Online Learning

Developing an online program can be an exciting journey with many benefits for any academic department and faculty. By developing an online program, you can:

  • Extend academic excellence and diversity & inclusion. Online and distance learning programs can reach student populations whom you might never otherwise reach. Though it may be surprising, promoting online programs also promotes diversity and inclusion. There are audiences who may need or prefer online learning, or for whom residential education creates a barrier to entry that is hard to overcome.
  • Enhance academic reputation. A growing amount of research shows that programs without online offerings are viewed by external audiences (e.g. students, employers, peer institutions, etc.) as being less relevant. Rather than hindering it, offering effective, high-quality online or distance education programs can boost your program or department’s academic reputation.
  • Empower on-campus pedagogy. Even though some faculty may be reluctant to "try" or "go" online, research shows that developing an online program can actually enhance the student’s on-campus, residential experience face-to-face in the classroom.
  • Encourage connections and collaboration. At a large institution, it is easy for units – or individuals within units – to become disconnected or siloed. Developing a new program can spark new levels of collaboration among faculty, within departments, and within divisions. Encouraging these connections and collaborations can spark future academic innovations. 
  • Energize growth and innovation. Reaching new students and growing enrollments and revenue can be exciting for any academic division or department. Online programs developed from university resources often generate sizable net revenue gains. These profits can fund new and innovative initiatives or further enhance your current offerings and services for students.

Pillars of Online Program Development

  • Market analysis and program feasibility: The online marketplace can be very competitive; many online programs already exist. However, that should not dissuade you from extending the unique excellence of Miami University through online, hybrid, or distance program formats. It does mean that a thorough market analysis and program feasibility study should be conducted. eLearning has the experience and expertise to conduct a national marketplace analysis for any proposed program. In addition to conducting professional and competitive analyses, we can estimate enrollment and program size, provide budget projections, and guide you in strategically positioning your program to be competitive in the larger market.
  • Program design and planning: After conducting the market analysis and program feasibility study, we will work on a joint proposal. Once the decision has been made to move forward, we can begin meeting regularly, following a common timeline and process. Together, we will determine makes your program distinctive, identify program outcomes and learning goals, and plan the program development timeline. We will also partner to begin discussing marketing, coordinating with university infrastructure, seeking program approvals at various levels, and address other vital steps along the way.
  • Learning experience design and course development. When certain steps have been completed in the program design and planning, we will begin to start the learning experience design and course development phase. In this phase, our team works with individual and groups of faculty to develop (or team-develop) the high-quality courses and learning experiences that will constitute the overall program. As we work on these pieces, our partnership with you helps ensure that we never lose sight of the overall program outcomes.
  • Online enrollment management. As program and course development progresses, the online enrollment management team will become involved. It will help coordinate the enrollment process, develop the necessary marketing and outreach resources, and begin implementing marketing and student recruitment efforts that provides students. The enrollment management team will also help determine online course capacity and assist with registration.
  • Online student support services. Once in the course production phase, we can also begin implementing student support services. We will develop and implement plans to lead students from orientation all the way to graduation, aiming at high levels of retention and completion, while ensuring an exceptional, high-quality Miami online learning experience.
  • Faculty engagement and development. Teaching online effectively can be like learning a new language. It involves a variety of knowledge, skills, and abilities that are unique to the online, hybrid, or distance learning format. It is not enough to focus solely on designing a great learning experience; it must also be delivered just as well. As courses are developed – and before they are delivered – we guide faculty through advancing the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to enhance their teaching in these new formats.
  • Ongoing online program evaluation and improvement. Launching a new online program is a substantial achievement! However, like most digital transformations of any sort, iterative improvements are recommended and even necessary. In one respect, our partnership never really ends; eLearning helps support the ongoing operation of the program. We also schedule key evaluations to examine how well the program is accomplishing its goals and determine where adjustments can be made to further enhance the academic quality and performance of the program.

Online program development timeline

How long does it take to create an online program? Ideally, you should plan on a 12-18 month journey. 

  • Inception: two to three months
  • Design: four to eight months 
  • Development (Production): four months for first course offerings; up to two- to three-year process for developing the entire program
  • Implementation: three months
  • Evaluation: Term-based and annual

How do I get started with a new online program?

To get started, contact us to schedule an initial consultation. We will have a basic "exploratory" discussion that requires no commitment from either side. After that, we will decide whether or not to move forward to the inception stage where we begin conducting a market analysis and program feasibility study.