Excellence in eLearning
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has selected The University of Texas at Arlington as a Star Award recipient for its creation of high quality, innovative, flexible online and digitally based course content.
“At UTA, we prioritize our capacity to deliver engaging and dynamic online content to meet learners where they are,” said Tamara Brown, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to helping our students be resilient and find suitable strategies to meet their academic and professional education goals.”
The Star Awards recognize institutions for exceptional contributions toward one or more of the goals outlined in the state’s new strategic plan for higher education, Building a Talent Strong Texas. UTA was one of five award recipients this year, receiving recognition for its eLearning Transformational Model program.
Seeking to create a foundation for developing dynamic online programs, faculty and staff from five colleges and multiple divisions partnered with the Office of the Provost and the Office of Information Technology to launch UTA’s eLearning Transformational Model. The program’s objectives are to:
- Create high quality, innovative and flexible online and digitally based course content.
- Develop academic certificates for online delivery that support the upskilling or reskilling of current students, alumni and new learners.
- Set consistent policies and processes for approval and implementation of online certificates to enable faster-to-market initiatives within UTA’s regulatory parameters.
- Provide policy and process information for proposing developing and implementing new online academic programs via a platform accessible by all UTA colleges and schools.
- Repurpose existing resources or supplement with external resources and skills to strategically invest in UTA’s eLearning ecosystem. This includes faculty development, instructional design, marketing, market research, student recruitment and enrollment, student support, program evaluation and technology.
Together, the team identified six online certificates for inclusion in a pilot program. The programs were:
- College of Business – Managing Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations Certificate
- College of Nursing and Health Innovation – Telehealth and Health Informatics Certificate
- College of Engineering – Logistics for Professionals Certificate • College of Education – Instructional and Learning Design Technology
- School of Social Work – Military Social Work Certificate
- School of Social Work – Military, Veteran and Family Care Certificate
“UTA aims to be a leader in designing digitally responsive curriculum that can meet the needs of today’s working professionals and college students,” said Amber Smallwood, assistant vice provost for academic planning and policy. “This award attests to the significant progress that the University has made, not only for the UTA community, but in developing advanced eLearning models that other institutions could follow.”
This year’s Star Award recipients demonstrated a focus in one or more of the following categories:
- Increasing attainment of postsecondary credentials for adult learners by expanding work-based learning programs and a broader array of short-term credentials or badges.
- Streamlining academic and career pathways for students through innovative courses and program redesign and enhanced support services that lead to increased credentials of value and allow for upward social mobility and address state workforce needs.
- Increasing opportunity and affordability through strategic uses of financial aid programs and making the cost of postsecondary education more transparent.
- Aligning applied research and development efforts with state economic and workforce development priorities, particularly in fields with high current or projected demand.
Awardees were honored for their efforts at the annual Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference in Austin. The leadership conference brings together regents, trustees, chancellors, presidents, policy makers, and other higher education, business and industry leaders and philanthropy partners to discuss critical higher education issues.
The Texas Higher Education Star Awards were established by the THECB in 2001. They recognize exceptional contributions toward achieving one or more of the goals of the state strategic plan for higher education.