Continuing Education: Thriving ~ not just surviving ~ in a Recession

The current recession has had a devastating impact on colleges and universities across the US and beyond.  Layoffs and program closures have hit all of post-secondary education from community colleges, private colleges, public universities and even the ivy league schools have been forced to trim programs and staff.  We will examine strategies, technologies, practices and practicalities that enable programs to thrive, not just survive, in the online environment. 

Recession Realities in Higher Education

Recession Reality in Higher Education

Reduce Costs, Web and Social Marketing, Extend Reach, Support Academic Core, Adapt Teaching Practices and Pedagogies, Learn from Others, Lead Innovation

Reduce Costs:
Sample Open/Free Technologies

Open Source Texts

    Surprisingly, at the same time as it extends your marketplace worldwide, going online shifts a significant portion of the the delivery expense to those who attend.  There are many efficiencies that are realized online:
    •  Online delivery reduces delivery costs:
      • Eliminate food service costs
      • Eliminate facility fees
      • Eliminate parking fees
      • Eliminate speaker travel expenses
      • Capture of audio/video is far more economical than physical setup
    • Online delivery reduces attendance costs for your clients/students who also are on reduced budgets:
      • Eliminate travel expenses
      • Reduce time away from work/home
      • Asynchronous nature (including streamed playback of synchronous events) provides flexibility
    • Counterintuitive as it may seem, this is not the time to compete more fiercely; rather it is time to build collaborations, find synergies, and work with others
      • Inter-institutional team-teaching online to build breadth, depth and quality can give both institutions an edge in attracting students
      • Share marketing buys for non-competing events, workshops, etc. with same demographics
      • Where competing head-to-head seek to find ways both institutions can reduce costs and generate a higher margin
    Web Marketing
    The web remains the core of "free" marketing.  Search engine optimization is important. 

    Social Marketing
    It's cool, instant, viral and free! Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Branchout, and more.  (check out targeted demographic Facebook ads as per Helena's presentation!)
    Reaching 20,000 each week through searches, subscriptions, syndications:
    Some 5,000 subscribe via RSS; nearly 1,500 subscribe via email; more than a hundred other sites re-publish the RSS feeds via syndication; thousands of online searchers find these resources each week via Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.

    Extend Reach Worldwide:

    Disrupting College:

    How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education - Clayton Christensen and colleagues, whose theory of disruption of entire industries by innovations that disrupt the marketplace, on February 8, 2011 issued a new report on how online learning is impacting higher education.  Some interesting reading for high education administrators and regulators.   Predicts 50% of college students will be taking online classes in 2014 - creating shakeout among traditional brick-and-mortar universities that fail to adapt.  It's not just the price of education; it's the cost of education.

    Download the full report (pdf)

    Download the executive sumary (pdf)

    Download the report to mobile devices and e-readers from Scribd


    Online delivery enables worldwide reach.  UIS online enrollments area fastest growing outside the state of Illinois.  For the first time this semester our out-of-state online headcount exceeds 40% with students from every state except Montana.  Students reside in the 49 other states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and nine foreign countries.  The state with the largest  representation (after Illinois) is California.  UIS Online Enrollment Summary - Spring 2011
    Higher Education Opportunities Act - Concerns over out-of-state students:
    Support the Academic Core:
    Continuing Ed Programs as Gateways to Degrees
    Continuing Ed can be the side door to the university.  Beginning with a continuing ed class, a student can build confidence and interest in completing a degree.  As part of the larger operation of an institution of higher education, we are in a unique position to help guide students into the mainstream of the academic program.
    Open (free) Class Samples Highlighting Faculty and Degrees
    Building Linkages to Degree Completion and Advanced Degrees
    In many respects continuing higher education plays a key role in the continuum of learning in the 21st century.  CE is not just the periodic capstone to degrees, but it is also the launching pad for new, extended deep learning.  In some cases this can mean that we serve in the role to point participants to new degrees. 
    Teaching Pedagogies and Practices in a Recession
    • Tie theory to practice
    • Include a "field" assignment
    • Be open to internships
    • Incorporate relevant, current case studies linked to the workplace
    • Accommodate changing work schedules among students -- Blended Learning and Mode Neutral Pedagogy
    • Bring in virtual guest speakers for employment advice in this field
    • Construct an assignment that can be used as a resume-builder
    • Be open to assignment customization where/when appropriate such as technology used to deliver a presentation
    • Recession may result in large classes - use group projects on wikis
    • Include an assignment that will help students build a portfolio - use e-portfolio software

    Learn from Others:
    UPCEA new blog

    RSS | Online, Continuing, and Profession

    Lead Innovation:
    Lead your campus in the application of technology and use of the Internet in teaching and learning.  Inform others of the potential and promise of the 'net.  Provide weekly or monthly updates for faculty and administrators seeking to find the best new applications that may reach new student bases, enhance the teaching/learning process, and facilitate greater communication.
    The unique role that continuing higher education plays is one that is not merely technology, not merely content, but as modeling, promoting, and practicing both pedagogy and technology to serve the professional. 

    Contact information:

    Ray Schroeder, director
    Center for Online Learning, Research and Service
    University of Illinois Springfield
    One University Plaza
    Springfield, IL 62703