University of Maryland University College. Distance Education in Dual Degree Partnerships: Challenges and Opportunities

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1 University of Maryland University College Distance Education in Dual Degree Partnerships: Challenges and Opportunities

2 Distance Educa-on in the United States Unlike Russia, the U.S. does not dis3nguish between programs offered face- to- face or through distance educa3on All programs must be approved by accredita3on agencies and the proposals include a descrip3on of course delivery. But there are no separate standards between programs offered online or face- to- face. Students gradua3ng from programs in which basic mode of delivery is online receive same diplomas as other students.

3 Introduc-on of Online Courses into Russian Partnerships 1999 decision made to switch to online delivery because of: Financial crisis in Russia; Distance educa3on becoming dominant form of instruc3on at UMUC UMUC developed its own proprietary learning management system: Web Tycho an interac3ve learning model, characterized by frequent interac3on between faculty and students and among students; guided group assignments; faculty directed learning UMUC is currently developing a new Learning Experience Online [LEO] that uses Canadian sowware Desire 2 Learn LEO maintains basic characteris3cs of previous sowware: interac3ve learning model; ac3ve learning; frequent feedback; 3me on task; also allows UMUC to analyze how students learn UMUC model recognizes that teaching and learning in an online classroom differs from experience in a face- to- face class

4 Challenges for Russian and Other Foreign Students Students have to learn new technology. Students have to learn how to use Digital Library Students have to learn to func3on in a different educa3onal model UMUC model requires students to master topics weekly; to post comments weekly and owen to complete assignments weekly. Students are required to func3on in a classroom where learning is faculty- directed applied learning instead of tradi3onal lecture

5 Administra-on of Distance Educa-on Programs with Russia Administra3ve Structure of Russian partnerships based on a designated coordinator at each ins3tu3on who troubleshoots issues for students and program. UMUC learning model relies on a student portal and UMUC Web site that allow students to register, find their classes, and get all kinds of support services: technology, library, wri3ng, and for U.S. students, financial aid. Russian students do not use these systems. Instead they turn to their Russian coordinator who in turn contacts U.S. coordinator. Result is delays in resolving student issues. Ul3mately, reliance on coordinator reinforces tradi3onal Russian culture/ organiza3on of educa3on and reduces students experience with U.S. educa3onal culture. Challenge is to find ways to assist interna3onal students in online classroom to par3cipate more in U.S. or foreign academic experience, e.g. through clubs, honor socie3es, alumni organiza3ons

6 Opportuni-es and Benefits Offered By Distance Educa-on Programs Despite students reliance on their Russian coordinators, Russian students do develop important skills and competencies. Most important are 3me- management and self- discipline, both learned in online classroom. Second professional competency valued by employers is team- building learned by working with interna3onal partners regardless of whether interac3on with other cultures is face- to- face or online. Distance educa3on provides opportunity for interna3onal experience to students who cannot afford to travel abroad. UMUC interac3ve model provides much more frequent and in- depth interac3on with professors and students in class. UMUC learning model is much less expensive than tradi3onal face- to- face classes or student exchanges, and also than some other models of online learning.

7 Opportuni-es and Benefits Offered By Distance Educa-on Programs Distance educa3on offers opportunity to expand programs without having to find new faculty to send abroad. Distance educa3on can be two- way exchange. Distance educa3on model can be expanded to include more than 2 schools. Transi3on to distance educa3on saved Russian partnerships. Instead of 9 years, program has successfully existed for 23 years. A^rac3veness of distance educa3on is shown by the growth in online (e- learning) ac3vity in the US over the past decades.

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