The Future and Online Learning


Back in 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education and VitalSource released results from a survey entitled: “Online Education Heading toward the Future“. This report includes key findings regarding distance education as online learning moves into the mainstream.

The survey captured the feedback of 1,286 respondents including higher-ed administrators, chief information officers, provosts, chief academic officers, deans, program directors and chairs, and directors of educational media.

This blog post captures a few highlights as well as connections to the work of the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU.

“Online education is not a fad… online education — that is, distance learning delivered digitally, whether for an entire course or part of one — is not going away. A majority of colleges and universities understand this and are working to find the best online learning solutions for their students and faculty members.”

Online Learning Enrollment Expands

Almost all, 94%, of the institutions responding to the survey indicate that they offer classes entirely online, while enrollment in these classes has also increased at most institutions.


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future

Enrollment in Online and Hybrid Learning Increased by 30%

Grand Valley State University started offering online courses before 2007 and the number of online/hybrid courses and enrollment are increasing annually. Since 2016, GVSU’s enrollment in online and hybrid courses has increased by 30%. In fact, in the 2018-19 academic year, 375 online courses are being taught to 10,221 students or 38 percent of the university’s student body. Read more at: “eLearning Team supports growth in Online/Hybrid Learning at GVSU“.

Increases in Acceptance and in Strategic Priority


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future

“There seems to be a growing desire among faculty to at least figure out what it means to teach online.”

Institutions plan to continue or increase the investment, including 72% increasing resources dedicated to online learning initiatives, as illustrated in the following chart:


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future

Quality is Key

According to the survey, 86% of the institutions reported having course enrollment caps for online courses as well as an internal process to review course quality.

Quality Matters and the Online Learning consortium where mentioned as resources for external quality certification.

Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Winners at GVSU

GVSU faculty have received awards for their quality courses through the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Program.

Good Practice Teaching Standards

The eLearning team’s, IDeL group has provided a series of good practice teaching standards are derived from the GVSU’s Online Education Council’s Online/Hybrid Course Peer Review Rubric. The recommendations and good practice guidelines are adapted from: Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric 2011 – 2013 Edition, Penn State Peer Review Guide, Chickering, A. & Gamson, Z. (1987) Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin (39)7, and the Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric.

Instructional Design

51% of those responding to the survey indicated that their institution has 1 or 2 instructional designers, followed by 33% having 3 – 5. One of the important aspects of course quality has been contributed to the use of instructional designers in course creation.


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future

In a recent article by Campus Technology entitled: “Survey: Instructional Designers Drive Better Student Outcomes“, the importance of instructional design (ID) was raised in support of increasing the quality of online courses and in turn improving student learning as part of the 2019 CHLOE 3 REPORT. Read more in the “Working with Instructional Designers Improves Student Outcomes” blog post.

Connect with an Instructional Designer at GVSU!

At GVSU, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team includes 3 instructional designers making up the “IDeL” (Instructional Design for Learning) group.

When preparing, designing, or facilitating an online or hybrid course, please reach out to one of our instructional designers for support, join an Online and Hybrid Faculty Learning Community, and/or review a variety of tipsvideo advice, and good practice teaching recommendations.

Online Teaching Improves Teaching Skills and Strengthens the Institution

In general administrators surveyed indicate that online teaching improves the institution and face to face teaching also. As faculty are prepare to teach online through professional development, this shapes also their teaching in person, traditional courses.


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future


Figure retrieved from: “Online Education Heading toward the Future

eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU

Learn more about the support provided to faculty in the design, development, and delivery of online, hybrid, and traditional courses on the eLearning and Emerging Technologies website.

The eLearning team provides a wide array of support and services designed to empower faculty and contribute to student success.


From getting started to advanced technology integration into teaching, the eLearning team is here to support faculty. We have expertise in instructional design through the IDeL team, creative multimedia production authoring capabilities through the Digital Studio, instructional technology support and learning management solutions such as Blackboard, and a wide array of innovative emerging technologies in the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

In short, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is dedicated to supporting faculty, contributing to teaching excellence, and enhancing student success through:

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