UCF Recognized as National Leader in Online Learning

UCF Recognized as National Leader in Online Learning

The administrator responsible for creating and overseeing the delivery of online learning at the University of Central Florida has been named a national leader by one of the most prestigious organizations in online higher education.

Joel Hartman, vice provost of Information Technologies and Resources, will receive the Mayadas Leadership Award this week from the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C). The award recognizes innovative leaders who have demonstrated the ability to advance online learning in a significant way.

Sloan-C  and EDUCAUSE are the two largest organizations that promote intelligent use of technology to enhance higher education. And Hartman has now won the top leadership awards offered by both groups.

Sloan-C judges’ comments described Hartman as a “model CIO and a national leader in harnessing the power of information and instructional technologies for the transformation and advancement of higher education.

The panel of judges also credits Hartman “with transforming the University of Central Florida (the second-largest U.S. university) into one of the most innovative and progressive educational environments in the country.”

Hartman, who joined UCF in 1995, has seen the online learning environment at UCF grow from infancy to a national leader. UCF offers 58 fully online degree, degree-completion and certificate programs, along with nearly 1,300 individual Web-based blended learning courses. Those programs and courses provide students with more flexibility to take classes and earn college degrees.

More than 900 faculty members have gone through training at UCF to teach courses that are entirely or partially online, and more than 27,000 students enrolled in one web or video-based course during the fall 2011 semester.

Hartman will receive his award during the Sloan-C annual conference Nov. 9 to 11 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

The consortium also will present UCF with an Effective Practices Award for its Online Faculty Readiness Assessment initiative.

UCF’s national reputation for quality online learning, combined with the tremendous growth of online learning across all of higher education, has resulted in more and more professors with prior online teaching experience joining the university’s faculty. Instead of having to complete a comprehensive training program designed for faculty with no experience teaching online, the Online Faculty Readiness Assessment allows those with experience to test out of certain components of the program. That way the program doesn’t become a burden to those who already employ best practices as part of their routine activities.

Sloan-C, an association of more than 400 universities and institutions involved in advancing the use of online learning in higher education, concluded UCF is a great example of a cutting-edge university that contributes to the growth and improvement of online learning while making the best use of resources.

Patsy Moskal, a faculty research associate for the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness at UCF, also will be honored. She will be named a Sloan-C Fellow, joining her colleague Chuck Dziuban, who was part of last year’s inaugural group of fellows. Moskal and Dziuban have played critical roles in studying the online environment at UCF and ensuring that it is effective in delivering quality education.

UCF has a long history of excellence in online learning. Professors Glenda Gunter, Susan Wegmann and others have been recognized with Sloan-C awards for Excellence in Online Teaching. And UCF has been recognized multiple times for its programs by both Sloan-C and EDUCAUSE.

Many members of UCF’s Distributed Learning team lecture and present around the world to share UCF’s experience and knowledge. Several staff and faculty members from the Center for Distributed Learning are presenting during this year’s Sloan-C conference.