1997- 1998 Annual Progress Report
Overview of Achievements
Distance Education on the UWG campus was significantly expanded to include on-line offerings in addition to GSAMS. Top priorities for the year were related to this expansion, and included development and implementation of a support system for distance students, training and course development assistance for faculty engaged in on-line teaching, and continual review and evaluation of the on-line courses, technologies and development process.
Highlights of the year’s work include the following achievements:
- The number of students enrolled in distance courses in FY 98 was 1668. This represented a 51% increase over FY 97 (1103). UWG was consistently ranked in the top two institutions with the highest distance learning credit hours. During Winter 1998 for example, Georgia Southern ranked first with 2846 quarter credit hours, with UWG following closely at 2645 credit hours. Georgia Southern has 5 GSAMS rooms compared to UWG’s 3, and 4 full-time distance staff, compared to UWG’s 2.
- Ten credit courses were delivered over the Internet during UWG’s first year of on-line learning. Thirty-four courses were delivered through GSAMS (up from 32 the prior year). Thirteen additional courses were supplemented by an online component. Eleven on-line courses have been developed and are scheduled for delivery fall 98 semester.
- Students in Georgia received UWG credit courses from 30 GSAMS locations (up from 24 in the previous year), including sites in Newnan, Dalton, Rome, Douglas County, Cartersville, Dekalb County, Columbus, Tifton, Trenton, Ft. Oglethorpe, Ringgold, Canton, Macon, Dooley County, Henry County, Summerville, Bartow County, Catoosa County, Pauding County, and Villa Rica.
- A telephone help-line was established in Fall 1997, and provides immediate assistance to students, faculty, and staff who need assistance with distance courses or technologies.
- The Distance Education Center, in conjunction with Continuing Education, offered the first Distance Learning Certificate Program in the state of Georgia (and one of the first 5 nationally). The 9-month program is offered completely online and is designed to prepare faculty and administrators for their roles in teaching or managing distance courses and programs. Eighteen UWG staff and faculty completed the program during its pilot year. Forty-four individuals representing four countries and 17 states have enrolled in the program to begin September 1998.
- The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration was created and introduced by distance education staff. The quarterly journal focuses specifically on issues relating to the management of distance programs, and has included submissions and articles from nationally-known distance practioners.
- A distance learning resource center, which includes training tapes and a small library of articlesand books on distance learning for use by distance learning faculty and interested staff, doubled its offerings during FY 98.
- A committee was established to investigate the feasibility of offering PSO courses to high schools via GSAMS. Sessions were conducted with high schools to determine areas of critical need; interviews were held with other institutions to learn of possible problems; and meetings were conducted with probable faculty to ascertain their willingness to teach. Reported shortages of faculty in areas of need, such as foreign language, resulted in a delay of immediate implementation of a pilot project. The committee is still working toward identifying possible courses for the future.
- The Distance Education Center was awarded a $5000 grant to collaborate with Zoo Atlanta in developing enrichment programs for honors students to be delivered through distance media. The pilot project will begin in September 1998.
- UWG, along with several other university system institutions, began its association with the Southern Regional Electronic Campus. UWG’s distance program adopted the SREC "principles of good practice" and has scheduled three on-line courses to be included in SREC’s Fall 1998 course listing.
Goals for 1998-99
- Develop the infrastructure and support system necessary to move UWG’s on-line program from the offering of a few courses to a number which would eventually enable significant portions of selected degree programs to be offered via distance media.
- Work collaboratively with Continuing Education to develop a framework for the development and offering of non-credit courses through distance media.
- Redesign faculty training programs for distance teaching to allow for greater efficiency as the number of faculty requesting training continues to increase. Develop programs for mentorship within colleges and department.
- Continue efforts to expand UWG’s distance education into post-secondary market.