship between the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign and the OAC?

A: These efforts are moving forward in parallel, but are distinctly different initiatives. 

The Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign is a one-time effort to support the campuses with additional resources to facilitate enrollments in existing online programs and to gauge, in part, market demand.

The Online Accelerator Committee is working to design the long-term processes to facilitate sustainable high-quality online programs for Fall 2021 and beyond.

Q: Is every online program at CU under the CU Online umbrella?

A: The recommendations for a process to determine which programs will be aligned under the CU Online umbrella is underway with the Online Accelerator Committee (OAC), and will account for faculty authority to approve curricular decisions. We anticipate that some academic programs will operate outside of CU Online and will be more aligned with specific campus-based supports

Q: How did CU determine the direction of CU Online?

A: The direction of CU Online has evolved to respond to opportunities to realize both academic and economic benefits that can be enjoyed by sharing services and collaborating on programs.

Q: What is the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign?

A: The Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign is an initiative focused on increasing fall 2020 and Spring 2021 online enrollments. It is funded by the President’s Office. Twelve fully-online programs from CU Boulder, CU Denver, CU Anschutz Medical Campus, and UCCS have been invited to participate. 

The campaign will include marketing and recruitment (enrollment navigation) support provided by the Office of Digital Education (ODE). 

Q: What process was used to determine participation in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign?

A: Leaders from each of the four campuses were asked to identify high-demand programs available in a fully-online format that would benefit from additional marketing and recruitment initiatives.

The programs identified by the campuses have been invited to participate in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign pending a discovery process. During the discovery process, program representatives will work with the Office of Digital Education to explore the steps necessary to benefit from participation in the effort. 

Q: What will happen to these programs after participation in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign?

A: The programs in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign may be eligible for ongoing support from ODE. This will largely depend on how the Online Acceleration Committee (OAC) structures the process for accessing and using the comprehensive services designed to support current and future online programs at CU.

Q: Are programs in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign prioritized over others to receive ongoing support from ODE?

A: No. The Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign is a stand-alone, one-time opportunity to access support during these extraordinary times. 

Q: Who is implementing the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign?

A: The Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Online Marketing Campaign is being implemented by the Office of Digital Education and University Relations in the president’s office, in collaboration with the selected programs and their marketing/communication leaders. 

Q: What is the Online Acceleration Committee and how will it affect the long-term plan for online education and incorporating CU Online into the overall CU brand?

A: The OAC has been established with representation from faculty and staff from all four CU campuses. Its charge is to recommend and endorse the infrastructure for the design, development and delivery of high-quality, sustainable online programs that align with CU’s mission.

The OAC will affect the long-term plan for online education by designing a plan that maximizes quality and the unique offerings at CU while simultaneously considering how to leverage efficiencies to eliminate redundancy.

It is critical to note that the plan put forth by the OAC will be reviewed and approved by the President and the Chancellors from each of the four  campuses. While the plan will implement the recommendations approved by this group, the OAC is further charged to create a plan that will allow for a governance process to recommend adjustments and alterations to the infrastructure as needed as the new structure is being rolled out. This process should rely on a model of continuous quality improvement to facilitate appropriate changes to optimize supports for online programs to achieve shared goals for high-quality programs that support student success.

Q: Who is serving on the Online Acceleration Committee?

A: Membership on the committee and its working groups is here

Q: How were members of the OAC selected?

A: The OAC includes representatives from faculty and staff from each of the four campuses as well as staff from the system office. Members were selected based on their experience with teaching online, design and development of online programs, and expertise in finance 

Q: How do I provide feedback or input to the OAC?

A: Each working group is reaching out to obtain input from specific groups, e.g. faculty, to inform recommendations. We will also be establishing a robust community engagement process that will solicit and facilitate input from diverse constituents during the committee work this summer and beyond as the recommendations for online learning support from the system level are implemented. We also have provided an online feedback form.

Q: How is the OAC approaching its work?

A: The OAC has five working groups that are working independently but also collaborating under the broad direction of the OAC. The working groups are Academics, IT, Online Services, Finance and Marketing/Communications.

Q: Will the Office of Digital Education continue the same level of support on CU Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus?

A: ODE is committed to the partnership with a number of programs through their Online Programs of Excellence (ONE) awards in order to facilitate CU Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus program optimization and go-to-market strategies, marketing, recruitment and student success services. 

ONE Awardees will continue to engage with ODE to ensure faculty access to instructional design and academic technology services. All of these activities and services are ongoing and will remain in place.

ODE also supports faculty who are not engaged in the ONE awards, in particular through training and development activities, as well as 1:1 consultations with instructional designers to support the design and development of online courses. Additionally, ODE has been highly engaged in facilitating a rapid transition to remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring, and will continue to support faculty teaching virtual live courses and online courses this summer.  

Q: Will online programs services and operations now be supported centrally at the system level?

A: The intention of the OAC is to answer this question. Centralized services and operations can facilitate efficiencies and lower costs to programs while also supporting relevant and agreed upon standardization in the design and delivery of high-quality programs. Nevertheless, given unique attributes of academic programs on each of the four campuses and the sole responsibility of the faculty to make curricular decisions, the academic decisions related to any online program will remain with schools, colleges and faculty on each campus.  

Q: How will duplicate online programs be handled?

A: This is another question that the OAC will address. They will develop guidelines and promote incentives that can facilitate collaboration where possible and differentiation across programs.  In all cases, given that faculty own curricula, decisions about what programs a campus will deliver will remain with each academic unit. 

Q: Will instructional designers help me develop my individual class or who should I go to for help?

A: The specific organization of instructional design services for faculty on each campus is another factor of the infrastructure that the OAC will consider. Specifically, the Academic working group will strive to gain consensus on the optimal approach to provide faculty with training and mentoring in evidence-based practices for the design, development, delivery, and continual improvement of online programs and courses.