Remote learning came with the pandemic and it’s staying. The availability of online courses directly affects the quality of education and the learners’ overall experience at the institution. Online Program Management helps make the most of this new education format. Here’s how.
What is online program management?
Online program management (OPM) encompasses a spectrum of services and systems. They can be obtained in single-price packages or in a fee-per-service format.
In a nutshell, OPMs allow universities and other educational institutions to migrate their academic programs online. They cover a range of services, such as:
- market research
- student enrollment
- Course design optimization
- platform technology
- student placements
- candidate retention etc.
In a sense, it’s like the evolved form of online lecture services. With a quality OPM setup, the remote learning process is massively improved because it’s managed as a whole.
How does it benefit educational institutions?
To begin with, it boosts a school’s reputation (at any level of education). Online courses in all areas are in high demand, and a school that offers them will inevitably be more desirable to students of all backgrounds.
There’s also the added bonus of global availability. Since the courses are internet-based they’re available to international students too. A school can improve its diversity and cultural environment at a much greater scale.
In addition, classes can be developed to more accurate specifications. An OPM will be able to profile current and potential students for learning styles, overall academic level, age, academic and socioeconomic background, etc. These factors are important in tailoring programs for associate’s, master’s, and doctorate levels and making sure the institution offers something suitable to everyone interested.
Finally, outsourcing to a quality online program management partner saves the school time and money in the long run. The partner can handle things like developing curricula, marketing the new programs, supporting students and staff, and assessing the business risks of these endeavors. That leaves schools free to focus on their own expertise – the actual teaching and academic assessment.
How does it benefit students?
It makes studying far easier to begin with. A properly managed online learning capability is important to many modern-day students. In fact, the flexibility that online courses provide can be the breaking point between enrolling in a particular school or not.
This is especially true for university students. Online programs can be the difference between affording higher education or not. Students who have the flexible option of studying online can save a lot of money on living expenses such as commuting and housing arrangements.
It’s also a great boon to students who work and/ or support their families. Remote learning lets them get an education without sacrificing their income or having to be separated from their children, partners, parents, or any other dependents.
In addition, online programs let students tailor their experience to a much greater extent. For example, they don’t have to limit themselves to affordable local institutions if those don’t offer the courses that the student wants.
Learners can make the most of their talents and affinities by opting for remote studies in schools that offer courses in the specific areas and skills that suit them. It’s an excellent way to develop particular skill sets right from the beginning, instead of plowing through irrelevant but mandatory courses in their initial years.
What to consider when selecting an OPM
If you’re affiliated with an educational institution and would like to propose partnering with an OPM, here are some things to think about first.
Firstly, explore their data integration solutions and what technology they use. It is essential for your online program management service provider to be able to integrate with your institution’s systems.
This includes the student information and support system, customer management or PR, data system, and communication platforms. You want them to base their program strategy based on accurate analysis of your institution’s data.
Secondly, inquire into how flexible their contracts are. Usually, there should be a few types available to you. The most common ones are the fee-for-service, revenue sharing, and co-investment models.
- Fee-for-service contracts entail the institution choosing specific services, paying for those only, and not sharing any revenue with the OPM provider.
- In contrast, revenue sharing means that the OPM provides upfront capital. Generated revenue is split between them and the educational institution.
- Co-investment means that both sides share both the revenue and the upfront investment.
Finally, make sure your OPM provides ongoing course improvement, support for students and faculty, and aligns their practice with your institution’s traditions and values.
Delivering quality education programs online is the new lifeline of the education sector. Quality online program management can improve your institution’s reach and reputation, and foster better learning and success rates among students at all levels.
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