Among the fears and myths of online learning is that students will now become detached from their faculty and fellow students -- that technology will further isolate and fragment the academic community.
In the not so distant past, I was responsible for online education within a traditional brick-and-mortar university. I would often joke with my staff that we weren’t really doing our jobs if the rest of the university – the brick and mortar – didn’t find us irritating from time to time. If you are truly meeting the unique needs of online students, you’re going to have to occasionally make the rest of the university bend in new and uncomfortable ways. The organizational structures and processes of colleges were long ago set up to serve the needs of classroom education; changing this embedded model is no small feat.
From the vast literature on organizational change, one book stands out for me: Switch by brothers Chip and Dan Heath. It relies heavily on research conducted in multiple disciplines, yet it presents the findings in ways that are easy for us to pick up and make our own.
More importantly, the strategies presented in Switch seem especially well-suited to the unique conditions of higher education