Online Learning Office to Develop Graduate Programs

ACADEMIC AFFAIRS | A new Office of Online Learning has been established at LMU, the Provost’s Office announced. As LMU prepares to develop and deploy several new online and hybrid graduate programs and certificates over the next few years, Online Learning will be instrumental in providing instructional design and course-building support for faculty who are teaching at the graduate level.

Rather than having to rely exclusively on outside online program mangers (or OPM’s) to build and expand advanced coursework offerings, LMU will extend in-house faculty support for instructional design and media aimed at diversifying the graduate programs and extending LMU’s reach to online learners. The office will also closely partner with offices across campus including the Dean of Graduate Education, Center for Teaching Excellence, Information Technology Services, Marketing and Communications, the William H. Hannon Library, Enrollment Management, the Registrar, Career and Professional Development, and Student Affairs.

The need for this new office was identified by the Technology Engaged Learning Task Force, a group that was put together in partnership between the CTE, Marne Campbell, then president of the Faculty Senate , and the Provost’s Office. This group of faculty and staff shared interest in or had worked on development of online and hybrid programming for their programs. The report from the Technology Engaged Learning Taskforce can be found here.

To spearhead this effort, two current LMU staff members have been hired into new roles. Jeff Schwartz will be director of learning design for online programs, along with Debi Aggers, who will serve as senior instructional designer for graduate programs. In addition to their deep appreciation and understanding of Ignatian pedagogy and the LMU mission, Schwartz and Aggers each bring extensive backgrounds in teaching and learning, as well as experience working with faculty across campus employing assorted academic technologies to meet instructional objectives. Together, they will partner with graduate program leads and participating faculty members to design and launch new online and hybrid academic courses, certificates, and degrees in the years to come.

To further support the success of online programming for faculty, staff, and students across campus, the Office of Online Learning will provide an institutional membership to the Online Learning Consortium, which hosts a variety of resources, workshops, and certifications around online instruction. The Online Learning Consortium is a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Schwartz and Aggers will partner with the CTE to provide workshops to share materials with faculty starting in the spring semester. To access OLC resources, faculty, staff, and students are invited to click here and create an account using their LMU assigned email address.

For more information on LMU’s Office of Online Learning, please contact Kat Weaver, associate provost for research, professional development, and online learning.