Within these hyperporous walls: An examination of a rebundled online learning model of higher education
Keywords:unbundling, rebundling, university experience, online expertise, online quality
Through this paper, we explore unbundling, the separation of various aspects of education, resources, teaching and assessment (Ossiannilsson et al., 2015) and rebundling, where these activities are “recombined into new configurations with little loss of functionality” (Ge et al., 2004, p. 1). We chart the evolution of online learning at the University of Derby, from a small-scale learning and certification bundle to a rebundled online university experience. In this rebundled model, a bespoke department is responsible for the operationalisation and quality of the university’s online experience. Firstly, we established the quality impact of this model, using higher education institution (HEI) value drivers. Secondly, focus groups explored macro (national), meso (institutional) and micro (practice) issues from strategic manager, academic and student experience perspectives. To facilitate discussion about the online university experience, we used a new conceptual pedagogic realignment with organisational priorities and horizon emergent technologies (PROPHET) framework. Based on our findings, we make recommendations to HEIs that are considering rebundling online learning. These include the equitable data capture and analysis of online student demographics; consideration of academic well-being and training; and the university-wide benefits obtained from knowledge exchange with online professionals, in relation to future-focused technologies and policymaking.
Implications for practice or policy:
- HEIs should be equitable in their data capture and analysis processes, incorporating all online student and learner demographics.
- HEIs should seek out and utilise the expertise of online professionals in institutional policymaking.
- HEIs should refocus academic workload planning and training to include online learning.
- HEIs should engage in evidence-based knowledge exchange with online professionals to ensure a future-focused cohesive university experience.
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