New Online Educational Offerings at ASU
ASU's Dr. Patrice Glenn Jones.
ASU Advances its Online Educational Offerings - Celebrates E-Learning With Director and Staff
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
Alabama State University has experienced a number of changes made necessary by the global pandemic. One of the most significant changes is the advancement of the delivery of its online instruction.
Soon after President Quinton T. Ross, Jr. and his cabinet made the decision in March of 2020 to send students home for their safety, the University shifted to offering non-traditional course delivery. In August of 2020, the Office of Online Education and Programs (OEP) was established at ASU with Dr. Patrice Glenn Jones serving as its executive director. Jones was given the mandate to direct, enhance and coordinate the University's online learning for its students.
Jones explains that online learning is any form of learning conducted partly or wholly outside of a physical classroom and directly over the Internet.
"Alabama State was already involved in both online and distance education for quite a while, but with the emergency measures taken by the administration during the COVID-19 pandemic as we removed our student body from the campus for health safety measures, we accelerated and deliberately designed ASU's online learning to meet our students' educational needs by moving all instruction to a virtual format during the height of the pandemic in the spring and summer of 2020," said Dr. Carl Pettis, ASU’s Provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
ASU IS CAPITALIZING ON ITS ONLINE LEARNING SUCCESSES
Pettis said that the COVID-19 pandemic was a game changer for ASU in terms of advancing its online and Internet educational learning.
"The University, under the direction of President Ross, was already looking at expanding our online offerings, but the pandemic put us on the fast-track. We were successful in doing so and because of the great gains we've made over the last year, the leadership team made the decision to capitalize on our online successes and thus we created the Online Education and Programs office under Dr. Jones’s leadership. Since opening last August, Dr. Jones and her team have worked to develop plans to fully integrate it into our student's educational offerings, which will complement our traditional face-to-face classroom teaching," Pettis explained.
GOAL IS TO ENGAGE ASU STUDENTS
Dr. Jones said that one of the OEP's goals is to give ASU's students options for learning at a pace and in a way that engages them.To help to achieve those goals, two new employees, Michael Hernandez (ASU e-Learning designer) and Amanda Woods (ASU e-Learning specialist), joined the existing staff members, Albert Calhoun and Almut Haboeck.
“We are working to seamlessly expand our online educational offerings that will provide our students continued access to ASU's quality education regardless of where they are located or how they are learning; be it traditional in-class, face-to-face learning or online over the Internet learning," said Jones.
Hernandez stated that he is excited to be involved in building a bridge to ASU's next level of educational greatness.
"The next generation of education is upon us and our office's goal is to help bridge the gap that will bring educators and students to the next level of learning," Hernandez stated by phone. "Online is a more accessible and open educational experience that once perfected with the right infrastructure, will allow most everyone to learn no matter of where they come from or where they are located."
Woods said that one of her major goals is to perfect ASU's e-Learning so that the faculty will be supported in various ways that will allow them to teach students on multiple online platforms.
"We are tasked with supporting both the faculty and the students in a range of new ways that allows the University to teach and reach all of them outside of the traditional classroom setting if that is what is desired. To teach and learn in a more comfortable setting or to do so in order to promote a healthier setting in times of health-related emergencies is our goal," said Woods.
TODAY'S WORKFORCE IS MOVING ONLINE
In reviewing data on the evolution of both education and today's workforce, the move is clearly toward online offerings.
Over forty-six percent of organizations recently surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management said they use virtual employment teams. Since COVID-19 swept across the nation, the number of professionals who regularly work from home has increased by 159 percent over the last decade with more than 4.7 million employees working remotely at least half the time from their homes. The role of online educational offerings mirrors this data.
"It’s well-known that learning online helps prepare professionals for this shift toward online work, and ASU is rising to meet this need right now," Jones said.
"Alabama State University is among those prudent and well-planned educational institutions that recognized early on that to meet the needs of its students, it must carefully consult with its faculty and prepare with its e-learning professionals its role in online education. ASU is being a key player thanks to its leaders in this most advanced form of education and is doing so for the sake of both its students and the advancement of the institution," Jones stressed.
NOTE: DEFINITION OF ONLINE LEARNING
Online Learning is a form of distance education in which a course or program is intentionally designed in advance to be delivered fully online. Faculty use pedagogical strategies for instruction, student engagement, and assessments that are specific to learning in a virtual environment.
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.